Blog & Insights

What’s on: Summer in Melbourne

With or without the sunshine, summer has officially arrived in Melbourne. Whether you’re into the outdoors or the indoors, action or observation, this cool cat city has laid on the very best in seasonal entertainment. School is officially out for summer, so pack away your papers, grab your sunscreen (and a mac just in case) and enjoy the city at its very best. Not sure where to begin? This is for you.

The great outdoors

Summer in Melbourne is all about making the most of the outside space – whatever the weather throws at you. Whether you’re running for air conditioning or digging the blankets back out, there is always a whole heap of fun to be had around the city.

For when it’s hot

When that summer sun is beating down there’s no better place to soak up the rays than The St Kilda Sea Baths, a unique swimming experience located at one of Melbourne’s most famous beaches. Alternatively head to the iconic Brighton beach for a glimpse of those insta-famous bathing boxes and a cooling dip.

If you love a regular saltwater swim, enjoy 5 of the very best options right here; and when you’re feeling the thirst, there’s nothing quite like a riverside al fresco experience to top off the day.

The Arbory Bar on the Yarra is a big summer favourite with the Melbourne locals and has quickly become the city’s go-to location.

Another riverside option serving up cocktails and seasonal snacks is Ponyfish Island tucked away just under the Yarra pedestrian bridge.

The Yarra riverside is a hive of activity in summer and one of the best – and most eco – ways to get around the area is by bike. Discover Melbourne on wheels from the inside out with one of the fantastic urban bike trails available. Start with the flat 30km loop of the city and take in the famous city landmarks along the way.

When the sun goes down, the Queen Victoria night markets (21 Nov-20 March) are the new place to be seen every Wednesday night. Featuring over 60 global street-food stalls and 100 shopping stalls, the experience gets even better with live music and festival bars. It’s all about celebrating hump day.

If night markets are your thing, head over to South Melbourne across the summer period (10 Jan-28 Feb) for more of the same in delish foods and musical vibes.

Make the most of the summer climes with the return of the Moonlight Cinema. Bring a picnic and watch a movie under the stars in the iconic Royal Botanic Gardens (28 Nov-29 March). Sit back and let the breeze waft over you as you take in the latest summer blockbuster or cult classic.

For when it’s not

But of course the sun is not always playing ball in summer – however, rain never stops play. Melbourne is a city full of hidden secrets, undercover venues and indoor pursuits.

Not so hidden, but perfect for a wet summers day, the Southbank strip has plenty to offer in terms of exhibitions, activities and eateries. Try the NGV or the ACCA for something arty, and head to the Malthouse Theatre for the latest in contemporary productions.

If you prefer to keep it active, step back in time and try out some roller-skating at The Caribbean Rollerama. Or simply brave the weather and breathe in that fresh river air as the rain pours around you. Umbrella optional.

Festival fever

When it comes to festival season, along with her sister cities Melbourne does not disappoint. Jax Jones, Brockhampton and Lizzo fans should get tickets booked for FOMO (12 Jan) asap. With all the artists performing on the one big stage you’ll never miss out on a thing.

The St Kilda Festival (10 Feb) celebrates the summer feels with one whole day of art, dance, music and food. The streets are closed to traffic and best of all it’s completely free!

Laneway fans will happily rejoice in the festival’s annual return (9 Feb). Featuring the best in indie, electronica and hip-hop from near and far, this will be a day to make musical memories.

Join with the LGBTQI+ community at Midsumma (19 Jan-9 Feb) and celebrate diversity and inclusion with music, art, dance and theatre across a variety of locations. With another huge turnout expected, this festival is now firmly established as one of Melbourne’s most important music events.

Culture fix

If there’s one city that can legitimately hasthtag culture, it is Melbourne. Woven into the city DNA, the choices are happily endless. Music fans will enjoy possibly the final chance to see Elton John belt out some classics on his retirement tour (10 Dec-15 Dec) at Rod Laver Arena.

Or take the chance to jig along to the irrepressible Fat Boy Slim (24 Jan) – right here, right now at the Melbourne Arts Centre.

Try British documentary maker Louis Theroux’s Without Limits at the Melbourne convention and Exhibition Centre (19 Jan) for something a little different, or sit back and enjoy 2001: A Space Odyssey in Concert (Jan 25) with the MSO at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition centre.

We’ve all heard of the AO where the big wigs slug it out for the Grand Slam title. But the AO Chef Series…? Not so much. Just across the road from the tennis, four culinary A-listers will put on exclusive and exquisite affairs to make your mouth water. Yum!

More on that foodie theme, if you’re a fan of an afternoon snack and you also enjoy mathematically-inspired art, the NGV’s Between Two Worlds exhibition is for you. Featuring a Monochromatic high tea, the entire experience is a rendition of M.C Escher’s work. Who knew?

Sporting action

Whether you prefer to ref from the sofa or love to soak up the game side ambience, be sure to make room in your summer schedule for some serious sporting action. The famed Australian Open (20 Jan-2 Feb) hits Melbourne once again with a promising display of serves and slices on the menu – and the odd display of bad temper thrown in for good measure.

There’s no escape from the cricket this summer starting with the traditional Boxing Day test at the MCG against New Zealand and continuing with the women’s T20 World Cup (12 Feb-8 March) as well as a jam-packed international summer schedule.

Grand Prix fans will be keen to get the motor running (12-15 March) as some of the fastest cars in the world compete for the top spot.

And golf lovers can soak up the President’s Cup as it returns for the third time in 25 years (9-15 Dec) to the prestigious Royal Melbourne Golf Club.

Ho ho ho

It’s definitely the season to be jolly. Sleigh bells are ringing, Santa’s coming and those stockings need filling. For magical Christmas markets offering the best in homemade gifts and local produce, try the Big Design Market (6-8 Dec) and the Coburg Night Market (28 Nov-1 Dec).

Feel the seasonal spirit wash over you as the city transforms into a Christmas wonderland – starting with the Myer Christmas window (8 Nov-5 Jan) that literally comes alive with festive cheer each year. Check out the huge Christmas tree in Federation Square, complete with massive bauble and nativity scene. Spend Christmas Eve with friends at the annual Carols by Candlelight or watch it from the comfort of your tinsel-lined couch.

And finally, there’s no better time than Christmas to get your skates on, so head to the Air Canada Ice Rink in Queen Victoria Market (1-24 Dec) for some laps of the rink and get practising those triple salchows.


Photo by Johan Mouchet on Unsplash

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