Take a cultural tour of Melbourne’s world-class museums, edgy artist-run spaces and blockbuster exhibitions. All without spending a cent!
Old and new, beautiful and challenging, NGV International brings a world of art to Melbourne. The city’s premier art gallery has an ever-changing slew of free exhibits to peruse. See powerful, contemporary art, design and architecture at NGV Triennial. Explore homegrown art and exhibitions at the Ian Potter Centre: NGV. Current exhibition, Wurrdha Marra features art and design from First Nations peoples across time and place. Focusing on the importance of passing down cultural knowledge and also creating new forms of expression.
From films to video games, ACMI celebrates screen culture past and present. Get behind the camera at ACMI’s free exhibition, The Story of the Moving Image. From the birth of film to today’s digital wonders, there’s more than a century of movie history to explore. And you can get hands-on at this fun cinema showcase, with animation and sound effects to play with.
For a small gallery, Tolarno sure has hosted some big names in art. Step inside this hidden space to see incredible exhibitions of contemporary art and design. The early days saw the likes of Picasso, Bonnard and Matisse gracing the walls of the gallery. More recently, art lovers admired works by legendary Aussie artist Patricia Piccinini. Whoever is showing, you're bound to see something special.
Art and Heritage Collection Tour
See a Foster's beer tower from the good old days, retro Moomba Monarch crowns and a bottle of spumante dating back to who knows when. For the first time ever, City of Melbourne's Art and Heritage Collection is opening its doors to the public for free guided tours. This is your chance to access to some of Melbourne’s most weird and wonderful treasures and historical archives.
Australian Music Vault
If you’re musically inclined, the Australian Music Vault is a must. It’s a great overview of Melbourne’s backstage sounds and stories. Watch rare footage and see iconic objects like Kylie Minogue’s stage outfits and notebooks belonging to Nick Cave. The free exhibition is permanently on show at Arts Centre Melbourne.
Science Gallery Melbourne
Deep dive into the unseen and the unknown at Dark Matters. The exhibition explores the fundamental essence of life and the universe. Focusing on language, light and technology. Melbourne's one and only Science Gallery is home to some of the most unusual art installations in town. With an aim to get young people excited about science. Their exhibitions are always evolving, keep your eyes peeled for the next one that pops up.
Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA)
From music to educational talks, screenings and more the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) will have you coming back again and again. Spot the iconic rust-red building along Southbank and head in to explore local and international art. Keep an eye out for pop-up events and teachings.
Melbourne's best small, independent and artist-run galleries
Stephen McLaughlan Gallery
Curated contemporary art space in the iconic Nicholas Building.
Flinders Lane Gallery
Exhibiting collectable artworks and featuring solo exhibitions every three weeks.
Alternative art gallery specialising in lowbrow, pop surrealism and underground art.
West End Art Space
A contemporary art gallery with a focus on living artists that strive for excellence.
ARC ONE Gallery
A commercial gallery in Flinders Lane showing contemporary Australian art.
A contemporary art gallery on the city fringe with a focus on solo exhibitions.
Kings Artist-Run Initiative
Space for contemporary art practice and gallery showcasing experimental projects.
Commercial art gallery exhibiting a diverse range of contemporary art throughout the year.
Anna Schwartz Gallery
The gallery represents over 30 established and emerging artists on individual projects.
More free museums
Mary MacKillop Heritage Centre
A place of inspiration and vitality, that promotes the spirit and charism of Saint Mary MacKillop.
Medical History Museum
A free museum focusing on medicine's contribution to scientific discovery and community wellbeing.
The best free exhibitions
Nadine Christensen: Around
Celebrate the tangle of art and life in this major survey exhibition.
NGV Architecture Commission: (This is) Air
The NGV 2023 Architecture Commission is a large-scale installation that makes the invisible visible.
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NGV Triennial returns in 2023 with a powerful and moving snapshot capturing the world today.
Myer Christmas Windows
This festive season, the annual Myer windows display celebrates Bluey.
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Carlton Arts Centre: Exhibition and Pottery Sale
The Carlton Arts Centre's closing down pottery and ceramics sale and exhibition.
Wedding and Bride Summer Expo
Visit Australia’s premier bridal event to find everything you need to plan your wedding day.
Trenches to Runway
Explore the rich connections between uniforms from the battlefield and iconic fashion staples.
International Collection Highlights Tour
Explore some of the highlights of the NGV's International Collection with an NGV guide.
Women Work for Victory in WWII
Explore the story of women on the home front during the Second World War.
Botanic Art Market
Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens present their inaugural pop-up art sale.
For Kin and Country
Explore the extraordinary history of First Peoples’ service in the Australian Defence Force.
Bliss: An Exhibition
Acclaimed skateboarding artist Brett Ashby presents artworks from the past decade.
Kate Ballis and Tom Blachford: Influorescence
A collaboration between creative and life partners Kate Ballis and Tom Blachford.
Liam Young: Planetary Redesign
Visit the first major Australian solo exhibition by speculative architect Liam Young.
What's free and what's open on the June long weekend
Free events, winter markets, family-friendly activities and more.
MECCA x NGV Women in Design Commission: Bethan Laura Wood
An installation that delves into the gendered history of education and transfer of knowledge.
Here Lives Our Culture
Explore an exhibition showcasing treasures from the University's Rare East Asian Collection.
Newsworthy: Melbourne in Photographs 1933-1936
View a selection of printed images documenting Melbourne in the 1930s.
Playroom is an exhibition of trans and gender diverse artists exploring queerness in childhood.
Emma Lyn Winkler: Worm Food
An exhibition exploring death and its associated states of mind.
Memo Akten: Distributed Consciousness
A digital work merging human and non-human consciousness – via the AI musings of octopus critters.
This Might Just Pass The Time
An exhibition reflecting on the experience of being unable to locate a sense of the present moment.
Chimera: Graduate Exhibition
Explore captivating and imaginate illustrative works by talented emerging illustrators.
Belongings: Objects and Family Life
An exhibition looking at some of the objects that have shaped family in Australia over the decades.
Watercolour Country: 100 Works from Hermannsburg
Discover watercolours of Australian landscapes by artists working at Hermannsburg over generations.
Delve into the realm of living objects with Invocations, guest curated by Zaiba Khan.
The Story of the Moving Image
An ongoing exhibition that journeys through the past, present and future of the moving image.
Eunjoo Jang: Blended Reality
View an exhibition that explores the concept of blended reality.
Kylie Watson: Love Letter
View an exhibition of artist books that reference the artist’s heart.
Toys, Tales and Tenacity
This first-of-its-kind exhibition at the Shrine delves into the experiences of children during war.
Dolphin and Grace: The Exhibition
Portraits of famous people by Dolphin Jones meet abstract landscapes by Wendy Grace.
A Nation Divided: The Great War and Conscription
An exhibition exploring WWI conscription.
An exhibition that presents a faux-museological tableau that is as confusing as it is unsettling.
Last updated on Tue 31 Oct 2023
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