Planning what to do in Melbourne this month? Our jam-packed event guide has got you covered...
Make the most of summer’s final weeks as everything from movies and theatre to foodie festivals and party nights go open air. That’s not to say there aren’t things to do if the weather turns however, with moving art exhibitions, restaurant feasts and one of the most special symphony nights of the year also on February’s plate.
EAT & DRINK
Bring your dog to this two-day fur-fest at the Ascot Lot. They’ll be spreading “treat yo self” goodness to both human and pooch. For us there’ll be food trucks, prosecco cocktails and tastings, while pups will be plied with delicious doggy snacks, free health checks, manis and blow waves from a pop-up ‘beauty bar’ plus market stalls selling adorable accessories. Ready for another dog? Second Chance Animal Rescue and Gumtree Greys are bringing along rescue dogs you can cuddle and adopt.
15th & 16th February 11am-10pm
448-462 Mt Alexander Rd, Ascot Vale
Round up your BFFs and get some summer lovin’ at Fargo & Co’s banging galentine’s day event. Catch up with the real loves of your life over specials like $30 wine and cheeseboards, $10 espresso martinis and bellinis from 4pm-7pm before DJ beats get you on your feet ‘til late.
Friday 14th February 11am-1am
216 Swan St, Richmond
Australia’s love for Prosecco has exploded over the years, rivalling Champagne as our favourite way to sip bubbles. Expand your appreciation even further at this festival devoted to the sparkling wine, where they’ll be over 40 Proseccos from Italy and Australia to sample, paired with Italian delights like 400 Gradi pizza, porchetta, cannoli and even prosecco-infused gelato. There’ll be masterclasses for the true connoisseurs, and plenty of live entertainment and spritzes for the rest of us.
Saturday 29th February 11am-8.30pm
189 High St, Northcote
Enjoy a sandy slice of summer 40 storeys up in the air - the Melbourne Star has transformed two of their glass cabins into colourful huts inspired by Brighton’s iconic beach boxes. Book in with a date or your mates and recline on lounge chairs, sip on rosé and nibble on cheese as you enjoy panoramic views of the city.
Until 29th February
101 Waterfront Way, Docklands
Fans of Louisiana cuisine should flock to this special lunch at The Boatbuilder’s Yard where they’re putting on a traditional Southern-style communal crab boil complete with long-table setting. After oysters and po boys to start you’ll get to attack a mountain of crab, prawns, mussels, clams, baby potatoes, pork sausages and corn cobs laid out in front of you, eased down with unlimited Creole Bloody Marys, pink lemonade, Pabst Blue Ribbons and Long Island Iced Tea.
Saturday 29th February 1.30pm-3.30pm
23 S Wharf Promenade, South Wharf
Ahoy, deliciousness! The Westin takes the themed high tea concept to new waters with a gin-inspired, all-seafood menu that swaps sandwiches and quiche for oysters, yabby toast and smoked cod croquettes. Most dishes incorporate Four Pillars gin, for example in creative condiments like Bloody Shiraz gin-infused sweet chilli sauce and gin mustard glaze. Staying on theme, the meal is paired with gin cocktails, while dessert is a honey and oat ice cream sandwich dipped in gin and orange marmalade.
Saturdays and Sundays 11am-4pm
205 Collins St, Melbourne
Knockoffs are sorted with this post work special at popular mod-Chinese spot David’s. Head to Prahran and cool down with an hour’s worth of bottomless Asahi beer, house wines and their new frozen cocktail, a refreshing blend of lychee, aloe vera, lime and gin. Also included is a snack plate of your choosing – there’s drunken oysters dressed with rice wine jelly, salt and pepper calamari or spicy chilli chicken wings.
Thursdays and Fridays 6pm-7pm
4, Cecil Place, Prahran
Whether or not you’re plant-based you’ll want to book into this bonza AYCE vegan feast at Horn Please, where for just $20 you’ll get unlimited fill of six curries, rice and naan. The selection changes each week, but you’re bound to see favourites including dahl, chana masala, eggplant curry, spinach fritters and General Tso’s cauliflower.
Sundays throughout February from 6pm
167 St Georges Rd, Fitzroy North
Celebrate all things gin at this festival showcasing our best and brightest distillers. Dozens of your favourite makers including Archie Rose, Ink Gin, McHenry and Patient Wolf will present their wares in G&T and cocktail form. Listen to talks and sample your way through the lot while sharing your passion with fellow juniper enthusiasts and snacking on nibbles from the Boatbuilders Yard kitchen.
15th & 16th February 12pm-6pm
Tickets from $42
23 South Wharf Promenade, South Wharf,
Have your thirst thoroughly quenched with hundreds of craft beers, ciders and wines at Australia’s biggest outdoor beer festival. Stallholders include big names visiting from interstate and overseas, but it’s not all about imbibing – there’s also live performances from Art vs Science, comedy, food trucks, and masterclasses in mixology, home brewing and beer/food matching.
Saturday 29th February 1pm-8pm
Catani Gardens, Beaconsfield Pde, St Kilda West
The summer of edition of Queen Vic’s perennially popular night market arrives with dozens of food stalls plus bars, games and live music. Drop by after work and eat your way around the world, from 400 Gradi pizza and Polish pierogi to Hawaiian shaved ice and Portuguese custard tarts. In between, stay refreshed with gin cocktails and challenge your friends on the pop-up volleyball court.
Cnr Elizabeth St & Victoria St, Melbourne
It’s like going to the races but with added sand and bougieness – Twilight Beach Polo is a one-off event that sees international and local players battle it out over three games of polo under a spectacular St Kilda sunset. As with the races it’s not just about the sport here, with food, wine, fashion and entertainment also in high supply.
Saturday 15th February 2pm-8pm
Tickets from $79
West Beach, St Kilda West
To help make the most of the January sunshine, Federation Square’s rooftop carpark has transformed into a summer playground complete with games, food and drink. Lounge on the communal lawn or book out one of the colourful huts and retro caravans with your mates to play board games, sip cocktails (including frozen margaritas) and nibble on lobster rolls, woodfired pizza, fried chicken, salads and more.
Free entry (packages available)
Federation Square, Melbourne
Richmond's Baby Pizza is running Aperitivo every day of the week, with $5.50 Aperol Spritz, Select Spritz and Rosé. Baby never do drinks without delicious food, so sink into Aperitivo with the Baby Mozzarella menu featuring a dedicated cheese-only section including handmade fior di latte, buffalo mozzarella, smoked burrata and more.
Every day, 3pm-6pm
631-633 Church Street, Richmond
Normally the domain of footy players and cricketers, for two nights only you can lie back on the hallowed grounds of the MCG and watch movies under the stars. The G’s huge scoreboard screen will light up with Elton John biopic Rocketmanon Friday and local hit Ride Like a Girlon Saturday, so pack a blanket and get cosy on the turf. There’ll be plenty of stalls on the night, but you’re welcome to bring your own food and non-alcoholic drinks (no glass or cans though).
14th & 15th February from 6.30pm
Bringing the sea to the city is Fed Square’s summer pop-up beach, where you can kick back after work in deckchairs and cabanas while enjoying free films including Puberty Blues, Strictly Ballroom, The Notebook and Thelma and Louise on the big screen. Of course, no trip to the beach is complete without ice cream, so Popstic will be popping by on Friday and Saturday nights to sell their frosty wares (and give 100 on launch night).
7th-20th February 7am-11pm
Federation Square, Melbourne
Over February, catch movies including the new Margot Robbie-led DC blockbuster Birds of Prey and teen classic 10 Things I Hate About You.Lido Cinema’s rooftop series is a hit each year for its diverse programming, sweeping views and next-level snacks (think cheese plates, craft beer and veggie dumplings).
675 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn
Nothing says spring like a picnic rug, bottle of red and outdoor movie – and with the return of Moonlight Cinema, you get all three. Set in the picturesque surrounds of the Royal Botanic Gardens, you’ll be able to catch both new releases and old favourites, with the option to BYO food and drink or purchase from on-site food trucks.
Tickets from $15
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Birdwood Ave, South Yarra
The wondrous pull of space certainly doesn’t dim with age, something that Sciencework’s Planetarium is tapping into with their after-hours, grown-ups only sessions. Every Friday night you’re invited to take a trip through fluorescent coral reefs, block holes and the infinite cosmos via films screened on their massive planetarium dome. Grab a drink at the bar and settle in for a journey that’s out of this world.
2 Booker Street, Spotswood
MUSIC & NIGHTLIFE
Leafy Ardrie Park is set to transform into a broadway spectacular as the one and only Rhonda Burchmore is joined by a 16-piece jazz ensemble performing big band classics from George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Harold Arlen. Organised by the City of Stonnington, the open-air concert is completely free so all you need to do is bring a blanket and your tapping toes.
Saturday 15th February 7.30pm
Ardrie Park, Malvern East
Make the most of the leap year’s extra day of summer at this eclectic dance party held on the Immigration Museum courtyard. They’re celebrating genre-hopping artists who’ve ‘made the leap’ (get it?) and taken an artistic risk. Dance to the ethereal flow of vocalist, composer and producer Aarti Jadu, whose work spans Indian, choral, chant and experimental realms, or head into the Long Room for a guided astrological dance class-meets-rave experience.
Saturday 29th February 6.30pm-10pm
Tickets from $10
400 Flinders St, Melbourne
Flowers and a candlelit dinner are so yesterday. Spice it up this Valentine’s day with a Latin-infused night of movement, music and love. From 6pm, Cuban dance king Eric Turro Martinez will open up the floor with easy-to-follow steps before DJ Saca La Mois serves up tropical beats ranging from cumba to salsa. Then it’s time to kick back with themed cocktails as local legends Mariachi Los Romanticos serenade the crowd with México's finest mariachi love song dedications, before the night heats up with Karen Bravo taking you through Afro-Colombian beats.
Friday 14th February 6pm-10pm
Tickets from $10
400 Flinders St, Melbourne
The raging success of Bohemian Rhapsody, which became the highest grossing music biopic of all time, proves that the love for Queen remains as strong as ever. See them live this month at AAMI Park as original members Brian May and Roger Taylor are joined by Adam Lambert singing the lead vocals made famous by Freddy Mercury. One thing’s for sure – they will rock you.
19th & 20th February
Tickets from $170
Olympic Blvd, Melbourne
Take your mum, aunt or granny out for date night at Michael Bublé’s new live tour, where the Canadian crooner will charm audiences of all ages with his dulcet tones. He’ll have the backing of a full 36-piece orchestra as he works his way through classics like ‘Feeling Good’ and ‘Haven’t Met You Yet’, as well as songs from his latest album Love.
Tickets from $175
Rod Laver Arena, Olympic Blvd, Melbourne
Melbourne Zoo’s fundraising concert series continues this month with acts including Missy Higgins, Methyl Ethyl, Julia Jacklin and the Cat Empire. Dust off your dancing shoes for a boogie under the stars or a gourmet picnic on the grounds, with this year’s proceeds helping to save the critically endangered Mountain Pygmy-possum from extinction.
Melbourne Zoo, Elliott Ave, Parkville
To commemorate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, Melbourne Opera are staging his only opera, Fidelio, as conducted by leading international maestro Anthony Negus. This daring rescue dramatells the story of Leonore, a loyal wife who risks everything to free her political prisoner husband by dressing up as a man, seeking employment with his jailer, and inadvertently winning the affections of his daughter. An all-star cast will be backed by the sweeping sounds of a full chorus and orchestra – this a production that enthusiasts and newbies alike will love.
Athenaeum Theatre, 188 Collins St, Melbourne
Tickets from $35
BEAUTY, FITNESS & WELLNESS
Grown Alchemist's Lip Locked team will be running a Valentine's Day Proposal Pop Up at Bourke Street Mall to celebrate the global day of love. Attendees will be gifted a limited-edition red Valentine’s Day Watermelon and Vanilla Lip Balm; a non-toxic, vegan and cruelty-free formulation enriched with essential Vitamins and Antioxidants plus skin-softening fatty acids making them the ideal unisex gift to give (or self-care treat to keep).
So whether you are loved up, celebrating with friends of flying solo, Grown Alchemist will be there to show you a little love this Valentine’s Day.
13th-14th February, 10am-2pm
Bourke Street Mall
BOOK TICKETS: Happy Melon x Jackalope Retreat
Teaming up with Melbourne Yogi’s Happy Melon, Jackalope are hosting a bumper retreat weekend designed to help guests unwind, focus and kickstart their year on a mindful note. Following up from the sold-out 2018 summer retreat, this all-inclusive weekend getaway combines luxe accommodation, yoga, meditation and farm-to-table fine dining to provide guests the ultimate three-day relaxation experience including some delightful surprises from sponsors Hunter LAB and Lululemon. What better way to set yourself up for a goal-kicking 2020?
26th - 28th February
$1390 (Twin Share per person)
$1990 (Single Share)
Jackalope Hotel, 166 Balnarring Road, Merricks North
In need of a little pampering? While buzzing cosmopolitan Melbourne certainly has no shortage of things to do, sometimes you want nothing more than to get away from it all and indulge in some much deserved me time. So ready your robe and sit back and relax as we discover Melbourne’s best day spas.
Perhaps you’ve had enough of the gym but can’t quite muster the energy to pound the pavement solo. Whether morale is running low, or you’re just craving a change of scenery – there’s nothing quite like an outdoor fitness session to get your blood pumping and stamina soaring. As we fully embrace the summer, join us in working (out) our way through Melbourne’s best outdoor exercise classes.
Whether you fancy ambling from brunch to picnic lunch or you prefer your walks a little more strenuous – Melbourne has a multitude of scenic tracks that will please everyone from casual strollers to weekend warriors. Soak up the buzzing atmosphere on beachside promenades, make your way along creek-side paths littered with native flowers or admire the city skyline from lush urban parks. All you need to bring is your walking shoes.
ARTS & CULTURE
Toast our closest neighbours at this festival of all things Kiwi, held on the lush riverside green of Footscray Community Arts Centre. There’ll be Maori food and barbecues, craft beer from Wellington’s Garage Project, cultural performances and sets from bangin’ New Zealand artists Che-Fu, Israel Starr, Iva Lamkum and more.
Saturday 15th February 2pm-10pm
45 Moreland St, Footscray
Inspired by web and new media aesthetics, the artists in ACCA’s summer exhibition Feedback Loopsrecreate characters from their past and present in order to imagine the future. You’ll see works that are in equal measure unsettling, absurd, fantastical and joyous, expressed via everything from gaming software and CGI to the ripping and rehashing of internet content.
Until 22nd March
111 Sturt St, Southbank
Fancy seeing the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for the low price of zero this summer? If so, hightail it to Sidney Myer Music Bowl for their free classical music evenings, where the sweeping scores of Wagner, Dvořák and Khachaturian will be played alongside modern Australian compositions by Matthew Hindson and Elena Kats-Chernin. BYO blanket and snacks for a gloriously fun (and free) night of entertainment.
5th, 8th & 14th February 7.30pm
Linlithgow Ave, Melbourne
This mind-bending immersive exhibition by New Zealand-born artists Jess Johnson and Simon Ward conjures a mysterious universe of alien architecture, humanoid clones and cryptic symbols that open up via a cyber network of travellators and gateways. Terminus presents a choose-your-own adventure in which time and space slip away, propelling you through cyber narratives that edge towards sensory overload.
Until 1st March
7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen
The immortal films of Studio Ghibli live large in our imaginations, from Howl’s Moving Castle and Princess Mononoke to My Neighbor Totoro and the Oscar-winning Spirited Away. This month Miyazaki’s longtime collaborator, legendary composer-conductor Joe Hisaishi, will lead the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra through the magical scores and heart-stirring montages from these renowned films. The concert will be complete with a full children’s choir and marching band bringing these Miyazaki’s films to life on stage.
Saturday 29th February and Sunday 1st March 7.30pm
Tickets from $80
Linlithgow Ave , Melbourne
Familiarise yourself with the brilliance of our First Nations communities at this annual exhibition featuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from across Victoria. You’ll see traditional practices alongside thrillingly modern works across painting, photography, sculpture, digital and fibre forms, with the opportunity for vote for your favourite as part of the people’s choice award.
Until 23 February
GF Yarra Building, Federation Square
Winner of best new comedy at the last Olivier Awards, Home, I’m Darling is a piercingly funny play about one woman’s quest to be the ideal housewife. Modern day couple Judy and Marcus live a fantasy 1950s lifestyle in their immaculate dream home – but is everything as lovely as it seems? Commenting on the allure of nostalgia and society’s relentless pursuit of perfection, this new Melbourne Theatre Company production offers a mix of sharp social observation and laughter.
20th January - 22nd February
Tickets from $75
140 Southbank Boulevard, Southbank
Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s lives shared many parallels – both irrevocably changed the art world in the 1980s, created instantly recognisable imagery, engaged in socio-political commentary and tragically died young. In this blockbuster new NGV exhibition, 200 artworks trace each artist’s short yet prolific career while providing fascinating new insights into their unique visual languages.
180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Best known for her whimsical sculptures of animals, this new exhibition surveys the wider multidisciplinary practice of Louise Weaver, one of our most significant contemporary artists. You’ll see fantastical creatures, iridescent other worlds and unsettling organic forms across sculpture, paintings, printmaking, collage, textiles and sound. Together, they span 30 years of Weaver’s career exploring themes such as natural world, feminism and mythology.
Open Wednesday to Sunday, 11am-5pm
Cnr Southbank Boulevard and Dodds Street, Southbank
Experience Shakespeare’s classic tale of conspiracy, deception and moral ambiguity under cover of nightfall this summer at the Royal Botanic Gardens. The Australian Shakespeare Company’s new production strips away traditional symbols of opulence and grandeur in favour of unfolding in nature, nevertheless transporting you from a balmy evening in the gardens to the palace of Elsinore.
From 20th December
Tickets from $45
Birdwood Avenue, South Yarra