What to see at Open House Melbourne

From futuristic marvels to renowned heritage architecture, Open House Melbourne (27-28 July) offers a behind-the-scenes look at some of the city’s most fascinating buildings.

Bookings are recommended for some building tours and events, so head to the Open House website for full details.

The Capitol

See The Capitol restored to its former glory after five years of refurbishments by RMIT and Six Degrees Architects. The 1924 Chicago Gothic-style theatre now offers experiences across cinema, mixed media, VR, AR, gaming and more.

Guided tours will be departing on the hour between 10am and 3pm, or you can take a self-guided tour through the foyer, salon, lounge and stunning theatre space.

An ornate white ceiling with multicoloured lights glowing in the details

The Capitol theatre ceiling

Parliament House garden design tour

Explore the original 19th century garden design and the recently added Australian native landscape garden on a free guided tour. View the members annexe, and learn about its sustainable design features including a geothermal exchange system. Bookings are essential.

A twilight scene of a large garden with heritage buildings on the horizon

Parliament House gardens

Performing Arts Collection Store Tour

Take a journey through Australia’s performing arts history with a special guided tour at Art Centre Melbourne.  Featuring over 600,000 items including costumes, designs, photographs and other archival pieces, you’ll see relics and iconic objects spanning circus, dance, music, opera and theatre. Bookings are essential.

Inside a large wardrobe with multiple racks of clothing

Performing Arts Collection

Rod Laver Arena

Over the past 30 years, Rod Laver Arena has hosted thousands of events including performances by P!NK, Beyonce and Australian Open tennis stars Roger Federer and Serena Williams. Get a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to create these unforgettable events, and be among the first to see the final phase of the venue’s redevelopment project ahead of its official opening at the end of the year. Bookings are essential.

The entrance to a sporting arena

Rod Laver Arena

Old Treasury Building

The Old Treasury Building is a historic landmark and a symbol of the city’s rapid development during the Victorian gold rush of the 1850s. One of Melbourne’s finest gold rush buildings, it’s home to the original vaults where gold bullion was stored. Explore the vaults and view a series of dramatic panoramic images that showcase the city’s growth between 1841 and 1900.

A sunny daytime drone shot of a large heritage building

Old Treasury Building

Australia 108

What’s old is new again at this unprecedented 319-metre high residential tower built atop a heritage facade from 1899. Once completed, Australia 108 will become the ‘tallest building to roof’ in the Southern Hemisphere. Take an architect-led tour of the facilities including dining and functions spaces, pools, spas and the plant-rooms on levels 42 and 43.

An artist's render of a modern city building

A render of the future Australia 108 building

Limelight Attic Studio

Hidden away in the attic of a building on Spring Street, the Limelight Attic Studio dates back to the 19th century where it was used as a photographic and film studio. By the time it closed in 1909, over 400 films had been produced there. The studio has been reclaimed after 100 years of neglect, and today operates as a museum space displaying original photographs, slides and equipment.

New Academic Street at RMIT

The heart of RMIT University has been transformed with the recent New Academic Street redevelopment. Explore the new rooftop garden spaces, glass-roofed arcades and outdoor terraces created to promote mindfulness and mental stimulation. Tours will be led by staff from Lyons, the principal architecture firm that worked on the project.

An artistic shot of a multi coloured staircase

New Academic Street. Pic by Justin Westwood.

Eureka Tower and the evolution of apartment living

If you want to see how residential living in Melbourne has changed over the years, join this guided walking tour that weaves through the Melbourne Terrace, Republic Tower, Little Hero, and Phoenix buildings. The tour will conclude with views of Melbourne from the city’s tallest residential towers, Eureka Tower and Australia 108.

A city skyline with one tall building in the middle of the frame

Eureka Tower

Newman College at University of Melbourne

Book in for a guided tour of the Gothic Revival style building, Newman College. Explore the chapel, oratory, and grounds complete with a top-lit dining hall and long low cloisters.

Night time photograph of old building

University of Melbourne, Newman College

More sights to see on the Open House Weekend

  • City Collection will be open for tours, showcasing 6,000 artefacts from Melbourne’s history. See everything from Moomba relics to miniatures of Melbourne’s most famous public art.
  • Once the centre of Melbourne’s meat trade, Meat Market is now a hub for artists and event throwers alike. Marvel at the 19th century architecture at this North Melbourne spot on Saturday 27 July.
  • Explore ArtPlay by the Yarra River and take a tour through this 130-year old building. Bring the kids along for Ping Pong WoW, an interactive play art experience.
  • Cross the bridge to tour through SIGNAL, the last remaining signal box of Flinders Street Station. The 126-year old heritage listed building will be hosting self-guided tours and a craft making workshop.
A brick building lit up at night with blue toned projections

SIGNAL

Looking for more inspiration? Read on for our guide to historic buildings in Melbourne.