Melbourne’s essential summer events

Rooftop gin gardens, 80s dance floors, foodie festivals and free water slides. The city’s hotting up and bursting at the seams with summer scenes.

Pop-up bars

Tanqueray Gin Pop-Up at Fatto Bar and Cantina

Unwind under the vines at Fatto’s Tanqueray Terrace. Refresh with Tanqueray G&Ts and nibble infused salmon, spanner crab and Yarra Valley Caviar bites. Until 1 March.

Two hands holding glasses of gin cocktail in front of table of food and decorative oranges

Fatto’s Tanqueray Terrace

Summertime Social

Chill in a luxe caravan atop new rooftop playground Summertime Social. Order Dirty Birdie fried chicken and play bocce and skittles on the pop-up lawn. At Fed Square Skyline Terrace. 3 January to 5 April.

Arbory Afloat

Relax on the river among pastel palm trees. Sip pink spritz and DIY whole lobster tacos. Floating summer staple Arbory Afloat is back with a 70s Miami vibe plus top deck pool. Until 30 April.

QT’s secret pop-up garden

Sip summer spritz and wild rosé in QT’s sky-high secret pop-up garden. Snack on barbeque bites under the new mural. Thursday and Friday at QT Melbourne.

Weekend Summer Sessions

Cool off poolside with a Prosecco in hand. Adelphi’s iconic Weekend Summer Sessions are back and hosting a pop-up Aperol bar on the rooftop until 1 March

A jug of gin cocktail and glasses of Aperol spritz

Weekend Summer Sessions on the Adelphi rooftop

Festivals

Australian Open

See the tennis stars in all their grand slam glory at the Australian Open. Catch Billy Idol, Grinspoon and more at the AO Live Stage and take the kids to the AO Ballpark and Aqua Play Park. 20 January to 2 February at Melbourne Park.

Crowd at a tennis court at the Australian Open

The Australian Open

Can’t Do Tomorrow street art festival

Feast your eyes on the living street art scene, boogie to live tunes and sip espresso martinis when more than 100 artists take over four bars, four stages and four floors with electric urban art. At The Facility, Kensington. 20 to 29 February.

A brick wall painted with street art

Cant do Tomorrow Festival artist Ruskidd

Japanese Summer Festival

Munch on street food favourites like Gyoza, teppanyaki barbeque and okonomiyaki pancakes at the Japanese Summer Festival. Dance the Bon dance and play yo-yo toy-fishing. Cool off with a shaved ice or a chilled Ashai by the pop-up bar. Free entry. 23 February at Fed Square.

Vida Melbourne Latin Summer Festival

Join the Latin Summer Festival party for paella, margaritas and salsa dancing. Chill out at the pop-up beer garden and watch the costumed performers parade. Free entry. 10 to 19 January at Kings Domain.

Chinatown’s Chinese New Year Festival

Watch the Dai Loong Big Dragon parade through Chinatown to bring in the Year of the Rat for Chinatown’s Chinese New Year. Feast on Hawker street food, watch the Lion Dance and try street calligraphy. 2 February.

Soaring beach boxes with the star

Forget the ground level huts in Brighton and take to the skies this summer. The Melbourne Star’s Beach Box pop-up returns for another season of flying refreshments. Sip rosé, feast on share platters and watch the best views of Melbourne go by.

People in a viewing deck with wine and snacks

Melbourne Star’s Beach Boxes

National Sustainable Living Festival

Shop the cream of the (organic) crop, go green and stock up on tips and tricks for climate crunch time. National Sustainable Living Festival takes over the city with more than 300 talks, workshops and performances. 1-28 February.

Northside Summer Festival

Browse the artist stalls, feast on food truck fare and boogie to live tunes at the Northside Summer Festival. 15 to 22 February at Eades Park.

Lonsdale Street Greek Festival

Feast on fresh souvas, barbecue octopus and Lukumades doughnuts and Zorba ‘til you drop, at the massive 33rd Lonsdale Street Greek Festival. 29 February to 1 March.

Outdoor cinemas

Moonlight Cinema

Recline with a picnic and wine for a summer screening under the stars at Moonlight Cinema. Stock up of food-truck fare and tipples from the bar or go Gold Grass for a premium view and plush bean bed. Until 29 March at Royal Botanic Gardens.

Movies Under the Stars

Spend a balmy evening watching Movies Under the Stars. Get in early to nab a free bean bags for screenings of Crazy, Stupid, Love and The Lion King (2019). 14 to 15 February at Point Park, Docklands.

Crowd sitting on lawn watching outdoor film at Movies under the stars

Movies Under the Stars

Cinema at the ‘G

Pack your pillow for mammoth screenings on the scoreboard at Cinema at the ‘G. Secure your spot on the hallowed turf for Rocketman or Ride Like a Girl. 14 to 15 February at the MCG.

Melbourne Zoo Outdoor Film Festival

Catch an open-air animal-themed flick at the new Melbourne Zoo Outdoor Film Festival. Visit the animals as the summer sun sets and bring a rug for the evening screenings on the lawn. 1 to 14 January.

Music and shows

Zoo Twilights

As dusk descends, Melbourne’s menagerie fills with the sounds of summer. Check out the Zoo Twilights’ 2020 line-up of chart-toppers and indie darlings. Fuel up on craft brews and street food to support the endangered Mountain Pygmy-possum. 24 January to 7 March at Melbourne Zoo.

Crowd watching band play on stage at Zoo Twilights at dusk

Zoo Twilights

Brickvention

Play in the build zone, stock up on rare sets and meet a Lego master at Brickvention. For families who need a little more time and space, there’s a special low crowd session. 18 to 19 January at Royal Exhibition Building.

MSO Sidney Myer Free Concerts

Enjoy an unforgettable night being serenaded under the stars by a live symphony orchestra. Hear new works and classics like Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at the MSO Sidney Myer Free Concerts. 5 to 14 February.

NGV Friday Nights

Roam art after hours at Keith Haring | Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines. Stop by the downtown bar for NYC street snacks and get down on the 80s dance floor as DJs spotlight MTV music moments at NGV Friday Nights. Until 10 April at the National Gallery of Victoria

Chicago

Slick your hair and wear your buckle shoes to paint the town. Catch mega musical Chicago and sip your sidecar, prohibition-style, at the speakeasy pop-up bar. Until 21 February at Arts Centre Melbourne.

War Horse

The iconic Regent Theatre reopens with life-sized puppets galloping across the stage, in the multi award-winning War Horse. When his beloved horse, Joey, is sold to the WWI cavalry, Albert will stop at nothing to bring him home. 10 January to 7 February at the Regent Theatre.

10 Minute Dance Parties

Ready, set, rave. How much fun can you have in a 10 Minute Dance Party? Climb inside this all ages shipping container club to find out. And even better, it’s free. 16 to 24 January at Arts Centre Melbourne.

MPavilion

Pack a picnic, grab a drink at the kiosk and catch free live music, yoga, art workshops and talks during MPavilion’s summer program.  Until 22 March at Queen Victoria Gardens.

Opera for the People

Pack the picnic blanket for a night of exhilarating top notes. Opera Australia’s most exciting singers and 60-piece orchestra perform all the hits in Opera for the People. 1 February at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl.

Are you Ready to Take the Law into your own Hands

Mamma Mia meets The Fast and the Furious, Are You Ready To Take The Law Into Your Own Hands is a neon-drenched, action-musical satire, set to 40 years of Filipino pop. 26 to 29 February at Arts House.

Markets and more

Summer Night Market

Sip chilled cocktails at the new Palm Springs bar. Browse the stalls while you much on street food skewers. Stay for live music and a game on the pop-up volleyball court at the iconic Summer Night Market. Wednesday until 11 March. At Queen Victoria Market.

The District Slip and Slide

Head to the District Slip and Slide on the hottest days of the holidays to ride the giant 25-metre water slide. Picnic and play garden games or cool off in the mist zone. Free and all ages. 6 to 26 January at the District Docklands.

Big Bounce

Jump though the world’s biggest bouncy castle, fall into the ball pits and ride the slides. Book a grown-ups only Big Bounce session for your mates or a family friendly one for the kids. 3 to 19 January at Flemington Racecourse.

People jump on bouncy castle and play with beach balls at Big Bounce

Big Bounce

Sunday at the Baths

Float along as live local acts provide the soundtrack to your Sunday at the Baths. DJs will spin everything that sounds smooth in shades and while the kids play on giant inflatables. Until 23 February at the Carlton Baths.

Ego Mart Streetwear Supermarket Expo

Sneakerheads – find your new fave indie labels at the World’s First Streetwear Supermarket. Watch live street art and the 3 x 3 basketball tournament, get (flash) inked and learn how to start a brand. 15 to 16 February at Meat Market.