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Hosier Lane in winter
Photograph: Rebecca Newman/Visit Victoria

Everything we love about winter in Melbourne

With its cosy eateries and bars, Melbourne is a city made for the colder months. Embrace the chill and follow these tips on how to fall in love with winter

By Time Out editors
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Winter is when Melbourne really comes into its own. As a city that takes pride in its top-notch food and drink culture and cosy underground lairs, Melbourne is never more inviting than during winter – and we're here to help you make the most of it.

Never have a boring winter's day again with these 14 rainy day activities in Melbourne, and stay toasty with our list of 23 ways to beat the cold. If all else fails, grab a seat next to the fireplace at one of these cosy pubs.

Mulled wine

Top down view of mulled wine on a wooden table at Milk the Cow
Top down view of mulled wine on a wooden table at Milk the Cow
Photograph: Ryan Noreiks

If the cold starts to get you down, there’s nothing like hot red wine infused with citrus and spices to bring you back to life. ReWine's delicious mulled wine is available to pick up meaning you can nab the syrup the bar uses and make up to four litres for yourself at home. Fromagerie and adult playground Milk the Cow is also bringing back mulled wine this winter.

Art galleries and museums

NGV French Impressionist 2021 exhibition
NGV French Impressionist 2021 exhibition
Photograph: Sean Fennessy/Supplied

Melbourne's art galleries and cultural institutions have reopened after lockdown – and there's a number of exciting shows to see. The NGV is punching above their weight with a new French Impressionist exhibition, a drawing exhibit from Francisco Goya and the return of Big Weather.

Melbourne Museum has finally opened its long-awaited Treasures of the Natural World exhibit, which showcases 200+ items from London's Natural History Museum. Over at Scienceworks, there's the impressive Born or Built? robotic exhibition.

Winter fashion

Clothes at Alpha60
Clothes at Alpha60
Photograph: Graham Denholm

When it comes to layering, Melburnians do it best. Splash out on high-quality minimalist sweaters, coats and dresses at Alpha 60, or choose from a kaleidoscope of colour and thermals at Uniqlo. If you're in need of some rad new jeans head to Dakota 501 on Chapel Street and grab boots from Bul on Brunswick Street.

Hot spring and onsen getaways

Sense of Self
Sense of Self
Photograph: Brown Paper Parcel/Supplied

Daylesford and Hepburn Springs

The natural hot springs of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs are the perfect antidote to the cold. Unwind in the warm waters of Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa, treat yourself to a massage and eat a pub meal by the fireplace at the Daylesford Royal Hotel.

Peninsula Hot Springs

Just over an hour's drive from Melbourne are the naturally healing waters of the Peninsula Hot Springs' thermal pools.

Hotham Ski Resort's Onsen Retreat and Spa

The Onsen Retreat and Spa has its own 38-degree Japanese onsen, plus an indoor pool, spa, sauna and treatment rooms. A soak in the onsen will set you back $45 per adult. NOTE: Hotham Ski Resort's Onsen will remain closed for the 2021 snow season. 

Closer to the city you can also check out an onsen like Japanese Bathhouse or Sense of Self

Wine and cheese

Bottles on shelf at Embla
Bottles on shelf at Embla
Photograph: Graham Denholm

Sure, you could hunker down at home feasting on vin et fromage, but going to a specialised wine and cheese bar like Kirk's Wine Bar or Embla guarantees you expert advice on the most delicious pairings.

Hot chocolate

Hash Speciality Coffee hot chocolate.jpg
Hash Speciality Coffee hot chocolate.jpg

There's nothing quite like sitting inside a café on a miserable Melbourne day and enjoying a rich hot chocolate. Yes, the drink comes standard at basically every café but if you really want a top hot choc then try one from Hash Specialty Coffee and Roasters, Mörk Chocolate Brew House or Koko Black (where you can even add a spicy pinch of chilli to your cup).

Playing board games in a bar

Interior at The Rooks Return
Interior at The Rooks Return
Photograph: Graham Denholm

Spend a long, boozy afternoon battling your mates in Scrabble, Connect Four or Balderdash. Our favourite board game bars include Katuk, the Rooks Return and 29th Apartment.

AFL at the MCG

Melbourne Cricket Ground MCG
Melbourne Cricket Ground MCG
Photograph: Tim Terry

Nothing says winter in Melbourne quite like cheering for your team at the MCG, steaming tea in one hand, hot jam doughnut in the other, wrapped in a scarf. This year's AFL season is a little bit different, with crowd caps, so keep an eye on the rules on the AFL website

Ice skating

Woman ice skating at the Winter Village 2019
Woman ice skating at the Winter Village 2019
Photograph: Jacqueline Mazloum

Lace up those skates and give ice skating a go this winter. You can head to all-year venue O'Brien Icehouse for a spin, or head to Fed Square's Skyline Terrace for the Winter Village. This free, family friendly winter wonderland complete with ice skating, food trucks and pop-up bars, as well as a magical igloo village. 

Rugging up

Marimekko: Emporium Melbourne
Marimekko: Emporium Melbourne
Photograph: Supplied

Yes, literally. Nesting is one of winter’s great pleasures, so buy yourself a soft, beautiful blanket from homewares stores like the pattern-obsessed Otto and Spike or monochrome prints at Marimekko.

Snow breaks

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