The mercury may be dropping fast, but Melbourne is turning it all the way up to 11 with countless events across music, food, drink, arts and culture that’ll keep you busy and toasty warm. From warehouse dance parties to urban plant sales, make this your best winter yet – we’ll raise a mulled wine to that.
FOOD & DRINK
Eat your fill of pasteis de nata – Portugal’s famously flaky, caramelised custard tarts – while browsing handmade wares and dancing to traditional music at this joyful celebration of the country’s culture. Also bringing together the Portuguese-speaking communities of Brazil and East Timor, the festival will include samba lessons, art exhibits and even a chorizo-making workshop for all curious. Jump in and get your hands dirty, or simply relax and enjoy the feast of street food.
Sunday 9 June 10am-4pm
Photo Credit - Winter Night Market
For those who can't make it to the mountains this winter, Pontoon's beachside hangout will be getting everyone into the winter spirit with their annual Snow Party, to launch into the ski season in style. Transforming into a cosy winter chalet, this year's party comes decked out with powdered snow, live DJ tunes, half-priced tapas, $25 bottomless paella and an array of drink specials, guaranteed to warm you up on a cold winter's night.
While snowflakes drift across the deck, guests can take a seat at the bar or next to the crackling outdoor fire with a mulled wine, espresso martini or cinnamon sour in hand, whilst working their way through the fiery basque-inspired menu. And if that doesn't transport you to the mountains, the chance to win a Mt Buller lift pass for two should get you in the spirit. See you on the slopes.
Sunday, 9th June, from 3pm
St Kilda Beach
Those who RSVP for this year's Snow Party will also go into the draw to win a Mt Buller lift pass for two
For a cosy mid-week escape, you can’t go past the winter edition of Queen Vic’s bustling night markets, which will feature food stalls hawking everything from American barbecue and melted cheese baguettes to cinnamon-dusted churro bowls. Warm up with cups of Mork hot chocolate and mulled wine before roaming the arts and homewares traders or squeezing in a boogie at the silent disco.
Queen St, Melbourne
The ultimate snack and sing party, Heros Curry-Oke brings together the golden trifecta of curries, cocktails and karaoke. For the bargain price of $25, you’ll get a meat or vegan curry, a soy-braised dish and sambal stir-fried vegetables served with rice or deep-fried buns. For those that need a little liquid courage before they tackle the open mic, there’s drink packages and a special on-theme cocktail on offer – the Curry on My Wayward Son made with chilli-infused vodka, lemongrass, coconut cream, jalapeno hot sauce and dried curry leaf.
Sunday 23 June 6pm-10pm
188 Bourke St, Melbourne
Take a trip down memory lane at the National’s retro-chic brunch party, where they’ll be celebrating the long weekend with a massive 90s-themed ‘do. DJ’s will be spinning tunes from the golden decade as punters dig into 90s themed dishes and cocktails (we’re imagining lots of cosmos and appletinis). There’ll be prizes for best dressed and even a Mario Kart set up inside – we’re feeling nostalgic already.
Sunday 9 June 12pm-4pm
344 Victoria St, Richmond
Photo Credit - Truffle Festival
For those that can’t get enough of the fragrant funghi, you’ll be guaranteed the ultimate fix at Truffle Festival. There’ll be truffle-infused soups, pizzas, raclette, toasties and mac’n’cheese, plus boundary-pushing creations like truffle ice cream from Billy Van Creamy and even truffle bubbles. After grazing on your fill of gourmet delights, you can swing by the many artisan stalls and buy some of the black gold to take home.
Queen St, Melbourne
The cuisines of Texas and Japan may seem like an unlikely allegiance, but at this pop-up kitchen hosted by the Grand Hyatt they’ve married the smoky barbecued flavours of the American South with some our favourite Japanese dishes. The fusion menu includes heavy hitters like wagyu brisket ramen in smoked beef broth and pork baby back ribs smothered in chipotle soy glaze, while an extensive dessert menu covers everything from mochi and taiyaki to red velvet cake and caramelised pecan pie.
Until 31 August
123 Collins St, Melbourne
MUSIC & NIGHTLIFE
Guaranteed to be one of the parties of the season, electronic music label Falcona is celebrating 10 years in the biz with an epic warehouse bash featuring DMA’s, Hot Dub Time Machine, Young Franco, George Maple and more. Hosted at Footscray’s historic Wool Store, they’ll be taking partygoers on a sonic journey through the many eras of dance music, past and present.
Saturday 29 June 2pm-10pm
47/61 Sunshine Rd, West Footscray
East London’s luminary electronic troupe are heading back to Australia this June, playing what’s sure to be a packed-out Margaret Court Arena. They’ll be supported by homegrown legends Sneaky Sound System and spinning tracks from their latest album Toast to our Differences, a pop-house fiesta of dance tracks that’ll have you on your feet from go to whoa.
Sunday 9 June 8pm
Tickets from $80
Olympic Blvd, Melbourne
Melbourne Museum’s adults-only, after-dark party is returning this winter for a special collaboration with the Melbourne International Jazz Festival. With a wine in hand, hear intimate expert talks and explore their newest exhibition Revolutions: Records and Rebels before dancing the night away to an all-star lineup of jazz musicians including Jazz Party, Horns of Leroy ft Thando, Tanya George and more.
Friday 7 June 7pm-11pm
11 Nicholson St, Carlton
Pop icon Boy George is heading down under for his first Australian DJ tour and boy, is it gonna be a big one. The Culture Club frontman will be spinning ember-hot house tracks all night, supported by The Potbelleez’s Jonny Sonic, Casey Leaver, Rodd Riches and more. He sold out six consecutive shows in Sydney last year, so make sure you nab your tickets early if you don’t want to miss out.
Friday 21 June
386 Chapel St, South Yarra
The National Gallery of Victoria’s popular after-dark parties are one of the best ways to enjoy live music in winter, and pop queen NGAIIRE’s set this month is one of the season’s highlights. Dance the evening away to her tight beats and boisterous costuming while enjoying drinks and dumplings from Hutong’s pop-up bar. You’ll also be able to wander through the NGV’s new blockbuster exhibitions, Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality and Cai Guo-Qiang: The Transient Landscape.
Friday 14 June 6pm-10pm
180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne
ARTS & CULTURE
You might not know, but Australia is actually home to the world’s largest private collection of Chinese contemporary art. Lovingly built over many years by philanthropist Judith Neilson, a portion of the 2000 works are always on show at Sydney’s White Rabbit Gallery. To celebrate the gallery’s 10th anniversary, they’re bringing a selection of their most enthralling works to the NGV. Highlights include a number of large-scale, immersive sculptures that reveal the creative energy, technical virtuosity and conceptual richness of Chinese artists in the post-Mao era.
180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne
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 the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, they’ve collected over 500 items from the era, 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 25 August
11 Nicholson St, Carlton
It’s amazing to think that for over 2,000 years, a life-sized battalion of 8,000 terracotta warriors has silently guarded the tomb of China’s first emperor. Luckily, you don’t need to board a plane to see these archaeological treasures because this winter, eight warriors are on show at the NGV alongside two full-sized horses, bronze chariots and many other exquisite historic artefacts of Chinese art and design.
180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne
This May, the Immigration Museum is launching a new suite of exhibitions exploring 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 6 October 10am-5pm
400 Flinders St, Melbourne
THEATRE & CINEMA
If, like us, you still love throwing on a Parks and Recreationmarathon whenever you’re feeling down, don’t miss this one-man extravaganza by the man who gave us the inimitable Ron Swanson. Combining comedy, conversation and even a touch of dance, he’ll be exploring the pitfalls of modern consumerism and how we can transcend it to live better.
Friday 7 June & Saturday 8 June 7pm
Palais Theatre, Lower Espl, St Kilda
Take a leap into the rabbit hole and find yourself in a world of magic, colour and fantasy as Lewis Carroll’s ageless tale is translated into a full-scale production by the Australian Ballet. Extravagant costumes and sets incorporating puppetry, projections and eye-bending illusions will have you in visual thrall, while Helpmann Award-winning choreography and music take you on Alice’s adventures like you’ve never experienced before.
100 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne
Commemorating the 30th anniversary of reunification and the fall of the Berlin Wall, this year’s program is filled with films exploring the era’s impact. Highlights include Balloon, which tells the true tale of two families who escaped East Germany in a hot air balloon, and dramedy Adam and Evelyn, about quarrelling East German lovers divided by one’s desire to go west.
Until 9 June
The St Kilda Film Festival is Australia’s largest and longest running short film festival, each year spotlighting over 100 pieces by both emerging talent and industry veterans. It’s a rare chance to see many fascinating works that may otherwise go missed, plus each night a festival lounge by Matso’s Brewery will be open to provide drinks, snacks and most importantly, a place to dissect the evening’s viewing.
99A Carlisle St, St Kilda
MARKETS & SHOPPING
Escape to a snowy alpine wonderland at Fed Square’s Winter Village. No plane ticket required – this snow-specked hangout is in the heart of the CBD – you and your friends can set up camp inside their cosy private igloos for the ultimate winter gathering. Packages come fully catered, with options like caramel hot toddies, antipasto boxes, pizza and espresso martini ice cream pops. When you decide to step outside, there’s also a mega igloo where it snows indoors, plus an ice-skating rink where you can twist and twirl all night long – talk about winter dreams.
Until 1 September
Federation Square, Melbourne
Browse over 5,000 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 St, Melbourne
It’s a celebration of 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 diner The Young Bloods is on hand for brunching needs.
Saturdays & Sundays 11am-5pm
60 Rose St, Fitzroy
Keep the spring vibes going inside your home by stocking up on low-light plants at the Jungle Collective’s pop-up plant warehouse sale. They’ll be hawking specimens like fiddle leaf, monstera, rubber figs and more that’ll add a lush green touch to any room. The collective are known for throwing sales that are more akin to parties, replete with bouncy tunes and fun vibes.
Saturday 8 June & Sunday 9 June, 9am-2pm
19 Studley St, Abbotsford
Photo Credit - Zoos Vic
For the long weekend, take a restorative mini-getaway to Healesville Sanctuary where they’re throwing day parties with many of the best things in life: mulled wine, cute animals, delicious food and live music. There’ll be roaring open fires and tepees to cosy up in, local handmade chocolates to try and mini golf to play, and food trucks serving everything from jackfruit burgers to beef bourguignon.
8-10 June 11am-4pm
Badger Creek Rd, Badger Creek
The picturesque beach town of Port Fairy is embracing winter with a beautifully curated series of weekend-long arts, culture and dining programs. Every second weekend in June and July they’ll be putting on events ranging from photo exhibitions and markets to workshops and concerts. Highlights for June include their famously adorable Daschund Dash race, winter solstice dawn swim, short play festival and their ‘hot pizza, cool jazz’ nights.
7-9 June and 21-23 June
Around Port Fairy
Whether you’ve got Celtic blood running through your veins or simply love a river dance and a Guinness, Portarlington’s annual celebration of all things Irish, Scottish and Welsh is well worth the 90-minute drive. You can expect dozens of performances across music, dance, theatre and literature readings, plus a highland cattle show, fiddle workshops and myriad markets. There’s even a pop-up club that’ll see many of the festival’s 15,000 visitors revelling late into the evening.
WORKSHOPS & CLASSES
Add a dash of chaos 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 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.
717 Flinders St, Docklands
She’s Melbourne’s grand dame of vegan cooking – the superstar chef behind the snaking lines at Smith & Deli and the “I can’t believe it’s not meat” magic of Smith & Daughters. Now’s your chance to learn the secrets to plant-based cookery direct from Shannon Martinez herself, at an intimate masterclass where you’ll prepare and enjoy a three-course dinner together. Better yet, all proceeds go to Sacred Heart Mission, who provide more than 400 meals every day to some of Melbourne’s most vulnerable.
Friday 14 June 5.30pm
87 Grey Street, St Kilda
We’ll be the first to admit that we spend way too much on cheese, so why spend a little more and learn to make your own? Henry and the Fox is inviting curd lovers into their den for cheesemaking masterclasses that’ll have you straining and stretching with the best of them. June’s edition will teach the secrets to making soft, creamy burrata and stracciatella. Included with your ticket is a glass of wine on arrival, a cheeseboard to graze on and of course, all the delicious cheese you make on the day.
Saturday 8 June 11am-2pm
525 Little Collins St, Melbourne