Wondering what to do in Melbourne today? We can help. Check out our curated guide to all the fun things to do in Melbourne, including free attractions, art exhibitions, theatre shows, activities for kids and so much more. If it's a rainy day, consult our guide to Melbourne's best indoor activities instead.
Things to do in Melbourne today
Did you know that it’s been 50 years since the beloved children’s television show Sesame Street premiered? To celebrate this huge achievement, Melbourne Central is putting on a free exhibition in the space next to the Shot Tower. The exhibition has been curated by creative director and curator Eddie Zammit, who asked 50 local and international artists to put their spin on some of the most popular Sesame Street characters. You’ll be able to see the likes of Big Bird, Elmo, Oscar the Grouch, Bert and Ernie and heaps more. The exhibition is free to attend.
Pong by Atari, one of the first arcade games to ever be developed, is joining forces with Supernormal for two weeks. Ahead of ACMI's relaunch, it has taken over the basement of Supernormal (which normally functions as a karaoke room) and is making all your 2D, mega-pixel, neon-lit dreams come true. Head downstairs of Supernormal to play the most competitive, simulated game of tennis of your life in air-conditioned comfort for free (!) and wander back up to the restaurant for refreshments like the Courtside Cocktail (Sipsmith Summer Cup, Tanqueray, ginger-elderflower syrup, Capi dry ginger ale) and alcohol-free sippers like the Sobah Pepperberry IPA to accompany a seasonal menu of sustainable line-caught swordfish, the best of summer's tomatoes, and a fluffy Japanese cheesecake embellished with passionfruit and blueberries. Get in quick to make your nerdy, Atari dreams come true because you can only play your free game of Pong from January 20 to February 2 from 11am until late. And the best part is, bookings aren't required.
When is the last time you really considered your gut health? Or thanked the tiny microbes that live your intestinal track and digest your food, boost your immunity and keep you healthy? Scientists are learning more every day about the fascinating community of microbes that live inside each and every one of us. There are more microbes inside the human body than there are stars in the Milky Way, and they weigh up to 2kg. Melbourne Museum's Gut Feelings exhibition will change your mind about the tiny creatures (yes, they're alive!) that you share your body with. The interactive exhibition is a multi-sensory experience, with things to touch, hear and see.
The Australian Open is bringing back its powerhouse concert series this summer. AO Live Stage is returning this January as part of Australia's only grand slam event. The Australian Open's tennis stars might be hot, but the AO Live Stage line-up is hotter with a stack of big musos taking part in the concert series. This year we're excited to be hooked up with the Veronicas who will be playing alongside Japanese Wallpaper and Kian on Thursday, January 23. Prefer a bit of old school Aus rock? Grinspoon and Eskimo Joe are playing a double bill on Friday, January 24. The stellar voice of Kate Miller-Heidke will ring out across the AO Live Stage on Monday, January 27 (with a little support from Seeker Lover Keeper) while avid Triple J listeners will likely be in attendance on Wednesday, January 22 when Lime Cordiale and Ruby Fields hit the stage. Other artists that have been announced include Montaigne, Cub Sport, Broods, Matt Corby, Jessica Mauboy, Bastille and Billy Idol. You'll also be able to walk without rhythm with Fatboy Slim on January 26 in his second Melbourne performance for the summer. You can see the full line-up on the AO Live Stage website. The AO Live Stage concert series runs for 15 days (the length of the Australian Open). As usual you will require a ticket to the Australian Open to enter, but with ground passes starting at $49 the concert is a very economical way to see your fave artists live.
This summer, Scienceworks is blowing guests away with a new exhibition all about air. Air Playground is a 600m2 playspace where kids can explore six worlds that unpack the invisible but important resource. They’ll learn the basics of aerodynamics by designing their own paper planes, play around with the physics of airflow, and even make objects float. As part of its breezy programming, Scienceworks will also be hosting giant bubble shows and blowing up a giant inflatable sculpture for kids to bounce around on. There will even be a special week for the tiniest tots (those aged five and under) where they can learn all about air through play-based activities.
Kick some serious putt at Pixar Putt, a pop-up mini golf experience that’s back in Melbourne this summer. The experience is inspired by some of Disney Pixar’s most famous films, including classics like Toy Story, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, A Bug’s Life, Ratatouille, Monsters Inc, Wall-E, and new hits like Inside Out, Coco, The Good Dinosaur and more. Pixar Putt pops up at the Melbourne Museum Western Forecourt from December 20 to February 3. You can choose between playing a nine-hole round or go to infinity and beyond with the full 18-hole course. Tickets will be $24.90 for adults, $19.90 for children or $79.50 for families doing the nine-hole course, or $39.90 for adults, $29.90 for children and $119.60 for families doing the 18-hole course. Best to buy tickets in advance to secure your spot. Tickets are available now via the 'buy tickets' button above.
Every year, thousands head to Melbourne Park to watch the superstars of tennis battle it out in the fierce summer heat. Despite the heatwaves that occur regularly during the event (temperatures of 35 degrees or higher are common) the Australian Open continues to attract the world's best tennis players and their fans to the southern hemisphere's only Grand Slam tournament. Even if you don’t make it into the arena, Birrarung Marr buzzes with live entertainment and food stalls during the Australian Open Festival and live screenings of matches are played on big screens. You'll also find a number of activations by brands popping up around Melbourne Park. Mastercard has opened an immersive "escape room" that you can try – successful players can even win tickets to next year's men's Grand Slam finals, including flights and accommodation. ANZ has opened a wellbeing oasis featuring live DJ sets, talks with leading wellbeing experts, disco yoga classes and more. Hungry? Mr Miyagi is serving up Miyagi fried chicken plus a new dish, a tennis bao, which is exclusive to the Australian Open. The AO Live Stage also features a series of live performances by some amazing home-grown and international acts. World-famous chefs are serving up good times and delicious fare at the AO Chef Series, plus there are plenty more brand activations happening all around the sporting precinct. Tickets for the Australian Open start at $49. Click the 'buy tickets' button above to get yours.
Drag superstars, cult cabaret artists and gender-bending performance artists take over the city every summer – not to mention the swag of free parties, events and more. In the past few years, the LGBTQIA-focused festival has begun to come into its own as an international arts festival, pairing a suite of free events and parties with a program of theatre, cabaret, live art and music. It's been more than three decades since the first Midsumma launched, and the festival now attracts talent from all corners of the globe. Whether you're queer or an ally, there's an event for everyone at Midsumma, so break out those rainbow threads and get celebrating!
It’s hard to think of a title more self-explanatory than War Horse – except perhaps Snakes on a Plane, and that one’s a joke. It is a tale about a horse who goes to war, and was written by children’s author Michael Morpurgo back in 1982, to some success. It wasn’t until the National Theatre of Great Britain came along in 2007, though, that this simple story etched its way into the public imagination. A theatrical adaptation of the novel seemed like a ludicrous concept, but the difficulty of making horses the centre of a play became its key selling point. Puppetry is rarely a mainstream art form, unless it’s as astonishing as this. From the opening moments at the birth of a foal, as it struggles to stand and slowly gathers its strength and vitality, to the gruelling charges and driving work of the actual war, the puppetry (by Handspring Puppet Company) is never less than sublime. The puppeteers, fully visible but totally integrated into the physicality of the animals, are so supple and responsive that the horses, and swallows and crows and one fabulous goose, are easily as vivid as the humans. Of course, very fine animal puppetry won’t in and of itself create a hit show – just ask the producers of King Kong, which had a five-star monkey sitting in a one-star white elephant – and the success of playwright Nick Stafford’s adaptation is due to as much to its stagecraft as its conceptual vision. Everything under Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris’s direction – from Toby Sedgwick’s
It’s made big waves in Sydney, and now it’s Melbourne’s turn. Mov’in Bed Outdoor Bed Cinema is headed to Melbourne this summer as part of the outdoor cinema’s first national tour. The concept is irresistible. Imagine a large inflatable bed to snuggle into, food, drinks and a great movie. This summer it’s headed to St Kilda Beach, right in front of Catani Gardens, with its very own beach club popping up for 45 magical nights. The full program is yet to be announced for Melbourne audiences, but if the earlier event in Perth is anything to go by, it’s looking like a winning summer of movies. Think the likes of the Leo, Brad and Margot Robbie retro drama Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, recent releases like Joker and Last Christmas, and golden oldies like Jaws. The only catch is you need to be speedy – there are usually only 150 beds per night (accommodating up to three people – cosy). If you don’t mind sitting on the grass, you can BYO blanket, and the tickets are cheaper. Ticket prices range from $9 to $93. The cinema gate opens at 5pm, with the movie starting at around sunset (which is around 8.45pm). The season runs from Saturday, January 4 until Sunday, February 23. Screenings run every day except Mondays.
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