What’s free in Melbourne over Easter

Overspent on chocolate and Easter gifts? There’s no need to hibernate over the long weekend thanks to these fabulous free events, from comedy to haute couture.

An aerial shot over a large river, with a sports stadium beside it and the city skyline in the distance

There’s plenty of free things to do this Easter

Behind the Lines

The comedy festival is usually about being in a room full of people laughing out loud. Not so much at Behind the Lines, a free exhibition of top Australian political cartoons from the past year. You’ll probably have a few quiet chuckles though, because there are some really clever, comical digs at our representatives in Canberra. It’s open Easter Saturday and Monday, so check it out before the exhibition closes on 23 April.

The (Very) Big Laugh Out

There are lots of affordable shows at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, but none cheaper than The (Very) Big Laugh Out. This free, all-ages showcase of comic talent includes Daisy the Cheerful Vampire from the USA and hometown heroes The Listies. While you’re at Federation Square, check out the freshly installed reproduction of the famous Fearless Girl statue too.

A person on an outdoor stage in front of a large crowd

The Very Big Laugh Out

Comedy at Spleen

This bar has been having a laugh week in, week out for years, whether it’s comedy festival time or not. It’s always free (gold coin donations appreciated), and the line-up includes some stand-ups we usually pay good money to see. Especially at this time of year, when festival headliners are often among the mystery guests. Head to Comedy at Spleen on Easter Monday for some pot luck laughs that might turn out to be comedy gold.

Kids Day Out

Gather the family on Good Friday and head for the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre. It’s being transformed into a junior wonderland with lots of free fun and activities that cost as little as a gold coin donation. Give generously, because the annual Kids Day Out is a Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal event.

A little boy wearing a paper mask, with kids and adults working on paper craft on a table in the background

The Good Friday Appeal Kids Day Out

Easter at The District

This choc-tastic season doesn’t have to cost your family a bunny’s ransom. Hop along to Easter at The District and let the kids go wild with the free egg hunts on Easter Saturday afternoon. The Easter Bunny is handing out treats on Saturday and Sunday too, and there’s a big chocolate hamper up for grabs.

Stroll through the Queen Victoria Gardens

Take advantage of the beautiful weather and explore all there is to love at this gorgeous spot right by Princes Bridge. Discover the huge floral clock, consisting of more than 7,000 flowering plants, or take a stroll through the gardens to the admire the National Gallery of Victoria across the road.

The Krystyna Campbell-Pretty Fashion Gift

Both branches of the NGV are open throughout the long weekend – a perfect chance to explore the permanent collection and free exhibitions. Like The Krystyna Campbell-Pretty Fashion Gift, which showcases haute couture from the 19th century to today. Garments by the likes of Coco Chanel and Alexander McQueen await, as well as archival material such as fashion magazines and sketches.

Easter trail at the Queen Victoria Market

Follow in the fluffy footsteps of the Easter bunny at Queen Victoria Market from 6 to 21 April, where an adorable Easter trail will be set up for kids young and old. Take your little one on a scavenger hunt to gather clues, find hidden bunnies and win a prize. If you get peckish, the sweet smell of freshly baked hot cross buns will guide you through the Dairy Produce Hall for a post-hunt treat. Make sure you hang around on Easter Saturday and Sunday, as the bunny of the hour will be making special appearances with treats for all!

Australian Music Vault

Been meaning to check out the Australian Music Vault? It’s the perfect time, as this free permanent exhibition has just added a new display about local hip-hop. See costumes, posters, awards, magazines and rare vinyl by artists like Bliss n Eso, Hilltop Hoods and Sampa the Great. More into AC/DC, Kylie or Archie Roach? The vault celebrates every Aussie muso who matters, and it’s open as usual throughout the long weekend.

Want to find more free things to do? Check out our guide to what’s free in the city every day.