Gone a bit too hard on the wallet lately? These awesome activations, pop-ups and exhibitions won't cost a cent.

People sitting on the grass outside the State Library of Victoria on a sunny day.

Swing

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

A billy cart racer driving down a track with crowds watching.

Queensberry Cup

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.

People milling around Fed Square at night.

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

Until

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.

Two women dressed in colourful Mexican outfits at an outdoor festival in the city.

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.

A person in Indonesian national dress performing on an outdoor stage.

Festival Indonesia

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.

Sound and light show with water to horizon and night sky with pink clouds and flares.

Sky Symphony

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.

A man staring at a large screen with mountains on it.

Liam Young: Planetary Redesign

Until

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.

Crowds watching a Melbourne and Collingwood AFLW match at Ikon Park at night.

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.

Two people playing a glowing triangular arcade game.

Play Capitol Arcade

Until

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.

A busy German beer hall.

Oktoberfest at Hofbräuhaus

Until

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. 

A group of men on stage, one singing and playing a small accordion.

Sea Shanties and Folk Songs

Until

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

International Hawker Festival

Celebrate the tastes and culture of our global community.

Mushroom Festival

Mushroom Festival

Explore a range of stalls featuring mighty mushrooms and support Australian mushroom growers.

Kensington Market
Until

Kensington Market

An eclectic mix of designer fashion, culinary treats, ceramics, homewares and visual art.

Melbourne Craft Fair

Melbourne Craft Fair

Enjoy a contemporary craft fair at Queen Victoria Market.

Makers Market at The District
Until

Makers Market at The District

This outdoor undercover family-friendly market at Docklands features craft, gifts, fashion and food.

Arts Centre Melbourne Sunday Market
Until

Arts Centre Melbourne Sunday Market

Discover handcrafted treasures made by local artisans.

Melbourne Book Market

Melbourne Book Market

Melbourne Book Market is a curated collection of more than 5,000 new and pre-loved titles.

More free Melbourne events

Wurrdha Marra
From

Wurrdha Marra

Sharing the work of First Nations artists across time and place.

Sky Symphony

Sky Symphony

The skies above Birrarung come alive with this extraordinary sound and light installation.

Friday Night Social: October

Friday Night Social: October

Students from VCA are taking over Science Gallery Melbourne with a magical array of performances.

Garage Band

Garage Band

Garage Band welcomes a crop of fresh young musos to the Fed Square stage.

Europa Night Market

Europa Night Market

Bringing your favourite European street eats to Queen Vic Market.

Up Down and All Around: Daniel Emma for Kids
Until

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.

Library Cinema
Until

Library Cinema

See contemporary, classic and documentary films on the big screen at Library at The Dock.

Music Matinee
Until

Music Matinee

Live and free fine music at lunchtime on Tuesdays in the city.

In Common

In Common

Sculpture and circus combine in this free outdoor performance.

St Michael's Lunchtime Organ Recital
Until

St Michael's Lunchtime Organ Recital

Organ recitals featuring organist Rhys Boak and guest artists.

Local Lunch Club
Until

Local Lunch Club

Enjoy a gardening workshop, live music and a free lunch cooked on-site using surplus food.

Free family-friendly events

Toddler Tales
Until

Toddler Tales

Explore language and literacy through stories, rhymes and songs.

Rally4Ever Tennis Program

Rally4Ever Tennis Program

A free tennis program at Powlett Reserve for all community members.

Preschool Storytime
Until

Preschool Storytime

Sing songs and read stories with your child at North Melbourne Library.

Fitzroy Gardens Outdoor Adventure
Until

Fitzroy Gardens Outdoor Adventure

A free fun outdoor seek and find adventure around the Fitzroy Gardens.

Last updated on Mon 25 Sep 2023

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