Melbourne is a great place to explore during the day, but once the sun goes down, the city truly comes alive. Of the many things to do in Melbourne, those that take place in the nighttime hours are the most thrilling. There are hip and hidden bars to explore, restaurants of every cuisine imaginable to dine in and plenty of other fun things to do in Melbourne at night, from nighttime kayaks along the river to sleeping overnight at a zoo.
Some people say that Melbourne is Australia’s most European city and indeed, Victoria’s capital is sophisticated and stylish. Its hidden laneways and grand arcades are packed with shops, bars, restaurants and plenty on the cultural calendar.
Even wandering around the city has its own rewards, as Melbourne is utterly beguiling at night. You don’t have to restrict yourself to the city’s CBD (Central Business District), now that the transport hours for the tram network have been extended. Here are a few things to on in Melbourne at night, to see the city from a different point of view.
- 15 Exciting Things to do in Melbourne at Night
- 1- Ride the Melbourne Star
- 2- Take in a sunset view at Eureka Skydeck 88
- 3- Explore the laneways of the city
- 4- Tour the Old Melbourne Gaol
- 5- Belly laugh at The Comic’s Lounge
- 6- Grab a drink at a themed, rooftop or secret bar
- 7- Tuck into some food at the Queen Victoria Night Market
- 8- Go for late night fondue at Milk the Cow
- 9- Watch a movie in an outdoor cinema in summer
- 10- Catch a double feature at a beautiful old cinema
- 11- Take a dinner cruise along the Yarra River
- 12- Go for a moonlight kayak
- 13- Visit a Luna Park historic amusement park
- 14- See the Phillip Island penguins
- 15- Go on an overnight safari
15 Exciting Things to do in Melbourne at Night
1- Ride the Melbourne Star
It seems most big cities these days contain a giant Ferris wheel and Melbourne is no exception – although it is the only city in Australia to have one of this magnitude.
Located in the Docklands district of the city, the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel allows patrons a full 30 minutes to take in the sights of the city.
You can ride by day but boarding the Melbourne Star is one of the fun things to do in Melbourne at night.
There are plenty of add-ons available if you want to spice things up a bit, from sangria jugs to flights of sparkling wine.
You can book a private cabin, join a yoga class and it’s a popular place to propose, as well!
Melbourne Star ticket prices start at $16.50.
2- Take in a sunset view at Eureka Skydeck 88
Melbourne is a beauty after dark and one of the nighttime activities in Melbourne, if you want to see the city in all its sprawling glory, is to head to Eureka Skydeck 88.
The tallest observation deck in the Southern Hemisphere is an impressive Australian landmark.
Sipping on wine, beer or champagne on the Skydeck itself is one of the more romantic things to do in Melbourne at night.
Take your experience one step further and brave “The Edge” – adjoining glass cubes, suspended 300 metres above the city.
These cubes (glass ceiling, walls and floors) project out from the floor, giving visitors a clear view of the city from all angles.
It’s not for the faint-hearted, or sufferers of vertigo!
Eureka Skydeck 88 is also home to the tallest post office box in this part of the world – a fun fact you can add to any postcard to send home. Reserve your tickets here.
Eureka Skydeck is open until 10 pm each night.
3- Explore the laneways of the city
The city centre of Melbourne is famous for its laneways that are filled with restaurants and cafés, bars that offer plenty of late-night Melbourne activities to keep you going to the wee hours.
These lanes are often adorned with an impressive display of Melbourne street art and one of the fun things to do in Melbourne at night is to scour the streets for the best murals.
The artwork takes on a different dimension after dark and you will find the best ones in these places:
- Hosier Lane
- Union Lane
- Degraves Street
- AC/DC Lane
A word of warning. Although these lanes are interesting to explore in Melbourne at night, I wouldn’t wander down any that look too creepy – safety is paramount after all!
Read our post on where to find the best coffee in Melbourne.
4- Tour the Old Melbourne Gaol
Melbourne Gaol officially closes at 5 pm each day but opens its doors to anyone plucky enough to join the nightly ghost tours.
There are three tours on offer, including A Night in the Watch House, which allows you to take an hour-long tour of the original cell block.
You can spend an hour ghost hunting throughout the gaol or go on a night tour with a Hangman, who can tell you many stories about those who were hanged at the gaol, including famous Australian bushman Ned Kelly.
If ghosts are your thing, there are a range of other spooky tours you can do around Melbourne at night.
It’ll allow you to get acquainted with Melbourne’s many streets, laneways and even outer suburbs while learning a little about its slightly macabre history.
Tour the city’s CBD, the disused Pentridge Prison in Melbourne’s north, the old port town of Williamstown and even a haunted homestead out west in Altona. See more here.
A tour of Old Melbourne Gaol costs $38 (adults) and here’s a ghost tour of the backstreets of Melbourne.
5- Belly laugh at The Comic’s Lounge
Melbourne is the place to be for comedy and is host to the four-week annual International Comedy Festival that starts in late March.
So it’s not surprising that going to a comedy show can be a fun night out in Melbourne.
You can see shows by local, Australian talent, or mix it up with comedians from further-flung places around the globe.
If you’re not in the city during this time, visit The Comic Lounge, where up and coming comedians practice performing.
Well established comics often visit to test new material in front of an audience.
6- Grab a drink at a themed, rooftop or secret bar
The bars in Melbourne are some of the best in Australia. You can’t have a night out in Melbourne without grabbing a tipple at one of the many bars that populate the city, offering a myriad of late-night activities in Melbourne.
- There’s Berlin Bar, where you must make a choice to sit in affluent West Germany or grungy East Germany.
- Storyville has a fairy tale theme and Lui Bar is fabulous for views of the city.
- Murmur Piano Bar conducts crowd sing-alongs and at Holey Moley, you can play a round of mini-golf whilst sipping from a cocktail.
- If you’re after rooftop views, Madame Brussels puts on an exaggerated garden party
- The Rooftop Bar screens movies alongside serving drinks.
- At Easey’s in Collingwood, you can eat hot dogs and burgers in an old, converted train.
- For secret bars, enter through the sliding fridge door in Boston Sub in Prahran to get to Jungle Boy.
- The tiny Above Board bar is accessed via an unmarked alleyway and Lay Low Bar is hidden inside a clothing store.
- Vue de Monde on the 55th floor of the Rialto Tower has stunning city views.
- Transit Cocktail Lounge has a rooftop bar with black leather sofas and late-night jazz.
- Seamstress Bar has a colourful past as a Chinese textile factory, brothel and a Buddhist Monastery.
7- Tuck into some food at the Queen Victoria Night Market
If it’s summer or winter and a Wednesday, head to the Queen Victoria Night Market.
There are all sorts of food options on offer, from pizza to burgers – you can even grab a dozen oysters for an appetiser if you feel so inclined.
The area is licensed so you can stroll around with a cold beer or cider in the summertime to cool you down.
A mulled wine or hot cider in the winter is just the thing to keep you cosy.
If you’re a foodie, it’s worth taking a tour of the markets with a local who can guide you to find the best spots to eat.
8- Go for late night fondue at Milk the Cow
Milk the Cow is a fromagerie, with locations in both St Kilda and Carlton.
Here, you can order delicious cheese to have on its own, choose to pair it with your beverage of choice (from wine to whisky and sake) or tuck into a delicious pot of fondue.
It’s one of the things to do in Melbourne at night in winter with a group of friends.
They also do to-go bags, so if you try something you love, you can take it back to your accommodation, to snack on later.
9- Watch a movie in an outdoor cinema in summer
Melbourne is a city of film buffs and in the warmer months, outdoor cinemas spring up all over the city.
The most popular is the Moonlight Cinema in the Royal Botanic Gardens, which screens a range of new flicks and old favourites (such as Home Alone and Love Actually before Christmas and Australian cult classics like Muriel’s Wedding and The Castle).
There are bean beds on offer, or you can bring your own blanket and a picnic.
The aforementioned Rooftop Bar is also the location of the Rooftop Cinema, where you can chow down on burgers and sip drinks, while you watch the latest flick.
There’s the South Wharf Pop-Up Cinema and Park Cinemas at Docklands.
At the Gourmet Cinema in the city’s east, you can watch a flick surrounded by food trucks from local restaurants, selling delicious wares.
Melbourne’s famous stadium, the MCG even opens its grounds occasionally for outdoor cinema and there are many suburbs around the city who will close a street every few weeks, lay down some astroturf, pop some popcorn and throw a flick on, as a fun, family-friendly activity.
Keep in mind that just because it’s summer in Melbourne, doesn’t mean it’ll be warm. Make sure you check the local weather forecast and bring some extra layers to snuggle up in if it’s going to be a cool night.
10- Catch a double feature at a beautiful old cinema
The Astor in St Kilda is a one-screen cinema, which showcases films old and new.
It tends to have feature nights with double screenings and much thought is put into the program.
Movies will be paired together based on a common theme (such as Clueless with Mean Girls), or director (like a double billing of Alfred Hitchcock or David Lynch).
They often have movie marathons too, such as all the Harry Potter or Fast and the Furious films back to back.
I sat through 14 hours of Mission Impossible films once, which was… interesting.
The cinema is also home to a fluffy and friendly cat called Duke, who’ll usually be waiting around for pats from patrons, once the movie is over.
11- Take a dinner cruise along the Yarra River
I believe a city is always best seen from the water and Melbourne is no exception. Night sightseeing in Melbourne delivers a different perspective compared to during the day.
This three-hour cruise will take you along Melbourne’s best-known waterway, while you stuff yourself full during a four-course meal (inclusive of beverages, to boot!).
12- Go for a moonlight kayak
If you don’t want to be stuck on a boat for hours but still want to get out on the water, opt for a kayak ride instead!
This tour leaves from the Docklands area at sunset, with patrons paddling up Victoria Harbour, stopping to have fish and chips in their kayaks for dinner.
The tour then continues up past the city, Crown Casino and Flinders Railway Station, before ending in the sports precinct.
Looking for a seaside city to visit tin Victoria? Here are some things to do in Geelong.
13- Visit a Luna Park historic amusement park
Luna Park in St Kilda opened in 1912, making it the oldest continuously running theme park in the country.
Its most famous ride is the Scenic Railway, which runs around its perimeter.
The park is open until 11 pm at night and there’s plenty to do onsite – dodgem cars, carousels, carnival games and a ghost train.
Don’t forget to snap a picture under the giant face that serves as the entrance to the park, which definitely won’t haunt your dreams later on that night. Hrmm.
14- See the Phillip Island penguins
The island itself is home to many other attractions, such as a giant maze and chocolate factory.
You can make a day trip of it, exploring the island for a few hours before heading to Penguin Parade to see the little cuties waddle on home. Find out more about the Phillip Island day tour here.
15- Go on an overnight safari
If you want to make your day out at Werribee Zoo in Melbourne’s west memorable, consider booking a place on the Slumber Safari.
You’ll glamp in tented lodges, be fed an African-inspired dinner and breakfast buffet and receive a two-day entry pass into the zoo.
The deal also comes with private tours and unique animal encounter and viewing opportunities.
Victoria is Australia’s smallest mainland state and one of the advantages here is that it’s small.
In a vast country like Australia, which has wide-open spaces, it’s not uncommon to travel for days without seeing another soul.
So being a small state has obvious advantages for travellers wanting to explore a variety of regions.
You can go from the city to the wilderness in less than an hour, from the city to Phillip Island, where little penguins are an attraction, or along the spectacular coastal drive of the Great Ocean Road, which is one of the Australian landmarks to put on your bucket list.
As you can see, there’s a wide variety of things to do in Melbourne at night, no matter what your travel style, budget or preference. And if you’re looking to spend a few days in the city, here are the best neighbourhoods to stay in Melbourne
As a sustainability enthusiast, LC Hunter spends every free moment exploring her own backyard, which just happens to be the city of Melbourne. You can read more about Australia and eco-friendly travel on her blog, Birdgehls
For more things to do near Melbourne see:
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