real life

Melbourne staycation ideas: Your city is even cooler than you already think.

City Of Melbourne
Thanks to our brand partner, City Of Melbourne

When you actually take a moment to think about it, holidays are a bit of a strange concept. You spend a tonne of money to go somewhere exotic; somewhere filled with things to do and see and great food to eat. But how often do you actually do the same in your own hometown city?

I’m a big fan of the staycation – not least because it costs a fraction of a regular holiday, but also because since moving to Melbourne six years ago, it’s never ceased to amaze me just how many great things can be happening right under your nose without realising.

And if you choose to staycay while everyone else is away on holidays, you pretty much have free run of the city! Here are seven staycation ideas to try…

summer activities in melbourne

Grab a cone and get ready for summer. Source: iStock.

1. Go to a gallery. 

Okay, an obvious one to begin with, sure. But before you roll your eyes, take a moment to consider how often you actually visit the galleries in your home city.

Their exhibitions often make the to-do list but somehow before you know it, it's closing weekend and the thought of that kind of crowd has you scratching it from said list. But not this time, friend. It's staycation time, which means conquering that gallery like the seasoned European gallery pro that you are.

summer activities in melbourne

Head to an art gallery. Source: NGV / Facebook.

2. Go to the museum. 

Full disclosure: I was a bit of a non-museum girl until recently. I'm not entirely sure why that is, but I assume one too many primary school outings. But I managed to kick this recently, and boy oh boy have I been wrong all this time.

The space! The activities! The flashing lights! The shiny things! It's a paradise that children, Dory, and, well, me it seems, thrive in.

Best of all, museums have a heap of free activities throughout the school holidays which means they're budget friendly for all.

summer activities in melbourne

Check out a museum. Source: Facebook.

3. Hunt out a summer cinema. 

Ah, summer. The days are long, the nights are light and there's something magical in the air. So what better way to celebrate than by heading to an outdoor cinema?

Most cities across Australia have cottoned on to this phenomenon, offering up a mix of recent releases and classics in their summer programs. If, like me, you're in Melbourne, I recommend the Rooftop Cinema and Moonlight Cinema.

If you're more of an indoors cinema, head to ACMI, where there's a range of high-brow and kid-friendly films to select from.

summer activities in melbourne

Trade in your usual cinema for a movie under the stars. Source: Moonlight Cinema. 

4. Make your own food safari adventure.

Forget about Maeve O'Meara and those wacky tops she wears, this staycation is all about you. Make a list of cafes and bars you've been wanting to check out but never have; go to your local markets (you can't go past the Queen Victoria Markets if you're in Melbourne) and pick up some specialty deli items for a picnic, or head along to something altogether more riotous and celebratory like your local Chinese New Year festival or Greek Street Festival.

Your tummy will be seriously content, and if you're walking around enjoying the sunshine, your waistline won't mind either. (Post continues after gallery.)


5. Head to a free activity. 

This may sound untrue, but most Australian cities throw an exorbitant amount of free activities throughout the summer period. But people like you and I wouldn't know, because we're too busy applying aloe gel to our recently acquired tropical island sunburn.

They're out there folks, and tourists from other parts of the world are lapping them up while we look like big old doofuses. This year, look for free summer concert series (in Melbourne, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra offers these) or my personal favourite, writers talks.

summer activities in melbourne

The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra hosts free events throughout summer. Source: MSO Facebook. 

6. Live like the eastern hemisphere does and go ice skiing. 

If you've tried and tried to embrace the staycation but still feel like you're struggling, fear not. That eastern hemisphere connection is but an ice-skating rink away.

Glide like you're on Rockefeller Centre's rink and leave your pinot in the sun for a couple of minutes to make it warm like a true glass of Europe's finest mulled wine. You'll be seeing holidays differently in no time.

What are your summer holiday bucket list items?

This post was written thanks to our brand partner the City of Melbourne.