32 Free Things to do in Melbourne
Entertaining little ones can be an expensive pursuit. The activities they love – everything from watching movies to skating and bowling – all cost money and, if you’ve got a large family, it can add up quickly. Don't stress, we've got six little words to help: free things to do in Melbourne.
In between those special treat outings, it’s great to know that our fabulous city also offers a range of free things to do in Melbourne. Here are some of our favourites.
32 Free Things to do in Melbourne
1. Visit the Serendip Sanctuary
Explore Serendip Sanctuary, a perfect family destination showcasing the Western Plains' woodlands and wetlands. Discover over 150 bird species and encounter emus and kangaroos up close.
With free entry, the sanctuary offers picnic spots, nature walks, and an Information Centre with hands-on displays.
Location: 100 Windermere Road, Lara
2. Ride the City Circle Tram
When was the last time you had a good look around your own city?
On the free City Circle Tram, it’s easy - and the guided tour commentary fills you in on some highlights of history. The Heritage W class trams that ride this journey are just like the ones from 1923, with wooden seats, brass fittings and leather hand straps.
Check out the route to see the amazing tourist attractions it takes you past and how it can link you up with other tram and transport routes.
3. See St Kilda's Little Penguins
Yes, there are Little Penguins at Phillip Island, but that’s an epic trip that could set you back quite a bit. Down at St Kilda however, the resident penguins are doing similar things, making this one of our favourite free things to do in Melbourne. Making a donation to the St. Kilda Penguins will help protect these wonderful little creatures. There is a spot to donate on-site).
To protect this precious colony, visitors do need to think about the impact their visit might have, so please be mindful and encourage those around you to respect the habitat as well. Flash photography can be frightening, and following penguins back to their nests to get a closer look at their babies by poking a selfie stick down their burrow is definitely not on!
Location: Pier Rd, St Kilda
4. Stroll Down Hosier Lane
Immerse yourself in Melbourne's vibrant street art scene by taking a leisurely stroll down Hosier Lane.
This is another one of our favourite free things to do in Melbourne as we get to admire the colourful and ever-changing graffiti and murals that adorn the walls, capturing the city's artistic spirit.
Location: Hosier Lane, Melbourne
5. Discover Sailing Days
If your kids have ever dreamed of sailing the seven seas, learning how to do it properly is a good start, especially when it's one of the top free things to do in Melbourne!
Several times a year, there are free Discover Sailing Days that take you out on the water without taking out your wallet. It's a fun day out on the open sea and a chance for kids and adults to learn the ropes!
6. Storytime at Your Local Library
If you're the parent of a young child, finding free things to do in Melbourne during the week is a great way to keep your little one stimulated, and it doesn't hurt to get out of the house!
Storytime at your local library is a perfect choice! It combines stories, songs and even some movement for interactive fun that helps nurture a love of books – and libraries. You can sing along too!
Because they are weekday events, Storytime caters to the pre-school set and there are often multiple events for different age groups. It's also worthwhile checking what other events they might have coming up, particularly during school holidays. Libraries often have really interesting, and generally free, workshop activities for older kids.
7. Visit the RAAF Museum
Do your children know that Australia is home to the second oldest air force in the world? This little piece of history is explained here in Melbourne at the RAAF Museum, with a variety of planes on display to help illustrate how aircraft design has changed over the years.
On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays an interactive flying display kicks off at 1 pm. It's a fantastic way to see some vintage planes in action.
Free guided tours are also available, but it’s important to book first. Hearing trained volunteer host officers provide a unique insight into Australian aviation history, the Air Force, and RAAF Base Point Cook will add a whole new level to the experience – especially if your children have a real interest in flying. Admission to the museum is free, but donations are gratefully accepted.
Location: 480-490 Point Cook Rd, Point Cook
8. Spend a Day at Fitzroy Gardens
If you’ve got a day in the city planned with your children and looking for free things to do in Melbourne, take some time out for a trip to Fitzroy Gardens.
Safe, wide-open spaces for kids to explore in the CBD are a rarity, so this sprawling park is a winner! There’s an English-style garden, as well as avenues lined with impressive mature trees that your kids will be in awe of. A small playground, a model Tudor village, the Fairies Tree, Cook’s Cottage and the stunning conservatory are all wonderful to visit and will leave a great impression.
Going into Cook’s Cottage will cost you, but looking at it from the outside is good too!
Location: Wellington Parade, East Melbourne
9. Soak up the Vibes at Queen Victoria Market
Of course, it won’t be free if you shop for anything but just browsing is great fun at the famous Queen Victoria Market.
If the only thing you fork out for is a serving of the amazing churros from the food truck out the front, you can buy yourself some looking time while the kids enjoy dipping the deep-fried treats in the delicious chocolate sauce!
The historic site stretches across two city blocks and is packed with colourful characters, hawking everything from broccoli to bratwurst. Queen Victoria Market also host special events, including a book market, night markets and free school holiday activities.
Location: Queen St, Melbourne
10. Get in on the Action at Riverslide Skate Park
This inner-city skate park has a reputation as one of Melbourne’s best – and it’s free, but beware, the action can get pretty dangerous at Riverslide Skate Park when it’s crowded, as everyone from beginners to highly skilled daredevils tries their skills on scooters, skateboards and BMX bikes.
When you are ready to invest dollars and time into ramping up your little one’s skills, weekend classes and school holiday clinics are all on offer.
Location: Boathouse Dr, Melbourne
11. Explore the NGV Ian Potter Centre
The striking building in Federation Square is in itself a sight to behold! Walking through the doors of The Ian Potter Centre gallery and exploring the diverse range of Aboriginal and modern Australian artworks is also a fun and fascinating experience that can inspire little minds and help develop their artistic appreciation.
General entry is free, but there are some additional costs for special events.
Location: Federation Square, Flinders St and Russell St, Melbourne
12. Watch the Street Performers at Federation Square
While you're in the area, don't forget to check out a bustling hub of cultural events and entertainment at Federation Square.
Watch talented street performers, catch a live music performance, or simply relax and people-watch in this vibrant public space.
Location: Federation Square
13. Picnic in the Royal Botanic Gardens
Entry to the Royal Botanic Gardens is free and having a picnic there is a lovely way to spend time with your kids. It can be even more delightful when you can get them involved in the planning - if they’re old enough to help prepare food! Baking banana bread, or making a cake, will give them a delicious treat to look forward to. Your favourite fruit and sandwiches, plus dips, crackers and cheese are all easy, low-cost snacks you can take for a beautiful day in serene natural surroundings.
Don't forget a picnic rug, a bag to put rubbish in and your sense of adventure. Please remember that no sports games are allowed in the Gardens to protect the precious plants.
14. Wander Along the Yarra River
The picturesque Yarra River provides plenty of free things to do in Melbourne.
Enjoy a leisurely walk along the Yarra River as you marvel at the cityscape, soak in the peaceful ambience, and perhaps even spot some native wildlife along the way!
15. Visit the Shrine of Remembrance
Pay homage to Australia's servicemen and women at the Shrine of Remembrance.
Explore the stunning memorial, soak in the solemn atmosphere, and enjoy panoramic views of Melbourne from the observation deck.
Location: Birdwood Ave, Melbourne
16. Explore the Royal Arcade
Stepping back in time at the historic Royal Arcade is one of our favourite free things to do in Melbourne.
Marvel at the stunning architecture, browse through unique boutiques and specialty shops and don't forget to look up and spot the famous Gauntlet of Gargoyles.
Location: 335 Bourke St, Melbourne
17. Stop in at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI)
Dive into the world of film, television, and digital culture at the ACMI.
Entry is free and allows you to explore interactive exhibits, watch screenings of classic films, and learn about the history of Australian cinema.
Location: Federation Square, Flinders St, Melbourne
18. Join a Free Walking Tour
Why not be a tourist in your hometown on a free walking tour?
Several companies offer free walking tours of Melbourne, led by knowledgeable guides where you can learn about the city's history, architecture, and culture as you explore its hidden corners and iconic landmarks.
19. Attend a Free Concert at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl
Free things to do in Melbourne don't get more fabulous than the free events at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl!
Held throughout the year, the Sidney Myer Music Bowl hosts free concerts by renowned artists and musicians. Pack a picnic, bring a blanket, and enjoy an afternoon or evening of free fun.
Location: Kings Domain Gardens, Linlithgow Ave, Melbourne
20. Enjoy the Southbank Promenade
Take a leisurely stroll along the Southbank Promenade, lined with restaurants, cafes, and street performers, and enjoy the lively atmosphere.
21. Immerse Yourself in History at the Old Treasury Building
Step back in time at the Old Treasury Building and learn about the city's fascinating history through its exhibitions and guided tours.
Location: 20 Spring St, East Melbourne
22. Discover the Vibrant Laneways
Explore Melbourne's famous laneways, such as Degraves Street and Centre Place, filled with charming cafes, unique boutiques, and vibrant street art.
23. Wander Through Dandenong Ranges National Park
Take a day trip to the nearby Dandenong Ranges National Park, where lush forests, stunning vistas, and peaceful walking trails await.
Location: School Rd, Tremont
24. Take a Self-guided Street Art Tour
Did you know that Fitzroy is home to loads of free street art? Venture into the trendy neighbourhood of Fitzroy and explore its vibrant street art scene, where creativity knows no bounds.
25. Experience the Abbotsford Convent
Visit the Abbotsford Convent, Australia's largest arts and cultural precinct housed in a historic building with galleries, gardens, and markets that are open year-round and free to explore.
Location: 1 St Heliers St, Abbotsford
26. Attend a Free Yoga Class in the Park
Join one of the many free yoga classes held in city parks, promoting health and wellness for all.
27. Discover the Gertrude Contemporary Art Space
Visit the Gertrude Contemporary Art Space, a free platform for contemporary artists, and witness thought-provoking exhibitions and installations.
Location: 44 Glasshouse Rd, Collingwood
28. Walk the Capital City Trail
Embark on a scenic walk or bike ride along the Capital City Trail, a 29-kilometre loop that takes you through beautiful parks and iconic landmarks.
29. Traverse the Werribee Park Sculpture Walk
One of our favourite free things to do in Melbourne with the kids, take a journey through the Werribee Park Sculpture Walk, featuring large-scale artworks set amidst the stunning landscape of Werribee Park.
Location: Werribee South
30. Visit the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA)
Another free thing to do in Melbourne for art lovers, immerse yourself in contemporary art at the ACCA, where cutting-edge exhibitions and installations challenge traditional boundaries.
Location: 111 Sturt St, Southbank
31. Stop off at the Victoria Police Museum
Gain insights into the fascinating history of law enforcement in Victoria at the Victoria Police Museum, with exhibits ranging from historic crimes to forensic techniques.
Location: 313 Spencer St, Docklands
32. Soak up the Atmosphere at St. Kilda Beach
End your itinerary of free things to do in Melbourne with a visit to St Kilda Beach.
Take a stroll along the promenade, dip your toes in the water, or just enjoy the stunning sunsets over Port Phillip Bay - bliss!
Location: St Kilda
More Fun Things to do in Melbourne
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