Melbourne, we have heard your cries of extreme smoothie bowl-induced poverty and have responded with no less than 16 free things to do this December. You go Melbourne.
#1 Mapping Melbourne 2016
Culture buffs rejoice, because for the fourth year in a row, Multicultural Arts Victoria are celebrating our city’s Asian Australian identity through its annual ‘Mapping Melbourne’ event. It will be held from December 1–17, across various locations throughout Melbourne, a series of free multi-art form events and exhibitions will profile established and emerging artists from all over Asia, and best of all; it doesn’t cost a bloody cent.
#2 Fair@Square Ethical Lifestyle Event
There’s nothing more unethical than charging $20 a head for entry into a lifestyle festival. Thankfully the good people at Moral Fair Ground have had the decency to host a totally free Ethical Lifestyle Festival at Federation Square on December 3–4. This two-day ethical extravaganza promises fashion shows, live entertainment, ethical markets, film screenings and about a gazillion other things, all for absolutely zero buckeroos.
#3 Gingerbread Village By Epicure
Did someone say a free viewing of a gingerbread village composed of over 500 kilograms of gingerbread, 360 kilograms of royal icing, 150 kilograms of marzipan and approximately 800 miniature Christmas trees? Well today’s your lucky day, because the Gingerbread Village by Epicure is returning for its sixth year in a row and promises to be as diabetes-inducing as ever. Catch the edible display from December 1st at the Melbourne Town Hall, and don’t forget to keep an eye out for the miniature F1 Grand Prix that will feature in the village this year (?!?).
#4 Fed Square Live
Federation Square isn’t just known for being ‘one of the ugliest buildings ever designed and built in the world’ (a big shout out to Britain’s The Daily Telegraph for that blazer of a title) but it’s also famous locally for its summer events schedule, in particular–Fed Square Live. On December 1, 15 and 29, our fugly (famously ugly) Fed Square will play host to two hours of live music on Thursdays from 5:30pm, and it’ll cost you absolutely nothing.
#5 Food Truck Station
And just when you thought Fed Square couldn’t get any more
aesthetically displeasing exciting, it’s also been brought to light that it will be hosting a Food Truck Station every Friday to Sunday this month, from 11am-8pm, featuring crowd favourites such as burgers, kebabs, tacos, donuts and like twenty other things that’ll give you heart disease. But remember kids; it’s free to smell, but not to taste.
#6 Live Jazz Sundays
The only thing better than a relaxing Sunday, is a relaxing Sunday with live jazz, and the only thing better than a relaxing Sunday with live jazz, is a relaxing Sunday with live jazz that will cost you absolutely no dollars, can I get an amen up in here? No? Ok then. Well. This December, South Wharf’s Bohemian Bar & Restaurant will be boasting Sunday afternoons of free live jazz between 2–5pm, as well as $20 sangria jugs which aren’t free, but will set you free.
#7 Food Truck Park Pop Up
The days of conventional food stores have long gone, and the time for strategically arranged gatherings of food trucks in iconic Australian locations is well and truly nigh. From 8am–9pm on December 1–2, 80 Collins Street will play host to the Food Truck Park, which is a gathering of all your fave four-wheeled food stops. Again, it’ll cost you nothing to be in their presence, except a lot of self-control, and maybe $150 worth of white chocolate Oreo Greek donuts.
#8 Summertime Party
The North Melbourne Arts House is flinging its doors open for six sweet sweet hours of free music goodness on December 3 at 4pm when it hosts its tune-packed Summertime Party. Featuring music by Mojo Juju, Speak Percussion and Rat Child, this will be a super cheap date night for all you broke romantics out there who don’t even have two five-centers to rub together.
#9 Wally’s Christmas Photo Booth
You know what they say about Christmas–pics or it didn’t happen. That’s why The Carlton bar on Bourke Street has kitted out local resident, Wally the Ostrich, with some of Santa’s finest apparel, along with a series of festive costumes and props that make for a killer free Christmas photo booth snap that you can show all your frenz. Get papped at The Carlton from the early afternoon, all the way through until late on Christmas Eve.
#10 Christmas Projections
As the old saying goes; if the Town Hall’s glowing, don’t come a’spending. Once again this year, taxpayer money will be going towards lighting up the Melbourne Town Hall in a myriad of colourful Christmas scenes for eighty minutes at 9pm every evening until Christmas. I’m purposely trying to talk down this free event in the hopes that less people will turn out because I am sick to death of having my view obstructed by toddlers on shoulders—if your feet aren’t on the ground, you’re ruining Christmas for everyone.
#11 Family Feud – Live Studio Audience
Now here’s a free event to really sink your paid leave into. From December 1-16 at 1:45pm, you can take four hours off work and join the Family Feud Live Studio Audience at the NEP Studios in Southbank. You won’t win any money, but you could watch other people do it, and get an afternoon off work in the process. Make sure you book you place in the audience in advance to avoid disappointment.
#12 Yoga Classes
We’re coming into that time of year where your weight starts fluctuating 5-10kgs either way (let’s be real, it only fluctuates one way), and there’s no better way to counteract the Festive-Five than with some free yoga at the Multicultural Hub on Elizabeth Street. Classes will take place on December 1 and 8, between 6–7pm.
#13 Dragon Boat Racing
You’ve seen it on Kourtney & Kim Take Miami, and now it’s time to enrol your own family in an aquatic boating race just to betray them at the last minute to join another team’s boat. Melbourne’s much anticipated Dragon Boat Racing carnival will take place on December 3 between 12:15–2:15pm. It’ll cost absolutely nothing except two hours of your life that you’ll never get back. Make sure to visit the website to register your team to avoid having your Dragon Boat Racing hopes dashed on the day.
#14 Comedy At Highlander
Free comedy may be laughable, but it’s still very much a real free thing to do in Melbourne this December. The Highlander, named appropriately after the Lane it’s located on, will be hosting ninety minutes of free laffs on December 7, 14 and 21, from 8pm. Seats are limited so make sure you’re on time, because having to stand through comedy is the absolute pits.
#15 Funky Bunch Trivia
No list of free things to do is complete without a Funky Bunch Trivia night. This one takes place at South Warf’s The Common Man on December 6, 13 and 20 from 6–8:30pm. You’ll have to think of a ripper team name other than ‘O-trivia Newton John’, because that’s already taken (sorry, not sorry).
#16 Mazda Opera In The Bowl
Don’t be fooled by the name; this isn’t a choir of Mazda 3’s pumping out soulful classics, Mazda is just a sponsor. But there will be some amazing free opera at the Sidney Myer Music bowl on Saturday December 3, from 8–10pm, so dust of your best corset and telegram your gal pals, coz this will be one hella-fancy night out.
Image credit: The Food Truck Park