From hipster rooftop bars and drive-in cinemas to themed night markets and penguin watching on the beach, Melbourne is a city which really comes alive after dark. There’s never a shortage of fun activities and things to do in Melbourne at night…
Here are 11 of the best things to do in Melbourne at night:
Head to a Rooftop Bar for Drinks
One thing that the hipster city of Melbourne does particularly well is its bars, with a buzzing nightlife scene open late into the night (and by late I do mean the next morning in most cases).
One of Melbourne’s unique quirks is it’s multi-level drinking establishments, with either one large bar taking up several floors, or a number of different bars connected by a shared staircase, often cumulating in one of the city’s popular rooftop bars.
Adequately named ‘Rooftop Bar‘ is one of the most well-known rooftop bars in Melbourne CBD with locals. The cool 7th-floor venue has a super relaxed and unpretentious vibe, with fake grass and garden furniture filled with people enjoying chilled beer and sangria during the hot summer, or huddled around the heaters sipping on mulled wine during chillier winter months. Rooftop Bar also has some of the best 360 views out over the tall buildings and bright lights of Melbourne CBD. During the summer months, Rooftop Bar also hosts a rooftop cinema so watch out for the schedule.
Another favourite of mine has to be Naked in the Sky, the restaurant and rooftop bar sitting on top of Fitzroy’s popular multi-level bar Naked for Satan. Located in a suburb which is known for its hip, young nightlife scene, Naked in the Sky has a creative cocktail menu and some of the best bar food you’ll find in Melbourne.
Wander Down Southbank Promenade
Taking a stroll down Southbank Promenade is a relaxing way to spend an evening in Melbourne. Take in the bright lights of the surrounding city and pop into some of the numerous restaurants and busy bars lining the river on either side.
Get Lost in Crown Casino Complex
Crown Casino is a huge entertainment complex on the south bank of the Yarra River in central Melbourne, containing 3 luxury hotels, a spa and a large multi-floor casino, plus a number of shops, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. In other words, Melbourne’s own mini answer to Las Vegas.
It’s easy to spend a whole day, let alone an evening, in Crown Casino Complex. Start with a game of crazy golf at the Holy Moly indoor mini-golf course, then head for dinner at one of the complex’s luxury restaurants (or for a cheaper night out try the Crown food court), then finally go on a bar crawl around the complex’s numerous bars and clubs which are spotted throughout the busy casino.
Getting glammed up (although there’s no dress code in most places so come as you want) for an evening out at Crown Casino is certainly one of my favourite things to do in Melbourne at night.
Bonus: If you don’t mind splashing the cash a little and fancy a luxury staycation in Melbourne, book a night at one of the Crown’s stunning hotels, so that at the end of the night all you have to do is jump in the lift and head back up to your 5* room with amazing views across the city.
Take on an Escape Room
One of my favourite things to do no matter where in the world I am is an Escape Room, and this is definitely a great option for a fun activity to do in Melbourne at night. Whether you’re looking for an evening activity with friends, some family-bonding time or a romantic date night in Melbourne, an escape room is a great choice.
Some of the best escape rooms in Melbourne include:
Watch a Movie at a Drive-In Cinema
Depending on where in the world you’re from, this one may range from a normal everyday activity to a super exciting novelty. For me, a Londoner who has only ever seen drive-in cinemas in American movies set in the 1950s, I was extremely excited to experience my first drive-in cinema screening in Melbourne.
Village Cinemas Coburg Drive-In, in the northern Melbourne suburb of Coburg North, is a 3-screen drive-in movie theatre (the largest in the Southern Hemisphere) showing modern blockbusters and foreign films.
You simply drive in, pay £5 entry per person in the car, pick your movie and set your car radio to the correct FM channel for sound. There’s also an on-site diner selling food and drinks to enjoy with the movie, or just bring your own with you. The films start after dark, with start times ranging from roughly 9pm – 11pm.
Explore a Night Market at Queen Victoria Market
Every Wednesday between late November and early March, Melbourne’s iconic Queen Victoria Market holds its popular Summer Night Market. Open from 5pm to 10pm, the Night Market includes delicious street food stalls, pop-up cocktail bars, shops selling local artisan products and free live entertainment.
More recently, Queen Vic Market has also begun holding a Winter Night Market every Wednesday from early June to late August. Similar to the summer market, the winter market has a number of global street food stalls, festival bars, speciality artisan goods stalls and live entertainment.
For the 4 Wednesday’s of July, the market takes on the theme ‘Christmas in July’ where visitors are transported to a winter wonderland, complete with a snow machine, Christmas decorations and an ugly Christmas jumper competition in homage to Christmas in the Northern hemisphere.
Visiting Queen Vic Market during the day? Book a foodie tour of the market.
Eat Delicious Italian Food on Lygon Street
Lygon Street, which runs through the inner-northern suburbs of Carlton and Brunswick, is also known as ‘Little Italian’ among Melbournians due to its abundance of Italian restaurants, gelaterias and wine bars.
The lively Lygon Street is a favourite with locals, students and tourists alike, with its authentic European vibe and late-night al fresco dining establishments.
There’s plenty of options for great food and drinks on Lygon Street, but here a few of my favourites:
- 400 Gradi – The Italian restaurant which won the world’s best margarita pizza back in 2014, and the best Pizzeria in Oceania in 2019, 400 Gradi serves some of the tastiest and most authentic pizza and pasta in Melbourne.
- Pidapipò Gelateria – Home of the best ice-cream in Melbourne, straight out of high-quality steel tanks (the proper Italian way), with creative flavours and warm Nutella drizzled on top.
- Heart Attack and Vine – A cosy cafe perfect for your morning coffee fix or a relaxing glass of vino of an evening.
- Jimmy Watson’s – One of Melbourne’s oldest wine bars, with great food options too.
Looking for the best places to eat in Melbourne? Check out:
Go Penguin Spotting at St Kilda Beach
St Kilda is one of Melbourne’s southern suburbs and is home to the city’s most popular beach. On a sunny day, 700 metres long St Kilda beach is filled with people, from families splashing around in the ocean to keep cool, to groups of young people enjoying a picnic and drinks on the sand. Along the shorefront, St Kilda Esplanade is full of restaurants and bars with a lively but relaxed atmosphere and gorgeous ocean views.
But St Kilda Beach is just as exciting to visit at night as it is in the day. As the sun sets of an evening, head along the beach and to the end of St Kilda pier to St Kilda breakwater, where you’ll likely spot some of Southern Australia’s tiny Fairy Penguins waddling out of the ocean and onto the beach after a long day hunting for fish.
Watch a Musical at the Iconic Princess Theatre
Melbourne’s Princess Theatre is a 1488-seat theatre in the city’s East End Theatre District and has gained its icon status due to being the oldest continuous entertainment site on mainland Australia. The original building on the site dates back to 1854, however, the theatre was rebuilt in 1886 due to becoming too rundown.
Over the years, the Princess Theatre has played host to a number of well known musical theatre productions, including Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera (which established a new record for the longest running show ever staged in Victoria), MAMMA MIA! and The Book of Mormon.
Currently, Princess Theatre is playing host to the exclusive Australian season of London’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child stage show.
Go Back in Time at Post-War Themed Berlin Bar
Back to Melbourne’s exciting bar scene, this hipster city has plenty of fun themed drinking establishments to explore at night.
One of my personal favourites has to be Berlin Bar, a hidden bar in Chinatown which is split into two areas; a Western Capitalist side and an Eastern Communist side. The Western side of the bar is slightly more extravagant, with plush booths, a number of central tables and a large “Ich bin ein Berliner” sign, while the Eastern sign is much darker (somewhat like a bunker) and is full of Communist propaganda.
Despite the divide, the entire bar has old-fashioned table service and an extensive drinks menu consisting of a variety of German beers and a creative themed cocktail menu. Be sure to ask what the ‘cocktail of the week’ is!
Interested in cool bars in Melbourne? Take a Hidden Bar Tour.
Get Scared at Melbourne Gaol
Between 1842 and 1929, Old Melbourne Gaol was the imprisonment site of short-term prisoners, lunatics and some of the colony’s most notorious and hardened criminals, as well as the location of a number of hangings including Australia’s most infamous citizen, the bushranger Ned Kelly.
Now the Goal is a museum where visitors can discover what life was like for the men and women who lived and died there years ago. The museum runs a number of evening tours and events and is certainly one of the scariest things to do in Melbourne at night.
Visit the goal after dark for stories of unexplained sights, sounds and encounters, and learn about the buildings dark history, while exploring the many dark confined spaces seeping with history. And for the really brave, you can take on the immersive ‘Night in the Watchhouse’ experience set in the original cell block inhabited by the likes of Squizzy Taylor, Chopper Read and other unsavoury characters.
Enjoy learning about the city’s spooky history? Book a Melbourne Ghost Tour.
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