Ah, summer… it’s a bit of a double-edged sword. Sure, we’ve all had a bit of time off work, maybe even a holiday or a weekend away, but the season’s never-ending expenses have left us high and dry. Thanks to Christmas, New Years, festivals, and dinners, and admittedly far too many alcoholic beverages, a dwindling bank account come January is no surprise.
But empty pockets are no excuse to sit inside and let the rest of summer slip away. If you’re feeling the financial strain, here are seven of the best free things to check out in Melbourne this February.
Lunar New Year in Melbourne usually calls for a serious party, and QVM is getting into the festive spirit with a day full of free celebrations. Check out the traditional Chinese Lion Dancers, learn some martial arts moves from the experts, or nab some culinary tips from a free cooking demonstration with celebrity chef Elizabeth Chong.
Saturday 28, 10am-2pm
513 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne
The St Kilda Festival is arguably Melbourne’s biggest summer celebration, where each year a host of Australian artists and talent get together for an epic party on the St Kilda foreshore. Think Daryl Braithwaite and his horses Saatsuma, The Ashton Shuffle and Archie Roach. With an expected attendance of over 400,000 people, the streets will be closed to traffic and multiple stages set up for performances, workshops, kids entertainment, rides and heaps more.
Sunday 12, 9am-midnight
The Esplanade, St Kilda
Melbourne’s annual White Night festival will see the city transform through installation, lighting, exhibitions, performances and interactive events. This year’s program features some pretty incredible creative genius. Think, towering kinetic sculptures, an epic 360-degree underwater adventure, and a living, breathing sonic bubble in Carlton Gardens.
Saturday 18, 7pm-7am
Various locations across Melbourne
Ever fancy creating a little rooftop garden, but are not quite sure where to start? This free information session at the Melbourne Town Hall will teach you everything you need to know about growing your own green rooftop, including; design tips, benefits, and ongoing maintenance and care info. Just think of all the lush rooftop parties you’ll be able to throw.
Wednesday 22, 6-7pm
Melbourne Town Hall, 90-130 Swanston Street, Melbourne
For a refuge from the summer heat, plus a healthy dose of culture, pop in to Melbourne’s flagship contemporary art space to check out their latest free exhibitions. Currently showing, is artist He An’s installation, Do You Think You Can Help Her Brother?, which uses retrieved heritage signage to create a neon display of urban poetry. You can also check out Sovereignty, an exhibition focusing on the contemporary art of Indigenous people from South East Australia.
111 Sturt Street, Southbank
Melbourne’s annual Greek street party is celebrating its 30th birthday this year, so you know it’s going to be a big one. Head down to Lonsdale Street for a weekend of Greek culture, including free entertainment over three stages, kids rides and activities, plus over 60 Greek foodie stalls (not free, but we figure you’ll be able to spend the dosh you saved on entry on multiple gyros).
Saturday 25 to Sunday 26
Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
Federation Square is hosting a seriously Kawaii celebration of all things Japanese in Melbourne. Featuring the best of both traditional and contemporary Japanese culture, the festival will include
Taiko drumming, Okinawan folk music and martial arts performances, plus, plenty of arts and crafts to try your hand at. The River Terrace will be lined with Japanese food stalls, and there are prizes for best dressed, plus four business class tickets to Japan to be won.
Sunday 26, 12-6pm
Federation Square, Corner Swanston Street and Flinders Street, Melbourne