Top 60 Events in Melbourne to Attend

The Top 60 Events in Melbourne to Attend

28 min read
Amazing things to do in Victoria’s sports-fashion-multicultural capital
Melbourne often appears on lists of the world’s most liveable cities. Does this reputation come from Melbourne’s rich culture of food, fashion, arts and sports? Or is it the incredible coffee?

We invite you to explore our selection of Melbourne’s Top 60 events so you can decide for yourself.

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Melbourne’s Top 60 Events: The Categories

  • The Arts, Ideas & Design Events
  • Exhibitions & Shows
  • Multicultural Events
  • Festivals & Community Events
  • Film, Music & Theatre Events
  • Food & Wine Events
  • Sports Events

A roundup of Melbourne's top 60 must-attend events. Click To Tweet

The Arts, Ideas & Design

Melbourne has a buzzing arts culture enriched by cutting-edge fashion design, visual arts and literary events.

1. White Night Melbourne Reimagined

22 – 24 August 2019

White Night Melbourne is based on the original White Night in Paris, an all-night celebration of contemporary Parisian arts. The first Melbourne White Night in 2013 showcased local and national innovative arts, and in recent years the event has attracted crowds of more than half a million.

White Night Melbourne won the 2018 state award for Best Cultural, Arts or Music Event at the Australian Event Awards. In 2019, explore White Night Reimagined through the Physical Realm at Birrarung Marr, the Sensory Realm at Treasury Gardens and the Spiritual Realm at Carlton Gardens.

2. Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival

2020 dates to be released

The Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival is Australia’s largest annual event for all lovers of fashion. Revel in the excitement of world-class runway shows, and see exquisite creations from your favourite designers and discover new design talent.

Enjoy some hot-off-the runway retail therapy and get hands-on with style at workshops and seminars.

3. Melbourne Fashion Week

28 August – 5 September 2019

It’s little wonder that Melbourne is growing a reputation as Australia’s fashion capital with local government getting behind the industry. The City of Melbourne presents Melbourne Fashion Week, showcasing world-class Australian fashion design at more than 150 events around the city.

Think runways, workshops, exhibitions, music, parties as Melbourne comes alive with creativity and fabulous fashion.

4. Melbourne Spoken Word & Poetry Festival

12 – 28 July 2019

Poetry is making a comeback. The Melbourne Spoken Word & Poetry Festival promises to warm up your winter with words. Learn the craft of poetry at workshops and seminars.

See performances by international, local and emerging poets in a range of genres and topics.

5. Emerging Writers’ Festival


The Emerging Writers’ Festival (EWF) is an annual event that nurtures new Australian writing and provides a platform to connect readers with emerging talent.

It provides an enriching program of workshops, panel discussions and seminars to support creativity and diversity in writing.

6. National Writers’ Conference

22 – 23 June 2019

The National Writers’ Conference explores big ideas in a series of panel discussions, workshops and seminars hosted by more than 70 established and emerging writers.

Get inspired and learn about writing across multiple genres in this avant-garde, two-day conference. The National Writers’ Conference is part of the Emerging Writers Festival.

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A list of Melbourne's must-attend exhibitions and shows Click To Tweet

Exhibitions & Shows

Melbourne is host to an exciting range of shows and expos. Learn how to build your business and discover the latest trends in gardening, health, outdoor adventures and even online gaming.

1. Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show

25 – 29 March 2020

The largest, most prestigious gardening show in the Southern Hemisphere will celebrate its 25th anniversary over five magnificent days.

Expect glorious floral displays to take your breath away and get inspired for your own garden with the latest trends and ideas. Explore a myriad of plants, tools and accessories and chat all things gardening with industry experts. The silver anniversary event will feature the designs of award-winners from previous years in what promises to be the most creative, spectacular show to date.

A must-see for all garden lovers.

2. Free From (and Allergy) Show

12 – 14 July 2019

Discover natural, organic products that are free from nasties that may be harmful, or ‘free from’ ingredients that cause allergies for some people.

Free from: dairy, nuts, FODMAP and gluten; cruelty free, paraben free as well as vegan products and services. Sustainability is a key theme of the Free From Show and the Allergy Show, which are co-located at The Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Perfect for anybody with allergies, food intolerances or simply wanting to know more about happier, healthier living.

3. VidCon Australia

19 – 22 September 2019

Vidcon is a multi-genre online video conference that brings together thousands of digital video creators, viewers and industry representatives from around the world.

The annual event is held in a different location each year and it’s super exciting that Melbourne is the 2019 host. Choose from three jam-packed conference streams or ‘tracks’.

The Community Track is for online video fans with live performances, workshops and meet-and-greets with featured creators.

The Creator Track is for aspiring digital video creators looking to hone their craft, while the Industry Track Full offers strategies, tips, and tricks of the trade from industry leaders.

4. Melbourne Esports Open

31 August – 1 September 2019

The Melbourne Esports Open is Australasia’s biggest online gaming festival, and this year features the Overwatch Contenders Australia Season 2 Finals and The League of Legends Oceanic Pro League Finals.

It will host open Fortnite competitions for all ticket holders to enter, as well as cosplay fanfare, influencer meet and greets, dance competitions and the JB HiFi Game On Zone. A high-energy experience with chill crowds.

5. National 4×4 Outdoors Show, Fishing and Boating Expo

16 – 18 August 2019

Off-road enthusiasts, campers, fishermen and 4×4 lovers flock to this annual event for the latest and greatest in outdoor adventuring.

Get insider info and great bargains from more than 200 retailers, enjoy loads of action-packed entertainment and share experiences with like-minded adventurers. Great fun for the whole family.

6. B2B Expo

The B2B Expo is Australia’s major expo for small and medium businesses.

It’s an opportunity for SMEs to connect, learn and grow in an era of high competition and rapidly changing technology. This innovative event is supported by Federal, State and Local Government, Industry Associations and top-tier Australian enterprise.

7. Australia China Business Week

31st July 2019

Australia China Business Week includes three Australia-China Business Events, and is perfect for Australian SMEs looking to expand their business to China. Hear from industry experts and start developing your own strategy at the China Digital Conference.

Gain key business insights from the keynote address and panel discussions at the Australia-China Business Leaders Luncheon, and learn market trends, opportunities and challenges for doing business with China at the Pathways to China session.

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Multicultural Events

Melbourne has the honour of being one of the more culturally diverse cities in the world, with the population coming from more than 200 different countries. The city hosts a large number of community and multicultural festivities for everyone to enjoy.

1. Melbourne Chinese New Year

25 January 2020

Melbourne Chinese New Year is an exuberant celebration held at various city locations including Chinatown, the Chinese Museum, Crown Plaza and Queen Victoria Markets.

The Year of the Rat will be welcomed with festive music, dancing, vibrant costumes, street parades, arts, children’s activities and fireworks.

Chinese New Year

2. Melbourne Latin Summer Festival

January 2020

The Melbourne Latin Summer Festival celebrates the cuisine and cultures of Chile, El Salvador, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Uruguay, Argentina, Mexico and Spain.

Dance and enjoy the best Latin food, live music, dancing and arts, with a designated area for the kids to play.

3. Lonsdale St Festival

2020 dates TBA

Since 1987, the iconic Lonsdale St Festival (also known as the Antipodes Festival) has celebrated Greek-Australian culture with entertainers, dancers, and delicious Greek food. Thousands flock the streets from Swanston through to Exhibition St, having been expanded in 2018 to accommodate the festival’s growing popularity.

Test your Greek dancing and fitness in the Zorba ‘Til You Drop to be in the running to win a trip to Greece.

4. Melbourne Irish Festival

5 – 6 Apr 19

The Melbourne Irish Festival celebrates all things Irish on the Sunday before St Patrick’s Day, sharing Irish culture and St Patrick’s Festival traditions with the wider community.

Enjoy Irish dance, music and traditional foods with fun activities for the kids.

5. Turkish Pazar

March 2020

The annual Turkish Pazar Festival at Queen Victoria Markets takes you on a journey to Turkey, with traditional dance and music, and the delicious aromas of Turkish cuisine.

Learn about Turkish culture and join in the celebrations.

6. Buddha’s Day & Multicultural Festival

May 2020

The annual Buddha’s Day and Multicultural Festival is a free festival to promote inclusion, cultural awareness and social harmony. It celebrates Shakyamuni Buddha’s birthday and, importantly, pays homage to Melbourne’s diverse multicultural and multi-faith society.

Enjoy meditation, traditional Buddhist ceremonies and plenty of activities for children.

7. Victorian Festival of Diwali

14 – 19 October 2019

Diwali is an annual festival of lights that Hindus celebrate around the world. Enjoy aromatic Indian cuisine, art and films along with classical, folk and Bollywood dancing. There’s so much to see with traditional henna painting, dance and craft workshops.

A great day for the whole family to discover Indian culture in Australia.

8. Carlton Italian Festa

October 2019

Soak up la dolce vita at the annual Carlton Italian Festa, with traditional pizza, pasta and incredible coffee, biscotti and gelati. Check out the stylish Vespas and cars on display, and enjoy live entertainment from bands, comedians, dance groups and DJs.

Viva Italia!

9. Polish Festival

17 November 2019

Melbourne is home to Australia’s largest population of Polish immigrants, and every year the Polish Festival celebrates with the best of Polish live music and traditional dances.

Explore Polish culinary traditions and taste pierogi (stuffed dumplings), bigos (hunter’s stew), kielbasa (sausage), traditional cakes and pastries at the 15th annual Polish Festival.

10. Bastille Day French Festival

12 – 13 July 2019

Immerse in French culture at the Bastille Festival in Melbourne, a vibrant two days of French gastronomic delights, wine, culture, art and history.

Pop on your beret and Vive La France!

11. Paris to Provence

29 November – 1 December 2019

The Paris to Provence festival, now in its 11th year, is set in a pop-up French village to give visitors a delightful taste of French culture. Enjoy gastronomic delights and French wines on the wine lawn, and indulge your inner francophile with the Christmas marketplace, cooking masterclasses, seminars & live entertainment.

12. African Music and Cultural Festival

14 December 2019

The African Music and Cultural Festival (AMCF) is the largest annual African festival in Australia. Take your family on a trip to Africa with music, dancing, arts, cultural performances and traditional African cuisines from Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mauritia, Morocco, Senegal, Sudan, Somali, South Africa, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe and other communities.

The African Music and Cultural Festival is delightful journey through the many cultures of African.

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Melbourne's top festivals and celebrations you simply have to be part of Click To Tweet

Festivals & Community Events

Melburnians are spoilt for choice with so many different festivals and community events. Pay homage to Australian history at commemorative services; explore the quirky and the techie, and then split your sides laughing at world-leading comedy. There really is something for everyone.

1. Melbourne International Comedy Festival

2020 dates TBA

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival has grown since its 1987 inception by Barry Humphries and Peter Cook to become one of the world’s largest comedy festivals. The program is jam-packed with stand-up comedy, cabaret, theatre, street performance, film, television, radio and visual arts. The festival runs for three weeks, with additional programs and events year-round with the annual Roadshow, the open mic competition Raw Comedy and the Deadly Funny comedy workshops for aspiring indigenous comedians.

The festival aims to bring comedy to a broad audience and has something for everyone, including kids.

2. Melbourne New Year’s Eve

31 December 2019

The City of Melbourne comes alive on New Year’s Eve, and the countdown to 2020 will take place at restaurants, bars and other venues along the Yarra River, at Docklands, Federation Square, Southbank and the CBD.

Make sure to book early and grab a spot to watch the magnificent fireworks when the clock ticks over to 2020.

3. NAIDOC Flag Raising Ceremony

National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) celebrations are held around Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The Flag Raising Ceremony at Federation Square officially marks the opening of Victorian NAIDOC Week.

4. Moomba Festival

6 – 9 March 2020

The Moomba Festival is a cherished Melbourne tradition that’s been held every year since 1955. It’s Australia’s largest free community festival and is celebrated over four days along the banks of the Yarra River. Enjoy the Moomba parade, crowning of Moomba monarchs, fireworks displays, carnivals in the gardens, watersports, rides and live music. A fabulous day out for the whole family.

5. Midsumma Festival

19 January – 9 February 2020

The Midsumma Festival is Australia’s largest celebration of queer arts and culture, held annually in Melbourne since 1988. The festival showcases a brilliant array of performing arts, music, film, and even sports.

Highlights include the Midsumma Carnival at Alexandria Gardens and the Midsumma Pride March in St Kilda.

6. ANZAC Day

25 April 2020

ANZAC Day commemorates the brave the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who lost their lives in the failed World War I mission at Gallipoli. It is a public holiday in Australia with memorial services taking place around the country.

The 6am Melbourne ANZAC Dawn Service is held at the Shrine of Remembrance. The ANZAC Day Parade follows at 9am, with veterans and current serving personnel marching, along with family members and children, from Swanston Street and Flinders Street along St Kilda Road to the Shrine of Remembrance. The Parade concludes with a Commemoration Service on the Shrine Forecourt.

7. Melbourne Fringe Festival

12 – 29 September 2019

The Melbourne Fringe Festival stands for cultural democracy. It’s all about art for anyone and everyone, bringing voices from the fringe into an uncurated, freely expressive urban celebration. The Melbourne Fringe features the work of more than 3000 artists for a crowd of nearly 400,000 people.

The inclusive, collaborative nature of the festival means that everyone is free to perform, exhibit and push artistic boundaries. Explore cutting edge ideas in iconic and quirky locations around Melbourne: libraries, alleyways, backyards, cafes and galleries.

8. St Kilda Festival

9 February 2020

The streets of St Kilda come alive with music, summer vibes and community spirit at the annual St Kilda Festival. The foreshore area is closed to traffic so that crowds of 400,000 can revel in street performances, live music, dancing, workshops, kids activities, carnivals, rides, markets and culinary delights.

The annual summer event was first held in 1980 and has evolved to become an iconic beachside Melbourne event.

9. The Australian Burlesque Festival

26 – 28 September 2019

Experience the mysterious, glamorous and avant-garde world of burlesque performance at the Australian Burlesque Festival.

Explore the many sizzling forms of burlesque dance, from classic strip-tease to modern neo-burlesque.

10. Firelight Festival

The Firelight Festival coincides each year with the winter solstice in a three-day celebration of winter at Melbourne Docklands.

Bring joy to the darkest, coldest, shortest nights of the year with arts, live music, delicious comfort food, warming flame jets, frie drums and fireworks and plenty of fun.

11. The Melbourne Magic Festival

30 June – 13 July 2019

The Melbourne Magic Festival is… simply magic! Seeing is believing, and you’ll see levitation, hypnosis, mind-reading and masterful magic tricks from more than 300 performers from Australia and around the world.

The festival is the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and makes a spell-binding outing for the whole family.

12. PAX Australia

11 – 13 Oct 2019

PAX Australia is an annual gaming extravaganza. PAX stands for Penny Arcade Exhibition, and it represents gaming of all forms.

Think Jenga, Mario Kart, Pokemon, independent gaming, tournaments and cosplay with prizes galore.

13. Arnold Sports Festival

20 – 22 Mar 2020

The Arnold Sports Festival is Australia’s largest multi-sport health and fitness expo.

See elite athletes performing and learn about emerging trends in the health, fitness and sporting industries at this 3-day annual event. And look out for Arnie, he’ll be there!

14. The District Ice Slide

29 June – 14 July 2019

Make the most of Melbourne winter at The District Ice Slide at Docklands.

Slide down the fabulous Ice Slide for an amazing thrill, and help raise money for Kids Under Cover.

15. Extrasensory

10 August 2019

See, hear, smell, taste and touch galore at this celebration of the senses. Extrasensory is presented by the Victorian Coordinating Committee for National Science Week, The Royal Society of Victoria, and the Parliament of Victoria.

Recommended for 16+.

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Film, Music & Theatre Events

Melbourne is a hub for avant-garde events showcasing film, theatre and music events with thought-provoking programs and performers.

1. Melbourne International Film Festival

1 – 18 August 2019

The Melbourne International Film Festival has been integral to Melbourne’s growth as the national hub of artistic innovation. The festival is in fact one of the longest-running in the world, behind only the film festivals of Cannes and Berlin.

It’s an impressive achievement for a relatively young city without centuries of artistic history behind it. The Melbourne Film Festival offers a curated selection of films that are bold, entertaining and thought-provoking, connecting innovative film with broad audiences.

2. Melbourne International Piano and Strings Festival

3 – 5 August 2019

The Melbourne International Saxophone Festival draws the most talented national and international saxophonists for an exhilarating weekend of performances, masterclasses and workshops at Southbank’s Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.

3. Melbourne International Saxophone Festival

June 2020

The Melbourne International Saxophone Festival draws the most talented national and international saxophonists for an exhilarating weekend of performances, masterclasses and workshops at Southbank’s Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.

4. K-Pop World Festival

July 2020

Growing numbers of K-Pop fans in Melbourne are super excited that the K-Pop World Festival is coming to town again in 2019. Entrants can compete in the dance or vocal competitions as groups or individuals, and audiences are invited to support their local Melbourne K-Pop talent.

Winners of the Melbourne Finals can go on to compete in National and International K-Pop Competitions.

5. Melbourne International Animation Festival

13 – 21 July 2019

The Melbourne International Animation Festival celebrates animation in all its diversity of style, genres and techniques.

It showcases more than 400 new and old animations from around the world with competitions and workshops to support emerging auteurs. Entry to the festival is free.

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Food & Wine Events

Melbourne is foodie central. Treat your senses to exquisite gastronomic delights and discover the finest wines, cheeses, beers and heaven-sent coffee.

1. Melbourne Food and Wine Festival

The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival has attracted thousands of foodies and wine-lovers since 1993. The festival showcases the gastronomic playground that is Melbourne, in little alley-way bars, basements, rooftops and delectable venues in the Victorian countryside.

Lose yourself in foodie heaven with top-notch produce made into divine dishes by Melbourne’s best chefs, with exquisite wines matched by experts.

2. Melbourne International Coffee Expo

4 – 7 May 2020

Some refer to Melbourne as the coffee capital of Australia, so it’s no surprise they host an international coffee exhibition.

The Melbourne International Coffee Festival draws crowds of café owners, roasters, equipment manufacturers and service suppliers who want to learn the latest in coffee trends and make business connections.

3. Blobfish Beer Festival

24 August 2019

Blobfish isn’t your regular beer festival. It’s a celebration of all things sour, funky and wild, featuring unusual beers and flavours. Join a host of Australian breweries at Melbourne’s Meat Market to taste their wares accompanied by fresh oysters and delicious cheeses.

Blobfish Beer Festival

4. Mould: A Cheese Festival

16 – 17 August 2019

Cheese lovers unite at the festival of Australian artisan cheeses favourite cheese festival. The Melbourne Mould Festival takes place at the iconic Meat Markets.

5. Whiskey, Wine and Fire

18 – 21 July 2019

Why not warm up this winter with some firey liquids at Whiskey, Wine & Fire at Caulfield Racecourse. Think wine, whiskey, mulled cider and winter cocktails by the fireside, with warming gourmet snacks for the perfect accompaniment.

6. Melbourne Tea Festival

21 July 2019

Meet Melbourne’s top tea makers and fill your tasting cup with samples of fine artisan-made teas. The one-day Melbourne Tea Festival is a delightful way to learn more about the beloved tea leaf.

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Sports Events

Melbourne has a jam-packed calendar of national and international sporting events, thanks to a passionate sports culture and world class venues like the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and tennis’ Melbourne Park.

1. The Australian Open

20 January – 2 February 2020

The spectacular Australian Open is the first of four international tennis Grand Slams, followed by the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. It’s one of the largest sporting tournaments in the Southern Hemisphere drawing crowds of more than 750,000.

A vibrant, competitive and sometimes dramatic atmosphere is the norm at this elite sporting event.

2. Melbourne Cup Carnival

2 – 9 November 2019

The Melbourne Cup Carnival is Australia’s most well known horse racing carnival. It’s a week of glamour, fashion, champagne and betting on the horses for Derby Day, Oaks Day, Stakes Day and the ‘race that stops the nation,’ the Melbourne Cup.

The Melbourne Cup Carnival is held yearly at the Flemington Racecourse, yet another of Melbourne’s world class sporting venues.

3. Australian Grand Prix

2020 dates TBA

Elegant Melbourne suburb Albert Park comes alive each year with the thrill of fast cars for The Australian Formula One Grand Prix. The Australian Grand Prix is one of the races of the Formula One World Championship, so it’s a prestigious event that attracts an international crowd.

There’s plenty of action off the racetrack with live entertainment, fashion, food and more.

4. AFL Grand Final

Melbourne is the heart of Australian rules football, and the Australian Football League (AFL) Grand Final is the biggest event on the league’s calendar. It’s traditionally held on the last Saturday of September at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Melbourne comes alive with footy fever in the leadup to the final, and the excitement spreads to the southern states where AFL also dominates.

The AFL Grand Final is an incredible atmosphere that even non-football fans might find themselves secretly enjoying.

5. Run For the Kids

April 2020

The Herald Sun/Transurban Run for the Kids is a community event that welcomes runners of all ages and fitness levels. It raises funds for the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal. Choose the long course or the short course, and get handy training and race preparation tips from the Run for Kids website.

A great day out for friends, families and individuals to get fit and support the kids’ hospital.

6. Run Melbourne

28 July 2019

Now in its 12th year, Run Melbourne has become a cherished event on the Melbourne running calendar. It attracts more than 20,000 runners who love the fast, flat course and hearing the crowds cheer them on through iconic Melbourne streets. Choose the marathon, half marathon, 10K or 5K distances, or even the Friendship Dash if running isn’t your thing.

Run Melbourne raises funds for Beyond Blue to support mental health in Australia.

7. Domain Boxing Day Test: Australia vs New Zealand

26 – 30 Dec 2019

The Boxing Day Test is a classic for cricket fans. Starting on Boxing Day, the Australian cricket team plays a test match against a touring national team at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). In 2019 the touring team is New Zealand, which will be an exciting match between two old rivals.

The Domain Boxing Day Test has a great atmosphere with plenty of entertainment off the field too.

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About the Author

Gav George

When his school music teacher loaned him a cassette tape (yes, he's that old) of a fusion band, Gav entered the jazz world after years of classical music training. He was lucky enough to play with some of the greatest living jazz musicians and toured key festivals. Then Enhance founder Alison Clarke called on Gav to work on the company's marketing. This led him to his new passion of… marketing! Gav oversees Enhance's marketing initiatives, gets a kick out of connecting with clients and unearthing new talent. Gav still has that cassette tape, so if his music teacher reads this, please get in touch so he can return it.

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