What's On

17 Free Things To Do In Melbourne In January

By Simon Cassar
1st Jan 2018


We're gonna go out on a limb and say your bank balance isn't looking so great right now. Christmas and New Years will do that to you. But hey—we've got some good news. There's heaps of free stuff to do in Melbourne this January. Game-changing exhibitions, twilight markets, Revolver Wednesdays (oh yeah, it's time)—they're all gonna cost you precisely zero dollars.

Here you go, Melbourne. 16 free things to do this January. 

NGV Triennial

Fancy seeing an 18-metre Buddha? We know you do. Head to NGV Triennial to check out the work of over 100 artists and designers from 32 countries around the world. This free exhibition is part of NGV International and encourages you to look at the world with fresh eyes…or through the eyes of an enormous Buddha.

Where: National Gallery of Victoria
When: Till April 2018
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.

Where: Domain House, Dallas Brooks Drive, South Yarra
When: Running till 12 January 2018, from 11am
For more info, click here.

Arbory Floating Bar

The guys at Arbory Bar have let their floating beverage bar loose once again just in time for summer, hop on board and enjoy a couple of refreshments and take in the scenes of Melbourne, it’s free to board this bad boy and if you’re hungry, you're in for an absolute treat with a mega stacked menu of goodies.

Where: 1 Flinders Walk, CBD
When: All summer long
For more info click here.

Climate Change Walk

What on earth is happening! This walk through the Royal Botanical gardens will be exploring how climate change has affected the plants and environment of our city. It's a ripper way to get a little more info about what real changes are happening and how to get involved.

Where: Royal Botanical Gardens Birdwood Ave, South Yarra 
When: Wed, Thurs, Friday 10.30am-12pm, till 15 February
For more info click here.

Free Comedy Night

Need a laugh? Of course you do. Get funny at the Brunny (their event name, not ours) every Monday fortnight to watch free comedy. If you’re feeling like splurging, they’ll be serving $10 jugs. Sounds like a cheap date night to us!

Where: Brunswick Hotel
When: 8pm, every second Monday
For more info, click here.

South Melbourne Night Market

Finally, the legendary South Melbourne Night Market kicks off this month, and it’s celebrating its 10th anniversary! Every Thursday night in January, head on over to South Melbourne Market for food, drinks and live entertainment. You’ll also be able to check out some of the crafts from local designers. You know where to find us.

Where: South Melbourne Market
When: Every Thursday night in January
For more info, click here.

St Kilda Twilight Market

Situated opposite Luna Park, off Acland St, this beach-adjacent market has plenty of stalls full of artwork, vintage/fashion clothing, crafts, plenty of produce, and heaps of delicious dinner/snack options. And if it’s a classic 30-degree day, afollowed by a stinking 30-degree night, refresh yourself in them waters. The perfect summer activity.

Where: O’Donnel Gardens, St Kilda
When: Every Thursday in Summer, 5pm to 10pm
For more info, click here.

Revolver Wednesday

Ah Revolver, the pinnacle of Melbourne nightlife is lending a helping hand to all of us on a budget. Wednesdays are gonna be packed to the brim with good tunes and good times and entry is free! Stay for a little or pack a toothbrush and settle in for a proper sesh. The legends at Revs don’t mind.

Where: Revolver Upstairs, 29 Chapel St, Prahran
When: Every Wednesday
For more info click here.

Peace Not War

A mix of Australian and International artists are coming together to stand up for human rights across the world. Located at ‘Library at the Dock’ in Docklands, this exhibition will feature artists like Michael Leunig, Godwin Bradbeer, Mirka Mora, Shaun Tan, Annie Franklin, Nick Ut, Gunter Grass, Vaclav Havel, Laila Rahman, Jacob Landau and Meek. 

When: Mon - Fri (8am - 7pm) Sat-Sun (10am-5pm), till 10 January 
Where: Library at The Dock 107-117 Victoria Harbour Promenade 
For more info, click h

BBQ Feast With One Block

One Block winemaker & Cumulus Inc co-founder, Jayden Ong, is throwing open the doors at his winery for the very first time—and it's gonna be 100% FREE. You'll be able to taste featured wines from One Block Wine, alongside La Maison de Ong, Moonlit Forest, and NAS. The guys from Meatsmith will be on the BBQ, and Yarra Valley Dairy are bringing the cheese!

When: 7 January, 14 January, 21 January, from 11am
Where: Chestnut Hill Vineyard, Mount Burnett
For more info, click here

NGV Kids Summer Festival

If the kids are out of school and driving you nuts, take them to NGV Kids Summer Festival. They’re hosting workshops, performances and interactive installations. The kids will be swamped with various arts and crafts, and it’s going to be a blast. If you want to let your creative energy flow too, don’t worry, it’s not just for kids.

Where: National Gallery of Victoria 
When: 10am-3pm daily, 8-14 January
For more info, click here.

Same-Sex Wedding At Altar Electric 

On 9 January, at 12:01am, Australia's first same-sex wedding will be taking place at The Altar Electric (Ferdydurk'e pop-up wedding chapel). And guess what—everyone's invited! You'll get to watch the wedding of Teegan and Mahatia, then boogie the morning away with a FREE party. Love wins all right.

Where: Ferdydurke, 239 Lonsdale St
12:01am, 9 January
For more info, click here

Federation Square Swing Dancing

Get down to Fed Square to practice that good old swing dance. There'll be free classes every Tuesday, so you can finally learn to cut up a rug and avoid the incessant foot stomping of your partner. Swing City will be also be hosting post boogie drinks at Transport Bar, so you’ll be able to enjoy some well earned refreshing beverages.

Where: Federation Square, Swanston St & Flinders St
When: Every Tuesday 6pm-7pm, 9 January – 27 February
For more info click here.

Heide Makers' Market

The crafty people at Rose St Artists’ are setting up shop at Heide Museum of Modern Art. It's a top spot for a frolic in the garden and now a chance to pick up something pretty special. If your credit card is still recovering from Christmas, maybe stick to window shopping. 

Where: 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen
When: 10am-3pm, 13 January
For more info click here.

The Midsumma Festival

This is a seriously good time, with a range of events happening throughout January inspired by the LGBTIQ community. There’s plenty of free fun times withCarnivalee, cabaret, summer cinema, art exhibitions, pride marches, talks, and even some fun for the little ones. Get down and get involved.

Where: Various
When: 14 January – 8 February
For more Info click here.

Australian Open At Fed Square

You might not be able to get into Rod Laver for free, but you can grab a rug and set up camp at Birrarung Marr and Federation Square, which will both feature large live broadcasts of matches with live music entertainment and some food stalls to tuck into.

Where: Birrarung Marr / Federation Square
When: 15 – 28 January
For more info, click here.

Plant & Seed Swap

How Melbourne is this! Hook up with other local green thumbs to swap some seeds plants, worms or just general tales of the old veggie patch. A perfect chance to get out and nab some new plant varieties and get some inspiration to jump back in the garden.

When: Saturday 20 January 2018, 10am -12pm
Where: Kathleen Syme Library 249-251 Faraday Street, Carlton
For more info, click here.

You know what else is cheap? A Golden Gaytime cheesecake on a stick

Image credit: National Gallery Of Victoria 

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