Ten things to do for $10 or less – the Christmas edition

How much fun can you have for $10 these days? Quite a lot if you know where to go. If you’re been going hard on Christmas shopping, high-end festive dining and end-of-year parties, here’s all you need to know about the loose-change high life.

1. Mid-week margaritas at Hello José, espresso martini happy hour at Melbourne Public and all day $10 spritzes at Brunetti

You’ll feel sophisticated at op-shop prices with a $10 cocktail in hand. Try midweek margaritas at Hello José, or an espresso martini at Melbourne Public during their extra-long 4-7pm weekday happy hour.

Head to the cute campari bar at Brunetti on Flinders Lane to try one of their 12 different spritzes, all available for $10 a pop. Or go waterside and drop into Renzo’s for a $7 negroni, spritz, Bellini or Americano from 4-6pm. If you’re pulling an all-nighter, grab yourself a delicious $8 toastie from Loch & Key – open every weekday until 5am and weekends until 7am.

cheap toastie

Loch & Key $8 all-nighter toasties

2. Cheap movie nights at Cinema Nova and Kino

Going to the movies is pricey – unless you time it right. On Mondays, tickets are $7 before 4pm and $10 after at Cinema Nova, and $9.50 all day at Kino Cinema. Sit back, relax, and enjoy millions of dollars in movie-making for peanuts.

3. Spend Friday night with a human jukebox

A cosy temple to all things camp and kitsch, the Butterfly Club features a revolving door of cabaret, comedy, burlesque and more. Head in at the end of the work week after 10.30pm for Fab Friday, where their legendary piano man plays your favourite songs by request. Entry is free, so bring a song to sing or just enjoy the awesome performance.

4. Explore the city for free

There are plenty of free tours offered around Melbourne which take in the city’s finest architecture, famous landmarks and more. Head to Seven free tours of Melbourne icons for the low down, from guided explorations of city laneways and street art through the Melbourne Free Walking Tour to an historical exploration of Ned Kelly’s wild life.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne

Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne

5. Have a pizza party

All day, every day, the Italian food experts at Fatto Bar & Cantina serve their authentic hand-stretched pizzas for just $10 a pop. If it’s been a particularly flush week you can even add a can of Peroni with your pizza for an extra five bucks.

An outdoor dining area with sun coming through tall plants

Fatto Bar & Cantina

6. Cool down at the pool

For just $5.80, spend an hour or a day at Carlton Baths’ outdoor pool. Kids entry is a mere $3.50, and under-fives – who will love playing in the new toddler pools – are free! Northside swimmers can head to North Melbourne Recreation Centre for $5.95, or head to the gorgeous city baths for an after work dip where you can splash about for $6.75.

7. Visit Asia on your lunch break

Dumplings enthusiasts, gather ’round! Drumplings‘ has a heap of menu items that will leave you with change from a tenner. Try the prawn and chive dumplings, take in a juicy bao burger, or skip straight to sweets with nutella filled parcels.


Tantalise your taste buds with Drumplings’ cheap options

If Thai is more your thing, head to Soi 38 to try one of their delicious Bangkok noodle soups for $10. Their location is also a talking point – they’re hidden away in the ground floor of a carpark.

Keen for more Thai food in a fun location? Dodee Paidang has both laneway and underground real estate, and their giant bowls of authentic noodle soup will only set you back about $7.50. Or blow out the budget for a big plate of crispy pork belly, rice and vegetables for $9.90.

On the look out for Melbourne’s best $10 or less lunch? We’ve got some more favourites in Ten CBD lunches for under $10.

A bird's eye view of a blue and white plate, with meat skewers on one side and a bowl of satay sauce on the other.

Dodee Paidang

8. Beer paddle at Hophaus

If you’re more of a beer kind of guy or gal, the tasting paddle at Hophaus is always $10. Choose four beers from the nine on tap and ponder a trip to Bavaria.

9. See free art at the NGV

Art isn’t just about pricey blockbusters. NGV International has some that’s free to see, including a bunch of works by hip Brit Julian Opie.  On show until 17 February, the larger-than-life animated human figures perpetually striding outside the entrance are available to view anytime day or night.

Julian Opie

10. Funk out at a free Friday fiesta

Who doesn’t want to spend a few hours at the end of the working week sipping drinks in the Queen Victoria Gardens? Local music, happy hour specials, garden views, late afternoon sunlight slipping into magical twilight – Friday Night Fiestas at MPavilion are the perfect weekend kick-off. The DJs lined up for December include bebé and Bedroom Suck Records.