Things to do on the AFL Grand Final long weekend

Whether you're planning to watch the big game, or planning to avoid it at all costs, we've got you covered this Grand Final long weekend
The Corner Hotel rooftop
By Time Out editors |
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Make the most of the long weekend (Sep 28-30) and get stuck into these events, whether you're going all in on the footy celebrations or would rather avoid them all together. Food and drink events are cropping up across Melbourne's restaurants and pubs, while the city's party starters will be taking advantage of the Friday morning lie in.

Don't miss the big game at the best bars and pubs to watch the Grand Final, or go to these great pubs before kick-off starts.

Things to do on Thursday, September 27

Things to do, Exhibitions

National Geographic’s 50 Greatest Wildlife Photographs

icon-location-pin Parkville
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A world-first exhibition of 50 jaw-dropping wildlife photographs is being shown at Melbourne Zoo, giving visitors a look at some of the world's most beautiful creatures in their native habitat. The photographs come from one of the world's best-known wildlife publication, National Geographic, and reflect some of the best pictures published during the 130 years of the magazine's history.

Body Worlds: Vital
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Exhibitions

Body Worlds: Vital

icon-location-pin Flemington
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Body Worlds: Vital is an exhibition that will help you better understand your body and the way it works. An educational exhibit about human anatomy, it features 150 real human bodies, which have been 'plastinated' and put on display. There are whole bodies, individual organs and transparent 'body slices' that demonstrate the human body in all its forms – healthy, diseased and everywhere in between. All of the specimens have been voluntarily donated for this express purpose, and the process of donation has been thoroughly documented.

Things to do on Friday, September 28 (Grand Final Eve)

1000 Doors
Photogaph: Supplied
Things to do

1000 Doors

icon-location-pin Southbank
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One of our top picks of the Melbourne International Arts Festival line-up opens on Grand Final Eve. 1000 Doors is a maze of doors, some locked, some open, some leading to corridors and rooms, and some leading to cupboards and dead ends. Visitors will be able to walk through the installation, opening whatever doors they fancy and discovering new and interesting pathways through the maze. The work is designed by Christian Wagstaff and Keith Courtney, who were also behind House of Mirrors. 

Bars, Pubs

Grand Final Weekend at the Corner Hotel

icon-location-pin Richmond

The Corner Hotel will be open from 11am on the Grand Final Eve public holiday for a ripper warm-up party featuring a rooftop barbecue, a meat tray raffle and plenty of good vibes. When the sun goes down there will also be tunes played by local DJs in the pub's front bar. 

Time Out says
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Body Worlds: Vital
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Exhibitions

Body Worlds: Vital

icon-location-pin Flemington
icon-calendar

Body Worlds: Vital is an exhibition that will help you better understand your body and the way it works. An educational exhibit about human anatomy, it features 150 real human bodies, which have been 'plastinated' and put on display. There are whole bodies, individual organs and transparent 'body slices' that demonstrate the human body in all its forms – healthy, diseased and everywhere in between. All of the specimens have been voluntarily donated for this express purpose, and the process of donation has been thoroughly documented.

Wonderland ACMI Late Nights
Photograph: Phoebe Powell
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

Wonderland Late Nights

ACMI's temporary winter exhibition Wonderland is a tumble down the rabbit hole. Wonderland Late Nights, on the other hand, runs Friday nights throughout the exhibition and gives you a way to experience Wonderland in a whole new way. On the last Friday of each month until October, Wonderland Late Nights will feature DJs and bands, along with cocktails, so you can sip and shimmy your way through Alice's journey from page to screen. Some performers will include visual art as well, to enhance your experience even further.

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Things to do, Food and drink

High Cheese

icon-location-pin Melbourne
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The Westin's High Cheese brings together creamed Giorgio Cravero reggiano, tiramisu with a cheesy twist, cannoli with a ricotta filling, fresh figs stuffed with gorgonzola and drizzled with honeycomb, the rare Carles Roquefort with cognac and pain d’épices and even a Holy Goat organic strawberry and thyme mille-feuille. The coup de gras (pun intended) will be a whole baked Normandy camembert served with mini baguettes that you can rip apart and dip into the cheese, like your very own cheese fondue.

Things to do on Saturday, September 29 (Grand Final Day)

Time Out Pub Awards 2015
Photograph: Graham Denholm
Bars, Craft beer

Grand Final Day at Beer Deluxe

icon-location-pin Melbourne

Beer Deluxe at Fed Square is all about the notion that beer and footy go hand in hand. This Grand Final, all taps will be taken over for a Hop Nation and Modus Operandi beer off (more info on the tap list closer to the date). Plus, you won't be able to miss a moment of the big game with all the action being played live and loud across the big screens. 

Time Out says
Bars

Grand Final Day at Garden State Hotel

icon-location-pin Melbourne

The much-anticipated Grand Final Day match is getting played live and loud in the CBD hotel's beer garden and public bar. Get amongst an $80 per head brunch package where you'll get a three-course sharing-style menu with a complimentary drink on arrival. Or for those sticking around for lunch, you can enjoy lunch and drinks in the Observatory for $170 per head. 

Time Out says
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Nelson Mandela 2
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Exhibitions

Mandela My Life: The Exhibition

icon-location-pin Carlton
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A historical exhibition commemorating the life of South African leader and anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela gets its world premiere in Melbourne this month. Mandela My Life: The Exhibition will chronicle Mandela’s ongoing fight for freedom and human rights amidst apartheid in South Africa with a collection of original artefacts, memorabilia as well as film and audio archives. The exhibition is endorsed by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, an organisation set up in 1999 by Mandela as a vehicle for his charitable, rural development and diplomatic work.

Bars, Pubs

Car Park Party at the Corner Hotel

icon-location-pin Richmond

Get rearing for the big dance on Saturday with the Corner’s huge car park day party. Gates open at 10am where you can get amongst a huge LCD screen is popping up in the pub’s carpark to show all the big game action from start to finish. It’ll be gold coin entry with the donations on the day going towards the 'Buy and Bale' aid to support local farmers. They're putting on games for the little ones and a Mr Burger food truck will be set up, too. Expect about as much celebration as when Tony ‘Plugger’ Lockett kicked his 1300th goal back in ‘99.

Time Out says
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1000 Doors
Photogaph: Supplied
Things to do

1000 Doors

icon-location-pin Southbank
icon-calendar

If you had fun getting lost (and bumping into your own reflection) in the House of Mirrors outside the Arts Centre last year, you'll have an idea of what you're in for with this year's 1000 Doors.  The work is designed by Christian Wagstaff and Keith Courtney, who were also behind House of Mirrors. It is a maze of doors, some locked, some open, some leading to corridors and rooms, and some leading to cupboards and dead ends. Visitors will be able to walk through the installation, opening whatever doors they fancy and discovering new and interesting pathways through the maze.  

The Woolshed Docklands
Photograph: The Tofu Studio
Bars

Grand Final Day at the Woolshed

icon-location-pin Docklands

Take your pick of views and brews at the Woolshed on Grand Final Day. There are two VIP package options, as well as booking for general admission. The Super Box VIP luncheon ($150pp) is located in the Harbour View Room and will include a three-course lunch, half-time pies, sausage rolls and scones, plenty of beer and wine and a special appearance by a VIP AFL player. The Mezzanine VIP ($125pp) includes canapes and chunky bowls, half-time eats, bottled beer and wine. 

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Body Worlds: Vital
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Exhibitions

Body Worlds: Vital

icon-location-pin Flemington
icon-calendar

How much do you know about your body, really? You know how it feels and acts, but what's going on beneath your skin? How do muscles, tendons and bone connect, how do they work together to help you move, and what happens when illness or injury prevents your body from working as it should? Body Worlds: Vital is an exhibition that will help you better understand your body and the way it works. An educational exhibit about human anatomy, it features 150 real human bodies, which have been 'plastinated' and put on display. There are whole bodies, individual organs and transparent 'body slices' that demonstrate the human body in all its forms – healthy, diseased and everywhere in between.  All of the specimens have been voluntarily donated for this express purpose, and the process of donation has been thoroughly documented.  The exhibition also includes an 'anatomical mirror', where visitors can see where organs are positioned within their own bodies. Visitors can also learn tips as to how to keep their bodies in alignment, see detailed brain scans to better understand diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, and read detailed infographics explaining systems of the body. The exhibition has travelled the world, having been seen by more than 40 million people in 130 countries. 

Bars

Grand Final Day at the Builders Arms Hotel

icon-location-pin Fitzroy

Let the good times roll at the Builders Arms Hotel where they'll be screening the game across the public bar, the bistro and upstairs. Doors open at 9am for those on their way to the 'G who are keen on early beers and egg and bacon rolls. Book a table for lunch and watch the game with a $65 per person menu (hello halftime house-made sausage rolls!) as well as $2 pots of Grand Final Day beer from midday until the first goal. They're booking Brownlow-style big round tables with the first jug of beer on the house, too. A Meatsmith meat tray is also up for grabs with all proceeds going to charity. DJ Goldie from PBS will then finish off the day with tunes until late.

Time Out says

Things to do on Sunday, September 30

Arts Centre Melbourne 2012 exterior night view from Hamer Hall to Theatres with spire image courtesy Arts Centre Melbourne 2016 photographer David Simmonds Photography
Photograph: David Simmonds
Things to do, Markets

Arts Centre Melbourne Sunday Market

icon-location-pin Southbank
icon-calendar

Every Sunday the grounds of the arts precinct's hub comes alive with market stalls selling everything from handmade leather wallet to locally made art by the city's designers. Head over to the Arslan gozleme stall for some Turkish pastry layered with delicious spicy lamb or cheese and spinach, or make a stop at the poffertjes stall for some Dutch pancakes.

Body Worlds: Vital
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Exhibitions

Body Worlds: Vital

icon-location-pin Flemington
icon-calendar

How much do you know about your body, really? You know how it feels and acts, but what's going on beneath your skin? How do muscles, tendons and bone connect, how do they work together to help you move, and what happens when illness or injury prevents your body from working as it should? Body Worlds: Vital is an exhibition that will help you better understand your body and the way it works. An educational exhibit about human anatomy, it features 150 real human bodies, which have been 'plastinated' and put on display. There are whole bodies, individual organs and transparent 'body slices' that demonstrate the human body in all its forms – healthy, diseased and everywhere in between.  All of the specimens have been voluntarily donated for this express purpose, and the process of donation has been thoroughly documented.  The exhibition also includes an 'anatomical mirror', where visitors can see where organs are positioned within their own bodies. Visitors can also learn tips as to how to keep their bodies in alignment, see detailed brain scans to better understand diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, and read detailed infographics explaining systems of the body. The exhibition has travelled the world, having been seen by more than 40 million people in 130 countries. 

Advertising
1000 Doors
Photogaph: Supplied
Things to do

1000 Doors

icon-location-pin Southbank
icon-calendar

If you had fun getting lost (and bumping into your own reflection) in the House of Mirrors outside the Arts Centre last year, you'll have an idea of what you're in for with this year's 1000 Doors.  The work is designed by Christian Wagstaff and Keith Courtney, who were also behind House of Mirrors. It is a maze of doors, some locked, some open, some leading to corridors and rooms, and some leading to cupboards and dead ends. Visitors will be able to walk through the installation, opening whatever doors they fancy and discovering new and interesting pathways through the maze.  

Watch the Grand Final at these pubs

Footy posters at The Palace Hotel in South Melbourne
Photograph: Graham Denholm
Bars, Sports bars

The best bars and pubs to watch the AFL finals

If you can’t get a ticket to the 'G during the finals, the next best place to watch the footy is in a Melbourne pub packed with supporters. But what makes a great footy pub? A big screen (preferably more than one), good sight lines to the action on screen, a knowledgeable crowd, a variety of beers on tap and reasonably priced food. And if they drop the music and crank up the commentary, all the better.

Feel like escaping the city?

Great Otway National Park
Photograph: Robert Blackburn
Travel, Short getaways

The best day trips from Melbourne

If you're looking for a break from the inner-city grid, there's no better cure than a day trip from Melbourne. The state of Victoria is full of friendly neighbourhood towns, whether you're in the mood for a winery tour, a road trip or a national park to explore. These one-day escapes are just what the doctor ordered, so get out there and explore Melbourne's beautiful backyard.  

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