We’ve officially passed the halfway mark for 2016, so it’s about time to reel in those pesky spending habits. Between cutting down on online shopping and refusing brunch (very, very) occasionally, here are the best free things to do this August.
#1 Pokémon Go
In case you haven’t jumped on the Poké-wagon, this highly addictive, augmented reality game has Millennials (and generations much older) walking with their eyes glued to their iPhones and their fingertips ready to catch ‘em all. It’s completely free to play everyday, so your wallet can be as happy and healthy as the unsuspecting Eevies you found at Flinders Street station. We’ve even rounded up all the hints, tips and tricks you might need before embarking on your epic Poké-venture.
#2 QVM Winter Night Market
One of Melbourne’s favourite annual winter events, Queen Victoria Market’s inaugural Winter Night Market features free performances, live music, designer stalls and dreamy amounts of foodie street food. From drool-worthy chewy pizza crusts from 400 Gradi and hot apple cider from Those Girls, use your charm to get your favourite friends to share their grub.
#3 BLINDSIDE: On The Verge exhibition
Feature responsive artwork designed to transform and disrupt metro spaces, this free interactive art exhibition will takeover alleyways, byways and laneways in Melbourne CBD this August. Running for 11 days, On The Verge showcases local and international emerging and established talent including Steve Aishman (of America), Buff Diss, and Fikaris.
#4 Melbourne Writer’s Festival
Running from the 26 of August until the 4 of September this year, the Melbourne Writer’s Festival celebrates everything there is to love about writing, reading and thinking! Boasting a huge range of free events including workshops, book launches and interviews with your favourite authors, you can check out the free line-up of events here.
#5 European Night Market
If mulled wine, German sausages and freshly baked pretzels doesn’t cheer you up this wintery season, you might be a lost cause. Running every Friday night until the 12 of August, the European Night Market is a cosy festival tucked into Madame Brussels Lane. Expect soul-warming food like Polish dumplings, stringy cheese fondue and bubbling French crème brûlée.
#6 QVM Food Truck Rally
Running every Sunday until the 14 of August this year, the Queen Victoria Market’s Food Truck Rally brings together some of Melbourne’s best no-frills grub on four-wheels. Past truckies have included Nem N’ Nem, Soul Kitchen and Woodfired Pizza Truck. Runs 9am-4pm every Sunday.
#7 Literature As A Force For Good
To celebrate its 20th anniversary, The Big Issue is hosting an interactive discussion this August! Hosted by the State Library of Victoria, The Big Issue editor and fiction edition authors will talk about the power of writing, short stories and fiction. As a pivotal magazine in Australia’s magazine and literary landscape, this isn’t one to miss for up-and-coming writers!
#8 Fed Square Book Market
The ultimate winter combination of hot chocolate, a fireplace and a good book can be partially achieved at the weekly Fed Square Book Market. Melbourne’s largest weekly book market with thousands of second-hand and new books—hunt your way through travel, fiction and historical novels for rainy nights to come. BYO fireplace and hot chocolate.
#9 NotFair Exhibition
The alternative to the Melbourne Art Fair, NotFair proudly promotes under acknowledged or emerging artists in their no-frills exhibition space. Running for its fourth year in a row, NotFair will celebrate independent artwork in their Flinders Street home from the 16-21 of August.
#10 QVM Living Science At The Market
As part of National Science Week, the Queen Victoria Market is hosting their annual Living Science At The Market event! Featuring interactive workshops, cooking demonstrations and free tastings, some of the activities on offer include ‘science of chocolate’ samples, making your own sherbet and extracting DNA from fruit. Um, yes?!
#11 Kensington Market
One of our favourite quieter local markets, bypass the masses this August and head down to the Kensington Market for a quaint day of shopping, eating, and relaxing. Showcasing the best boutique creations from jewellery to homewares and artwork to fashion, the Kensington Market attracts some of the most unique handmade crafts in Melbourne.
#12 Melbourne Day
Melbourne is turning 181 this August and to celebrate, Melbourne (hah) is hosting a free concert at Federation Square on the 30 of August from noon to 2pm! Featuring Aussie artists to celebrate this Melbourne bash for Melbourne, by Melbourne, head down in your lunchbreak to enjoy all the festivities.
#13 Flinders Lane Gallery
For a exhibition that won’t leave you wandering around half-asleep, hit up Zac Koukoravas’ Supermodified. Featuring kaleidoscopic paintings, sculptures and multimedia, this Melbourne-based artist has created an exhibition filled with colour, form, and unique lighting.
#14 Docklands Winter Fireworks
Free Friday night fireworks will be running every week until the 26 of August at Dockands! With live music, roving performers and plenty of foodie-approved restaurants like A25, Schmucks Bagels and Mill & Bakery, your next date night is sorted!
#15 Let It Glow Festival
Wrapping up the WinterFest at Monash Clayton, the Let It Glow festival features rides, children’s entertainment and a gorge-worthy line-up of food trucks. The entire event aims to support Youth Homelessness charity organisations, so be generous with your dollies!
#16 The Creators Market
Held at the Prahran Town Hall on the 27 of August from the 10:30am-4pm, The Creators Market features local and small business creators in Victoria. Supporting up-and-coming talent from artists to crafters and designers to bakers, don’t miss this monthly shopping emporium!
#17 Snow Play at Harbour Town Melbourne
Want to play in snow this August? Head to Harbour Town Melbourne to play in month-long snow. For. Free. This is not a drill!
#18 Preston Food Truck Park Vegetarian and Vegan Weekend
In case you missed the last vegetarian and vegan food truck event, The Preston Food Truck Park is generously hosting yet another completely meat-free street food weekend! Vegans, vegos, and ethically-minded foodies can rejoice over completely guilt-free, finger-licking street food this August.
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Image credit: Yaseera Moosa