The Top Free Things to do in Melbourne.


There’s so much to do in Melbourne that it can at times get overwhelming sorting it all out.  Luckily, we did it for you. From the local busking music scene to the picturesque alleyways, there are many hidden gems that we encourage you to explore all over Melbourne. The best part is, they’re all free. So grab your travel buddy, and discover Melbourne together!

Federation Square and Melbourne AlleywaysFederation Square

Explore the City of Melbourne, Federation Square
Photo credit: mikecogh on Visualhunt / CC BY-SA

There are rare cases when someone has explored Melbourne and has not stated Federation Square in their itinerary. This architectural marvel covers an area of 8 acres. It is at the corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets. It houses the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, dedicated to Australian art, and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI).

Luckily, Federation Square sits very near to the top graffiti art laneways of Melbourne. Secret coffee shops, rooftop bars, soup kitchens, and boutique shops aside, the sheer artistic substance that these alleyways hold are incomparable. All within a distance of 10 minutes of walking. Hosier Lane, Cocker Alley, Rutledge Lane, Caledonian Lane, Union Lane, and ACDC Lane are the top lanes to walk through for an Instagram click.

Southbank and Arts Centre Melbourne

Explore the City of Melbourne, Southbank Art Centre
Photo credit: visualdensity on Visualhunt / CC BY

Take a fifteen-minute leisurely stroll from Flinders street towards Sturt Street and you can find yourself discovering the Southbank Promenade. The area is a cultural gem, there are lots of cafés, restaurants, and live entertainment. Southbank is famous for the abundance of festivals all year long and the Art market held on every Sunday.

Southbank is also home to the Arts Centre Melbourne. The establishment is a performing arts center which consists of various performance venues and facilities. Some of the performance venues which are incorporated in the Arts Centre are Hamer Hall, State Theatre, Playhouse and Fairfax Studio. Here are a list of free events.

Royal Botanic GardensRoyal Botanic Gardens

Explore the City of Melbourne, Royal Botanic Gardens
Photo credit: Μanu on Visual hunt / CC BY

If you have a love for nature, you’ll love the Royal Botanic Gardens. It extends across 36 hectares and spreads across Melbourne and Cranbourne. The Botanic reserve houses over 8500 different species of plants. Additionally, you will find The Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden. The design concept was to induce interest in nature among the young. The Botanic Gardens also houses the Aboriginal Heritage Walk, that looks into the history of indigenous Australians.

National Gallery of Victoria

Explore the City of Melbourne, NGV
Photo credit: Tama Leaver on Visualhunt / CC BY

If you’re an avid lover of the Louvre, then the National Gallery of Victoria is for you. It is the biggest, oldest and the most visited of all the museums in Australia. The gallery houses close to 70,000 pieces and is primarily famous for The Pioneer by Frederick McCubbin. The Great Hall is also an attraction. It contains a stained glass ceiling art which can only be admired to its full potential by laying down on its floor.
Above all, one infamous occurrence which has made even the adversaries of art interested in the NGV is that this place is where the Picasso Theft occurred in 1986. The Weeping Woman was stolen as a protest for the poor treatment of the arts by the state government. It was later returned when a ransom establishment of an art prize for young artists was built.

Queen Victoria Market

Explore the city of Melbourne, Queen Victoria Market
Photo credit: Codenix on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC

We believe that in order to find out how the locals live, it is best to explore the local marketplaces. Queen Victoria Market has transformed itself into one of the top tourist landmarks. The market is open out across 7 hectares. It is certainly the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere. It is also listed as the historically, architecturally and socially significant on the Victorian Heritage Register. The Market has kept much of its 19th-century streetscapes. So if you are down for an evening stroll down history lane make sure you come down to Queen Victoria Market.

Melbourne is a great city to start your road trips across the East Coast. Read more about road trips across the East Coast. If you are looking for someone to explore the city with, you can find them on GAFFL.


GAFFL helps travelers and adventurers to find others who are planning to go to the same destinations at the same time and plan trips together in a group. Our mission is to make sure people who do not want to travel or adventure alone can find other like-minded individuals to travel cities, explore outdoors or spend time in a long airport layover.

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