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18 Free Things To Do In Melbourne This November

By James Shackell
1st Nov 2017


So, November’s here apparently (who okay’d this?), and that means Christmas is right round the corner. Time to hoard those pennies and start economising like it’s 1929. Practical tips include re-dunking used teabags, not buying gold bullion, diamonds or other very expensive things, and hitting up every free event in Melbourne’s overstuffed social calendar.

Here you go, cheapskates. 18 things to do this month that will cost you precisely zero dollars.

Free Yoga

It’s happening again, guys. Happy Melon is back at the MPavilion this month, serving up Thursday morning yoga flow, plus a little mindfulness meditation. Each session goes for 60 minutes, and they’re absolutely free. All experience levels welcome, from Human Pretzel to Can’t Touch Knees Let Alone Toes. Just remember to BYO yoga mat.

Where: MPavillion, Queen Victoria Gardens, St Kilda Road
When: 7:15am-8:15am, every Thursday in November.
For more info, click here.

Gareth Samson: Transformer

One for the art geeks. Gareth Samson is one of Australia’s greatest painters (he also happens to be Dean at the VCA), and this month the NGV’s Ian Potter Centre is hosting an exhibition of his finest work. Think 130 canvases spanning over 50 years. Any Warhol fans are gonna love it: nothing but bright colours, screwy conceptions and a sprinkling of pop art inspiration.

Where: Ian Potter Centre, Fed Square
When: Daily, 10am – 5pm
For more info, click here.

The Score

A quirky little exhibition, The Score plays with the idea of notes as art...but not music, as such. Scores and musical notation have been warped and twisted to produce a kind of language. Kind of the same way Sydney’s Roy de Maistre (one of Australia’s abstract modernist artists) created a ‘colour-music’ theory that turned melodies into patterns. Music nerds, swing by and check it out.

Where: Ian Potter Museum of Art
When: 1 – 5 November, 10am (weekdays) and 12pm (weekends)
For more info, click here.

Seriously Shiraz Festival

Four words that sum up this festival: wine, food, music, mountains. Seriously Shiraz is basically an excuse to get sozzled on some of the best wine the Grampians has to offer. It’s a 5-day festival, featuring tasting flights, cooking classes, live performances and cellar door adventures. Throw in picnics, a little croquet and the prospect of panoramic helicopter flights, and you’ve got a pretty sweet weekend line-up. Check the event listings—some are free. (FYI: Helicopters are never free).

Where: Various locations
When: Friday 3 November – Tuesday 7 November
For more info, click here.

Urban Weekender 

Cancel your plans for this weekend, guys, because we've teamed up with AMEX and Shop Small to bring you the two best, god damn delicious days of your life aka Urban Weekender. Kicking off this Saturday 4 November and running all weekend, over 50 venues across the country are offering a series of epic treats for this weekend only. Think: edible glitter martinis, espresso martini ice creams, $10 Aperol spritz and 20% off all your fave brands. Head here to find out what's happening in your city, and remember to get out, shop small and support local business. 

When: Saturday 4 - Sunday 5 November 
Where: Varies locations around your city. 
For more info, click here


Veg Out Farmers’ Market

Come for the fruit, stay for the jam. Veg Out Community Farmers’ Market runs on the first Saturday of every month at Peanut Farm Reserve in St Kilda. It’s run by volunteers, and the spread is always legendary: artisan bread, preserves, fruit and veg, small batch honey etc. Keep an eye out for Rod Blake (aka Blakey), a farmer from the Grampians, and one of the market’s dead set legends.

Where: Peanut Farm Reserve, St Kilda
When: 8:30am, Saturday 4 November
For more info, click here.

Dog Walking With Tom + Captain

If you haven’t heard of Tom + Captain, get ready to lose your sh*t. They’re basically a doggie adventure walking company. Usually you’ll find them trekking in the Otways with a dozen leads and a pack of hounds, but this month they’re hitting the streets of Melbourne, hosting a very special four-legged city tour. Bring your pooch, but leave the wallet at home. It’s 100% free.

Where: MPavillion, Queen Victoria Gardens, St Kilda Rd
When: 10am – 11am, Saturday 7 November
For more info, click here.

Night Noodle Markets

Your favourite food served at your favourite time of day. Yep, the Night Noodle Markets are back again, taking over Birrarung Marr from 9 – 26 November.  Expect 30+ sizzling hawker stalls, slinging all manner of deliciousness. Hochi Mama, Bambu, Mr Miyagi, Hoy Pinoy, Wonderbao and Gelato Messina are all rocking up, and there’ll be a rotating line-up of DJs and live tunes. Don’t forget, no cash here! Bring your card if you wanna splurge.

Where: Birrarung Marr
When: 9 – 26 November
For more info, click here.

Linden Postcard Show

Tiny artworks competing for a big cash prize, that’s pretty much the gist with this one. The Linden Postcard Show has been going strong for 27 years. It rounds up some of the country’s most talented artists and sets them a challenge: come up with a masterpiece that fits on a canvas the size of the average postcard. You have to be Australian, and the piece has to measure 8 x 10 inches, that’s it. The perfect artistic storm.

Where: Domain House, Dallas Brooks Drive, South Yarra
When: 11am, from 10-30 November
For more info, click here.

House Of Vans

It’s the first time international sensation House Of Vans is coming to Aus, and (better yet) tickets are somehow 100% free. It’s a two-day pop-up event, running at The Meat Market in North Melbourne. Think skaters shredding concrete bowls, art installations, street markets, skate workshops, concert stages, BMX demos, and more Vans than you’ve ever seen in your life.

Where: The Meat Market, North Melbourne
When: Friday 10 November & Saturday 11 November
For more info, and to book tickets, click here.

East Creek Summer Sessions

Kerri Greens is a brand new winery on the Mornington Peninsula, and it’s hosting something pretty cool this month: a free beer, wine and music festival called East Creek Summer Sessions. Hop Nation are bringing the frothies, and the boys from Kerri Greens are supplying the wine. BYO picnic rug, set up shop on the law, and enjoy live music and good vibes all day long. If you miss this one, no worries: it’s running again on 29 December and 27 January.

Where: Kerri Greens, 38 Paringa Rd, Red Hill South
When: 11:30am, 11 November
For more info, click here.

State Rose & Garden Show

Spring has sprung, and the flowers at Werribee Park have kicked into overdrive. Turns out the giant canola fields aren’t the only bloom to watch between Melbourne and Geelong. The State Rose & Garden Show is drawing some of the best gardening talent in the country, including Gardening Australia's Jane Edmanson and Channel 9's Melissa King. There’s also gonna be plant care demo’s, tours of the gardens, kids activities and live tunes. Make sure you stop to smell the roses.

Where: Werribee Mansion
When: 10am – 4pm, 11 & 12 November
For more info, click here.

Melbourne Polish Festival

Na zdrowie! (That’s cheers in Polish—get practicing). Melbourne’s epic Polish festival is back for another year, and it’s looking like a hell of a line-up. Pierogi as far as the eye can see, live folk music from Polish groups like Tekla Klebetnica, and smoked small goods from the guys at Uncles Small Goods in Dandenong. Basically, as much Poland as you can get in one place, without actually being in Poland.

Where: Federation Square
When: 10am – 5pm, Sunday 12 November
For more info, click here.

Bayside Pet Expo

Bring the pooch, whack the cat in a travel case and perch the parrot on your shoulder, pirate-style—we’re going to the Bayside’s annual Pet Expo. Local vets will be hitting the sand, answering all your pet-related questions. You can meet fellow pet owners, snack at food stalls, and set the kids loose on pony rides. Face painting and an animal farm are basically a given. If it crawls, swims, squawks, purrs, barks or just kind of sits there staring, you’ll see it at the expo.

Where: Royal Avenue Park, Sandringham
When: 10am – 2pm, Sunday 12 November
For more info, click here.

Queen Vic Summer Night Market

It’s back baby! Twenty years in the making, and heading for an epic 21-week run, all the way to April. The Queen Vic Summer Night Market is about as summery as Melbourne gets. Just knowing it’s round the corner tends to brighten the mood. This year promises to be massive 60+ food stalls, 130+ artisan fashion, homewares and craft traders, plus a dedicated summer spritz bar and sushi doughnuts. Start clearing your hump days.

Where: Queen Victoria Market
When: 5pm – 10pm, Every Wednesday from 15 November
For more info, click here.

East Malvern Food & Wine Festival

Last years inaugural event was a massive success, so the guys are back again to take over Central Park (the Malvern version) with a day of wine, artisan food, beer, cider and live entertainment. There’ll be magicians for the kiddies, small batch wineries from all over the state (think Balgownie Estate, Tellurian Wines and Farmer and the Scientist) and even a Canine Wellness Truck slinging doggie treats by the dozen. Pooches encouraged.  

Where: Central Park, East Malvern
When: 10:30am – 5:30pm, Sunday 19 November
For more info, click here.

Coburg Night Market

Queen Vic and Night Noodle Market tend to hog a lot of the limelight, but anyone who lives northside knows that Coburg Night Market is no slouch (it was founded by the Queen Vic team back in 2010, after all). Expect 85+ food vendors, heaps of vegan, veggo and halal options, eclectic live tunes (everything from Americana and jazz to folk and soul) plus artisan Christmas gifts galore.

Where: Corner Bell St & Sydney Rd
When: 5:30pm, Friday 24 November
For more info, click here.

Melbourne Music Week

Melbourne Music Week is back again this month, and they’re throwing a bunch of free events into the mix. Jack Daniels’ Barrel House will be popping up on the Crown Riverwalk, with guest DJs and Alice Ivy, Skegss and Tired Lion will be rocking Parliament House, and there’s even a session unpacking the birth of Melbourne’s punk scene. Did we mention they’re all free?

Where: Various
When: Various
For more info, click here

This one's not free, but it's worth the cash: Tokyo's famous watermelon ice-cream sandwich has landed in Melbourne. 

Image credit: Night Noodle Markets

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