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Free things to do in Melbourne in March

The start of March means the end of summer, when you’ve spent every last dollar on ice cream and spritzes. Need to get cashed up again? Have fun while you’re at it with these free events.

Melbourne Food and Wine Festival at Queen Victoria Market

The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival has plenty of heavyweight culinary experiences. But did you know there are free events too?
Like Attica Presents, an afternoon of talks, performances, art and food led by legendary Attica chef Ben Shewry. Or Shed X Talks, gathering great cooking talent from home and abroad for demos and discussion. Then there’s The Big Spaghetti. This Italian-style fair brings pasta back to its street-food origins thanks to some of Australia’s best Italian eateries. Entry is free but bring food money! From 19 to 29 March.
Red bunting hanging over a green outdoor space during an event

Melbourne Food and Wine Festival

Victoria’s Multicultural Festival

Celebrate diversity at Queen Victoria Market during this family-friendly day out. Victoria’s Multicultural Festival offers free entertainment with cultural performances, workshops, cinema and more. Plus food from around the globe – crack open the piggy bank if you have to because it will be irresistible. Sunday 29 March.

Melbourne Design Week

With more than 300 talks, exhibitions, tours and workshops, it’s no wonder Melbourne Design Week runs for 11 days. Free events include the Australian Furniture Design Award 2020 Exhibition, and the Counterfactual City Series. Or check out Gallery Funaki’s Elegy exhibition, which reinterprets mourning through the lens of climate change. From 12 to 22 March.

Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival

Far from being fashionably late, the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival arrives on time for the autumn/winter season. If the big-ticket events get you further away from affording that perfect new look, don’t worry.

There’s free entry to festival central The Plaza, including The Plaza Block Party. Think pop-up runways, a fashion-illustration workshop, film screenings and clothes swap.  Until 14 March.

Esports gaming dome at QV

Whether you’re all about Fortnite or you think that just means ‘two weeks’, the Esports gaming dome at QV has something for everyone. Become the next Admiral Bulldog and challenge your mates on the free gaming set up. Or get amongst VR, weekly competitions and mini-gaming tournaments.

A young man in a headset seated at a desk in front of gaming computers

Esports at QV

Kensington Community Festival

Kensington Community Festival returns for another big day of multicultural good times. There’s music from China to the Caribbean, and activities to try like tai chi, Bollywood dancing and African drumming. Of course, there’s a world of food too, so bring some change! This event also offers fun, active challenges courtesy of Kensington’s sporting clubs. You can also pop into the Sustainable Living Expo. From composting advice to getting your bike fixed, it helps everyone care for the planet we all call home. Sunday 29 March.

Free fun at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Head to the Wheeler Centre on 30 March for Jeez Louise, a free event showcasing the work of trans, non-binary and gender-diverse comedians. See a panel of performers including Amma Piper Scott, Chloe Black and more. You can also have a few low cost lols at the Totally Serious 100% Fact-Filled Guide to the Melbourne Museum, aimed at kids aged 5 and up. There’s also the annual favourite, The Very Big Laugh Out, which is free and perfect for kids. TVBLO is on almost daily during the festival at either Fed Square (3 to 12 April) or the Melbourne Museum (31 March to 3 April, and 7 to 9 April).

An ornate building with a tall spire lit up at night

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is on from Wednesday 25 March to Sunday 19 April

Italian Festival presented by Gradi

Whether you’ve got Italian heritage or just wish you were in Tuscany, the Italian Festival is bellissimo. This three-day event hosted by Italian hot spot, Gradi, offers food, drinks, entertainment and kids activities. From pizza to pasta, cannoli to gelato, it’s a taste of la dolce vita. Friday 20 to Sunday 22 March.

AFL Women’s Competition

Despite seeing three years of big crowds, entry to AFLW games is still 100% free. That makes the final-round Carlton V Fremantle clash at Marvel Stadium a very affordable afternoon at the footy. Throw on your team colours, smash a meat pie and see what it’s all about. Saturday 28 March.

Find happiness and free food

Find a moment of zen in your hectic daily life at Event Happiness. Experience live music meditation in a supportive environment, as you and and other attendees feast on a delicious vegan dinner and explore yoga, practical wisdom and more.