What's On

18 Free Things To Do In Melbourne This May

By Ellen Seah
2nd May 2016

When your budget is feeling a little two-minute-noodles-for-the-third-night-in-a-row tight, we’ve got your back. There are heaps (at least twenty) free things to do in Melbourne this May—so hop off the couch into Melbourne’s repulsive outdoor weather today!

#1 Rocky Road Festival  

The genius cacao-loving team at the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie are hosting a month-long rocky road festival! Over 31 rocky road flavours will be available in the form of blocks, bars, truffles, ice creams and desserts. Marshmallow, anyone?

#2 Melbourne Food Porn Festival

It was only a matter of time. The first Melbourne Food Porn Festival hosted by Yelp launches on the 18th of May, with a photography exhibition celebrating everything outrageous and excessive about Melbourne's food culture. On top of this drool-worthy exhibit, visitors will be treated to free cheese, canapés, wine and beer if they check-in on the Yelp app. Umm... easiest free drinks ever?

#3 Prahran Market Wicked Chocolate Festival

With all of Melbourne’s favourite chocolate creators, producers and treats under one roof, you can expect a flocking lot of Melburnians at Prahran Market’s Wicked Chocolate Festival. Think Butterbing cookies, a chocolate tube designed by Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio and decadent chocolate doughnuts from Doughboys Doughnuts at this one-day only celebration. 

#4 LOOMA: Illuminate

Featuring Eddy Langdon and Clara Bell, with art installations by Daryl Goh (NPE Art Residency), CrossCulture is warmly inviting Melburnians to LOOMA: Illuminate this May. For a laidback night of music, friendly faces and complimentary refreshments, head to the Facebook event.


Looking to dazzle with your Insta skills? Run by the Melbourne Library Service, SNAPPED is Melbourne’s local photography competition that encourages participants to capture images of our much-loved city. As part of the competition, free photography walks with Carla Gottgens will run throughout May in various areas of Melbourne. We know you’re an expert, but a second opinion is never a bad idea. 

#6 Jane’s Walk

If you’re a bit of a building nerd, there’s going to be a free afternoon walk dedicated to the architecture of Melbourne! Hosted by Annie Bolitho, who specialises in sustainability and community engagement, make the most of Melbourne’s afternoon sun with this two-hour guided tour.

#7 DomeLab Arcade

Get your nerd on at the RMIT DomeLab Arcade! Running through May, the six-metre wide DomeLab will project animation, games and visual art experiences developed by RMIT and UNSW researchers. Check out the calendar of events here.

#8 The Fraud Complex

Launching on 6 May, The Fraud Complex is a collection of artworks which address our perception of what is real and what is fake in everyday life. Trippy amirite? Incorporating a range of mediums including video, sculpture and installation, The Fraud Complex is one of the best free exhibits to see in Melbourne this May.

#9 Kensington Market

This affectionately loved local event features an eclectic variety of boutique speciality traders and local artists. A monthly market that brings together Kensington, Flemington and traders from surrounding suburbs, you can expect to find homemade food, unique fashion and live buskers at the Kensington Market.  

#10 Melbourne Knowledge Week

You don’t have to be a trivia-god to attend Melbourne’s Knowledge Week, but it probably helps. Running from 2-8 of May at various Melbourne venues including 1000 £ Bend, free events include a VR lounge, introduction to engineering and a jam-packed calendar of talks.

#11 Guide Dog Victoria’s Exhibition

These gentle giants are getting an entire exhibition dedicated to their amazing work! Running until 10 May, the Recollections exhibit will explore the vital role of guide dogs in assisting vision-impaired people. Head into the State Library of Victoria to celebrate the work of guide dogs today!

#12 Hello Monday multi-language exchange

Moving to Spain and need to learn Spanish? Just learning German for kicks? Melbourne’s free language exchange runs every Monday night from 2 May at Eden Bar! Along with drink specials and a free BBQ with any drink purchase, you can practice your second tongue on people who can actually understand (kinda) what you’re saying.

#13 Buddha Day

You’re invited to celebrate Buddha’s (insert age here)th birthday! Running through the weekend of 14 May, head into Federation Square for free Tai Chi and meditation lessons. The celebration will also see vibrant live music, performances and Asian-inspired vegetarian cuisine served throughout the day.

#14 So You Think You Can Cook?

Applying to the next season of MKR with your (soon to be former) best mate? Use this as a research opportunity. Running two workshops in May, Chef Rajiv from Old Pepper will guide participants through Queen Victoria Market to highlight the best produce of the season before a cooking masterclass. Book your spot here.

#15 City Terrace Veggie Patch

Whether you have an always-damp one-person balcony or a backyard with enough room for an entire playground, this free workshop will show you how to utilize your space for the perfect winter garden. Run by the Multicultural Hub, guests will bring home their own herbs to get them started. Book here.

#16 Kirat Festival

A one-day only festival celebrating Kirat culture hailing from the Himalayas, this lively event will include traditional market stalls, scrumptious street food and live performances. Visitors are welcome to join in the public afternoon dances. Hint: don’t bring your Dad.

#17 Fiesta Malaysia

The brilliant culture that brought us winter-blasting laksa is getting an entire festival! Held at Federation Square on 21 May, food trucks championing Asian cuisine, traditional Malaysian performances and a range of demonstrations will run throughout the day. There’s also promised to be instant noodle slurping challenge, so write the date in your diaries!

#18 Sex In The City Trivia

Belleville’s second trivia night is going to be epic—bring your best girlfriends for a night of sex, city and some of Melbourne’s best roast chicken on 3 May. Sex In The City-inspired specials are promised to make an appearance. Booking is free, so head to the Facebook page for all the details.

Need to budget this month? You'll be able to afford something on our round up of the 100 of Melboune's Best Cheap Eats To Try!

Image credit: Rocky Road Festival, provided.

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