Melbourne is a fantastic city whether you’re a local or a tourist visiting for business or pleasure. However, Melbourne looks its best at night, with the bright lights softening the harder edges. So, make sure you experience Melbourne’s night face the next time you’re in the city.
Melbourne is a great place to explore during the day, but the city truly comes alive once the sun goes down. 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. In addition, youu 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.
Take in the views at the Eureka Skydeck
Located on the 88th floor of the Eureka Tower, the Skydeck offers stunning views of Melbourne at night. But if you’re fearless, you’ll take your turn on ‘The Edge’. This is an exciting and somewhat stomach-churning glass cube where you can take in unobstructed, 360-degree views of the city.
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 anglesBut, 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. Eureka Skydeck is open until 10 pm each night.
See a show
Indulge your arty side and see a show while you’re in Melbourne. And of course, there’s a lot to choose from.
If you enjoy Victorian architecture, then you’ll love the Princess Theatre with its international shows and dining options. Or try the Athenaeum Theatre, the oldest in the city offering everything from comedy acts to Shakespeare.
Her Majesty’s Theatre is another popular choice, offering the city’s best dance performances and musicals. The Regent Theatre is the place for blockbuster shows coming to Melbourne.
For more experimental productions, try the Malthouse Theatre, focusing on cultural and artistic diversity, or Union House for edgy student productions.
Scare yourself on a ghost tour at the Old Melbourne Gaol
If you’re travelling with young kids, this probably isn’t the best choice of late-night Melbourne activities. But if your travelling companions are a little older, then it’s an exciting and spooky way to spend a couple of hours.
The Melbourne Gaol was built in the mid-1800s and closed in 1929. In that time, it housed not only dangerous criminals but also the mentally ill and homeless. Inmates who died there would make for very unhappy ghosts. And that’s before you add in the 133 prisoners who were hanged there for their crimes.
The Old Melbourne Gaol is a former jail and current museum on Russell Street, in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It consists of a bluestone building and courtyard, and is located next to the old City Police Watch House and City Courts buildings. It was first constructed starting in 1839, and during its operation as a prison between 1845 and 1924, it held and executed some of Australia’s most notorious criminals, including bushranger Ned Kelly and serial killer Frederick Bailey Deeming. In total, 133 people were executed by hanging. Though it was used briefly during World War II, it formally ceased operating as a prison in 1924; with parts of the jail being incorporated into the RMIT University, and the rest becoming a museum.
The gaol offers a few different tours, so have a look at what’s on in the city and prepare to be creeped out.
Catch a movie
If you’re really struggling to find things to do at night in Melbourne, then why not fall back on an old favourite? Melbourne has a range of cinemas to suit a range of cinematic and architectural tastes, so you really can take your pick.
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 Rooftop mentioned above 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. In addition, many suburbs around the city 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.
Remember that just because it’s summer in Melbourne doesn’t mean it’ll be warm. So make sure you check the local weather forecast and bring some extra layers to snuggle up in if it’s going to be an incredible night.
Watch a movie under the stars
If you were born before technology exploded, then you probably remember the wonder and excitement of drive-in theatres. There’s just something about watching a movie under the stars that even the most luxurious cinema can’t match.
Just remember that most of the cinemas aren’t open in the colder months, and understandably so – it’s just too hard to focus on the movies when you’re shivering! So here’s where to go in Melbourne city at night to recapture this experience:
- Moonlight Cinema
- Cameo Outdoor Cinema
- Federation Square
- The Lunar Drive-In for one of the few year-round outdoor cinemas
- Classic Rooftop Cinema
Enjoy the Queen Victoria Market night markets
Queen Victoria Market first opened in 1878, and the locals have been visiting for food, trinkets and socialising ever since. It’s spread over two city blocks and offers everything from fresh produce to food trucks and clothing.
There are themed night markets throughout the year, so take a look at what’s on during your visit to Melbourne. The winter night markets are especially fun, and there’s also street food markets and other celebrations.
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 to cool you down in the summertime. 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.
Relax on St Kilda Beach and take in the sunset
You wouldn’t think a beach would be on this list of Melbourne attractions at night, but you don’t have to risk the ocean at night to enjoy St Kilda Beach. Instead, watching the sun setting over the ocean is one of the most stunning ways to cap off a day exploring Melbourne.
St Kilda Beach is a beach located in St Kilda, Port Phillip, Victoria, Australia, 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) south from the Melbourne city centre. It is Melbourne’s most famous beach. The beach is a sandy beach about 700 metres (2,300 ft) long between St Kilda Marina and St Kilda Harbour along Jacka Boulevard and St Kilda Esplanade. It is located at the north-east corner of Port Phillip and is protected from ocean swell, though still affected by strong westerly winds. With Port Phillip Bay being open to the sea, St Kilda Beach is subject to regular tides.
To make an evening of it, head down there before dark and explore the local shops. But make sure you’re in position before sunset for an added bonus. St Kilda Pier is home to a colony of little penguins who come back just after the sunset. Watching them waddle to their nests has to be one of the cutest free sights in the city.
Take flight on the Melbourne Star
Riding the Melbourne Star is one of the most popular things to do in Melbourne city at night. 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 city’s sights. You can ride by day, but boarding the Melbourne Star is fun to do in Melbourne at night.
The Melbourne Star is a giant observation wheel, standing at 120 metres above the city. It’s the only giant observation wheel in the Southern Hemisphere, and it offers beautiful views during the day and spectacular ones 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!
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.
Take a moonlight kayak ride
If you enjoy seeing a city from the water but want a more personal experience, then take a kayak tour along the Yarra River. The tours leave from the Docklands at sunset and include a stop for fish and chips along the way.
Opt for a kayak ride instead if you don’t want to be stuck on a boat for hours but still want to get out on the water! 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.
Post-war Themed Berlin Bar
To gain entry into this juxtaposition bar, you will have to ring the bell. When you ring it, you’ll be transported through time to Berlin. The bar is divided into East and West Berlin based on its décor, music, seriously committed staff, and the drinks.
The bar shows a strange mingling of luxury with the gloom of war, but the strangeness makes it more enticing.
The bar has comfy grenade crates and leather booths, along with soft or light lighting to get you into the bar mood for seating. Skilled bartenders make unique cocktails that’ll seriously make your day!
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.
Walk the Southbank Promenade
Southbank Promenade is a perfect location to go for a nice walk to clear your head with its ambience. It’s also the busiest place in the whole city so that, you might find a hidden gem somewhere around there. Moreover, it has good restaurants like the Leftbank that you can visit for a date night or some family fun.
Planning what to do in Melbourne at night can lead to some fantastic things. But sometimes, it’s nice just to relax and go where the night takes you. And that’s precisely what you can do on the Southbank Promenade.
The promenade extends along the Yarra River and is a popular night-time destination close to the city centre. The views are beautiful, and there are lots of little restaurants where you can stop in for a meal or a snack. You never know what you’ll end up finding!
Love art? Then, head over to the National Gallery Victoria International to view awe-inspiring collections. The Southbank is also known for its river cruises across the Yarra River and markets. One of the best things to do in Melbourne at night for free.
Go on a scenic dinner cruise on The Spirit of Melbourne
The Spirit of Melbourne is a cruise restaurant that is reserved only, and it cruises across the Yarra River, and you can take in all the sights close to it.
The cruise will last for 3 hours, in which you’ll be served with a 4-course menu along with drinks. You will have the option of choosing your food, and the restaurant has vegetarian options, too, so don’t let being a vegan stop you from cruising. It’s open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
If you find yourself in Melbourne at the end of the year, there is a fun NYE Dinner Cruise. It’s a 4 hours long cruise, but it’s only for 31st December 2020. Another dinner cruise you can take is the Private Romantic Dinner Cruise for 2. It offers a 3-course meal, lastsangles butur and 30 minutes, and is perfect for a romantic night.
See The Phillip Island Penguins
Phillip Island, a popular day trip from Melbourne, lies just off Australia’s southern coast. At Summerland Beach, spectators gather daily at sunset to watch the Penguin Parade, when Little penguins come ashore in groups. The Nobbies outcrop is the viewing site for Seal Rocks, home to a large colony of Australian fur seals. The Phillip Island Circuit is a well-known track for motorcycle and car racing.
One of Australia’s most popular attractions, it’s worth making the journey out to Phillip Island to see its population of Little Penguins returning home at sunset after a day spent fishing for food.
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.
Australia is home to tiny cute Penguins that have made the burrows at Summerland Beach their home. They’re native to Australia, and they’re only 33cm long, and they waddle onto the beach after sunset.
Seeing the little fellas rising up from the water is a sight to behold – there’s something magical about it. The penguins display a lovely Penguin Parade where they walk to the beach to get to their burrows. This parade attracts tourists from across the globe at dusk.