Free things to do in Melbourne in October

Saving for summer holidays and the big Christmas shop, or just born frugal? Well listen up, because there are oodles of October events as free as spring air.

Hophaus Annual Dachshund Race

October means Oktoberfest, but it’s not only about drinking beer. Southgate’s mod-Bavarian restaurant-bar presents the Hophaus Annual Dachshund Race as part of its celebrations. Watch these cute pups dash along an 18-metre course and parade in costume at this fundraiser for Dachshund Rescue Australia. Saturday 13 October.

A line of sausage dogs running with a crowd behind them

Hophaus Annual Dachshund Race

World Vegan Day

Discover how to live harmoniously with our furry, feathered and fishy friends at the Melbourne Showgrounds on World Vegan Day. Find food, fashion and beauty products that won’t cost the earth, learn about vegan health and fitness and maybe even speed-date your soulmate. There’s everything from live music and athlete demos to kids and Indigenous zones to keep the positive vibes flowing. Sunday 14 October.

Spring Fling Street Festival

The world comes to North Melbourne’s Errol Street for the annual Spring Fling Street Festival, which celebrates community and creativity. Market stalls, local musicians, street food, pop-up bars and the adorable dog show make this a Sunday session not be missed. Sunday 21 October.

A group of people sitting at outside tables eating with a band in the background

Spring Fling Street Festival

Carlton Italian Festa

From Nonna to little baby Lucia, Melbourne’s Italian community will be out in force for Carlton Italian Festa 2018. Don’t have any Italian blood? Nessun problema! Anyone who loves la dolce vita, including food, music and cars, will feel at home on Little Italy’s day of days. Sunday 21 October.

A big tray of doughnuts topped with cream

Carlton Italian Festa

MPavilion 2018

Reborn every year with a stunning new design, this public space for talks, workshops, performances and installations returns on 8 October. MPavilion 2018 is designed by Carme Pinós, and it’s angular steel frame and timber latticework will host 400-plus free events, including conversations with this acclaimed Spanish architect. Other highlights of the four-month program include Friday night DJ sets and workshops led by dance company Chunky Move.

Victorian Seniors Festival

Melbourne’s older, wiser citizens celebrate and are celebrated during the Victorian Seniors Festival. Most events are free, so the only challenge is choosing, from singalongs to chair yoga. The main event is Victorian Seniors Festival Celebration Day, which is packed with live performances, stalls and activities. Other highlights include The History Salon conversation with Indigenous musicians Bart Willoughby and Selwyn Burns, and Unspoken: What Will Become of Me? All events mentioned run between 7 and 14 October.

A man smiling and playing an according next to a woman who is smiling

Victorian Seniors Festival

Melbourne Festival

The Melbourne International Arts Festival is only for those with deep pockets, right? Think again! There are numerous free experiences, including the final day’s Our Place, Our Home concert on Sunday 21 October, showcasing seasoned and emerging musicians from diverse cultures.

A group of women wearing costumes with white paint on the faces dancing

Tanderrum

Children’s Week

It’s National Children’s Week on 19-28 October, and there are lots of free events happening in Melbourne to celebrate. Highlights include the Songbirds sessions, which engage little ones up to 18 months with songs, stories and rhymes. Kids up to five can go wild with the live exhibits, dress-up, craft activities and performances at Melbourne Museum’s Romp and Stomp. The Respect and Equity: It all Starts Here panel and Q&A reveals why raising kids with positive attitudes about gender is vital.

Ride2Work Day Community Breakfast

From two-wheel-commute newbies to devotees of the lycra lifestyle, cyclists will celebrate pedal power at the Ride2Work Day Community Breakfast. Cycle over to Docklands for a free feed, information and motivation. If you’ve read this far you must like free stuff, so no-cost commuting should be all the motivation required! Wednesday 17 October.

A group of people cycling. At the front there is a woman cycling who is being handed a banana by a man standing.

Ride2Work Day Community Breakfast