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Look out – here are the best things to do in Melbourne at night!
So far on the blog, I’ve covered free things to do in Melbourne, the most fun things to do in Melbourne, and now we’re onto the best things to do in Melbourne at night! From the best attractions to my favourite food and drink options, I cover all bases 😏.
Where to stay in Melbourne
Melbourne travel tips
For Melbourne travel tips, check out my general things to do in Melbourne post. I’ve included some helpful information over there, like how to use the slightly confusing public transport network.
The most fun things to do in Melbourne at night
1. Visit Luna Park
Luna Park is a great place to visit in Melbourne at night. In summer, the theme park is open until 11 pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Luna Park has rides that suit all ages, including The Great Scenic Railway. This is actually the world’s oldest continually operating roller coaster.
2. See the penguins in St Kilda
Speaking of St Kilda, this is one of my personal favourite things to do in Melbourne at night. Head out to St Kilda Pier after sunset to see the penguins returning to their homes among the rocks. There are volunteers on hand to ensure people don’t get too close to the little ones and to answer any questions. The penguins are SO cute and you can easily see over a dozen in one evening.
Here’s my guide to St Kilda, if you want more info!
3. Eat Italian food on Lygon Street
Lygon Street is Melbourne’s Little Italy. It’s lined with too many restaurants, cafes and shops. I didn’t visit Lygon Street enough when I lived in Melbourne, but every time I went I ate delicious food. A couple of restaurants I’ve been to on Lygon Street and recommend are Universal and Papa Gino’s. Universal serves chicken schnitzels and parmis that are literally bigger than your head and cost $14. After dinner, head to Pidapipo for gelato or Johnny’s Green Room for rooftop drinks.
4. Listen to live music
Melbourne is home to the most live music venues per capita out of any major city in the world. This means you’re spoilt for choice if you want to spend a night out in Melbourne listening to live music. I’ve personally been to quite a few gigs at the Corner Hotel, which hosts both Australian and international bands. Other popular live music venues in Melbourne include Northcote Social Club and 170 Russell.
5. Go to the theatre
I love musicals and fortunately, Melbourne is home to some of the most beautiful theatres in Australia. Shows like School of Rock, Mamma Mia!, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child have all performed in Melbourne. Visit the TodayTix website to find out what shows are on during your visit to Melbourne.
6. Enjoy the Gas Brigades Fire Show at Crown Melbourne
One of the best free things to do in Melbourne at night is the Gas Brigades Fire Show outside the Crown Entertainment Complex. The eight towers along Southbank Promenade shoot the world’s largest fireballs into the sky every hour on the hour, once it gets dark. We actually got to see them on the night of my 30th birthday and my parents were very surprised!
7. Have fun at the Crown Melbourne Entertainment Complex
Continuing on, the Crown Entertainment Complex is one of the best places to visit in Melbourne at night. It’s home to restaurants, bars, nightclubs, the all-important Crown Casino, Village Cinema, Holey Moley Golf Club and Kingpin Bowling. Crown Melbourne also hosts live theatre and music performances. It’s basically a one-stop shop for a fun night out in Melbourne.
8. Head to a rooftop bar
Melbourne is known for its rooftop bars. I recommend checking out this post I wrote for The Culture Trip, as it lists some of the city’s most popular rooftop bars. Personally, I can recommend Johnny’s Green Room on Lygon Street and the Imperial Hotel for views of Parliament House.
9. Eat ice cream for dessert
It’s no secret that I have serious a sweet tooth. I like any excuse to enjoy ice cream and I have tried most of Melbourne’s most popular ice cream spots. I mean, it’s a tough job but someone has to do it! Anyway, Pidapipo is a solid option, as is Zero Gradi and Piccolina (the interior here is perfection). Another option is Gelato Messina, which is known for its unique weekly specials. In the CBD, I can never resist Ben and Jerry’s on Flinders Lane either.
Here are all of my favourite places to eat in Melbourne and Richmond (my old home)
10. Go to a trivia night
I LOVE doing trivia. Fortunately, many pubs and restaurants host weekly trivia nights around Melbourne. You can just rock up with your friends and have a great night. There’s actually a website called QuizFinder that lists all of the quiz nights in Melbourne. The one I’ve been to on several occasions is held at Wharf Hotel on Wednesday nights. It’s very well run, the host is awesome and they do $10 pizzas all night. What more could you want?
11. See the sunset from Eureka Tower
I’m so glad I finally decided to visit Eureka Tower before I left Melbourne. Seeing the view from Eureka Skydeck at sunset is seriously one of the best things to do in Melbourne at night. It’s located on the 88th floor, so on a clear day, the views are incredible. You can purchase tickets here, but there’s also a day and night ticket option if you can’t get enough.
If you’re looking for the best views in Melbourne, check out this post
Melbourne loves a hidden bar. Here’s a post from Broadsheet detailing some of the city’s most secretive bars, but I recommend heading to Croft Institute for an unconventional night out in Melbourne.
13. Watch a sports game
My Friday and Saturday nights in winter were usually spent working at Marvel Stadium, which hosts one to three AFL games every week during the season. AFL is the most popular sport in Melbourne, but there’s also cricket and soccer in summer, the Australian Open in January and the Formula 1 Grand Prix in March. There’s a reason Melbourne is called Australia’s sports capital.
14. Visit Phillip Island
I had to sneak this one in because visiting the world-famous Penguin Parade on Phillip Island is one of the best things to do near Melbourne, period. However, because the penguins arrive home after sunset it’s a nighttime activity. Phillip Island is 90 minutes from Melbourne, so you can either drive or hop on an organised tour.
Here are the other best day trips to do from Melbourne
15. Head to NGV or Melbourne Museum on a Friday night
Let me introduce you to two of the best things to do in Melbourne on (select) Friday nights. I worked at Melbourne Museum and on the first Friday night of every month, they host Nocturnal. The event allows you to see a few of the museum’s exhibitions after dark while listening to amazing live music. Plus, there are always a few bars (where I worked). It’s such a fun and unique thing to do in the city at night. NGV (National Gallery of Victoria) also does a similar event, which is literally called Friday Nights.
16. Go on a Night Tour at Old Melbourne Gaol
One of the more unique things to do in Melbourne at night is a tour of Old Melbourne Gaol after dark. The site of Ned Kelly’s hanging, the historic building hosts several night tours throughout the week. There’s A Night in the Watch House, Ghosts? What Ghosts!, and the Hangman’s Night Tour. Do you dare?
17. Have dinner in Chinatown
Melbourne’s Chinatown is overflowing with food choices. It’s one of my favourite places to dine in the city at night because the food is always cheap and delicious. I recommend checking out HuTong (pricier but worth it), Shanghai Village (it’s BYO too) and ShanDong MaMa for dumplings.
18. Have a laugh
Melbourne hosts an International Comedy Festival annually. But if you can’t make it, don’t worry, as it’s also home to a few fantastic venues dedicated to comedy. The Comic Lounge and Comedy Lounge host some of the best comedians from both Australia and around the world. Check out their websites for weekly special events too. Spleen Bar is also known for its free weekly comedy shows on Monday nights.
19. Enjoy a dinner cruise along the Yarra
One of the most romantic things to do in Melbourne at night is a dinner cruise along the Yarra River. Spirit of Melbourne’s dinner cruise includes a four-course dinner with drinks. If cruising along the Yarra doesn’t interest you, there are also plenty of restaurants and bars on either side of the Yarra River as well. Arbory is a popular option and my personal favourite spot. Otherwise, why not grab a drink directly on the Yarra River at Ponyfish Island?
20. Watch an outdoor movie in the summertime
Every summer, Melbourne hosts a handful of open-air movie nights across the city. Check out this post for all of the best options, because there are too many for me to list! There are outdoor movies screened in parks, beside the beach and even on rooftops in the CBD. It’s a guaranteed fun night out in Melbourne.
21. Visit The Night Market at Queen Victoria Market
I love visiting The Night Market at Queen Victoria Market, and it’s one of the more cheap things to do in Melbourne at night. It’s also a great option for things to do in Melbourne at night by yourself. Queen Vic itself is one of the top Melbourne attractions. But on various Wednesdays throughout the year, it hosts a night market. There’s a summer and winter night market, as well as the Hawker 88 Night Market in spring. You can sample food from hundreds of stalls, grab a drink and listen to live music.
22. Have a Slumber Safari at Werribee Zoo
This is COOL. Werribee Zoo hosts a Slumber Safari, where you get to stay overnight in an onsite luxury lodge. The experience includes two days of zoo entry, a nighttime walk, an African-inspired dinner, marshmallows around the campfire and a buffet breakfast in the morning. I think this would be such a fun experience to share with a loved one or a close friend, right? You can learn more and purchase tickets here. There’s also a sunset safari option if you don’t want to stay overnight.
23. Enjoy a festival
Melbourne sure does love a festival. I’ve mentioned a couple above, but my personal favourite is White Night. It involves interactive light displays being projected onto many of the city’s most beautiful buildings. A lot of places hold events as well – it’s definitely a sight to see! Another free festival to check out in February is St Kilda Festival. Some of Australia’s top music acts perform at St Kilda Fest, which is Australia’s biggest free music festival. You can totally combine a night out at St Kilda Fest with a wander down to see the penguins at St Kilda Pier too (this is what my friends and I did).
Okay, this is another one of my favourite things to do in Melbourne at night. I did a couple of karaoke nights with workmates and it was so much fun! At FM Karaoke Bar, you can rent a room for between $40 and $50 per hour (depending on how many people there are). They also have free open karaoke. Other popular karaoke bars in Melbourne include KBOX and Heroes Bar.
25. Have a picnic in the park
Australia has pretty strict public drinking rules. But as it turns out, you can legally drink in public parks in Melbourne, as long as your group is smaller than 50 people. So in the summer, grab some food and drinks and have a fun picnic in the park.
Your night out in Melbourne = sorted
I feel like this post covers everything: from cheap things to do at night, to my favourite food and drink spots, to things to do in Melbourne at night by yourself. Remember, for more Melbourne goodness, check out my other posts. There are all the free things to do, things to do in general, my favourite places to eat and the best skyline views! I hope you enjoy your time in Melbourne. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to reach out to me on Facebook or Instagram.