Gone a bit too hard on the wallet lately? These awesome events, pop-ups and exhibitions will let you have a fabulous time without spending a dime.

A large colourful art exhibit

NGV Triennial

19 Dec - 18 Apr

All good things must come to an end, and Triennial is one of them. April is your last chance to visit this one-of-a-kind blockbuster exhibition. Book now or you'll regret it forever. No tickets available? The team holds a small number of spots for walk-ins, so it's worth trying your luck.

People at an outdoor market

The best free markets

Melbourne's iconic markets are starting to come back in full force, and we couldn't be happier. Shop local at these vegan markets, dog-friendly markets, night markets and more. Queen Victoria Market is open as always, and they've just launched a weekly mini market series with a different unique theme each Saturday. Chinatown's secret laneway market also makes a return on 16 April.

Play sculptures of a giant tortoise and lobster in a garden setting.

Pop-up playground wonderland

9 Apr - 18 Apr

A wondrous world of free fun awaits over two magical weekends. Visit glittering Newquay promenade with the kids and explore the unicorn garden, create kaleidoscopic crafts, taste fancy fairy floss and more. There's also daily interactive performances, featuring fairy tales and board games. Plus dress ups, giant chimes and face painting.

Cityscape and Melbourne Star Observation Wheel illuminated at night.

Kids ride free on the Melbourne Star

From 2 - 18 April your little one can ride for free on the sparkling Melbourne Star. Soar over the city and catch the most amazing views on this spectacular flight. Terms and conditions apply. Find more hidden gems in Docklands.

A building next to a pier

Free lunchtime music pop-ups

Until 17 April

Take a breather from your work day and chill in Melbourne's lush green outdoor spaces. Local musos will play everything from sweet acoustic tunes to lively French swing on the accordion. Sessions run at Boyd Park, Kathleen Syme and Buluk Park.

Latin and mexican food on wooden boards

Melbourne Latin Festival

30 Apr - 2 May

Three days of fiesta await at this beloved annual event. Taste delicious food from more than 20 different vendors, watch cooking demos, see the salsa dance championship and more. And all with a margarita in hand!

People sitting in groups in an outdoor space.

Testing Nights

25 Feb - 27 May

See all things cool, new and developing from local creatives at this monthly showcase event. Anyone in the community can test their latest project, from stop-motion film and comedy-thrillers to live dance, zine machines and more. Grab a bev from the bar and enjoy.

Pride march with people carrying large rainbow flags down a road with onlookers on either side.

Midsumma Festival

19 Apr - 5 May

Melbourne’s much-loved LGBTQI cultural festival is back for 2021. Kick off with the iconic Midsumma Festival - 100% free, but you do need to book. The next round of tickets will be available at midday on 9 April. More free, bookable fun includes gigs at the Malthouse Outdoor stage, gorgeous art exhibits and a sculpture workshop led by artist Kenny Pittock

Finger pointing at a white city maquette.

Melbourne Knowledge Week

26 Apr - 2 May

Visit Venice through sound, spy on surveillance cameras, play biometric Dungeons & Dragons and more at this year's MKW. There are also walking tours that fuse Melbourne's gorgeous open spaces with super nerdy data talk, an AI night at a rooftop bar and even a workshop dedicated to ripping apart your old toys. Nearly the entire program is free, but you do need to book in advance.

A woman in front of a projection screen standing over a touch table

Revisit ACMI

11 Feb - 31 Jan

After two years in hibernation (and a multi-million dollar makeover) ACMI has reopened for film lovers far and wide. The new neon-lit space features vintage video games, interactive displays, wall-to-wall projections and more. Visit the latest exhibit for free then head upstairs to chic Hero diner for a feast.

The best free and cheap events for families

We’ve wrapped up the best free and cheap events for school holidays that you just can’t miss.

25 Apr

Heirloom Room Sculpture Workshop

Recreate a sentimental object with air-dry clay.

6 Jan - 30 Apr

Melbourne Gardens Free Guided Walk

A free guided walk is the perfect way to explore Melbourne Gardens.

26 Mar - 30 Apr

The Great HeartKids Ted E Bare Hunt

Find David Strassman's Ted E Bares in locations across the city.

6 Jan - 30 Jun

Hatha Flow Yoga

Hatha-style yoga classes at the Boyd Community Hub every Wednesday.

22 Feb - 22 Nov

Queer Book Club

A book club for those who are curious or passionate about queer books.

30 Nov - 16 Apr

You Are Cordially Invited: 150 years of Melbourne Town Hall

An exhibition exploring the history of an iconic Melbourne building.

Five free must-do Melbourne walks

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

Last updated on Thu 8 Apr 2021

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21 Jan - 18 Apr

Malthouse Outdoor Stage

Melbourne musicians and artists perform at this new purpose-built outdoor stage.

8 Jan - 30 Apr

Live at the Bowl

Spend summer days and autumn nights revelling in Australia's best acts.

Melbourne experiences to book right now

The best Melbourne experiences you won't want to miss

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The best summer events still happening in March

Markets, pop-up bars, special events and more. March is really just summer: the sequel.

9 Oct

Melbourne Harmony Festival

Presenting the shared music, art, and culture of the people of the Eastern Mediterranean.

26 May - 5 Jun

Seasons in Blak Box

Local First Peoples artist and elders share their experience and knowledge of the landscape.

30 Apr

Tension//Relief – Corin Ileto and Diimpa

Relax back into this soft social sound bath.