Melbourne is known for its amazing art, footy fever and delicious foodie delights – and doing winter better than everyone.
For the best experiences in Melbourne this winter, there’s even more to discover as the city comes to life with amazing festivals, pop-up experiences and crowd favourites.
Watch an AFL game
One of the best winter activities in Melbourne for footy lovers is to head to an AFL match. Victoria is the home of football, and the atmosphere during footy season is electric. The Melbourne Cricket Ground is where it all goes down. Likened to a giant cauldron and able to accommodate 100,000 punters, the MCG (or just the ‘G), is arguably one of Australia’s most iconic sporting venues. Make sure you rug up, grab a pie, a hot jam doughnut or a beer, and feel the roar of the crowd.
See the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces
Escape the cold in Melbourne’s world-class galleries, with two amazing blockbuster exhibitions showing right through to October. At the National Gallery of Victoria, Pierre Bonnard: Designed by India Madhavi presents the colourful, emotive work of celebrated 20th century painter Pierre Bonnard with the immersive scenography of award-winning architect and designer India Madhavi. Meanwhile, at ACMI in Federation Square, you can catch Goddess: Power, Glamour, Rebellion, which salutes the groundbreaking achievements of cinema’s leading revolutionary women. Think Marlene Dietrich, Mae West, Marilyn Monroe and Geena Davis: women who challenged stereotypes and defied expectations. The exhibition features never-before-seen costumes, sketches, interactive experiences and iconic outfits.
Rise up with RISING
Melbourne does arts and culture festivals better than anyone. Immerse yourself RISING, showcasing art, performances, live music and foodie feasts. Running from 12 nights – from 7-18 June – the city comes alive with an extensive program of events. Sit back and enjoy a choral performance in Fitzroy Gardens, or see jazz drummers battle it out at Melbourne Town Hall. You can test out your ice-skating skills at the enormous rink on the banks of the Birrarung, or book a ticket to an immersive First Nations exhibit on the upper floors and ballroom of Flinders St Station. Traverse a world music program, and see Weyes Blood and Paul Kelly performing at The Forum, or you can engage with story through movement with Buŋgul, Tracker and shock-horror show TANZ.
Soak it up at Sense of Self
Pencil in a visit to the luxurious Sense of Self spa, a light-filled Mediterranean-style bathhouse tucked away in Collingwood. Lower yourself into the 39-degree mineral bath to soak your winter chills away, or get steamy in the Finnish sauna. Jump into the plunge pool or have a cool pail shower in between for an extra bit of invigoration. For the utmost relaxation, they have three massages on offer – remedial, relaxation or pregnancy – which you can customise with either a gua-sha facial or scalp and foot treatment.
Shop at the Winter Night Market
Running every Wednesday night from 7 June to 30 August, the Winter Night Market is an after-dark experience that’s not to be missed. It brings together food traders, brewers, entertainers and artisans for nights of winter-themed fun. You’ll find roaring fire pits to keep you warm, winter comfort food as well as a variety of entertaining performances and events, including the famous silent disco. Entry is free, so the only condition is that you come ready to eat and enjoy seemingly endless cups of spicy mulled wine.
See the lights at Lightscape
An immersive, after-dark event, Lightscape is set to take over the Royal Botanic Gardens this winter from 16 June to 6 August with an all-new, reimagined light show. Experience the two-kilometre trail around the lake, featuring a mesmerising eight-metre spire filled with over 20,000 moving LEDS and a range of colourful installations, including singing trees, a flickering fire garden, soundscapes and large-scale illuminated sculptures. You’ll get lost in this colourful natural wonderland. Make sure to rug up and grab a bite to eat at the various food trucks and bars at the Lightscape Welcome Zone, or dotted along the trail.
Warming wine tasting
Based in the CBD, Fitzroy and Brunswick, ReWine is a local cellar door, selling wines direct from the winemakers. This winter, ReWine’s famous mulled wine is back in various markets across the city and in all stores. ReWine sells this warm, soulful drink straight from the barrel into specially made bottles, which can then be brought back and refilled in store for a more sustainable experience. All wines can be tasted for free, or enjoyed with a delicious slice of pizza to chase the cold away.
Freeze the day
For those wanting an evening with a difference, IceBar is the perfect place for you. Their sub-zero bar is not for the faint hearted, and all visitors are provided with snow capes and gloves on arrival to help them keep warm. Once inside, you can check out their hand carved ice sculptures, take some photos beside the icy walls, and enjoy a chilly drink. Standard entry includes one icy cocktail, and the 45-minute session time is designed to make sure you stay comfortable in the freezing temperatures.
Enjoy the best hot choccie
Mörk created their first hot chocolate blend in 2012, and have been crafting perfect drinks ever since. The Mörk chocolate brew house is dedicated entirely to specialty chocolate. Guests can sit back and relax with a hot drink, and choose from an array of cakes and cinnamon buns, baked fresh on site every day. Mörk specialises in hot chocolate, meaning every drink served at the brew house includes a delicious chocolate element. One of their most popular options is the campfire hot chocolate, served in a cloud of dramatic maple smoke, and including charcoal salt and a sticky toasted marshmallow. Need we say more?
Can’t get enough of the best experiences in Melbourne this winter? Click here to discover what else this amazing city has to offer.