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Free things to do in Melbourne over the January long weekend

Looking for something to do this January long weekend? Make the most of the public holiday with these free Melbourne events.

Zodiac Spectacular at Crown

This year’s January long weekend coincides with the Chinese New Year. See larger than life animal sculptures representing all 12 of the Chinese signs at Crown event, Zodiac Spectacular. This free installation runs for three weeks at Crown Atrium.

Red lanterns hanging from the ceiling of a dark event space

Zodiac Spectacular at Crown Atrium

Share the Spirit Festival

Some of the most successful Aboriginal artists are performing at Share the Spirit. This annual cultural festival showcases dozens of talented musicians, dancers, and market stalls. All are welcome to attend the family-friendly event on January 26 at Treasury Gardens.

Free guided walk at Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne

Learn about the history of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne in this free guided walk. The tour features highlights of the gardens, sensational views and photo opportunities.

A green garden in summer

The Royal Botanic Gardens

Friday Sunset Series

Start the weekend with live music at MPavilion. This culture space in Queen Victoria Gardens hosts a different DJ or performer every Friday from 6 – 10pm. Stay refreshed with drinks from the MPavilion Kiosk, open daily during the season.

Watch the Aus Open for free

Fed Square will be showing all the action from Melbourne Park live and loud on their massive digital facade screen. There’s also free sunscreen, giveaways, and a Racquet Club pop-up bar!

People in a large city square in front of a screen at sunset

Australian Open at Fed Square

Australian Music Vault

Melbourne is internationally recognised for its love of music and is also home to the Australian Music Vault. Created by Arts Centre Melbourne in collaboration with music industry professionals, this permanent and free exhibition is a celebration of Australian contemporary music. You’ll find iconic objects like Kylie Minogue’s stage outfits and lyric notebooks belonging to Nick Cave, as well as interactive and digital experiences.

Melbourne Book Market

Calling all book lovers! The Melbourne Book Market is a seasonal weekend event at the Queen Victoria Market. Browse over 5000 new and pre-loved books plus vinyl records and CDs.

A woman at a book market looking at a table full of books

The book market

Summertime Social

The long weekend is the perfect time to check out pop-up playground, Summertime Social. Bocce and bowling are among games available to book at this upbeat Federation Square venue. Snack on fried chicken and sip cocktails while you play.

A picnic rug with food and wine on it

Summertime Social

Australia Day events

The family-friendly RACV Australia Day Festival is on again this January 26. Head to Kings Domain Gardens for food and entertainment such as the Royal Air Force Roulettes. Afterwards, stop by Docklands for their Australia Day celebrations. Official events happening to mark Australia Day include the Flag Raising Ceremony and Parade.