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

Fireworks and a carnival by a river

Moomba

You know the drill: rides, performers, dagwood dogs and endless free family-friendly fun. Moomba is back for a big birthday bash over the Labour Day long weekend in 2024. Check out the colourful parade, watch the hilarious Birdman Rally and see dazzling fireworks every night.

A band of musicians all wearing red cloaks and red pants playing instruments including large drums in an open space under one of the sheds at Queen Victoria Market, with a crowd of onlookers watching.

Turkish Pazar Festival

See the Vic Market transformed into a traditional Turkish bazaar at this two-day festival. Bring the kids along for family-friendly paper marbling demonstrations. When hunger strikes, knock back a legit Turkish coffee, freshly-made gozleme and loaded doner kebabs. Don't miss a live performance from the colourful Australian Turkish Mehter Band on the Sunday.

Artistic shot of a laneway in Melbourne.

PHOTO 2024: International Festival of Photography

A huge outdoor photography festival is taking over Melbourne this month. Explore over 100 free photography exhibitions around the city on the art trail. Get inspired by giant murals, pop-up light box installations and film installations on the big screen at Fed Square.

A crowd of people are at a party in a laneway party

Section 8's free birthday bash

Until

The most iconic hidden bar in Melbourne is hosting a four-day soiree for its 18th birthday. From Afrobeat to hip hop and soul, groove along to the sounds of the city's coolest musicians. Sip on yummy cocktail specials or a grab a frosty pint. Then spill out onto the laneway for a pop-up artist’s market.

People dancing and celebrating Holi festival, a pink colour bomb going off in the background.

Holi Festival Melbourne

Celebrate India's festival of colours with this vibrant free festival. Get amongst it with traditional dance performances, live music and authentic street food. And don't forget to pre-order your coloured power packets. Or grab a festival pack including a t-shirt, colour packet and drink.

Indonesian dancers wearing elaborate feathered gowns with matching wings and headdresses.

Indonesian food and fashion festival

Enjoy some of the best parts of Indonesian culture at this free festival at Queensbridge Square in Southbank. Feast on authentic street food and learn the art of batik textile dying. Plus there'll be live music and traditional dance performances.

A group of people are sitting in an outdoor bar surrounded by palm trees and street art

Laneway bar pizza party

Melbourne's coolest laneway bar is having its 7th birthday party - and you're invited. Sip $7 cocktails, bop along to epic DJ sets and catch live music from local musicians. There are also after-dark projection installations lighting up the venue at night. Wanna know the best part? They're giving away free pizza from +39 Pizzeria!

A woman standing in front of a large screen with colourful projections.

NGV Triennial

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Robot dogs, animatronic mice, hydraulic press performance art, towering sculptures and massive new commissions. The NGV’s blockbuster art exhibition Triennial is back. Discover more than 100 works exploring the theme of magic, matter and memory at this free exhibition. Then step outside to marvel at the new Architecture Commission, a giant breathing sphere. 

Melbourne's low concrete MPavilion in the Queen Victoria Gardens surrounded by trees and green lawn.

MPavilion

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Australia’s leading architecture and design event takes place at MPavilion – a cultural laboratory where the community can come together to engage and share. This year's pavilion is a sleek concrete design by Tadao Ando. It's located in the Queen Victoria Gardens and hosts a slew of free events. Try the viral grey ice cream, catch live music or join a life drawing class.

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

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

Vegan Market

Vegan Market

Come along to the vegan bake sale and market, with a ton of cool vegan products to browse.

Queen Victoria Market

Queen Victoria Market

This beloved Melbourne landmark is the largest open air market in the southern hemisphere.

Summer Night Market
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Summer Night Market

Unforgettable balmy moments as the Summer Night Market returns to Queen Vic Market!

Kensington Market
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Kensington Market

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

Melbourne Craft Fair
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Melbourne Craft Fair

Enjoy a contemporary craft fair at Queen Victoria Market.

Makers Market at The District
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Makers Market at The District

This outdoor undercover monthly Sunday market at Docklands features craft, gifts, fashion and food.

Arts Centre Melbourne Sunday Market
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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.

Free family-friendly events

Flemington and Kensington Bowling Club Family Open Day

Flemington and Kensington Bowling Club Family Open Day

A fun day of free bowls and kids activities on Good Friday.

Rififi: Jean Jullien for Kids
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Rififi: Jean Jullien for Kids

Experience the NGV's kids' gallery as it's transformed into an underwater world for summer.

Baby Bounce
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Baby Bounce

A fun, interactive session designed for young children and their carers.

Toddler Tales
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Toddler Tales

Explore language and literacy through stories, rhymes and songs.

Preschool Storytime
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Preschool Storytime

Share the wonder of books with your children at City Library.

Shrine Kids
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Shrine Kids

A free self-guided program for visitors of all ages.

More free Melbourne events

Melbourne International Student Week Welcome Event

Melbourne International Student Week Welcome Event

Join in a week-long celebration of international students with a free kick-off event at Fed Square.

Not Natural
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Not Natural

Explore the growing friction between natural and artificial systems.

Sketch the City: City Art Walking Tours

Sketch the City: City Art Walking Tours

Sketch the city on a unique walking tour around laneways and little known streets.

National Sustainability Festival
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National Sustainability Festival

Showcasing sustainability and climate thought leaders.

Wurrdha Marra
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Wurrdha Marra

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

Memo Akten: Distributed Consciousness
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Memo Akten: Distributed Consciousness

A digital work merging human and non-human consciousness – via the AI musings of octopus critters.

Library Cinema
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Library Cinema

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

Local Lunch Club
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Local Lunch Club

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

Trenches to Runway: Military Influences on Popular Fashion
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Trenches to Runway: Military Influences on Popular Fashion

Explore the enduring influence of military design on popular fashion.

Last updated on Tue 27 Feb 2024

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Nocturnal: Museum After Dark
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Nocturnal: Museum After Dark

Step into a world of wonder at an after-hours Melbourne Museum experience just for adults.