Melbourne has long been a bustling hub for things to see and do, and that’s something which doesn’t change after the sun goes down. As the sun sets and the city lights turn on, Melbourne comes alive with various spectacles; buskers, workers knocking off, tourists exploring, and more. Visitors to the city typically tend to fill their evenings with pastimes like going out for dinner, watching a movie or – appallingly – staying in; which in a city where there’s so much going on of a night is something of a travesty.
As a result, we’ve come up with 10 awesome things you can do once the sun is down in “the world’s friendliest city”.
Note that this isn’t just for visitors to the city; locals who have become complacent or bored will benefit from this as well – so take notes and prepare to have some entertainment added to those previously-average nights.
10. Relax at a rooftop bar
Location: Various Locations
Melbourne’s laneways are known for their food and drink, and are often crowded with tourists and locals alike as a result; instead, look to the rooftops for a whole new perspective. Towering over those scurrying in the city below, you can enjoy a drink or two with a bite to eat in one of the city’s most renowned crazes. There are numerous bars scattered throughout the city and its suburbs that most wouldn’t even know existed!
To ensure a visit to some of the best and most popular rooftop bars around, the option also exists to sign up for a rooftop bar walking tour. This part sightseeing, part drinking tour will see you exploring the city on foot and visiting four of the best bars in the city each with a drink awaiting you. Tours depart every Thursday evening and run from 6pm until 9pm and are an exciting way to see the city, even for locals.
Source: Walk Melbourne
This is the perfect way to wind down after a big day exploring the city and its surrounds or a great way to pick yourself up after a long day in the office. Either way make sure you head up to the roof to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere that the Melbourne rooftop scene emulates.
9. Enjoy a horse & carriage ride
Location: Federation Square, CBD
Though this is a slightly cheesy activity for residents, as with many things you can’t knock it until you try it. Relaxing in the back of a horse drawn carriage is a great and unique way to see some of the city’s signature sights including Federation Square, Parliament House and St. Patrick’s Cathedral; it sure beats walking around on foot!
A romantic way to spend your evening or a great adventure for the whole family to enjoy, horse and carriage rides operate four days a week. From Thursday to Sunday you can see the paired white and black horses trotting away from Federation Square opposite Flinders Street Station with a carriage full of snap-happy customers.
8. Have a laugh at The Comic’s Lounge
Location: 26 Errol Street, North Melbourne
What better way to wind down after a big day then with a visit to The Comic’s Lounge in North Melbourne. Featuring some of the best stand up acts from Melbourne, around the country and overseas, you never know who you’re going to be laughing at until you turn up (or if you check the website in the lead up to your booking). Some big names that have graced the stage previously include Jimoen, Gabriel Iglesias, Dave Hughes and Tommy Little.
Opening the doors to crowds six nights a week the bar is always open to take the nerves off for performers and audience members all night long. The show goes for around 2 hours and usually features one main act each night, so you’re almost guaranteed to spend the majority of your night in side-splitting pain from excess laughter. This is a great way to spend an evening if you’re looking for something out of the box that is reasonably priced and highly enjoyable.
7. Release your inner child at Luna Park Melbourne
Location: 18 Lower Esplanade, St Kilda
Luna Park is a familiar name in the Aussie attractions world, and Melbourne’s version is the kind of theme park that dreams are made of for little ones, with an impressive carnival theme, setup and atmosphere to rival theme parks in the northern states. This St. Kilda attraction has been operating in the region and entertaining crowds for more than 100 years and it’s clear to see why it’s considered a favourite amongst visitors and locals. If the giant mouth of Mr. Moon isn’t appealing enough, Luna Park Melbourne is home to the oldest continually operating wooden roller coaster in the world.
Entry to the park is free, however attractions charge on a ride-by-ride basis with the option to purchase an unlimited ride card or pick and choose from the rides and attractions that appeal to you most. The opening times of the park vary with different events held throughout the year, however it is usually open until 8pm or 11pm – just be sure to check online prior to your visit.
6. Enjoy a scenic dinner cruise
Location: Southbank Promenade, Berth 5
For those looking for a combined dose of scenery and quality food, spend your evening cruising down the iconic Yarra River aboard The Spirit of Melbourne. Killing two birds with one stone, you’ll be treated to some wonderful views of the city while devouring a delicious four-course meal over the duration of the three hour journey. A completely different experience than a day time cruise along the river, seeing this iconic city all lit up is a sight not to be missed and the perfect background for some photos for the evening.
Heading past the scenic aspect to the important stuff – the food. The feast will begin with a tasting platter featuring three delicious combinations; balsamic glazed smoked lamb on mash potato, shredded chicken with sesame glass noodle salad and prawn and scallop cocktail with a seafood sauce, all of which are gluten free. Guests are also given the choice of one of four mains; chargrilled chicken breast, crispy skinned Moroccan salmon, pan fried beef eye fillet or Portuguese lamb shank, each with some perfectly paired sides. Come dessert, you’ll be treated to a selection of mini desserts followed by a delicious Australian cheese platter for the final course.
This is a great evening adventure for lovers of food and great scenery – what more could you want?
5. Go on an overnight safari
Location: K Road, Werribee South
Technically not located IN Melbourne, but it is on the outskirts in the suburbs. Werribee Open Range Zoo is a popular destination during the day but at night is when all the magic really happens. With an overnight safari tour you can spend the night under the stars in their African savanna replica. The evening will be spent getting up close to some of the park’s animals without all of the crowds that occupy the park during the day. You’ll also be treated to drinks and canapés as you watch the sun go down in this seemingly secluded area followed by a delicious dinner. You’ll definitely forget that you’re only a short distance from the country’s second largest city.
The evening doesn’t stop there, as guests will be given the full camping/glamping style treatment with an open fire to toast marshmallows and fresh scones to nibble on. Going to bed is also an adventure as the private villas you’ll be sleeping in emulate the African savanna while providing incredible views over the open range. There’s no better sight to wake to than giraffes and zebras casually strolling past your window.
Spanning two days you’ll be given access to the park for both days as well as a buffet breakfast on the second morning. An ideal activity for wildlife lovers or visitors looking for the perfect adventure to add that something special to their holiday in Melbourne. The zoo is only a short 30 minute drive from Melbourne CBD or a 45 minute journey on public transport, either way you’ll be arriving at the zoo in no time ready to begin your African journey.
See how much fun you can have…
Source: Zoos Victoria
4. Take a ride on the Melbourne Star
Location: 101 Waterfront Way, Docklands
If you’re looking for another way to combine fun and sightseeing, a ride in a Melbourne Star gondola is the way to go. Located in the Docklands along the water, the Observation Wheel will provide you with incredible views of the city while also offering the thrill and excitement of a ferris wheel. A single rotation of the wheel takes around 30 minutes, but during peak periods you’ll most likely be stopping and starting at various intervals, giving you more time to take in the sights and enjoy the experience. Rising 120 metres above the ground you’ll be treated to up to 40 kilometres of unobstructed views of the Melbourne region, provided the weather is on your side.
As an added bonus, all cabins come complete with an in-cabin audio guide so you can learn about the region and understand exactly what sights you are admiring. This is a great adventure for families, couples or groups travelling together as each of the 21 cabins can accommodate up to 20 guests with unobstructed mobility.
The Melbourne Star Observation Wheel holds the title of being only one of four of its kind in the world and the only one of its size in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s siblings include the world famous London Eye, the Singapore Flyer and the Las Vegas High Roller, so riding on the Melbourne Star is a once in a lifetime experience on this side of the world.
3. Try your luck, feast or be entertained at Crown Melbourne
Location: 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank
If you consider yourself an experienced punter (or perhaps to have the luck of the Irish) then the Crown Melbourne should be your next port of call. Owning the title as the largest casino in Australia, the Crown is so much more than just a gambling hub. Home to three hotels, various spas, a busy casino floor, theatre, shops and award-winning restaurants and bars, it can easily accommodate all of your entertainment needs in one place.
On the casino floor you’ll find almost every game you could think of; combine that with the mouthwatering restaurants ranging from one end of the table to the other with both take-away and casual options all the way up to premium, high-class and private dining options.
Lovers of theatre will often be seen roaming the outer part of the casino as it often hosts various concerts, musical, and live theatre shoes. Previous performances and events have included Mariah Carey, Arj Barker and the TV Week Logies. Sports fans are also catered and cared for at the Casino with live games projected on the giant screens in the Crown Sports Bar, making it the perfect place for you to sit back with a coldie and cheer on your favourite team.
That’s not all there is on offer, Crown Melbourne is also home to a number of bars and nightclubs open late into the evenings and on the other side of the spectrum, relaxing and rejuvenating spas. There is almost something for everyone here and you could easily spend an entire night dining, drinking, gambling, laughing or cheering – it’s up to you which you choose to do.
2. Take in the views from Eureka Skydeck
Location: 7 Riverside Quay, Southbank
One of the best and most affordable ways to take in views of this incredible city, a ticket to the top of the Eureka Skydeck will take you 285 metres above the city in just 38 seconds. Riding in the fastest elevator in the Southern Hemisphere the journey to the top is just the beginning of the excitement.
Once you’ve reached the top you can wander around the deck looking out of the floor-to-ceiling windows to spot some of the city’s most iconic attractions including the MCG, Federation Square and further out into the distance, the Dandenong Ranges.
If simply admiring the sights from the deck or looking through the binoculars isn’t enough, you can try The Edge (for an additional cost). The first of its kind in the world, The Edge lets you walk into a glass cube that projects from the side of the 88th floor.
An exciting, thrilling and scenic experience rolled into one, the glass box will provide you with uninterrupted views of the city below while also giving you the thrill of lingering almost 300 metres above ground.
The observation deck is open until 10pm at night, giving you more than enough time to wander over before or after dinner. Even locals will get a thrill out of seeing their city glistening from the top of the Eureka tower.
1. Enjoy the Queen Victoria Night Markets
Location: Cnr Queen & Therry Streets, Melbourne
The Queen Victoria Markets are a must-see attraction year round, but for two seasons a year the historic market precinct comes alive at night! With delicious street food vendors, vintage and artisan stalls as well as live music and entertaining street performers, the atmosphere couldn’t be better.
The Night Markets offer everything the day time markets do plus more, and will see you mingling with families, couples and groups of friends as they try to decide what to have for dinner, where to sit and what to buy
Combining artisanal products and goods with ready-to-eat food you can find everything from wood-fired pizzas and potato spirals to barbecued ribs and stir fries and vintage Doc Martens to handmade jewellery. Deciding on a meal and choosing the perfect product can be a tough decision, but it’s made enjoyable thanks to the live music, excited crowds and friendly stall holders.
The winter marks run from the end of July until the end of August while the summer night markets set up shop from the 16th of November until early 2017. Over both seasons the markets run every Wednesday, making it the perfect mid-week getaway that locals and tourists alike crave.
Don’t believe us? Have a look for yourself!
Source: Queen Victoria Market
In addition, if you’re looking for things to see and do around Melbourne, visit our full catalogue featuring a range of tours, attractions and activities around the city and suburbs.