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From hipster rooftop bars and drive-in cinemas to themed night markets and penguin-watching on the beach, Melbourne is a city that really comes alive after dark.
Whether you’re planning for a romantic date night or an evening out with friends, there’s no shortage of fun things to do in Melbourne at night…
The best things to do in Melbourne at night
1. Head to a Rooftop Bar
One thing that hipster Melbourne does particularly well is its cool city 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 its many multi-level drinking establishments, with either one large bar taking up several floors, or several different bars connected by a shared staircase, often cumulating in an amazing rooftop bar.
Adequately named Rooftop Bar is one of the most well-known rooftop bars in Melbourne.
Nestled in the heart of Melbourne CBD, the relaxed and unpretentious 7th-floor venue has incredible 360 views out to the surrounding skyscrapers and shining lights of Melbourne CBD.
During the hot summer months, you’ll find faux grass and garden furniture packed with people enjoying chilled local beers and refreshing sangria.
Then during the colder winter months, you can huddle around the heaters while sipping on a mug of warming mulled wine.
Another favourite rooftop bar of mine has to be Naked in the Sky, the restaurant and rooftop bar sitting on the top floor of Fitzroy’s popular multi-level bar Naked for Satan.
Found in a northern suburb of the city, the rooftop bar has fantastic views back over the soaring skyscrapers of Melbourne CBD.
The area of Fitzroy is known for its hip, young nightlife scene. And Naked in the Sky is no exception. The bar has a cool vibe, a creative cocktail menu, and some of the tastiest bar food you’ll find in Melbourne.
2. 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 one or two of the countless restaurants and busy bars lining the river on either side.
Some of the best bars and restaurants along Southbank Promenade are:
- Yarra Botanica – a two-level floating bar and restaurant right on the river itself
- Hopscotch – quirky riverside brewpub with an in-house microbrewery and ice cream parlour
- Left Bank – elegant and stylish lounge and restaurant with a modern food menu, extensive cocktail list, and river-facing terrace
3. See the Sunset Over the City from Eureka Skydeck
Sat close to the Yarra River on Southbank, you’ll find one of Melbourne’s tallest buildings; the Eureka Tower. The tower is home to the Eureka Skydeck – the tallest viewing platform in the Southern Hemisphere.
Sitting almost 300 meters above ground level on the tower’s 88th floor, Eureka Skydeck boasts amazing 360 views across Melbourne’s skyline and even out to the wider peninsula.
Open until 10pm, watching the sunset over the city from the Eureka Skydeck is one of my favourite things to do in Melbourne in the evening.
4. Get Lost in Crown Casino Complex
Crown Melbourne is a huge entertainment complex on the south bank of the Yarra River in central Melbourne. The complex features 3 luxury hotels, an elegant spa, and a large multi-floor casino, plus numerous shops, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.
In other words, it’s Melbourne’s own mini answer to Las Vegas.
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). Finally, head on a bar crawl around the complex’s many bars and nightclubs, which are dotted throughout the busy casino.
And if you feel like belting out a few bangers at the end of the night, don’t miss Jukes Kareoke.
Getting glammed up (although there’s no strict dress code in most places so come as you want) for an evening out at Crown Casino is one of my favourite things to do in Melbourne at night for a special occasion.
Upgrade your night in Melbourne: 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. Then 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 spectacular views across the city.
I stayed at the gorgeous Crown Metropol and it was one of the highlights of my time in Melbourne.
5. Challenge Yourself to 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 an excellent choice.
Some of the best escape rooms in Melbourne include:
6. Watch a Movie at a Drive-In Cinema
Depending on where in the world you’re from, this one may range from normal everyday activity to a super exciting novelty.
As 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 $10 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 you can bring your own with you. Grabbing a delicious burger from nearby Rude Boy Burger is my suggestion.
The films begin after dark, with start times ranging from 9pm – 11pm.
7. Explore a Night Market at Queen Victoria Market
Queen Victoria Market is certainly one of the best Melbourne attractions at night.
Every Wednesday between late November and early March, Melbourne’s iconic Queen Vic Market holds its popular and free-to-visit 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.
Queen Vic Market has also begun hosting a free 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, specialty artisan goods stalls, and live entertainment.
For the 4 Wednesdays 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.
Travelling on a budget? Check out more free attractions and activities in Melbourne.
8. Eat Delicious Italian Food on Lygon Street
Lygon Street, which runs through the inner-northern suburbs of Carlton and Brunswick, is known as ‘Little Italy’ 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 are plenty of options for great food and drinks on Lygon Street.
These are 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 real Italian way), with creative flavours and warm Nutella drizzled on top.
- Heart Attack and Vine – A cosy cafe perfect for your morning coffee fix, delicious filling sandwiches, or a relaxing glass of vino in the evening.
- Jimmy Watson’s – One of Melbourne’s oldest wine bars, with tasty food options too.
Looking for more of the best places to eat in Melbourne?
Check out my Ultimate Melbourne Food Guide
9. Spot the Little Penguins 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, the 700 metres long St Kilda beach is packed with people, from families splashing around in the water 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 while many people head to the beach during the daytime, St Kilda is also one of the best places to visit in Melbourne after dark.
As the sun sets, head along the beach to the end of St Kilda pier to find St Kilda breakwater.
If you’re lucky, you’ll 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.
10. 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 after becoming a little too rundown.
Over the years, the Princess Theatre has played host to a number of well-known musical theatre productions, including Cats, 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.
11. 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 the most original has to be Berlin Bar, a hidden bar in Chinatown that 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.
The Eastern side, on the other hand, 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 creatively-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.
12. Get Spooked 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.
It was also 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 building’s 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.