Essential night-time events for your diary

Don’t prowl around town after the sun goes down, searching for cool things to do. We’ve found Melbourne’s best nocturnal activities, from David Bowie’s musical to after-hours parties at the museum and NGV.

Europa Night Market

Don’t miss the final Europa Night Market for 2019. There’s been an irresistible Euro theme each Wednesday evening, and the grand finale is all about the Mediterranean. Experience a mini Eurovision at the amphitheatre-style stage. Follow a kitsch tour guide on a silent disco. Reconsider the 20 stalls offering the quirky and the cultured from the Continent. Agonise over 20 food stalls, from German currywurst to Spanish paella, and dream about Eurozone holidays at the Brexit Bar. Wednesday 8 May.

A busy laneway between markets stalls at night, with hanging lights suspended above

QVM Europa Night Market

Chinatown Market Day

Did you know there’s a street market in Chinatown every second and fourth Saturday? This Heffernan Lane takeover kicks off in the late afternoon, but as the sun sets it feels like an Asian hawker market. Lights and lanterns start to glow, and the sights, sounds and scents of Chinatown Market Day’s food stalls excite the senses.

Good Beer Week Opening Party

Now in its eighth brew-tastic year, Good Beer Week is back with a feast of tastings, parties, tours, masterclasses and panel discussions. Start how you mean to finish at the Good Beer Week Opening Party. There’ll be beautiful brews by the likes of Balter and Boatrocker and disco-lovin’ band the Sugar Fed Leopards. Cheers! Friday 10 May.

A bar lit up at night with people milling about outside

Good Beer Week

Human Rights Arts and Film Festival

Shine a light on things that matter like gender equality and the environment at the 12th Human Rights Arts and Film Festival. Program highlights include opening night’s film and Q&A with the director about his hopeful vision for 2040. (Psst, there’s an after party at Riverland!). Closing night’s also one for the calendar: a screening of Giant Little Ones, fresh from the Mardi Gras Film Festival. 9-23 May

Old Melbourne Ghost Tour

What was that?! Maybe the ghost of an opera singer who died in front of his audience. Or someone from the poorhouse whose body was used to advance medical science. These and other creepy tales are part of the Old Melbourne Ghost Tour, which steps back in time on weekends after dark. Keep your eyes peeled for paranormal phenomena.

NGV Friday Nights

Have you been missing NGV Friday Nights? Or, shock, horror, have you never been to one of these arty parties? Then get ready for the next round when this year’s Winter Masterpieces exhibition stays open until late. Experience Chinese wonders ancient and new with the Terracotta Warriors and Cai Guo-Qiang. Stuff yourself with dumplings and get a tipple from the bars. Warm up with hot bands and performers like Rainbow Chan and I Know Leopard. Winter sorted. 31 May-11 October.

Love by Patricia Cornelius

Hidden underground in an old warehouse space on Flinders Lane, fortyfivedownstairs has been a hub for independent visual arts and theatre for over seventeen years.  Don’t miss Love,  an unapologetic exploration of love and addiction, from award-winning writer/director team Patricia Cornelius and Susie Dee, the first Australian artists to be invited to the Teatro Biennale di Venezia in 2019.

Night Tours of Melbourne General Cemetery

Do you like your history with a generous side order of spooky? Then the Night Tours of Melbourne General Cemetery are for you. There are only a handful coming up so book early if you want to see some famous graves by torchlight. As for the full moon tours on Saturday 18 May, there’s only room for the quick and the dead!

A large tomb in a graveyard, lit up partially by coloured lights

Melbourne Cemetery

Lazarus

After sell-out seasons in London and New York, David Bowie’s musical and final project is coming to Melbourne. Lazarus the musical is inspired by The Man Who Fell to Earth – both novel and film, which starred the great man himself. Ground control to Major Tom: book your ticket for this interstellar Australian premiere. 18 May-9 June.

Nocturnal

Fancy an adults-only, after-dark excursion to Melbourne Museum, complete with cocktails, gourmet bites, DJs and live bands? Nocturnal, is the first-Friday-of-the-month night at the museum you don’t want to miss. May’s event delivers after-hours access to the Revolutions: Records and Rebels exhibition, and brainy talks and music from the likes of Krakatau. It’s Nocturnal and Melbourne International Jazz Festival in June, with live tunes from Horns of Leroy, Tanya George and Jazz Party. Friday 7 June.

A large crowd dancing around a DJ stage with a disco ball above them

Nocturnal at Melbourne Museum