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30 cool things to do in Melbourne in winter [2023]

Looking for things to do in Melbourne in winter? While the city is worth visiting any time of the year, it really does do winter well. Here are some suggestions for what you can get up to during a Melbourne winter weekend (or keep yourself busy if you do live in the city).

Looking down across the Yarra River in Melbourne during a winter's afternoon. Discover the best things to do in Melbourne in winter.

Planning a winter holiday in Australia?

You should definitely add Melbourne on your list.

While Melbourne’s weather is well, cold during winter, the city has plenty of fun and cosy offerings during the cooler months.

There’s a range of fantastic festivals to explore, and top restaurants, bars and pubs to cosy-up in.

Uncover the city’s secrets with a local expert, go ghost hunting, check out the local sports scene or discover your next great read.

You can even try your hand (or foot, as it were) at surfing – believe it or not!

This city has it all. Discover how to have the perfect winter weekend in Melbourne.

And if you’re visiting in the warmer months, check out our list of things to do in Melbourne in summer.

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Things to do in Melbourne in winter

Inside bookstore Readings in Carlton.
Poking through independent bookstores such as Readings in Carlton is a wonderful Melbourne winter activity.

Melbourne’s official winter months are June – August, although it starts getting chilly in the city around late April, early May. And it can stay mild through to October.

Temperatures range from 6-15°C (43-59°F), although at night they can dip down to zero.

It’s generally not super rainy during Melbourne winters, but it can be windy and grey. Some days you do get beautiful blue skies and a gentle winter sun – one of the best things about winter in Melbourne.

Generally, you’ll need a decent winter coat that buttons or zips up tight, to keep the wind out. I recommend a beanie, gloves, scarf and enclosed shoes, but there’s no need to wear winter thermals – although layers you can put on and strip off as needed don’t hurt.

There’s plenty going on in the city during the cooler season. Read on to discover the best things to do in Melbourne in winter.

1. Try your hand at a cooking class

Winter is the perfect time to add to your cooking repertoire.

Visiting Melbourne? Book into a cooking class as part of your itinerary, then head home to impress friends and families with your newfound culinary skills.

Live in Melbourne and looking for a fun activity within the depths of the winter months? Attend a class, then take what you’ve learned to host a cosy dinner party.

Head to a Japanese cooking class, learn how to make dumplings, or discover how to add a Spanish flair to your dishes.

Or, learn how to cook modern Australian dishes with a professional chef.

2. Warm up with a foodie tour

Melbourne is an extremely multicultural city, which has had a particularly positive impact on its food scene.

You can order just about any dish from anywhere in the world in Melbourne.

Jump on a Foodie Culture Tour to taste test for yourself.

Or satisfy your sweet tooth with a dedicated chocolate tour through the city’s famous laneways.

Foodie Trails offer both city tours and food walks further afield, in suburbs such as Flemington, Eltham and Moonee Ponds.

The perfect excuse to explore a new neighbourhood in Melbourne.

Two people stand in front of neon lights at Melbourne's RISING festival.
An installation at RISING. Image credit: Visit Victoria.

3. Attend RISING

After the perfect winter activity in Melbourne?

RISING is one of Melbourne’s newest festivals, taking place each June.

It’s got a little bit of everything – art, performances, music, installations and some delicious food offerings.

It’s definitely one of the most interesting things to do in Melbourne in winter, so pop it into your calendar and come experience it for yourself.

4. Experience Firelight Festival

Another dedicated winter event, Firelight Festival takes place over a weekend in July in Melbourne’s Docklands.

There’s light shows, live performances, and plenty of food options to choose from.

5. Jump on a ghost tour

Like all big cities, Melbourne has no shortage of resident ghosts.

Take a ghost tour through the city to hear about macabre murders and fascinating hauntings.

Melbourne Gaol offers both day tours and dedicated night experiences, held after hours.

For a twist, book onto an adults-only tour where you get to hear Melbourne’s spookiest ghost stories, stopping between sights for a drink in some of the city’s beloved hidden bars.

And if you want to go slightly further afield, book onto a ghost tour in Williamstown or secure a spot on the monthly late night exploration of Altona Homestead.

Want more? Learn all about Melbourne’s most haunted places.

Search for spooky Melbourne experiences on Klook.com:

Klook.com

Street art in Melbourne of a hand reaching for a fish. Explore the city's laneways is one of the best things to do in Melbourne in winter.
Street art in Melbourne.

6. Check out Melbourne’s street art scene

Grab your warmest winter clothes and take to Melbourne’s streets, to discover its world-famous street art.

The soft light of winter makes for ideal photographing conditions.

For more, jump on a tour with a local expert.

Or, check out this extensive guide to the Melbourne city’s best street art spots.

7. Go Ice-skating in Docklands

Get your skates on down at O’Brien Icehouse in Docklands.

The purpose built rink is ideal for all levels of experience and is also wheelchair accessible.

Local’s tip: save a few dollars by booking your ticket online in advance. The ticket price includes skate and helmet hire.

8. Learn how to surf

Okay, so surfing is traditionally more of a summer activity. But hear me out.

Melbourne is home to a dedicated surf park, in the city’s northwest – URBNSURF.

The park has a range of different wave settings in a controlled environment, making it perfect for both beginners and experts. They also offer lessons, so you can find your feet when you hang ten on their simulated surf.

As you can imagine, this is a popular summer activity in Melbourne. However – the park is open all year round and is not nearly as busy in winter.

So you can spend the winter months practising your technique, before taking to one of Victoria’s dedicated surf beaches in the warmer months, to try out what you’ve learned.

Surfing! Who would’ve known it was one of the best things to do in Melbourne in winter.

Find out more about taking beginner surfing lessons at URBNSURF.

Fancy cocktails at Nick & Nora's in Melbourne city.
Fancy drinks at Nick & Nora’s. Image courtesy Visit Victoria.

9. Get cosy in a (hidden) bar or pub

One of the best things to do in Melbourne in winter is cuddle up in one of the city’s many bars or pubs.

Wander into a lovely looking wine bar to escape the chill of the city streets, or seek out one of Melbourne’s hidden bars.

Berlin Bar, Union Electric and Bar Americano are good places to start.

For expert guidance, jump on a tour with a local expert, to discover hidden bars and hear fascinating tales of the city’s history.

10. Grab a drink in an Ice Bar

Or why not embrace winter in Melbourne completely and go grab a drink in Melbourne’s IceBar?

As the many may suggest, the entire bar is sculpted out of ice – 40 tonnes of it, to be exact.

You’ll find it at The Atrium at Federation Square. Layer up to keep warm.

A hand holding a cup of hot cider, on fire at QVM's Winter Night Markets, one of the best things to do in Melbourne in winter.
Literally hot cider at the winter markets. Image credit: Visit Victoria

11. Visit the Winter Night Markets

Queen Victoria Market (Queen Vic or QVM as it’s locally known) is a top Melbourne attraction, being the largest market in Melbourne.

In the cooler months, the market throws open its doors every Wednesday night for its Winter Night Market.

Wrap your mitts around a hot choc, cider of glass of mulled wine, while you wander the stalls, and hunt for something warm and nourishing to eat.

12. Gorge at Grazeland

Alternatively, head west to Melbourne’s newest foodie precinct in the suburb of Spotswood.

Grazeland is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday and has a stack of stalls offering all kinds of delicious treats.

Grab something to eat, then sit by the river to admire the bright lights of the city.

Outside the National Gallery of Victoria on a winter's day.
NGV holds some amazing shows during winter in Melbourne.

13. Explore the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces at NGV

The National Gallery of Victoria is renowned for its world-class exhibitions, but each winter goes a step further, to secure an extra special show as part of the city’s annual Winter Masterpieces.

Over recent years, the likes of Van Gogh, Picasso and the Terracotta Warriors have graced the halls and walls of this art gallery.

This is one of the best things to do in Melbourne in winter. It’s worth timing your trip in the cooler months for this alone.

14. Admire the hidden treasures of Melbourne’s beautiful buildings

Melbourne’s home to some truly gorgeous heritage buildings.

However, the plane trees that line the city streets end up obscuring the view of many of these buildings – covering not only the finer details, but gorgeous murals and mosaics.

One of the most underrated things to do in Melbourne in winter, is to wander the city streets and take in the facades of ornate buildings, as the absence of leaves reveal their secrets.

15. Poke around properties during Open House Melbourne

Even better, time a trip to the city with Open House Melbourne.

One weekend in July, private buildings around the city throw their doors open, allowing patrons to peek in and explore what’s inside.

It’s one of my favourite winter events and well worth adding to your Melbourne itinerary.

Looking down the snowfields at Mt Buller's alpine village in winter.
Winter on Mt Buller.

16. See the snow

Yup, it snows in Australia and Melbourne is one of the best places to base yourself to see it.

Lake Mountain is the closest alpine resort to the city, around a 90 minute drive from the city centre. Perfect for a winter day trip from Melbourne.

If you want to go further afield, head out to Falls Creek, Baw Baw, Mount Buller, Mount Beauty or Mount Hotham (where you can go glamping and if the weather is cold enough, stay in an igloo).

17. Soak in a bath house

Winter lends itself to long soaks in hot water, followed by perhaps a bit of pampering.

Sense of Self (SOS) in Collingwood has a large mineral bath, heated at a blissful sounding 39°C. There’s also a Finnish sauna, pail shower and cold plunge pool on site.

Everything you need for a spot of winter wellness.

Walking down St Kilda pier in winter.
St Kilda in winter.

18. Swim in the St Kilda Sea Baths

Or, head to St Kilda to swim laps in heated water – direct from the sea.

There’s a 25 metre lap pool and a hydrotherapy spa pool, which can be enjoyed against the backdrop of the surrounding bay.

19. Go see a movie at a drive-in

Winter is the perfect time to catch a flick at one of Melbourne’s two drive-in cinemas.

You can get cosy in your car and the shorter daylight hours means you’re not waiting well into the night for your movie of choice to begin.

Choose between Village Cinema in Coburg and Lunar Drive-In, located in the suburb of Dandenong (not to be confused with the Dandenong Ranges).

20. Catch a flick at the Melbourne International Film Festival

MIFF is one of Melbourne’s premier festivals, held during August.

It’s run since 1952, making it one of the oldest film festivals in the world, along with Berlin and Cannes.

Fitting for the city that screened the first ever feature-length film in 1906 – The Story of the Kelly Gang.

It’s one of the best things to do in Melbourne in winter if you consider yourself to be a movie buff.

And if that is indeed what you are, you may be interested in reading Melbourne on Film: Cinema That Defines Our City, which is covers the city’s long history with the silver screen.

Two people stand looking at a light exhibition at ACMI in Melbourne. Visiting ACMI is one of the best things to do in Melbourne in winter.
ACMI’s Light exhibition from winter 2022. Image credit: Visit Victoria

21. Explore ACMI

ACMI is Melbourne’s leading film, TV and video games hub – a cinema and museum in one.

Alongside film screenings, ACMI hosts a range of fantastic exhibitions, which pay homage in some way to screen culture.

There’s also a free exhibition The Story of the Moving Image, which explores the birth of film and beyond.

After you’ve journeyed through the museum, or watched a film, grab a table in onsite restaurant Hero for a delicious, nourishing meal or warm drink.

22. Wander through Melbourne’s marvellous museums

Escape the winter chill at any one of Melbourne’s museums.

Learn about art, culture and all manner of other topics at Melbourne Museum. There’s a fascinating permanent collection to explore, along with ever-changing exhibitions.

Pop into Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre to discover the living history of Victoria’s First Nations peoples.

The Immigration Museum is perfect for history buffs, wanting to learn more about Melbourne’s multicultural past.

Head to Scienceworks in Spotswood for all things, well, science. For more, book into a session at the accompanying Planetarium.

The Australian Sports Museum is the place to head to, to discover more about the nation’s ongoing love affair with sport.

All sounding pretty good? Inject a dose of culture into your Melbourne winter with a Museums Victoria membership. It gives you free, unlimited entry to Melbourne Museum, Scienceworks and Immigration Museum, alongside other benefits.

For something completely different, consider touring a housemuseum – a private residence turned museum. It’s definitely one of the best things to do in Melbourne in winter.

Chopsticks and xiao long bao at Hu Tong in Melbourne city.
Dumplings are perfect during winter (or any time of the year, really).

23. Sample top-quality pho, ramen or dumplings

Nothing warms you up faster on a cold winter’s day than a steaming bowl of pho or ramen, or a soup dumpling.

If you love pho, jump on a train from the city on the Werribee/Williamstown or Sunbury line to head out to Footscray. Or join a tour to Footscray to find the best places for a feed in Footscray, from steaming bowls of pho to Italian sweets.

There’s plenty of ramen places in the city. Two of my favourites are Musashi (181 Russell Street) and Shinjuku (which has various restaurants around the city).

And dumplings… you can get darn good dumplings in Melbourne. I frequent Hu Tong and China Red in the city.

For something different, you could jump on a dedicated dumplings tour and eat Xiao long bao to your heart’s content.

An AFL game at the MCG.
Watching an AFL game at the MCG.

24. Catch an AFL Men’s game

The AFL Men’s season is in full swing during Melbourne’s winter, starting in March and finishing up end of September.

Check the 2023 fixture and get yourself to a game. Watching a team battle it out at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds (MCG, or simply the ‘G) is a fun experience, especially when paired with beer and a meat pie.

A person orders a hot chocolate from Mork in Melbourne city.
Mork’s hot chocolate will keep you warm on a Melbourne winter’s day. Image credit: Visit Victoria.

25. Have a delicious hot chocolate

Nothing beats walking along Melbourne’s streets, with a steaming cup of hot chocolate clutched in your hands.

Mork Chocolate are renowned for their specialist hot chocolates and have brewing houses in both North Melbourne and the city.

The Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery also hold an annual festival celebrating all things hot chocolate, at their Yarra Valley, Great Ocean Road and Mornington Peninsula stores.

Don’t forget to bring a reusable cup.

Close up of high tea offerings at the Langham in Melbourne.
A themed high tea at the Langham Hotel in Melbourne.

26. Take a high tea

If there’s one thing Melbourne does well, it’s high tea.

There’s stacks of destinations to grab a high tea from, ranging from your standard affairs to something extra special.

Why not take a high tea in a castle outside the city? Or on a boat, travelling between Queenscliff and Sorrento?

Inside Hotel No in Melbourne, airstream trailers coloured 'Millennial pink'.
Inside Hotel No, a delightfully quirky place to stay in Melbourne.

27. Stay somewhere quirky

Looking for an unusual place to stay in Melbourne?

Melbourne has a bunch of quirky boutique hotels, making any time spent in them extra fun.

Next Hotel has a cool retro vibe and several fantastic onsite facilities, such as La Madonna Restaurant & Bar.

If you love jazz, stay at the Jazz Corner Hotel, which is stylishly funky and right near popular live music venue Bird’s Basement.

The Adelphi Hotel is one of Melbourne’s top boutique hotels. Vibrantly colourful, its hotel restaurant Om Nom Kitchen has excellent cocktails and puts on a fab high tea.

Or for something completely unique, stay in one of six airstream trailers on the rooftop of a car park in the city, known as ‘Hotel No’. They’re kitted out to be truly comfortable and one even has a hot tub – perfect for those cold winter nights.

See my review of Hotel No and explore current availability.

28. Warm up with a wine tour to the Yarra Valley

The Yarra Valley is one of the best places to visit in Victoria.

While there’s plenty to do besides drink, this is the main reason head out to the valley.

You have the option of:

Red wine and cold weather – a perfect pairing.

A woman tries on shoes inside Kuwaii in Fitzroy. Shopping is the perfect thing to do during a Melbourne winter.
A woman tries on shoes inside Kuwaii in Fitzroy. Image credit: Visit Victoria.

29. Shop at Melbourne’s unique boutiques

Part of the reason Melbourne does winter well, is due to its fashion.

Melbourne has plenty of interesting shopping precincts (including Chadstone, the largest shopping centre in the Southern Hemisphere).

The city is also home to a range of different designers, making all sorts of interesting clothes and jewellery. Corky St Clair, Obus, Nancybird, Alpha60, Lucy Folk, Kuwaii… I could go on and on.

Discover the best places to go shopping in Melbourne.

30. Find the perfect read in one of Melbourne’s independent book stores

Melbourne is a UNESCO City of Literature – people here love to read, making the city a top spot for budding bookworms.

Along with exploring the absolutely fantastic State Library Victoria, head to any one of Melbourne’s many bookstores to grab a great read.

Then settle down in a cosy cafe or bar and start flipping through those pages.

Readings is basically the cultural centre of Melbourne’s bookshop scene, but there’s plenty of other independent bookstores located around town.

I love the Sun Bookshop in Yarraville and The Chestnut Tree in West Footscray.

Should you visit Melbourne in winter?

This exhaustive list proves that there’s plenty of things to do in Melbourne in winter. You’ll definitely be entertained – and hopefully keep toasty and warm.

For more on Australia, see my Australia Travel Guide.

After more content about Melbourne? Check out these posts:

If you’re planning a trip to Australia, discover the best time to visit.
And see my Australia Travel Guide.

Planning a winter trip to Melbourne? Pin this post. 📌

Looking for things to do in Melbourne in winter? While the city is worth visiting any time of the year, it really does do winter well. Here are some suggestions.

Melbourne is located on the lands of the Wurundjeri and Bunurong Peoples of the Kulin Nation. We acknowledge them as Traditional Owners and pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

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