Looking for things to do in the city over the AFL long weekend? Whether you want to soak up the footy atmosphere or just make the most of the time off, there’s plenty on.
Where to eat
Cafes and restaurants
Restaurants will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner throughout Chinatown, Docklands, Federation Square, Lygon Street (Carlton) and Southgate. We’ve put together a few delicious options for footy fanatics, families or friends, just a short walk from the parade route.
Gazi’s an all-day diner serves sophisticated, yet fun Greek street food. Enjoy traditional Greek classics with a modern twist, like the soft shell crab souvlakakia, wood-fired meat roasted on the spit or classic Greek dips and salad. Open 12pm until late over the Grand Final weekend.
The Boatbuilders Yard
For footy fans looking for a Grand Final party, head to The Boatbuilders Yard. Kick things off at 12pm with a handball competition or try your hand at one their giant games. Order a BBQ meat platter featuring pork ribs, buffalo wings, cheese kransky, pulled pork and beef brisket plus a whole load of sides. Groups of six or more can pre-book a table. Open all weekend from breakfast until late.
The Deck isn’t just the perfect vantage point to look out over all that Melbourne’s sparkling skyline – they’ll also be serving their delicious food from midday on the public holiday. Then head back on Saturday for a pre-Grand Final lunch featuring charcuterie, grass fed steak, cured ocean trout and selected drinks.
Bluetrain is famous for hearty meals, efficient service and value for money – the perfect place to bring hungry kids. With pizza, pasta, steak, seafood and a kid’s meals available, this place offers fun, casual dining with great views of the river. They’re open all weekend, with a slightly later 12pm start on the Friday.
The Imperial Hotel
The self-proclaimed “home of sport”, The Imperial Hotel is throwing a party on their rooftop on Saturday for Grand Final Day. Open from 10am – until late, head down for the footy plus burgers and beers on the rooftop.
Fatto Bar & Cantina
Fatto Bar & Cantina is open as usual from 12pm until late all weekend. Dine at the bar and say ‘ciao!’ to yummy, crispy individual-sized pizzas. They’re $10 or $12, which leaves plenty of change for a drink. During September an Aperol spritz is just $5, so you can really get festive this Grand Final weekend.
Serving tapas and wood-fired pizzas, Plus 5 has live music and drinks specials all long weekend. Head down for happy hour between 3pm – 6.30pm each day and grab yourself a $6 schooner or $12 espresso martini.
Young and Jackson
Young and Jackson are open all long weekend from 10am until late. You can get the $10 beer of the month and feast on their loaded footy pies. Grab yourself one of the house-made beef pies and load it up with your favourite toppings including pulled pork, American cheese, bacon and mash.
- Queen Street Rescue is open from 7.30am – 9pm all weekend. Swing by between 2pm and 6pm on Grand Final Friday for $1 pizza and $20 jugs of Sangria
- Bomba’s iconic rooftop tapas bar is open over the long weekend from 3pm until late. Sip on cocktails while taking in the city views over the Lonsdale Street treetops
- Butchers Diner is open 24/7, 365. Start with pancakes or stick around for meaty feeds like fried chicken and pork ribs.
For many more delicious options, head to What’s On Melbourne.
What’s open on the public holiday
Many businesses in the city are still open on Friday, so beat the usual crowds and make a day of it.
- Collins234: 12pm – 5pm
- David Jones: 10am – 9pm
- Emporium Melbourne: 10am – 6pm
- Melbourne Central: 10am – 6pm
- Myer Melbourne: 9am – 9pm
- QV Melbourne: 10am – 6pm
- Southgate: 10am – 8pm
- The Strand: 10am – 6pm
- 206 Bourke: 10am – 10pm (individual store hours may vary)
- Cook’s Cottage: 9am – 5pm
- Crown Entertainment Complex: open 24 hours
- Eureka Skydeck 88: 10am – 10pm (last entry: 9.30pm)
- IMAX Melbourne Museum: check session times on cinema website
- Melbourne Aquarium: 9.30am – 6pm
- Melbourne Museum: 10am – 5pm
- Melbourne Zoo: 9am – 5pm (kids get free entry!)
- National Gallery of Victoria: 10am – 5pm
- Royal Botanic Gardens: 7.30am to sunset
- Melbourne Star: 11am – 10pm (last flight departs 30 minutes before closing)
- Queen Victoria Market: 6am – 5pm (fresh food), 8am – 3pm (specialty shopping)
- Melbourne Visitor Centre, Melbourne Town Hall: 9am – 6pm
- Melbourne Visitor Booth, Bourke Street Mall: 9am – 5pm
- City Ambassadors: 10am – 4pm
- Fitzroy Gardens Visitor Centre: 9am – 5pm
- Royal Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre: 9am – 5pm
Most attractions and venues will be open during their normal hours on Saturday and Sunday – check individual store websites for more information.
The best way to access the Grand Final parade is to leave your car at home and catch public transport. With more services running during finals week, it’s the easiest way to get around the city.
To find more information on Friday timetables, visit Public Transport Victoria.
We’ve loaded you with information, so the choice is yours – soak up the atmosphere and immerse yourself in all the city has to offer. For more information on the big day itself, head over to Where to watch the AFL Grand Final.