Summer catch-ups, festive dining and gift shopping made a dent in your wallet? These awesome activations, pop-ups and exhibitions won't cost a cent.

You can also get $15 weekday car parking at participating city car parks until 31 January. Use code CITY15 to book online or via the apps.

Drones form the shape of a dolphin and small starbursts, in the dusk sky above Docklands' Victoria Harbour. The Bolte Bridge is visible in the background.

Summer Nights Drone Show: Docklands

15 Jan - 5 Feb

See the night sky sparkle as 350 drones light up Docklands and trace stories in the air. This dazzling free show runs twice nightly at Victor Harbour. First up, watch a love letter to Melbourne, featuring a poem about rediscovering our city. Then from 15 January, see the Wurundjeri creation story of how the platypus was made.

A pink pond with a statue in the middle and the city skyline in the background.

NGV Architecture Commission: Pond[er]

6 Dec - 28 Aug

No one does a summer installation quite like the NGV. Their latest architectural commission is a glorious pink pond, surrounded by indigenous plants. Dip your toe in the cooling water and ponder the environmental questions posed by this stunning new piece. The gallery will also be open late in January, for a new free summer series.

A circle of AstroTurf in a city sqaure

Fed Summer Films

15 Jan - 26 Jan

Free summer flicks on the big screen. It doesn't get more Melbourne than that. Catch classics like Jaws, Big, Xanadu and Jurassic Park. Sing your way through Mamma Mia! or enjoy Aussie faves from Storm Boy to Muriel's wedding. There are afternoon and evening sessions for night owls and early birds alike.

Fed Square with people under shade umbrellas and giant colourful inflatable sculptures in the background.

Kaleidosquare

14 Jan - 31 Mar

More than 160 free activities will take over Fed Square this summer, starting with the mesmerising Cupid's Koi Garden. Created by ENESS, the sea of inflatable fountain fish will be an unmissable photo spot in Melbourne. Don't miss the Urban Art Silo trail, live music pop-ups, candlelight concerts and more as the program unfolds.

Two women walking on a yellow path under a large metal structure.

MPavilion

2 Dec - 24 Apr

If you’ve spotted the giant silver and neon yellow structure in Queen Victoria Gardens, that’s MPavilion. The architecture and design event is in the swing of its biggest season yet. There are 152 days of free performances, talks, workshops and more.

A family of four in front of a large screen

Open Arcade: Gaming for Everyone

22 Jan - 3 Mar

This free, fun and accessible outdoor gaming station is a Melbourne first. Simply step into the game zone and play away on the huge outdoor screen. There are four games to try, and they go for about five minutes each. After you visit, let the team know what you thought!

A tall mural of a man dressed in a robe and holding a sceptre

Flash Forward Laneway Festival

Flash Forward is the epic new creative program taking over 40 city laneways with music, murals and more from the best local talent. While some events are on pause, you can still see these stunning new street art pieces on your city walk. Tick off lesser known laneways like Lang's Lane, Rainbow Alley, Lee's Place, Finlay Alley and more.

More free things to do

9 Dec - 31 Mar

Lauren Carney: MC Mart

Explore Lauren Carney's art installation at Melbourne Central all summer long.

10 Nov - 28 Feb

Xplore Melbourne

Xplore Melbourne is an augmented reality treasure hunt which brings Melbourne city to life.

Five free must-do Melbourne walks

It’s time to get out and about in the city. Have a wander with these free guides.

5 Jan - 6 Apr

Summer Night Market

Returning to the Queen Vic Market with street food, cocktails, shopping and live music.

Guide to Melbourne’s best street art

We've found the best art hiding in laneways, on buildings and exploding out of the walls.

Free and cheap school holidays fun

15 Dec - 31 Jan

Fitzroy Gardens: Outdoor Adventure

Follow a map around Fitzroy Gardens to find 12 locations, answer a question and collect a prize.

20 Dec - 30 Jan

Chinese Museum Treasure Hunt

Join the treasure hunt to explore the museum during the school holidays.

23 Sep - 1 Aug

Seeing the Invisible

An ambitious exhibition of artworks created with augmented reality (AR) technology.

The best free and cheap school holiday activities

Ideas for making school holiday entertainment fun and easy.

Free art and exhibitions

22 Dec - 25 Apr

Bark Ladies

An exhibition that celebrates the NGV’s extraordinary collection of work by Yolngu women artists.

23 Jul - 26 Feb

Future U

An exhibition exploring what it means to be human during a time of technological acceleration.

12 Mar - 6 Feb

Big Weather

A timely exhibition that recognises Indigenous cultural knowledge of weather systems.

17 Dec - 25 Apr

The Gecko and the Mermaid: Djerrkŋu Yunupiŋu and her Sister

A kids' exhibition that shares stories of Yolŋu artists from Northeast Arnhem Land.

Last updated on Fri 21 Jan 2022

Get to the city or get FOMO

We’ve got every FOMO-worthy Melbourne event and experience in one place.

Find out more

Melbourne's essential night-time events

From hidden laneway markets to retro roller rinks, Melbourne gets lit once the lights go out.

The best pop-up and outdoor cinemas in Melbourne

Find the best summer cinema, pop-up theatres and free movies.

12 Nov - 29 Apr

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

See the Broadway sensation at Melbourne's Regent Theatre.

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What's on in Melbourne this week

From outdoor movies to pop-up dining, heat up your summer with these top events.

29 Apr - 28 Feb

Flash Forward

Explore 40 city laneways that are being transformed by over 80 creatives.

3 Jan - 30 Jan

NGV Summer Nights

Late-night art, music, film, bars and dining at the NGV during January.

21 Jan - 6 Feb

Cupid's Koi Garden by ENESS

Explore immersive, giant inflatable fountains as part of Fed Square's Kaleidosquare summer program.