Gone a bit too hard on the wallet lately? These awesome activations, pop-ups and exhibitions won't cost a cent.
Soar through the air on Melbourne Fringe’s most playful art installation yet. A giant eight-metre swing is landing in the State Library Forecourt and walk-up slots are available daily. Go for an adrenaline-inducing swing, if you dare. Then peruse the full Fringe program to find more of the best free events.
For one day only, see Melbourne's most fearless (and possibly foolish) rev-heads as they battle it out for Billy Cart glory. Head down to watch weird and whacky creations speed along Queensberry Street. This iconic North Melbourne strip will also be taken over with music stages, games for kids, a dog show, foodie pop-ups and more.
Big Games Night Out
E-sports tournaments, cosplay runways, tabletop board games and old-school arcades. Fed Square is hosting an epic night out for gamers. Show off your skills at Donkey Kong and SEGA racing. Or discover new Melbourne indie titles. There'll also be a host of performances on stage. Don't miss the large-scale Cult of the Lamb: The Ritual takeover, complete with projections and a live DJ.
Patricia Piccinini: Eye-blink Smile
Many love her quirky anthropomorphic animals, others find them slightly unsettling. But Patricia Piccinini’s art is simply iconic. After the success of her hidden ballroom exhibition, A Miracle Constantly Repeated, the Aussie artist is back with a free show. Head to Tolarno Galleries to see her colourful blown glass pieces and new curious creatures.
Arriba Melbourne Mexican Festival
Don your best Day of the Dead costume for an epic three day festival. Immerse yourself in Mexican culture and folklore with a parade, live music and mariachi bands. Got some cash? Sip margaritas while you feast on all the essential Mexican snacks. Think guacamole, enchiladas, tacos, burritos and fajitas.
For one day only, Melbourne’s Little Italy will be transformed into a vibrant Indonesian Festival. See Argyle Square come alive with live music, cultural performances and workshops. If your feet are itching to join in the dancing, take part in a massive flash mob. Factor in cash to browse the artisan stalls and feast on traditional street food. Think savoury rendang and sweet delicacies.
See the Yarra River aglow with a dazzling sound, light and laser show. This free show uses photography of the sky to create a light show on the shimmering water. With music performed by Orchestra Victoria, the experience is set to be truly stirring. Sky Symphony is running for five glorious nights during Melbourne Fringe. Head down to Yarra Promenade after dark for sessions every 20 minutes.
Liam Young: Planetary Redesign
A new immersive art exhibition has landed at NGV’s Ian Potter Centre. Filmmaker Liam Young takes a look at the world’s climate emergency through photography, incredible costumes and moving images. If you need a little hope, this stunning show will deliver a healthy dose of optimism.
AFLW – kids go free
The AFLW is back and this year all kids under 18 go free! Keep your footy fandom going and catch an epic 10-round season as 18 teams compete to win. With $10 tickets for adults, it’s a cheap family day out. Grab tickets to a match at Ikon Park in Carlton or North Melbourne’s Arden Street to get behind the women and support this incredible sport.
Play Capitol Arcade
An old-school hidden gaming trail is popping up in Melbourne this month. Head to Capitol Arcade to discover five retro arcade games tucked away in shops and cafes. Each machine has been created by a local artist. You can race to catch a tram, learn indigenous language or make music from emojis.
Oktoberfest at Hofbräuhaus
Dust off your dirndl, bring out the lederhosen and release your inner Bavarian at this iconic German beer hall. Enjoy free entry and traditional live music at the Hofbrauhaus’ Oktoberfest celebrations. Budget for a few imported beers and all the comfort food your bratwurst-loving heart desires. Then watch the stein-carrying champs in action or join a yodeling contest for the full experience.
Sea Shanties and Folk Songs
Heave ho to the Mission to Seafarers and live like a pirate in a century-old building. Test your pipes at a free sea shanty sing-along session. These ever popular sessions are the ultimate way to blow off some steam, pirate-style. Raid your treasure chest for some coins to order a rum or two at the bar.
Free Melbourne markets
International Hawker Festival
Celebrate the tastes and culture of our global community.
Explore a range of stalls featuring mighty mushrooms and support Australian mushroom growers.
An eclectic mix of designer fashion, culinary treats, ceramics, homewares and visual art.
Makers Market at The District
This outdoor undercover family-friendly market at Docklands features craft, gifts, fashion and food.
Arts Centre Melbourne Sunday Market
Discover handcrafted treasures made by local artisans.
More free Melbourne events
The skies above Birrarung come alive with this extraordinary sound and light installation.
Friday Night Social: October
Students from VCA are taking over Science Gallery Melbourne with a magical array of performances.
Garage Band welcomes a crop of fresh young musos to the Fed Square stage.
Europa Night Market
Bringing your favourite European street eats to Queen Vic Market.
Up Down and All Around: Daniel Emma for Kids
Up, Down and All Around invites budding designers to look at design in the world around them.
See contemporary, classic and documentary films on the big screen at Library at The Dock.
St Michael's Lunchtime Organ Recital
Organ recitals featuring organist Rhys Boak and guest artists.
Free family-friendly events
Explore language and literacy through stories, rhymes and songs.
Rally4Ever Tennis Program
A free tennis program at Powlett Reserve for all community members.
Sing songs and read stories with your child at North Melbourne Library.
Last updated on Mon 25 Sep 2023
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