Summer is officially over and you may (or may not) have spent every last dollar on cold ones and cocktails by the beach. Luckily Melbourne has enough free events crammed into 31 days to make you blissfully forget about your dwindling savings. Grab your diary – you’ll want to pencil these ones in.
A world of festivals
Melbourne city is the proud, vibrant home to a number of eclectic cultures. Kicking off on Saturday 18 March, Cultural Diversity Week will run until Sunday 26 March. Other free festival events running throughout the month include the Turkish Pazar Festival, which will transform Queen Victoria Market into a fragrant bazaar. If you love exploring different cultures, also save the dates for Korea Week and the one-day Victorian Multicultural Festival.
River Graze at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival
Settled next to the Yarra River and across from Flinders Street station, River Graze will give foodies a reason to soak up sun before winter hits. Over a kilometre of Yarra Promenade will play home to four-wheeled food trucks, pop-up restaurants, winemakers and producers. Dust off the picnic blanket, gather up a feast and find a spot along the Yarra. River Graze runs from between Friday 31 March and Sunday 2 April during the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.
Australia’s largest community festival, Moomba, is returning for yet another free colour-bursting, feather-shaking, glitter-filled year. Highlights include the iconic parade down St Kilda Road, the Birdman Rally, the ‘70s roller disco, and a puppet garden. This year, the festival welcomes Guy Grossi and Karen Martini as their Monarchs, so foodies could not be more pleased. Runs from Friday 10 March to Monday 13 March.
University of Melbourne Farmers Market
One of the best hidden gems in the city, the University of Melbourne returns with their weekly Wednesday farmer’s markets this March. Positioned in the bustling heart of the Parkville campus, past stallholders include Milawa Cheese, Coopers Handmade Pies and Benny’s Berries. Save yourself the country drive and head down to this vibrant, free-to-enter market instead. Runs 10.30am to 2.30pm every Wednesday from 8 March.
Melbourne Design Week
Every year, Melbourne’s best local designers, independent studios, galleries and businesses gather for one jaw-dropping artistic showcase. NGV International and partners, will play host to a huge range of events (including many free ones) over 10 jam-packed days. Highlights include Don’t Be Too Polite, an exhibition dedicated to print-based activism, and Death by Design, an exploration of design disruption at General Assembly. Also don’t miss Creating the Contemporary Chair, an exhibition of works from most interesting Australian and international designers in current practice. Melbourne Design Week runs from Thursday 16 March to Sunday 26 March.