Baby, it may be cold outside, but we guarantee you won’t be feeling it with our line-up of fiery July events. Dance the night away at arena concerts and intimate gigs, sip mulled wine at night markets or wander around stunning new exhibitions. Get your diaries ready because we’ve gathered all the must-do events across music, food, drink, arts and culture, so you can make this your best winter yet.
EAT & DRINK
Melbourne’s favourite spot for soft, pillowy bao buns is celebrating its seventh birthday with $1 baos this Saturday between 11am-4pm. You’re invited to order as many as you like of their four traditional baos – char siu pork, shiitake mushroom with tofu, egg custard and taro – so make sure you come very, very hungry.
Saturday 20 July 11am-4pm
4/19-37 A'Beckett St, Melbourne
Wrap up the working week with a wander through this CBD laneway market, where this famed retail precinct has curated a line-up of hearty European favourites including paella, pierogi, raclette and crème brûlée that’ll have you feeling toasty from the inside out. Stick around for live entertainment, neon lights and, most importantly, mulled wine and hot toddies that’ll kickstart Friday night drinks.
50 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
Bust out ye sportcoats for this ultra-bougie four-day whisky and wine tasting festival held within a fire garden. Attendees’ cockles will be warmed from the inside out as they sample drams from both boutique and big-name distilleries including Starward, Laphroaig and Woodford Reserve alongside wines by some of our finest vineyards. It’s not just about the booze though, with delicious winter feasts courtesy of Pastuso, Atlas Dining and Tokyo Tina, plus masterclasses, live blues and spellbinding fire sculptures.
1 Station St, Caulfield East
The sprawling four-level Garden State Hotel has joined forces with self-proclaimed ‘Asian street-food tuckshop’ Misschu for a delectable pop-up experience this winter. In the beer garden you will find the Misschu pop-up kiosk serving the Vietnamese street eats that the ‘healthy hawker’ is infamous for; rice paper rolls and dumplings anyone? Since you are in the Garden State Hotel you may as well pair your street food treats with a Midori mule or Garden State spritz – it would be rude not to.
From now until 18th August
From 12pm daily
101 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Gin lovers will have a ball tasting their way around this market devoted entirely to the juniper-flavoured spirit. Hosted by The Craft & Co in Collingwood, many of Australia’s best craft distilleries will be on show including Brogan’s Way, Tiny Bear and Karu Distillery. Meet your favourite makers and find out all about their methods before coasting by the in-house eatery for wood-fired pizzas and wine (or more gin).
Saturday 13th July & Sunday 14th July
390 Smith Street, Collingwood
Grub, Fitzroy’s most charmingly eclectic café, will play host to Melbourne’s top bakers and pastry chefs this winter, presenting a luxurious eight-course sweet and savoury high tea from a different guest each Sunday. This month, you’ll get to try delicious signature treats by Don’t Lose Your Temper, Tivoli Road Bakery and Penny for Pound from within Grub’s “posh salon”.
Sunday 14th, 21st & 28th July
87-89 Moor Street, Fitzroy
Brunch, Bloody Marys and bingo – what better way to welcome the weekend? Every Saturday, Windsor’s favourite mod-Japanese diner is running bingo brunches where you’ll get to graze on dishes like bacon and egg bao and smoked duck bibimbap, backed up by free-flowing Aperol Spritzes, prosecco and beer. Hosted by the hilarious Granny Bingo trio, Bingo Academy will award winners prizes including everything from restaurant vouchers to jukebox DJ rights.
66A Chapel Street, Windsor
Do you always say yes to the cheese course? Then say yes to this special edition high tea at The Westin Melbourne, where it’s non-stop cheese from start to finish, savoury to dessert. The five-star hotel has teamed up with Prahran Market’s legendary curd purveyors Maker & Monger to create a moreish menu that includes gouda scones, oozy baked camembert, comté custard tarts and black truffle, porcini and walnut layered brie. The three-tiered stand is accompanied by free-flowing coffee, herbal tea and hot chocolate, and there are also wine pairing recommendations available so make sure you come hungry.
Daily from 5pm and weekends 11am-4pm
205 Collins Street, Melbourne
For a cosy mid-week escape, you can’t go past the winter edition of Queen Vic’s bustling night markets, which feature food stalls hawking everything from American-inspired barbecued meats and melted cheese baguettes to cinnamon-dusted churro bowls. Warm up with cups of Mörk hot chocolate and mulled wine before roaming the arts and homewares traders or squeezing in a boogie at the silent disco.
Queen Street, Melbourne
MUSIC & NIGHTLIFE
The multi-talented actor, comedian and writer is reprising his role as frenetic hip-hop star this month, finally making his way back to our shores after postponing his tour last year. His most recent album Awaken, My Love! was nominated for five Grammys, and last year’s song release “This is America” took the world by storm – this Rod Laver Arena show will be one of the year’s highlights.
Wednesday 17th July
Tickets from $70
Olympic Boulevard, Melbourne
Do yourself a favour and book one of the remaining tickets to SZA’s Margaret Court Arena stat, because the American R&B/neo-soul singer is one of the most captivating performers of our generation. Influenced by avant-garde jazz, alternative rock and hardcore rap, she’s been compared to contemporaries such as Jorja Smith, Solange, H.E.R. and Kehlani.
Tuesday 23rd July
Tickets from $133
Batman Avenue, Melbourne
Treat your ears to James Blake’s spellbinding vocals when he lights up the Forum stage this month for very special Splendour sideshow. The English singer-songwriter’s live performances are known for being cinematic experiences, with Blake lighting up both the mic and the piano keyboard as he brings his acclaimed discography to life.
Saturday 20th July
154 Flinders Street, Melbourne
Fans of chillwave and electronica will be all over this two-for-one bonza gig featuring a veteran of the genre supported by a quickly rising star. Tycho’s ambient melodies, nostalgic atmospherics and intoxicating vocals have won him loyal fans the world over, while homegrown DJ Japanese Wallpaper, fresh from supporting Lily Allen on tour, is impressing many with his enchanting and emotive music.
Tuesday 23rd July
154 Flinders Street, Melbourne
Melbourne Museum’s adults-only, after-dark party is returning this month for a special NAIDOC Week celebration. With a wine in hand, hear intimate expert talks and explore the museum’s newest exhibition Revolutions: Records and Rebels before dancing the night away to an all-star line-up of First Nations musicians including Briggs and Alice Skye.
Friday 5th July 7pm-11pm
11 Nicholson Street, Carlton
CINEMA & THEATRE
The Bard’s timeless tale of the unlikely-in-love Beatrice and Benedick gets a fresh new production courtesy of the Bell Shakespeare company, who bring a dash of modernity to the romantic comedy by framing it within a struggle for identity in a male-dominated world. Expect plenty of razor-sharp barbs, dastardly plots and bumbling side characters as our witty leads join forces to defend true love.
100 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne
Expanding art from the realm of the visual to the aural this month is Linden’s new suite of works exploring the medium of sound. Innovative works include Cat Hope’s bold graphic scores splayed across the walls of the gallery, to be played by musicians during special events, Mona Ruijs’s meditative live sound baths featuring gongs, and Lucreccia Quintanilla’s sculptures that play a cacophony of wild and urban noises.
Until 1 September
26 Acland St, St Kilda
You’ll be tapping your toes and dabbing the eyes at this life-affirming new Broadway musical that explores a remarkable, little-known story from 9/11. On the day of the disaster, 7000 passengers were forced to land in the small Canadian town of Gander, doubling the population overnight. Culture clashes and nerves turn into trust, gratitude and enduring friendships as the evening whiles away with Grammy Award-winning songs.
Until 22 September
240 Exhibition St, Melbourne
We all love a good Scandi noir on the telly, and now’s the perfect time to expand your repertoire of Nordic culture with a dip into the region’s rich film scene. Bringing together titles from Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland and Finland, this year’s SFF program takes over Palace Cinemas across the city with highlights including Happy Ending, a Danish comedy about second chances in love, and Swedish space thriller Aniara.
Revive your love for the 2000 teen cheerleading classic with this new onstage production that’s got all the pompoms, tossing and somersaulting of the original film. In this adaptation, a high achieving cheerleading star moves to a new school before shaping the school’s motley crew into championship-contending athletes. Pairing music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda with gravity-defying gymnastics, it’s a guaranteed theatre splash.
Athenaeum Theatre, 188 Collins Street, Melbourne
It’s the movie that swept the Oscars and shot Gwyneth to superstardom – now the 1998 romance classic is coming to the stage in a new Melbourne Theatre Company adaptation. Expect lavish sets and costumes as you’re swept through the story of Viola de Lesseps, the woman who disguises herself as a man to audition in one of the Shakespeare’s plays before they embark on a heated affair.
15th July-14th August
Arts Centre Melbourne, Playhouse, 100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
In this stunningly fresh and provocative take on Swan Lake, Jean-Christophe Maillot blends neo-classical ballet and modern dance in a new tale that plumbs the depths of the human psyche amidst elegance, desire and violence. Performed by the renowned Ballets de Monte-Carlo at the Arts Centre, this will be at the top of the list of theatre lovers of all stripes.
Until 6th July
Tickets $57 - $264
Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Open House is your yearly opportunity to take a behind-the-scenes poke around some of Melbourne’s most iconic buildings, private homes and even live construction sites. Fancy taking a tour of The Capitol‘s refurbishment, Melbourne Quarter’s flash Sky Park or even the Westgate Tunnel? If so, book in early because tickets go fast – turns out lots of us love nerding out to architecture.
Saturday 27th July & Sunday 28th July
For nine nights, the entire length of Gertrude Street and its vibrant array of shops, restaurants and bars will be awash with art and colour for Australia’s longest-running projection festival. This year, they’ve asked artists to explore the themes of desire, disruption and subversion in works that’ll inspire wonder as well as provoke thought. In addition to the lights, there’ll also be live performances, VR experiences, guided works and opening and closing celebrations that’ll see the area become a hive of late night activity.
26th July-3rd August 6pm-12am
Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
The city’s collective heart broke when Mirka Mora, beloved artist and Melbourne institution, passed away last year at age 90. So strong was the art community’s love for her that they rallied together to crowdfund the purchase of a significant portion of her estate. Now, those paintings, drawings, diaries, letters, furniture and personal possessions are on show at the Heide Museum of Modern Art, capturing her art and life in all its colourful and joyous glory.
Until 25th August
7 Templestowe Road, Bulleen
If you like your art to be thought-provoking, you’ll be spellbound by Yandell Walton’s new installation, which explores humanity’s relationship with the environment as it shifts with the effects of climate change. Immersive projections imagine life in a new geological age – for example, there’s a room where you feel like you’re suspended in the middle of the ocean, a stark reminder of rising sea levels.
Until July 20th
1 Market Street, Newport
In Revolutions: Records and Rebels, Melbourne Museum takes us on a deep-dive of 1960s youth culture, exploring how music and cinema drove an idealistic new generation to question the establishment in every corner of society. Together with London’s V&A Museum, the exhibition showcases more than 600 items from the period between 1966 to 1970, including costumes worn by John Lennon and Mick Jagger, handwritten lyrics to "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and a guitar smashed on stage by The Who's Pete Townshend.
Until 25th August
11 Nicholson Street, Carlton
This suites of exhibitions from the Immigration Museum explores the art of the tattoo in relation to identity, culture and community. And we aren’t just talking about your spur-of-the-moment stick’n’poke job, but everything from the intricate, history-rich Japanese tattoo, which has survived both because of and in spite of mafia associations, to the 2000-year-old practice of tatau masters in Polynesia.
Until 6th October
400 Flinders Street, Melbourne
For lovers of all things creative, handcrafted and artisan, this biannual market will spark delight and empty wallets. Designers and makers will be showcasing everything from ceramics and homewares to ethical fashion and jewellery, while a line-up of wholesome food trucks sort out lunch.
Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson Street, Carlton
It’s a celebration of all things artisan and original at this eclectic artists’ market in Fitzroy. Purchase beautiful fashion, homewares and design, and meet the makers who put heart and soul into their craft. When all that browsing gets you peckish, the market’s onsite Young Bloods Diner is on hand for all your brunching needs.
Saturdays & Sundays 10am-4pm
60 Rose Street, Fitzroy
Rare plants, handmade ceramics, creative workshops and coffee – it sounds a Melbourne hipster’s dream, but it’ll be reality at Botanica Collective Makers Market. Family-friendly, pet-friendly and free to attend, it’s a great opportunity to have a browse and pick up pretty plants with names like rhaphidophora tetrasperma and watermelon peperomia.
6th-7th & 20th-21st July
142-144 Johnston Street, Fitzroy
Browse over 5000 new and pre-loved books, many of which could be yours for just the spare change in your pocket. Whether you’re into sci-fi, art, cooking, adventure, romance or travel, there’s bound to be a title that will absorb the rest of your Sunday.
Queen Victoria Market, Queen Street, Melbourne
Shake off your mid-week blues, work stresses and shoulder tensions with a sweaty sesh of joyously uninhibited dancing. Every Wednesday, No Lights No Lycra invites you to drop in for a no-commitment evening of boogieing in the dark, with no cares as to how uncoordinated you are or how silly you look. It’s a great cardio workout, and even better for the soul.
702 Inkerman Road, Caulfield North
Add a dash of bemusement and an avalanche of cuteness to your meditation practice with this not-your-average class that sees baby sheep and goats roaming freely about. Expect plenty of nuzzles and cuddles as you attempt mindfulness – the animals are meant to emulate the distracting thoughts, feelings and memories in any ordinary meditation. You’re encouraged to embrace the chaos with compassionate observation, and if nothing else, you’ll leave with a big smile on your face.
Norla Dome, Mission to Seafarers, 717 Flinders Street, Docklands
The Japanese art of ‘shinrin-yoku’ or ‘forest bathing’ is an increasingly recognised public health initiative around the world, with studies showing that immersing oneself in nature reduces stress levels and blood pressure while lifting the mood. It’s now available for all to try at the Royal Botanic Gardens, where guided tours will move you through a range of beautifully calming activities while deep in our city’s own green sanctuary.
Birdwood Avenue, South Yarra