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Melbourne’s unpredictable weather can ruin even the best-laid plans. Here are six of the best rainy day activities to try in the city when it’s miserable outside. As always during COVID times, book ahead!
Visit Melbourne's art galleries
One of the best ways to while away a few hours indoors is at one of Melbourne’s many fine galleries and museums. The NGV International is a great first stop – particularly with the announcement of a blockbuster exhibition this winter, French Impressionism from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Then head along to year-round favourite ArtVo, where visitors young and old become the masterpiece.
ACMI is ideal for kids, offering interactive exhibits and an in-house cinema. Their winter exhibition, Disney: The Magic of Animation, runs until mid-October. Or head to Melbourne Museum. This year, they’ll deliver their Treasures of the Natural World exhibit to keep the older kids entertained. Younger kids can burn off a little energy in the excellent Children’s Gallery.
Find fun indoor adventures
There is plenty of amazing indoor architecture to explore in Melbourne, like the famous State Library reading room. Head to their website to book a free tour, which takes in the history of the library, the galleries, and even Ned Kelly’s armour. Marvel at more epic architecture during the Cluedo experience at Old Melbourne Gaol. A must for inquisitive kids who love to crack codes, it's also free for children under 5!
If shopping is your vice, check out some of the smaller arcades and heritage buildings across the city. The pretty Nicholas Building houses small makers and artsy retailers. Or check out Queen Victoria Market's delightful Tintin Shop.
Discover underwater wonders at the aquarium
No one wants to get wet when it’s raining, but how about heading underwater instead? Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium is one of the best rainy day activities on offer, particularly if you have a family in tow. Head to the happy penguin enclosure, or be hypnotised by the colourful jellyfish in the Ocean Invaders exhibit. If you’re feeling brave, you can go swimming with the sharks, and there’s even a 4D cinema experience.
Connect with history
Create your own historical city tour by starting at the Koorie Heritage Trust. This cultural centre runs a program of exhibitions and cultural activities to celebrate Koorie art and culture. Next, head to the Old Treasury Building to see where gold rush bullion was stored, or the Arts Centre to explore our music history at the Australian Music Vault.
Finish off the day at the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, located within Melbourne Museum. Explore the connection to the traditional owners of the land with performances, exhibitions, storytelling and artwork.
Try family-friendly indoor sports
Active fans have plenty of options in the city when the weather isn’t behaving. Embrace the winter chill and venture to Docklands for an ice skating session at O’Brien Icehouse. Then explore the Australian Sports Museum once you’ve perfected your axels. Everyone will love a few ten pin bowling games at Strike Bowling, or, for the more adventurous, try indoor rock climbing at Hardrock Climbing.
Head to the movies or see a show
Melbourne’s theatre and musical scene is starting to heat up again, and a rainy day matinee is the perfect excuse to head indoors. Think Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and the new production of Frozen.
If you’re a movie buff, head to the world’s largest screen at Melbourne’s record-breaking IMAX theatre. Or head to a more traditional movie at one of the many cinemas in town, including the much beloved boutique Cinema Nova.
More indoor family activities in Melbourne
An interactive 3D art gallery with optical illusions that visitors can touch and explore.
An exploration of the stories of people from all over the world who have migrated to Australia.
Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia
The world’s first major gallery dedicated exclusively to Australian art.
Last updated on Wed 30 Jun 2021
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Museum dedicated to the moving image through events, film screenings and exhibitions.
Children's Gallery Melbourne Museum
This is a wondrous place for young children to explore, play and learn.
Delivering an immersive movie experience on the world's largest screen.