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16 Free Things To Do In Melbourne This January

By Millie Lester - 02 Jan 2017


Ladies? Yeah! Fellas? Yeah! Have we got any money left after the Festive Season? Nuh-uh! Thought so, that's why we've put together a list of sixteen things you can do this January that won't cost you a cent.

1. Imaginary Architecture

Calling all creatives and/or people with recently emptied Maxibon boxes floating around their kitchen (guilty), Imaginary Architecture is kicking off on January 4 (through to January 15), which means every man and his dog has the opportunity to gather all their recyclable materials and head on down to Smorgon Family Pizza to help bring artist Lara Tumak’s recycled city to life. To join in the build, just bring one of your finest empty box, a can-do attitude and an empty wallet because this cultural experience won’t cost you a cent.

2. Les Moutons

I don’t care if you’re out of the country this January; you need to come home for this. From the 19–22nd of this month, Canadian performers Julie, Marie-Louise, Bernadette and César will take to the Arts Centre Melbourne front lawn in the form of sheep as part of their performance titled ‘Les Moutons’. Yes, you read that correctly. Four grown women will dress up as sheep (and even get sheared) and you don’t have to pay a cent. You’re welcome.

3. Quick Bites Comedy

Give your hello kitty bum bag a break this January, and head over to Boney Bar on Lt Collins Street every Monday night at 6:30pm for two hours of free comedy. And this isn’t just the bar manager telling knock-knock jokes through a megaphone, Quick Bites Comedy is some of Australia’s best comedians dropping one-liner after one-liner all at absolutely no expense to you and your budding Frosé addiction.

4. Chinese New Year Melbourne Festival

Melbourne will be poppin’ of its t*its for seventeen days (beginning January 27) when the Chinese New Year Melbourne Festival kicks off throughout the CBD this month. Free shit to sink your teeth into include a New Year’s Eve countdown and Celebration in Queensbridge Square, Dragon Boat demonstrations, three native Chinese acts straight from China and free Tai Chi lessons each weekday morning.

5. 2017 NGV Kids Summer Festival

This one’s for the kiddies and their broke ‘rents. For ten days from January 16, the National Gallery of Victoria will host an abundance of free activities both at the NGV itself and the Ian Potter Centre in Federation Square. Free thangs at the NGV Kids Summer Festival will include a workshop with local artists and creative, kids yoga in the NGV Garden, a DACHSHUND DOG PARADE, and a model dog park for children to show off their hand-made doggie creations (bless).

6. 2017 Sunset Series

For two gloriously cheap weeks in January, the Fitzroy Gardens will deliver a four-hour Saturday and Sunday extravaganza of local tunes and dance workshops via their Sunset Series. Make an evening of it, and bring some frenz, a picnic blanket, and a bottle of wine (or six) and take in the FREE beats from 5–9pm on Saturdays and Sundays between January 14–22.

7. Summer Pirate Playground

Another one for the mini humans! This January 16–26, Harbour Town Melbourne are bringing their A-game to the kiddie scene with their free Summer Pirate Playground. On top of that, they can also meet Peter Pan in the Neverland Adventure Show or showcase their handiwork in the Pirate Craft Village. There’ll also be an Australia Day Pirate Treasure Hunt where you can throw your work shirt on your kid, wrap a tea-towel around his head and slap on an eye patch you made out of an old pair of tights, and watch them search for treasure. All for free.

8. Fire Rooster Light Show

Catch the first few days of the Fire Rooster Light Show on January 28 as Docklands celebrate the 2017 Chinese Lunar New Year with a lit AF light show honouring the 10th sign in the Chinese zodiac–the fire rooster. For this stellar event you’ll need no dollar, dollar, no dollar that’s what you’ll need (hey hey).

9. A Summer of Motion

Our local fugly city hub, Federation Square, is once again the host of a smorgasbord of summer events. This includes A Summer of Motion which is a two–month program of relaxation, exercise and body awareness improvement that’ll cost you nudda. There’ll be Zumba, juggling, belly dancing, African drumming and Irish Folk Dancing. So head down to Fed Square from January 9 to begin your summer body transformation, but make sure to check the website for times beforehand in case you accidentally turn up to a belly dancing class when we both know no one’s ready to see that post-Chrissie rig yet…

10. Recycled Christmas

If you’re completely devo that the Festive Season has wrapped up for another year, then put the Xmas tree back up and crack out the eggnog because at the Galleria Shopping Centre, it’s still Christmas! Their environmentally-conscious Recycled Christmas display will be up until January 13 and features decorations made completely from recycled materials.

11. Dog Meet With Tom & Captain

The only thing better than going for a walk with your dog, is going for a walk with multiple dogs. On January 15th, dog-walking adventurers, Tom & Captain, will be hosting a tour of Melbourne as experienced by our four-legged friends. Those interested should head to MPavillion at 10am for a free morning of good company and a few humans.

12. Australian Open Festival

For two weeks from January 14, Birraung Marr will transform into yet another bar-lined festival of food and drinks dubbed the 'Australian Open Festival'. “But don’t food and drink cost money?” I hear you ask, and yes it does, but the live entertainment (including the likes of Tkay Maidza and Missy Higgins) and live streaming of tennis matches doesn’t. So get your tight ass down there for some free tunes and tennis.

13. Blondie’s Jazz Jam

Blondie Bar on Southbank are putting on an evening of live jazz on Mondays from 5:30–8:30pm (which also happens to coincide with Happy Hour). You can even make song requests if you know then names of jazz songs off by heart. All ages are welcome, so are visiting musicians who are welcome to play along (practiced recorder players are not).

14. Melbourne Latin Summer Festival

Drag your penniless self to Kings Domain on January 7 for a day of Latin American flavours, music and culture at the Melbourne Latin Summer Festival. There’ll be performances, parades, live music, DJs, street food and dranks, so quite frankly there’s no excuse not to be there. Unless you STILL haven’t seen the Gilmore Girls revival.

15. Summer Discovery Tour

Grab your grandma and head over to the Royal Botanic Gardens during January to find out what’s new in the grounds, explore the gardens, learn all about the flora and fauna, and soak up some rays. You’ll get hella brownie points and the Summer Discovery Tour won’t cost you a cent.

16. David Collopy: Yesterday Once More

Leave your wallet on the bench and head over to the State Library of Victoria to discover how Melbourne’s familiar landmarks have changed over time in David Collopy’s exhibition of old and new photographs depicting our (normally expensive) city. It won’t cost you’re a cent and you might learn something.

Image credit: Arts Centre Melbourne

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