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Things to do in Melbourne today

The best things to do in Melbourne today includes live streams, virtual NGV gallery tours and more

View of Melbourne skyline from Princess Bridge at sunset
Photograph: Visit Victoria/Ray of Melbourne
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Many performances, museums and venues have been closed and cancelled due to coronavirus so we've come up with a list of fun things to do while you're self quarantining or social distancing.

Check out more ideas below on our list of the best things to do in Melbourne today. 

RECOMMENDED: Full list of the best things to do in Melbourne.

Things to do in Melbourne today

1
State Library of Victoria Ian Potter Queen's Hall 2019
Photograph: Patrick Rodriguez
News, City Life

Download the State Library's huge collection of books, music and photos for free

The State Library of Victoria’s physical doors may be shut for the time being, but it doesn’t mean you can’t explore the best parts of this mega library online. Everyone now has access to the library’s massive digital collections, which includes thousands of photographs, personal manuscripts, magazines, journals, newspapers, comics, theatre programs and advertisements – even video archives. You can also access more than 19,000 ebooks, music and a huge range of journals and articles.

2
The ACMI sign at Federation Square
Photograph: Visit Victoria
News, Film

Jump into ACMI's virtual film club with weekly double bills

ACMI’s regular Melbourne Cinémathèque screenings that were still running at the Capitol Theatre had to be shut down in line with government advice. But the closure wasn’t for long with ACMI launching Virtual Cinémathèque online. The online cinema sessions won’t follow the program for the 2020 Melbourne Cinémathèque season but will still feature double bills that focus on specific actors, directors or themes. The classic and contemporary films showcased are chosen by the Melbourne Cinémathèque as well as ACMI’s Film Department and will feature annotations and introductions wherever possible.

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3
People exploring a gallery at Melbourne Museum filled with taxidermy animals
Photograph: Dianna Snape
News, City Life

Tour Melbourne Museum from home

You might not be able to physically visit museums in Melbourne anymore, but as of today, you can visit them virtually. Today Museums Victoria launched Museum at Home; an initiative that allows you to engage and explore Melbourne Museum, Scienceworks and the Immigration Museum online. The online project will allow guests to go behind the scenes, take virtual tours (hosted by hilarious kidult comedy team the Listies), learn about STEM, experience livestreamed virtual events and watch Q and A sessions hosted by experts.

4
Squid ink tagliolini at Pinotta
Photograph: Parker Blain
Restaurants

Support local with these restaurants now doing takeaway

The government has announced closures of restaurants and bars, but takeaway and delivery services are still currently available. This is a list of restaurants and bars still able to offer you food from their menus, rescue packs and even produce boxes that can get you through these tough times. Please be sure to check the social media accounts of your favourite venue to keep up with what they're doing.

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5
Keith Haring's crib
Photograph: Tom Ross
News, Art

Take virtual tours of the NGV’s Kaws and Keith Haring exhibitions

Due to COVID-19, staying in is really having a moment. To help contain the spread of the virus, most of Melbourne’s cultural institutions have now closed, including the National Gallery of Victoria. But thanks to the magic of the internet, we can inform you dear reader that you can still engage with the NGV virtually from the comfort of your home. The NGV announced today that virtual tours, ebooks, online galleries and children’s activities will soon be available online, in addition to the gallery’s already hefty online collection (it features 75,000 works, 90 per cent of which are available online).

6
Readings Carlton
Photograph: Supplied
News, Style & Shoppng

Get books delivered from Readings bookshops

Readings bookshops around Melbourne are staying open (for now) and the team is also offering free delivery to those who don’t feel comfortable going out during this time of social distancing. Readings staff will be making deliveries to inner-city suburbs. The area is based on proximity to Readings stores, which include Carlton, Doncaster, Hawthorn, St Kilda and Malvern. All you need to do is call your nearest Readings store and staff will take your order over the phone.

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7
Penguin captured on livestream
Photograph: Supplied
News, Weird & Wonderful

Watch a live stream of Melbourne Zoo's penguins, lions and baby snow leopards

Practising social distancing right now? Luckily for you, Melbourne’s zoos have decided to live stream their animals so you won’t miss out on a second of all that cute creature fun.  Zoos Victoria has set up live streams at some Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Open Range Zoo enclosures, including the snow leopard cubs, penguins, lions and giraffes. Fair warning: if you’re supposed to be working, this is highly distracting.  At the time of writing, Melbourne’s three zoos – Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary – are still open.

8
That's Amore take home
Photograph: Supplied
News, Restaurants

Get That's Amore cheeses delivered right to your door

That's Amore is now delivering beautiful tubs of fresh buffalo ricotta curds, balls of bocconcini, tubs of buffalo mozzarella and flavoured caciotta right to you. You can get those, and other Italian ingredients like fresh pasta, ciabatta, olive oils, ready-to-bake pizzas, lasagnes and other pantry essentials, too. Want a whole porchetta? That's Amore has got you sorted. Ever want to make cannoli in the comfort of your own home? That's Amore has cannoli kits to make your dreams come true. Basically, you can live your best Italian life through this box, without leaving the confines of your home.

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9
Pile of gnocchi pasta
Photograph: Supplied
News, Restaurants

Get fresh pasta that was meant for the Grand Prix

The story goes that Galah’s co-owner, Stephan Mauer, is best friends with the go-to pasta supplier for some of Melbourne’s biggest events including the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival, the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix and also the MCG. Sadly, those events were cancelled and the MCG pretty much shut down to help stop the spread of coronavirus in Melbourne.  So what does Mauer do to help his friend and all his excess stock? He employs his casual bar staff at Galah to help deliver 1kg boxes of fresh hand-made pasta to the world.

10
Bluey
Photograph: Courtesy ABC
Kids

Keep the kids busy with these great online shows

It’s true that kids will watch anything so long as there’s colour and movement, but every parent knows the difference between a show they’d happily let their child watch all day (ah, Bluey! So much warm humour and good parenting!) and one that makes you want to stab your own eyes out with a teething rusk (don't get us started on Thomas the Tank Engine. Just don't). So with that in mind, the parents among the Time Out family did a straw poll and came up with this top ten of the best kids' shows to stream right now.

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11
A plate of gnocchi on a table
Photograph: Supplied
News, Restaurants

Get drive-through gnocchi from this Chapel Street restaurant

Like many other Melbourne restaurants, Windsor’s Lover has thought outside the box during this COVID-19 pandemic to keep the venue afloat. While it remains possible to do so, Lover is offering delivery and drive-through options for some of its menu items. There’s croquettes, oysters, pizza pockets and more, but what we’re most excited about is the gnocchi. Lover is offering six different types of gnocchi including a lamb ragu gnocchi, blue cheese gnocchi, pumpkin gnocchi and a “Nonna style” meatball gnocchi. You can order your gnocchi online or over the phone.

12
Hands cutting meat into slices at Burn City Smokers
Photograph: Graham Denholm
News, Restaurants

Burn City Smokers is delivering barbecue to your door

Burn City Smokers had to ice 1.2 tonnes of meat due to the cancellation of Meatstock Sydney, Meatstock Melbourne, Whisky Wine Fire, Flavour Fest, Fromage a Trois and a whole bunch of weddings. So what are the team going to do? After the introduction of Barbecue to Your Door to help alleviate the stress of cooking for your family over Christmas, BCS are reintroducing it for those staying at home. You choose your meat, they cook it, they deliver it, you heat it (or freeze it) and eat it.

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13
Punting on the Lake Royal Botanic Gardens
Photograph: Supplied
News, City Life

Visit the Royal Botanic Gardens virtually

The Royal Botanic Gardens team this week made the decision to close its Melbourne Gardens and Cranbourne Gardens to reduce the spread of coronavirus. But the good news for us is that they’ve now made it super easy to engage with the gardens online. While we’re all practising physical distancing, the Gardens staff have decided to introduce a virtual garden. The team is developing new ways for us to engage with the gardens, but for now, they will be posting regular updates on all their social channels, including Facebook and Instagram.

14
Gnocchi being cut and rolled at Gnoccheria Coburg
Photograph: Supplied
News, Restaurants

Melbourne’s Gnoccheria is now offering home delivery

When pasta and gnocchi-devoted bar Gnoccheria opened in Coburg last year, people were lining up to purchase its 20 different variations of the famous potato dumpling. Now, in the age of physical distancing, Gnoccheria is offering delivery of its wares to those around Melbourne. You’ll be able to choose from a variety of items – precooked gnocchi packs, fresh pasta, lasagnes, pizza bases, sauces, cheeses, salts, olives, olive oil, anchovies, butter, porcini mushrooms, housemade passata and caperberries.

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15
Moon Dog World neon sign
Photgraph: Supplied
News, Bars & Pubs

Go through the beer drive-through at Moon Dog

Have you ever bought a six-pack of beer and thought “this is great, but I wish there was less physical contact involved”? In order to continue trading, Moon Dog has pivoted to a contactless drive-through service (as it's still legal for restaurants and bars to operate takeaway services). The Preston and Abbotsford Moon Dog venues will run a contactless drive-through beer service. You’ll also be able to score pub grub at Moon Dog World’s drive-through, and pizzas at the OG Moon Dog in Abbotsford.

16
DOC Gastonomia
Photograph: Supplied
News, Restaurants

Support more of Melbourne's restaurants during the COVID-19 outbreak

Melbourne's restaurants are a generous and resilient bunch and are offering services to people including home delivery, rescue packs and even preprepared meals that can get you through these tough times. And think of it this way: you'll be rescuing stock from ending up in the bin and ensuring your favourite venue will still be open when we are allowed to shake hands and hug each other again. Here's a list of the initiatives from the venues we are aware of. By no means take this as a definitive list, as everything is moving very quickly right now.

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17
Ides zine cover page
Photograph: Supplied
News, Restaurants

Ides have released a zine and every single dollar goes directly to staff

The contemporary Collingwood restaurant Ides has come up with a contemporary solution to a contemporary problem. Sadly, due to its intimate, multi-coursed dining structure that requires many hands to deliver a meal, Ides is temporarily closed. The crew sat around the table on one of their last night and put together a hand-written zine inspired by the underground hand-made punk zines of yesteryear. Inside the Ides zine, you'll find recipes you can replicate at home like stock, sourdough, Chinese bolognese, cocktail recipes and more by every staff member from Ides.

18
Frozen 2
Disney
News, Film

Watch Frozen 2 on Disney+ (three months ahead of schedule)

To make self-quarantine just that little bit more tolerable, Disney+ has brought forward the release of Frozen 2 in Australia. It's news that will be music to the ears of small children and grown-up Frozen fanatics everywhere, not to mention parents who have decided to take their kids out of school and are gearing up for weeks of child-induced cabin fever. Expect other production companies to make similar decisions in the days ahead and put their new releases onto streaming services well ahead of schedule.

See what's on for the weekend

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Things to do

Time In: The best things to do at home

We've collected the best ways for you to experience Melbourne while staying at home here into this hub, so you can stay sane, comfortable, fed, watered and entertained at home – while helping small business owners, hospitality workers and creative people who desperately need your business.

Read more about the current situation

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