Melbourne is a vibrant city, full of history and culture. There are plenty of free things to do, which is perfect for travelers on a budget. You can walk to most of them too! Take a look below at some of our favourite free things to do in the city.
Explore street art
There is lots of street art and graffiti all over the city in Melbourne. Some of it is easy to spot, with whole streets filled with people posing for pictures in front of the vivid colours (us included). There are also some fantastic hidden spots too. Take a detour down a side road or back alley to see what you can find. (Fans of Kim K are in for a treat down Snider Lane.)
Walk along the Yarra River
The Yarra River flows to the city centre through Melbourne Park and the Royal Botanical Gardens. There are easy walking trails along the river banks, and plenty of places to stop for a picnic. The river offers great views of the city skyline through the trees.
Shrine of Remembrance
The Shrine of Remembrance is a war memorial built to honour the men and women of Victoria who served in World War I. Inside there are exhibitions and videos to learn more about Australian involvement in the world wars, as well as a crypt where you can pay respect to the fallen. There is a balcony at the top of the memorial with breathtaking views of the Melbourne skyline over the park.
St Kilda Beach and Pier
St Kilda Beach is located just south of Melbourne. It’s a sandy beach with a palm-lined boardwalk, and is a great spot to spend a day hanging out. Head along the pier to enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the Melbourne skyline and Port Phillip Bay. You can also sometimes see penguins and native water rats from the breakwater.
Royal Botanical Gardens
Wander around the Melbourne Gardens to see thousands of different species of plants and birds. Stop by the visitor centre to pick up a map, or explore the gardens on your own. There are several excellent cafes if you want to stop for a snack or drink, or you can take your own picnic. Just remember to take any rubbish away with you, and don’t feed the birds.
National Gallery of Victoria
The National Gallery of Victoria is the oldest and most visited gallery in Australia. It has a good combination of historic and modern artwork, artefacts, and experiences. It’s located on the edge of the Botanical Gardens, and is open daily 10am – 5pm. Spend a few hours here to explore and admire the art.
Cathedrals are always beautiful to see, and they’re usually free. Melbourne has two great ones – St Patrick’s and St Paul’s. The exterior and interior feature stunning designs, and you can spend plenty of time trying to take in all the details. Heads up – St Patrick’s Cathedral does charge a fee if you want to take any pictures inside.
As with most large cities, there is always an assortment of different different pop-up exhibits, markets, and shops to browse and explore in Melbourne. One of our favourites while we there was a Star Wars pop up at Radio Velvet. It had fantastic artwork, and had some really cool items for sale including screen-printed t-shirts and augmented reality prints. To find out what is happening when you are there, you can check the official City of Melbourne website or look at hashtags and locations on social media.
Are you planning a trip to Australia? Check out our Sydney Travel Guide next!
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