There are many things you can do in Melbourne that are free, awesome, and a little weird—just what we like. Whether you’re visiting the great city of Melbourne or you’re one of the locals who just hasn’t discovered these things yet, read on to find out what some of the best free things to do in Melbourne are.
1. Stroll Along St. Kilda Beach
The city’s most iconic beach is St. Kilda, which runs along the northern edge of the city, and is a popular spot for sunbathers and families.
To get there, you can catch the train or bus. The train line runs along the coast and stops at St. Kilda station, and buses run from numerous stops around the city. If you’re driving, head south from central Melbourne on Route 1 (which can be confusing to find if you’ve never been), and then take Route 980 to St. Kilda Road.
Several hotels are also located along this road, including some close to the beach.
2. Go Boating on Port Phillip Bay
Port Phillip Bay is a sight to behold. It lures visitors from all over the world with its sapphire-blue water and lush coastline. There are plenty of things to do here, and you can enjoy them for free. Port Phillip Bay is home to many wildlife sanctuaries, the Orient Point Nature Reserve and Point Nepean National Park.
If you don’t have experience sailing, though, there are plenty of people who’ll be happy to help out. Just head down to the Yellow Boat Dock at Orient Point for some free coaching—and take a look at the stunning views on your way.
3. Eat Your Way Down Lygon Street
Lygon Street is lined with some of Melbourne’s best restaurants. You’ll find lots of eateries with outdoor seating—perfect for an evening stroll—as well as some great bars and clubs. The street is lined with several small markets where you can pick up some souvenirs, too.
You’ll find lots of activities along this street, too. You can stroll through the laneways to visit art galleries and shops that cater to locals and visitors alike. There are also various festivals throughout the year, including one dedicated to local arts and crafts on January 13th.
4. Listen to Live Music on Fitzroy Street
The best way to experience Melbourne’s street culture is to get out and explore. This city has a little something for everyone, from the bustling café terraces and laneway bars to the happening music scene.
Fitzroy Street is arguably the best place to catch live music in the city, with established venues like The Tote and The Astor & The Glasshouse popping up all over the once-industrial hub.
There’s no better way to soak up the city’s vibrant nightlife than on a stroll along Fitzroy Street.
5. Walk Down Flinders Lane
Flinders Lane is the main thoroughfare in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The street runs from Fitzroy Street in the city’s central business district to Queen Street in the south-eastern suburbs via Bourke Street, Swanston Street, and Elizabeth Street.
The name “Flinders Lane” honours the explorer Matthew Flinders, born in Swanston Street and died near Geelong. The lane was named after John Lort Stokes, who built the Royal Exhibition Building in 1876. He was also responsible for designing Melbourne’s first tram system, which ran down Flinders Lane between 1881 and 1888.
6. Marvel at the Melbourne Central Library
The Melbourne central library opened its doors in late 2013 and is one of the largest libraries in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s also the first significant public building to be designed without a central dome or tower.
The library was designed by the Danish firm BIG—Bjarke Ingels Group—who are well-known for their innovative design solutions.
One of the most striking features of the new library is its continuous roof, which runs right around the perimeter of the building. The idea was to provide generous space for comfortable reading and study areas while providing a strategic link between indoor and outdoor spaces.
The roof is raised above street level, but this was only possible because of careful planning.
The centre section naturally floats above the ground, with each pair of ramps acting as a counterweight to hold it up on either side. This allows for two large entrances to be built at street level, providing access from both sides—something which would otherwise have been difficult with a more conventional structure.
7. Visit the Melbourne Museum
The Melbourne Museum is a treasure trove of history for anyone who has ever been curious about the past. With over a million objects on display, you’ll be able to see artifacts from every era of human history, which anyone can appreciate. The collection is so huge that it will take months or years to go through it all.
The museum is located in a richly historic area of Melbourne, Australia, named Southbank. It’s easy to get to by public transport, and there are lots of cafes and restaurants nearby so visitors won’t feel too tired after exploring the museum.
Visitors can make the most of the Melbourne Museum by coming early in the morning before it opens its doors to the general public. The museum is open seven days a week, and visitors can rest assured that they’ll be able to enjoy themselves during their trip.
8. Pay Tribute at the Shrine of Remembrance
This is one of Australia’s most famous war memorials and features an enormous bronze statue of an Australian soldier with a wreath on his head.
The memorial was built after World War I, so it includes all the names of those who served, regardless of where they were from. It pays tribute to soldiers from every state and territory who served from World War I through to Vietnam—more than 200,000 were killed.
9. Visit Federation Square
A beautiful and exciting place to visit, Federation Square is a stunning landmark in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD. The site’s design has been described as “something that belongs in London’s Hyde Park.”
It opened in December 2000, just before the 2000 Olympics, and was developed by a consortium that included the State Government of Victoria, property developer Lend Lease Corporation, and architects Bates Smart.
The centrepiece of Federation Square is a large reflecting pool featuring a 25-meter (82 ft) diameter illuminated sculpture by British sculptor Anish Kapoor. It is claimed to be one of the most significant outdoor works ever created.
The reflecting pool area is home to new restaurants, cafes, shops, and bars. The City Square Mall on Collins Street forms the main entrance to Federation Square, with four gates.
10. Have a Picnic in Royal Botanic Gardens or Eumemmerring Creek Trail
These two gardens are the perfect place to do it—and they’re only a short drive from downtown!
Royal Botanic Gardens is beautiful year-round and features over 14,000 species of plants and trees and an extensive collection of Australian native flora.
Eumemmerring Creek Trail is a 2.5-mile, self-guided trail that leads you through native forests, along streams, and around waterfalls. You can also check out the lawnmower maze at the end of the course if you’re in the mood for some fun!
11. Take Advantage of Free Yoga Classes
Whether you’re learning to meditate or just need to unwind, a yoga session can be a great way to boost your energy and mood—plus, it’s free.
There are plenty of free yoga classes around Melbourne, and attending one is a great way to exercise your body and mind. If you’re new to the practice, there’s no better time than now to learn some basic poses, give yourself a boost, and do something good for yourself.
Here are some of the best places in town to start:
- Yoga with Anna (YWAN) offers a variety of specially designed classes designed especially for beginners. The classes are held at different locations across the city, with popular events held at local clubs such as YWAN and Suburban Boathouse on Flinders Street in Port Melbourne.
- Yoga City has two studios that offer free classes for people aged 14 years or over. The classes may be in English or Italian, but certified teachers from Yoga Alliance Australia teach all classes. The classes run every day from 5 pm until 7 pm at Studio 1 (City Recital Hall) and 3 pm until 5 pm at Studio 2 (Melbourne Recital Hall).
12. Check Out the Royal Botanic Gardens
This is one of Melbourne’s hidden treasures for lovers of the natural world. A five-minute walk from Melbourne University, it’s home to over 3,000 species of plants, including trees and heaps of flowers. There are fountains and a pond for kids to splash about in, and a large conservatory with indoor plants. The best time to visit is during spring or autumn.
13. Find Dinner at Queen Victoria Market
A food market is different from a stock market, and the best ones bring a unique character to their communities.
Founded in 1868, Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne has been an iconic shopping destination for more than a century. The market has expanded and evolved, but it’s still known for its street food stalls, many of which are long-standing traditions, as well as its fresh produce and other products.
The market was the first place in Australia to sell fresh fruit and vegetables, and it was also one of the first places to offer live oysters.
Today you can buy everything from flowers to art supplies and exotic foods from all over the world, including fish from Thailand and Vietnamese barbecue.
In recent years, several changes have been made to the site, including new buildings, renovations of existing structures, and a significant redevelopment that saw the construction of a new market hall designed by Thom Mayne.
14. Visit the National Gallery of Victoria
The National Gallery of Victoria is the oldest and most-visited art gallery in Australia. Founded in 1861, it holds more than 80,000 works of art from the 11th century till now.
It has been ranked as one of the top five art galleries globally by publications such as The Economist, ArtReview, and Conde Nast Traveler.
The National Gallery of Victoria is currently located in a heritage-listed building designed by architects Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin, which was initially opened in 1961 on St. Kilda Road. In 2013, the gallery began a four-year redevelopment, which saw the relocation of its collection to a new purpose-built facility at St. Kilda Road.
15. Stroll Through Fitzroy Gardens
In Melbourne, Australia, Fitzroy Gardens is a botanical garden with more than 150,000 plants from around the world. It’s a popular tourist attraction and an essential part of its history. The grounds have been home to numerous Royal Australian Navy ships, including HMAS Sydney (which played a significant role in World War II), HMAS Melbourne, and HMAS Perth.
Fitzroy Gardens has also hosted high-profile people, including British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who visited in 1945 as part of his country’s war effort, and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter (who visited in 1983 to raise awareness about South Africa’s apartheid policy).
16. Enjoy the St. Kilda Festival
The St. Kilda Festival is the oldest and largest free event of its kind in Melbourne, Australia. It features an eclectic mix of live music, art, performance, and visual arts.
The festival is a celebration of all things creative and imaginative, celebrating the diverse culture of St. Kilda.
The festival offers something for everyone from children to adults, who are welcome to wander the streets with a drink in hand while enjoying the sights and sounds of local artists and performers.
17. View the University Of Melbourne Art Collection
A range of artworks, drawings, and sculptures by some of Australia’s best-known artists is displayed at the Sturt Gallery located in Malopolska Street, Parkville.
The University of Melbourne Art Collection began as a series of exhibitions held at the university’s Art Center in the mid-1950s. The collection is now housed in two galleries within the university’s new School of Design.
The collection contains more than 300 works by influential 20th-century artists such as Arthur Boyd, Sidney Nolan, Brett Whiteley, Arthur Streeton, and John Perceval.
It also includes Australian artists such as Charles Blackman, William Dobell, and Charles Conder.
Alfred Sturt was an engineer, businessman, and philanthropist who donated his family’s art collection to the University of Melbourne in 1952. The original gift comprised about 800 objects, including drawings and paintings by Australian artists, an essential part of which were purchased from the estate of William Heffron Tuckwell.
18. Soak in the Culture at Federation Square
Federation Square is an Australian Government-owned art, entertainment, and cultural centre in the Southbank area of Melbourne’s state capital. It is located on Southbank Boulevard in the South Yarra suburb of Melbourne.
Federation Square has many restaurants, bars, cinemas, and retail outlets within its precinct. It also houses many prominent art galleries and museums, such as the National Gallery of Victoria.
The square is home to Australia’s most significant public bus interchange for routes operated by large public transport operators (including V/Line, Ventura Bus Lines, and Southern Cross). It is used as a terminus for some services performed by private enterprises (such as West Coast Buses).
Federation Square is used extensively by tourists visiting Melbourne. It has become a popular place for New Year’s Eve celebrations, including the annual fireworks display, which coincides with midnight on December 31 each year.
19. Relax at Hamer Hall
Hamer Hall is a beautiful home where you can stay and enjoy the company of your friends and family. The Hamer family invites you to come and explore the new home that they have been busy decorating and remodelling in the past few months.
The author hopes that you will attract many guests who will stay in this house during the upcoming holiday seasons. Due to hours of construction, visitors are not allowed during these times. But everybody else is invited to enjoy the rest of the year.
20. Check out the Sidney Myer Asia Center
The Sidney Myer Asia Center is a 2,824-foot high skyscraper currently under construction in Melbourne, Australia. The building will be the tallest in the southern hemisphere and the fourth-tallest building in the world when completed. The building will top out at the height of 414 meters (1,355 ft) and will contain over 1.3 million square feet of office space.
The building is a corporate headquarters for the Australian super department store chain Myer, which operates more than 380 stores throughout Australia and New Zealand.
A new Myer flagship at the centre will replace an existing 100,000 square foot store located on the same property. This new flagship store is located on level 17 of the tower and will be one of the most visible buildings in Melbourne’s CBD skyline when it’s completed.
All in all, there are plenty of free things to do in Melbourne in addition to it being a great place to spend a vacation. From historical items to modern tourist attractions, there’s something for everyone.
We hope you’ve found this list helpful, and we wish you the best during your time exploring Melbourne and maybe even during your time in Australia.