51 Things to do in Melbourne (21 of Them are Free!)
Melbourne is Australia’s cultural capital (though anyone from Sydney will argue that). There is art around every corner and food festivals on every weekend. The colourful and diverse city caters well to tourists. There is no shortage of places to visit in Melbourne and fun things to do in Melbourne. I’m sharing with you all of the details of what to do in Melbourne.
Free Things to do in Melbourne
You heard me, the next 21 things to do are completely free! I promise, they’re fun things to do in Melbourne.
State Victoria Library – This building is an absolute gem. You don’t have to want a book to see this place because the architecture alone is beautiful. Start by heading to the top to look over one of the reading rooms then work your way down checking out the free exhibits on each floor.
Royal Botanic Gardens – Locals love this garden and with good reason, it’s stunning! You could easily spend an afternoon roaming the grounds because they are huge. Pack yourself a picnic and sit by a lake. And don’t forget to bring some wine because it is legal to drink in the park!
Statue of Remembrance – Not far from the Royal Botanic Gardens is a memorial originally built for those who served in WWI. From the top of the steps, you can catch a wonderful unblocked view of the city. See if you can spot the face on one of the buildings.
Fairy Penguins – Yes, penguins in Australia! Head to the St Kilda pier for sunset and watch as these tiny penguins make their way back home.
Luna Park – Though the rides in the park do come at steep price, entering the park is completely free. In the summer months there is often a market held just outside the park in St Kilda.
St Kilda Beach – Spend some time relaxing and enjoy this popular beach often occupied by backpackers.
Walking tour of the city – That’s right, you can enjoy a 3-hour walking tour of Melbourne for free (though you are encouraged to tip/donate). You’ll learn more about the city’s history and then enjoy the best laneways and sites. There are tours every day at 10:30AM and 2:30PM but please make sure to check this site to ensure times haven’t changed.
National Gallery of Victoria – Love art or trying to kill some time in the city? The National Gallery is absolutely free where you can explore modern art and pieces of history from across the world.
City Circle Tram – An excellent way to see the city, to get around the city, and to learn about fun facts of the city is the City Circle Tram. It runs in a circle around the city telling you what is at each stop and what other trams to catch to other hot spots in the city. Look for the old colonial style trams (they’re burgundy) and hop on.
Brighton Beach – I’ll admit that I wasn’t amazed by the beach itself, but it’s the beach boxes that it’s famous for. It doesn’t cost a penny to see the fun designs and bright colors of these boxes. Go on, have yourself a little photo shoot.
Ian Potter Centre – Completely free and located in Fed Square, here is where you can find both Indigenous and non-Indigenous art from the colonial period to today.
ACMI – The Australian Centre for Moving Image showcases both Australian and international screen content.
Fireballs – Make your way to the casino along the Yarra River, go up to the second level and watch the world’s largest fireballs shoot up into the sky. You’ll be able to feel the heat you’re so close. It happens nightly but you can check here for exact times.
Street Art – There’s no better way to see Melbourne than through its artistic alleyways throughout the city. Skip on the guided tour and do your own. I put together all the best spots to find Melbourne street art.
Kokoda Memorial Walk – Not far outside the city (accessible from public transit) is the Dandenong Ranges National Park where you’ll find the Kokoda Memorial Walk. It’s 1000 steps up made in honour of those who walked the original trail in Papua New Guinea during WWII. It’s tough but mostly shaded with beautiful big ferns and other plants growing over the path.
Old Treasury Building – It was once the Treasury Department for the Government of Victoria but is now a museum for Melbourne history.
Fed Square – Located just across the street from Flinder’s Street Station is Fed Square that’s is filled with restaurants, the ACMI, Ian Potter Centre, cafes and more. This space also has ongoing activities that change quite frequently that are usually free to the public!
Explore the arcades and coffee lanes – Melbourne is famous for its lanes whether they are covered in street art, have hidden bars tucked away, coffee shops or the arcades. You can find the best Melbourne graffiti lanes in the city centre. For coffee check out Centre Lane and Degraves Street. You can find the best street art one’s here, or take a peek at the marble walkways of the arcades.
Attend a Melbourne festival – Easily one of the best things about Melbourne is the never ending stream of festivals the city holds. There is practically a new one every weekend and sometimes more! You can see what’s on in Melbourne when you’re visiting here. Expect lots of food festivals but there are plenty more.
Dandenong Ranges – A quick trip from Melbourne and accessible by public transit (a longer trip) are the Dandenong Ranges that offer plenty of activities to make for a day trip that will get you outside. See what you can do here.
Pink Lake – There’s a pink lake in Melbourne! It gets pretty pink depending on the time of year. The hotter it is the more the algae reacts and the pinker it gets.