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Free and cheap things you can do this weekend

Whether you’re social distancing indoors with (up to) five friends, taking a solo stroll for a dose of green, or keeping things virtual for now. Here are some ideas that won’t hit the hip pocket too hard.

Coffee in the park

As long as you keep your distance, queuing for coffee to fuel your state sanctioned walk is officially okay. Warm your hands around your mid morning cuppa while you stretch your legs. Pair an espresso from Jardin Tan with a wander through the Royal Botanic Gardens. Stroll around Flagstaff Gardens with your soy latte and fresh croissant from Operator 25. Or grab a convenient caffeine fix from Cafe Babbo before hitting the Carlton Gardens world heritage-listed paths.

Get cooking with free classes

Save your bank balance from the UberEats order now button. Pop on a free podcast and spend Sunday arvo cooking. Not gifted with a wok? Get tips to eat well on a budget, boost your gut health with beans and feed your brain for a study sesh. Sow, Grow, Graze classes from The Social Food Project are free. Or check out the Sandro Demaio Foundation’s free, easy peasy recipes that the kids can try too. Get Healthy at Home with banana bread, flatbread pizzas and cauliflower korma.

Cauliflower korma curry and rice

Cook cauliflower korma with Little Food Festival’s Healthy at Home recipes

Host a mini dinner party

Don’t stress the food prep. Impress your (up to) five guests with gourmet heat and eat meals from Melbourne’s finest laneway haunts.

Ripe’s un-brie-lievable cheese packs are a party starter. Split a five-cheese pack between six for affordable fancy cheese. Elizabeth Andrews hearty mains all clock in at less than $9 per serve.

You plus five guests equal six. And Pentolina’s family feast serves exactly that. Coincidence? Hardly. Just over $18 a head will get you lasagne, slow-cooked pork belly and rosemary roast potatoes. Room for dessert? 10 for $14 Lukumades on Deliveroo. They even have vegan options, and extra Nutella is only $2.50.

Plant a veggie patch

While you’re at Queen Victoria Market, swing past new trader on the block Robbo & Sons. Pick up 5 for $10 broccoli, cauliflower, celery, silverbeet and bok choy seedlings. And grow your own supply for winter. They’re in Shed I – near the American Doughnut Van.

Prefer your plants pre-potted? Check out our full guide for indoor plants. Intimidated by parenthood? Sign up for Happy Houseplants 101 with Patrick (2 June).

Bok Choy seedlings

Grab 5 for $10 seedlings for your veggie patch from Robbo & Sons at the market

Join an online dance party

Push the couches against the wall, don your tallest platforms and burn baby burn to three hours of Studio 54 beats. Mr McClelland’s Finishing School takes the party online on Fridays. Go-go dance to 60’s pop 22 May and disco boogie 30 May. Join solo for a fiver and meet your mates there or sign up the whole household for $10. BYO glitter.

Shop up at the market

Skip the supermarket and hit Queen Victoria Market. All Nonna’s know it’s the only place to get a $1 veggie soup bag. Stock up on fresh fruit and veg, meat and fish, cheese and wine and bathroom botanicals. Here’s a handy list of all the stalls that are open for takeaway and delivery. Prefer to shop from home? Here’s who’s offering online shopping.

Do free virtual Tai Chi

Shake up your at-home exercise routine this weekend with the Chinese martial art of tai chi. Tune in to Fed Square’s virtual tai chi classes and breathe out slowly with Master Han Jin Song to promote health and relaxation.

person doing Tai Chi outside

Tune in to virtual tai chi