20 Top Rated Things to do in Melbourne (Australia)

Things to do in Melbourne

Melbourne’s multiculturalism usually places it at the top of the list of the world’s most livable cities. You may find out why by visiting this thriving city at the mouth of Port Phillip Bay. Australia’s second largest city emits an unmistakable European vibe. Grand Victorian structures harken back to the city’s Gold Rush era. On the other hand, its tree-lined promenades and a network of hidden laneways make exploring the city extremely rewarding.

Culture is a huge lure and is one of the top things to do in Melbourne. The city’s renowned museums and galleries offer a wealth of artistic opportunities. 

Foodies can also find enough to enjoy. Famous Australian chefs show off their skills here, churning up unique creations from around the world – from Greek, Italian, and Indian food to Spanish and Vietnamese.

But sports are undoubtedly Melbourne’s most famous claim to fame. Everybody in the country comes to a complete standstill for the renowned Melbourne Cup horse race, which is held on the first Tuesday in November. And Australian Rules football (“footy”) inspires near-religious awe. Don’t skip the game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) while you’re here.

In Melbourne, you’ll never be bored. Explore the city’s numerous galleries, cafés, and stores; stroll through lush gardens; cruise along the Yarra River; or catch a heritage tram to discover its beauty.

Melbourne has a thriving arts scene as well. Highlights include the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (March to April), and if you’re looking for things to do in Melbourne in September, grab some tickets to the Melbourne International Film Festival. Looking for a little bit of nature? A short drive from the city hum can take you to exciting day trip experiences.

We’ve compiled a list of Melbourne’s top attractions and things to do so you can research the city’s top destinations before you start your sightseeing tour.

1. Visit Federation Square

Things to do in Melbourne, Federation Square

When Federation Square opened in 2002 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Melbourne’s federation, it divided the city. It was adored and despised by different people. In any case, “Fed Square” has become a vital feature of the city, a popular meeting place, and an excellent starting point for travellers. Ans, is one of the top activities to  do in Australia.

Fed Square is impossible to overlook. It is directly across the street from Flinders Street Station, a significant public transportation hub. The ultramodern design of open and closed rooms in the building contrasts sharply with the neighbouring Victorian architecture.

Locals and visitors alike are drawn here by the live entertainment. The central outdoor performance space and quaint inner venues regularly host more than 2,000 events, so there’s always a show or festival to enjoy.

Additionally, there are many restaurants and cafés in this area. Fed Square is also one of Australia’s most populous free Wi-Fi hotspots.

2. The Shrine of Remembrance Teaches about the Anzacs

Things to do in Melbourne, Shrine of Remembrance

The Shrine was constructed after the First World War to honour Victorians who had fought in the war, whether on the front lines or at home. 

It now sits majestically amid the gardens of Kings Domain. It now serves as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by Australian servicemen and women. It is also the focal point for ceremonies on ANZAC Day (April 25) and Remembrance Day (November 11) each year.

View images, artefacts, and works of art relating to Australians who served in conflict and peacekeeping missions at the Galleries of Remembrance under the shrine.

Daily guided and self-guided tours are provided, and the building’s lighting is especially magnificent at night. The 13 hectares of neighbouring parkland and the city beyond are both beautifully visible from the patio and is something you must do in Melbourne.

If you have a chance to be in Melbourne on a Sunday, you can attend a Last Post Service with bugle calls and wreath-laying at the Eternal Flame at 4:45pm.

3. Enjoy Southbank & South Wharf’s Cultural Offerings

Things to do in Melbourne, Southbank

What to do in Melbourne Australia for some culture? Make your way to Southbank. This gorgeous neighbourhood is located on the banks of the Yarra River, and is packed with shops, cafés, and cultural attractions. At any time of year, it’s a lovely spot for a stroll along the river.

Looking for things to do in Melbourne at night? Here, you’ll find some of the best nightlife in the city, particularly around South Wharf, where historic sheds have been transformed into exciting entertainment hubs. It’s an interesting space after dark, when the city lights illuminate and reflect off the river.

In addition, Southbank offers attractive outdoor eateries, live performances, and festivals that add to the area’s festive atmosphere.

If you enjoy shopping, there is an amazing arts and crafts fair here every Sunday. Additionally, you can splurge at exclusive designer boutiques or score a deal at DFO South Wharf factory outlets.

If you enjoy shopping, there is an amazing arts and crafts fair here every Sunday. Additionally, you can splurge at exclusive designer boutiques or score a deal at DFO South Wharf factory outlets.

Do you want to go to a show? The Malthouse Theatre features everything from musical theatre, dance, drama, and comedy to contemporary opera and cabaret. Alternatively, go to the Southbank Theatre to see a performance by the Melbourne Theatre Company. 

Keep an eye out for public art, such as The Travellers steel sculptures along Sandridge Bridge and the bust of Queen Bee on the side of the famous Eureka Tower.

Looking for family-friendly activities in Southbank? Climb aboard Polly Woodside at South Wharf. It is one of the country’s only surviving 19th-century tall ships.

4. Attend a Match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground

Things to do in Melbourne, Melbourne Cricket Ground

What is Melbourne known for? It should come as no surprise that a sports stadium is one of Melbourne’s top tourist attractions given that it is Australia’s hub of sport. The 18th century Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) has a 100,000-person capacity and is regarded as one of the best stadiums in the entire world. Additionally, it is Australia’s biggest and oldest sporting facility.

Daily tours take tourists on a journey through the National Sports Museum, which includes the Australian Gallery of Sport and the Olympic Museum. In the summer, you may watch cricket, and in the winter, you can watch football.

5. Explore the arcades and alleys of Melbourne

arcades and alleys of Melbourne

One of the most popular things to do in Melbourne is to explore the network of lanes and streets. Visit the area around Flinders, Collins, and Bourke Streets to see Melbourne at its most elegant, engaging, and eccentric.

The majestic Block Arcade on Collins Street is one of Melbourne’s most well-liked destinations for luxury shopping. This is the location where the late 19th-century nobility browsed, coining the phrase, “doing the block,” with its mosaic floor, antique elements, and high – end retail. 

Everything from Haigh’s Chocolates and antique jewellery to designer couture, collectibles, and cafés can be found here.

The maze of side alleyways is lined with inviting cafés. Spend some time ordering a coffee, sitting down, and people-watching; it’s a popular Melbourne activity.

Melbourne’s oldest arcade, the magnificent Royal Arcade, is worth a visit, as are Flinders and Degraves Lanes. Ensure that you visit all the hotspots. Several tour firms offer walking tours of the alleys and laneways.

6. CERES Community Environment Park is a Great Place to go green

Things to do in Melbourne, CERES Community Environment Park

Locals in Brunswick come here to buy organic vegetables and explore the market. But CERES is also a city park and environmental protection centre and is one of the best things to see in Melbourne. If you’re interested in sustainability, there’s a bookstore, organic cafe, and permaculture nursery on the premises. 

There are hens to see, a little playground, and occasionally kid-oriented programmes for visitors with kids. Merri Creek and the surrounding park space are close to CERES. 

7. Chill at the Royal Botanical Gardens

Things to do in Melbourne, Royal Botanical Gardens

The Royal Botanic Gardens in the city are among the best of their kind in the entire globe and is one of the top things to see in Melbourne

The Melbourne Gardens are located in the centre of lush parkland south of the Yarra River, approximately two kilometres from the CBD. They cover 38 hectares and are home to approximately 10,000 plant species from over the world, including several rare kinds.

There is the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden which is created to inspire the next generation of gardeners. The other highlights includes the Fern Gully Health and Wellbeing Garden which is a peaceful retreat away from the city’s hustle and bustle.  The Aboriginal Heritage Walk delves into the rich history of Indigenous Australians.

The grounds come alive in the summer with live theatre and a moonlight cinema under the stars. With its rolling lawns, lakes, huge trees, and plentiful birds, this is a lovely place to relax and enjoy a picnic. You can also have a traditional high tea at The Terrace café.

This is one of the top free things to do in Melbourne, regardless of what time of year you visit these lovely gardens.

8. Views from Eureka Tower’s Skydeck are the sight to behold

Things to do in Melbourne, Eureka Tower's Skydeck

Where can you get a beautiful view of the city? Visit the 91-story Eureka Tower in Southbank. This spectacular tower was named after the 1854 Eureka Stockade, a prodigy revolt in the Victorian goldfields. The gold crown and gold-plated windows of the building truly shimmer when the light shines on the top of the structure.

The 88th storey Skydeck offers the highest public view of any building in the Southern Hemisphere. Head out onto The Edge, a glass cube that glides out three metres from the building. Not for the faint-hearted ones.

Insider Tip: Show here at sunset for breathtaking views of the city during both day and night as the sun submerges below the horizon.

9. The Melbourne Museum and Royal Exhibition Building is worth exploring

Things to do in Melbourne, Royal Exhibition Building

The Melbourne Museum is a short tram ride from the city centre and is surrounded by lovely parks and gardens. This contemporary, purpose-built museum is home to a wide variety of exhibits that cover science, the environment, humanity, and various cultures.

A few highlights are the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, the Phar Lap exhibit, which tells the story of Australia’s greatest racehorse, and the Children’s Gallery, which features a variety of interactive games and activities for young people. 

Additionally, you can take a stroll through a lively forest and savour a world filled with life-sized dinosaurs, and is one of the top stuff to do in Melbourne.

The grandiose Royal Exhibition Building is very next to the Melbourne Museum. This 18th century edifice houses Melbourne’s International Exhibition. It also hosted the first Commonwealth Parliament of Australia in 1901. 

10. Learn about the life and time of Captain’s Cook at Fitzroy Gardens

Captain’s Cook at Fitzroy Gardens

Captain James Cook’s childhood home in Yorkshire, England was transported to Melbourne. It was built inside Fitzroy Gardens as Captain Cook’s Cottage. The adorable home offers a glimpse of Cook’s maritime exploits and discovery of Australia and other continents.

The spectacular Spanish-mission style conservatory is also located in the picturesque Fitzroy Gardens. Little Tudor village and Fairy Tree are sure to delight kids.

After meandering through the gardens, travel to Fitzroy for some of Melbourne’s best vegan food, antique shopping, and spectacular graffiti art.

11. Take a Yarra River cruise

A river boat ride not only provides a relaxing opportunity to enjoy the scenery, but it also provides insight into the history of the Yarra River. It’s a great way to get oriented before beginning a walking tour of the city because there are so many boat companies along Southbank.

While gliding along the river, keep an eye out for Birrarung Marr, a waterfront parkland highlighting Aboriginal ties to the Yarra River and is one of the top activities in Melbourne Australia.

12. Explore the Bustling Foreshore of St. Kilda

St. Kilda

When you go to Melbourne the St. Kilda beachfront neighborhood has a mischievous flair. It is further  epitomized by the slightly scary but somehow captivating creepy clown mask that forms the entrance to Luna Park. 

While strolling around St Kilda Foreshore, you’ll have to evade rollerbladers and cyclists. But the vibe continues on bright days with bustling outdoor cafes and beer gardens. 

A fantastic panoramic view of the Melbourne skyline is available at the end of St Kilda Pier, where you can stop for a coffee and a photo and is one of the top activities in Melbourne Australia

Even better, you might even get to see one of St. Kilda’s cutest inhabitants: the little penguins that make their nests between the breakwater’s rocks.

13. Visit the Parliament Building

Things to do in Melbourne, Parliament Building

A well-kept tourist secret is the Parliament House and is one of the top attractions in Melbourne. From 1901 to 1927, this was the site of Australia’s first federal parliament, and the building’s majestic colonnaded facade is a prominent landmark on Spring Street.

One of Australia’s oldest public structures was erected during the Gold Rush. Its interior has been lavishly embellished with gold leaf, chandeliers, and a magnificent mosaic floor.

On days that parliament is in session, the public galleries allow you to observe the proceedings of the two Houses. On days when parliament is not in session, free, educational tours are offered Monday through Friday. Definitely, one of the best things to do in Melbourne Australia.

National Gallery of Victoria

The National Gallery of Victoria is the crown gem of Melbourne’s culture. It is not just Australia’s oldest public art gallery, but also its most popular stuff to do in Melbourne. More than 70,000 pieces of art from Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and America are on display here in two urban settings.

The international collection is housed in the St. Kilda Road building, which first opened in 1968. The Great Hall, where visitors are urged to lie on the floor and stare at the brilliant stained-glass ceiling, is a highlight of the structure.

The enormous Australian collection is housed in the Ian Potter Gallery in Federation Square. It showcases the history of Australian art, from Aboriginal pieces to the Bismarck Style and contemporary mixed media. Frederick McCubbin’s The Pioneer, a massive triptych, is among the highlights.

At the National Gallery of Victoria, there is always a fresh exhibit to view. It hosts around 40 exhibitions every year, as well as special events, children’s activities, tours, and concerts. Best of all, admission to the permanent displays is free.

15. Explore the City by Tram

City by Tram

Want to experience Melbourne like a local? Embark on the City Circle Tram. Melbourne is known for its trams, and is a convenient and cost-free way to view the key attractions in the CBD and Docklands.

The hop-on, hop-off heritage tram, which is accompanied by a discourse, passes several of the major historic structures, including Parliament House, the Old Treasury Building, the Princess Theatre, and the Windsor Hotel. You can also get off at prominent sights such as Federation Square. The trams travel the entire loop in roughly 50 minutes and run every 12 minutes.

You can board the tram at any station along the City Circle route seven days a week, except on Christmas Day and Good Friday and is one of the top activities in Melbourne Australia.

16. Taste Delectable Foods at Queen Victoria Market

Queen Victoria Market

Gourmet foods are offered for sale in large boxes at this old market. The largest open-air market in Australia, or “Vic Market,” has more than 600 vendors and draws thousands of customers each day. 

Browse fresh products amidst the booming yells of fishmongers and fruit and vegetable dealers. The elaborate deli hall offers everything from soft cheeses and fresh dips to organic wines, Polish sausage, and kangaroo biltong. 

Pack a picnic and head to adjacent Flagstaff Gardens for lunch and are among the top activities to do in Australia.

17. Visit the Arts Centre Melbourne to Catch a Performance

Arts Centre Melbourne

The premier arts and cultural facility in the city is Arts Centre Melbourne. It is on the banks of the Yarra River, near South Bank, and is a superb site to witness a performance of theatre, dance, music, comedy, and more.

Modern theatres and venues can be found throughout the Arts Centre Melbourne. These venues include the State Theatre, which is the home of The Australian Ballet and Opera Australia. Other highlights include the 884-seat Playhouse, the smaller Fairfax Studio, and Hamer Hall. The Hammer Hall serves as the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s principal concert venue. 

You can go a short distance to the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in the Kings Domain Gardens to see an outdoor performance.

Visit the Australian Music Vault while you’re here. The history of Australian current music is presented in this free exhibition.

18. Visit the Immigration Museum to Learn about Melbourne’s Heritage

Things to do in Melbourne, Immigration Museum

Want to learn more about the people who call Melbourne home? The Immigration Museum shares the true tales of individuals who immigrated to this country across the globe. Customs was the first stop for anybody arriving in Melbourne, and their moving tales serve to explain why the city is now so diverse.

The museum is housed in the magnificent Old Customs House and features an interactive and fascinating permanent collection. Special exhibitions enhance the museum’s popularity.

A visit here offers an alternative viewpoint on early European settlement and its effects on Indigenous people. If you’re looking for things to do in Melbourne on a wet day, this is a terrific alternative.

19. Animal Meetups at the Melbourne Zoo are Something not to miss

Melbourne

The 22-hectare Melbourne Zoo offers a wide variety of attractions for animal lovers, including big cats and butterflies. 

This 18th century Victorian-era  zoo is only five minutes from Melbourne’s central business district and is home to more than 250 different species of animals.

Here you’ll find creatures from all over the world and it is one of the fun things to do in Melbourne Australia. The acclaimed Trail of the Elephants offers a glimpse into the daily lives of the local Asian elephants in a traditional village garden setting. 

Another noteworthy location is the Orang-utan Sanctuary, where the primates reside in a treetop habitat. 

Additionally, you can follow a bush track to encounter your favourite Australian wildlife, such as kangaroos, and Koalas.

Melbourne Zoo provides a fun-filled experience for animal enthusiasts, with various exciting encounters such as “roar and snore,” twilight music concerts, and behind-the-scenes tours of the wildlife.

20. Observe the beautiful view at Docklands

Docklands

Melbourne’s newest waterfront leisure district is called Docklands. The satellite village is packed with cafes, restaurants, and tourist attractions.  At night, it’s the visited sights and is one of the top things to do in Melbourne this weekend.

Each individual will be able to discover something here. The Melbourne Star, a massive observation wheel, offers panoramic views of Melbourne, the Dandenong Ranges, and Port Phillip Bay. Take pictures at the interactive 3D art gallery ArtVo, take a tour of Public Art Walk, or visit Blender Studios to take in some street art scenes.

In addition, Docklands is home to the Etihad Stadium, Junior Wonderland, and the Icehouse, a premier ice sports complex.

Would you like to go shopping? Every Sunday, a vintage and art market is also held along the shore, and you can shop to your heart’s content in the outdoor mall.   From Turkish and Vietnamese food to contemporary Australian innovations, you may dine around the world.

Best Places to Eat in Melbourne, Australia

Places to Eat in Melbourne Melbourne Cutler & Co

Melbourne is the place to go if you go primarily for the purpose of indulging in copious amounts of food. The impact of multiple waves of immigration can be seen at every level, from the city’s long-standing passion with coffee to a European drinking culture to an abundance of Vietnamese and Punjabi cuisine. In essence, Melbourne has access to any type of food.

There’s much to eat in the main Central Business District, but there’s also plenty in nearby districts including Fitzroy, Carlton, and Richmond.

The Melbourne culinary scene is vibrant, wildly diverse, and yes, fairly pricey. However, if you enjoy food, Melbourne should be on your travel itinerary. You have a lot to get through, so perhaps consider eating more than just three meals a day. Here’s where you need to go – 

  • Cutler & Co – The ideal illustration of a Melbourne restaurant is Cutler & Co. Simple, bistro-style meals served in a fine dining atmosphere that is also casual and comfortable. Supernormal is the Asian equivalent of Cumulus, Ricky & Pinky is typical Australian-Chinese food gone posh inside a pub, and Marion is the pinnacle of wine bars that you must try.
  • Cookie – It’s not that Cookie is ever empty or quiet, but it’s been around for so long. It is so consistently fantastic that Melbourne has come to expect it. They serve some of the greatest Thai in the city.
  • Kaprica – There’s a pizza shop in Carlton that has the vibe of being on a quiet street in Rome, close to Melbourne University. Wine is served in tumblers here. The menus are handwritten photocopies that are frequently stained with red wine.  Yes, the pastas are deliciou. So are the thin-crust, minimally topped pizzas and is the main highlight of this eatery.  
  • Minamishima – Chinese restaurants in Australia do not serve chicken chow mein or General Tso’s anything. The Chinese food served here is somewhat different from that served in China; it is far less sweet and may even be somewhat more authentic . Order the noodle soup, half a roast duck, and the shrimp with salt and pepper.

Best Places to stay in Melbourne

Sofitel Melbourne

If you’ve ever Googled “the top hotels in Melbourne,” you’ve probably been shocked by the sheer number of results. It only makes sense that our city, a well-liked tourist destination, is home to hundreds of hotels that offer a wide range of styles, prices, and services. We’ve reviewed the majority of the options to make it easier for you to go through the choices by compiling their top suggestions below.

  • Sofitel Melbourne – This five-star hotel features all the high-end amenities you’d expect from any accommodations.   Modern furnishings, king-sized mattresses, and floor-to-ceiling windows offer magnificent city views to visitors. Finish off your visit by dominating the city while sipping a Martini in the Atrium Bar on the 35th floor.
  • Mövenpick Hotel Melbourne – The Melbourne CBD now has Australia’s second Mövenpick Hotel, and it offers a tonne of benefits that will make your stay delightful from check-in to check-out. The ideal place to stay for people interested in seeing the city and beyond. It is conveniently located only across the street from Southern Cross Station.
  • The Langham – This Southbank institution possesses all of the vital qualities required to create an excellent hotel experience. The Deluxe River Corner Room, the expansive Chairman Suite, and the indoor 15-metre pool inside the Langham’s heavenly Chuan Spa all have spectacular metropolitan skyline and Yarra River views. 
  • Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands – Australia has recently seen the construction of a brand-new Marriott Hotel, and it is absolutely magnificent. The heated wet-edge infinity pool is 15 stories up and offers panoramic city views.  That should have sparked your appetite for a stay at this five-star hotel, but there’s plenty more to look forward to.

Conclusion

By exploring Melbourne, you’ll find a number of fascinating spots and activities. You may want to start the day at the Royal Botanic Gardens for a bit of peaceful reading by its famous lake. Explore the renowned Melbourne museum on your way back to the city centre and enjoy its architectural landmark, Parliament House Section. As the sun sets, head over to Eureka Tower and take in a breathtaking view of the city from above. End your day with a paddle boating adventure along the Yarra River. The next day, there’s no shortage of things to do in Melbourne. For example, visit Queen Victoria Market or explore Chinatown in Footscray.

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