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10 free things to do in Melbourne

Blog | Melbourne | La Trobe St

Living in one of the most liveable cities like Melbourne is already exciting, but what if you could enjoy more for free? Here come ten well-selected activities that you can do in Melbourne for free. All the locations are within walking distance or need a short tram ride. Let’s have an enjoyable and wallet-friendly time in Melbourne!

1.   Visit the Dome in a 164 year old library

Just four minutes’ walk from Atira La Trobe St, The State Library of Victoria is a perfect place to explore literature and history. Established in 1856, this library is well famous for the Dome (now it’s renamed as the La Trobe Reading Room). Natural light falling from the 35-metre high skylight brightens up the specially designed octagonal space. The asymmetrical interior and exterior design will make you surprised by how wonderful human creation can be.2. Explore the stunning Arcades

If you’re looking for a vintage and classic a shopping mall, here’s the answer. Brimming with mosaic tiled flooring, glass canopy, wrought iron and carved stone finishing, the Arcades combine all the retro decorations in a stunning way. Filled with all kinds of antique stores and delicacy shops, walking in the Arcades is like stepping back to the gold rush time. Among all the Arcades, the Block Arcade and the Royal Arcade are most famous and are now part of the Victorian heritage. It’s a must-see if you are stopping by the city.

3. Wander the artistic and foodie laneways

The true spirit of Melbourne doesn’t emanate from the ambitious high-rises, but rather, the connotative laneways. Dating back to the Victorian era, laneways in Melbourne were served by horses and carts, but today, are part of the artsy lifestyle of the locals. Each laneway has its unique vibe. Hosier laneway and Union lane gather numerous street arts while Flinders lane and Romeo lane are full of soul nourishing cafés, bars and restaurants. Spend a lazy afternoon exploring the laneways is one the best way to understand the culture of Melbourne.

4.  Witness an event at Federation Square 
As far as “the meeting point” for Melbournians are concerned, Fed Square is no doubt on the top of the list. Built on the roofed railway yard, Fed Square was in the past, criticised for its irregular look and was once rated as one of the world ugliest buildings. Over time, the building has come to be appreciated and now it’s now an integral part of Melbourne. From carnivals to movie nights, there’s always something going on. And here’s a secret, if you stand near the Federation bells after a rain, there’s a good chance you can see a rainbow!

5. Enjoy a moment of peace at St Paul’s Cathedral

Compared to the busy and modern impression of Fed Square, St Paul’s Cathedral is an iconic representation of the quiet and peaceful side of Melbourne. The second you step into the church, all the hustle and bustle of the city is left behind. The brilliant gothic design encourages you to take a moment to enjoy some peace of mind. At the South corner outside the cathedral, you can find the best spot to take a photo with Flinders Street Station.

6. Take a shot of the city panoramic view at the Shrine of Remembrance

If you’ve ever stood on the tram stop at Flinders Street Station, you probably noticed a certain building on the middle of the St Kilda Road. That building is the Shrine of Remembrance, a war memorial for the people who fought for Australia. The road built bypasses the building so everyone can see it even from Swanston Street. Besides paying your respect to the fallen, you can have a panoramic view of the whole city on the top floor of the building. Share the Australian spirit with your friends!

7. Feast your eyes at the National Gallery Victoria

As Australia’s oldest, largest and most visited art museum, NGV contains around 75,000 incredible works of art as well as hosting two super instagramable spots that you can’t miss! The first one is the water wall at the entrance. When the sunlight passes the half-moon-shaped door and pours through the falling water on the huge glass wall, it automatically adds a beautiful filter to your pictures. The second spot is the Great Hall. Covered by the largest stained glass ceiling in the world, the colourful geometric glass creates a dream-like atmosphere that is perfect for a good photo.
Free entry without booking.

8. Visit Melbourne’s city oasis

Getting tired of the city noise? The Royal Botanic Garden is a wonderful getaway to nature. Located at the edge of the city, you can instantly immerse yourself into this 38 hectare oasis without a long trip. Pick up your basket to have a nice picnic with your friends or do some yoga by the lakes, the Royal Botanic Garden will always meet your nature heart.

free entry without booking.

9. Penguin viewing at St Kilda Pier

Cancel your ticket to Antarctica! You can see penguins right now at St Kilda. Every day after sunset, the little penguins come back to the pier and take a break after a day’s hunting. You can see them on the boardwalk and even take pictures of them. But remember, don’t turn on the flashlight since it will blind the penguins.
free entry without booking.

10. Watch the sunset at Docklands

There’s nothing more glamorous than the sunset shining on the quiet port. At the west edge of the city you can have a nice walk alongside the port, enjoy the gentle breeze from the Yarra River, and watch the sunset come down over the Bolte Bridge and sink into the water. What a good way to end the day and prepare for Melbourne’s nightlife!


Stay tuned for future instalments of free things to do in Brisbane. We’ll also be posting some cool, free things to do in Melbourne and Adelaide over the coming weeks too!


By Gavin Yu – Atira La Trobe St Resident

Have fun exploring!

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