Where to see the sparkling lights of Melbourne

The long nights of winter solstice make it the perfect time to see the skyline twinkle and glow. Whether you’re looking up from the river or across the city from the top of a tower, it’s pure urban enchantment.

A tree in front of a restaurant on the river side with fairy lights strung across the courtyard

Sparkling lights beside the Yarra

See the city from the river

Get a fresh perspective on the city by looking up at it from the Yarra River. It’s a magical experience gliding along at night, under glowing bridges, past riverside bars and restaurants, and the towers rising above. No boat? No worries! Check out the options for getting on board a cruise, chartering a boat or even piloting your own (no experience or license required). You can even try a guided Moonlight Kayak Tour.

A river at night lit up with boats in front of the city skyline

See the lights of Melbourne from the river

The Winter Village at Fed Square

This winter-long pop-up venue isn’t just good for enjoying warming treats in see-though igloos. The Winter Village at Fed Square also has awesome views from the CBD’s south-eastern edge. Enjoy the vista while strolling with a hot chocolate or gliding around the village’s ice-skating rink.

Plastic igloos set up in front of the city skyline at night

The Winter Village at Federation Square

Winter Night Market

There are so many reasons to love the Winter Night Market, including free live entertainment, open fires, warming street food and drinks. Don’t forget the up-close city views. At the edge of the Queen Victoria Market’s sheds, look up through all those strings of golden lightbulbs. Some of Melbourne’s shiniest new apartment towers are gleaming in the darkness right next door.

A busy laneway between markets stalls at night, with hanging lights suspended above

Queen Vic Night Market

Shrine of Remembrance

The view from the Shrine of Remembrance’s exterior balcony, looking north along St Kilda Road to the city, is epic. Most of the year you can’t experience it with the added wonder of city lights because this monument closes at 5pm. That’s close to sunset around the winter solstice though, so time it right and you’ll see Melbourne starting its nightly light show.

Melbourne Star Observation Wheel

Soar above the city and watch the night lights glitter from the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel. As you slowly spin through 360 degrees, the view evolves, from ground level to 120 metres up. Make the experience really memorable and book a Sparkling Flight, which includes beer, wine or cider. Or indulge in a three-tiered tower of chocolate treats including truffles and macarons with winter’s Rich Indulgence Cabin package.

A large ferris wheel type structure lit up at night

The Melbourne Star Observation Wheel

Eureka Skydeck 88 and Eureka 89

The observation deck of Melbourne’s tallest building is a no-brainer for admiring city lights. There aren’t any other structures blocking the 360-degree views at Eureka Skydeck 88, 300 metres above sea level. As the name suggests, it’s on the 88th floor, but you can go one better upstairs at Eureka 89. Here you can watch the lights shimmer over a twilight cocktail, or linger longer with a degustation dinner.

A wide landscape shot of the city with the sun setting in the background

Sunsets from Eureka 88

Vue de Monde and The Lui Bar

Raise a glass to the city’s colourful night-time display at Shannon Bennett’s luxe restaurant and bar in Melbourne’s second-tallest building. Vue de Monde and The Lui Bar have walls of windows offering uninterrupted 55th-storey views, and similarly breathtaking menus. Take your time over oysters and French Champagne, or a glorious multi-course meal.

Ponyfish Island

The next best thing to cruising the Yarra is kicking back at Ponyfish Island. This bar under the pedestrian bridge between Flinders Street Station and Southbank isn’t going anywhere, but feels like a boat at anchor. From here you can look west along the river, and admire the buildings gleaming on its banks and reflected in the water. Cheers!

A city skyline behind the river lit up at night

Ponyfish Island

Rooftop Bar

Whether you’re here for summer’s Rooftop Cinema or just to enjoy a beer and burger, there’s always a big, bright bonus at the Rooftop Bar. In the heart of the city, it’s surrounded by a sea of buildings shining in the night. It’s totally worth the walk up seven flights of stairs, and there are heaters to keep you warm.

Johnny’s Green Room

Have you checked out King & Godfree’s mega renovation? No longer just somewhere to buy fine wine and Italian gourmet food, it’s now buzzing with stylish spaces to eat and drink too. The crowning glory is Johnny’s Green Room, their rooftop bar with 360-degree views over Carlton and the city skyline. Grab a vino and bites like arancini or meatballs and enjoy.

A rooftop bar with people milling at tables

Johnny’s Greenroom

The Boatbuilders Yard

Nestled by the Yarra, The Boatbuilders Yard is one of the best spots for city views. Not only do you get an eye-popping panorama of the skyline, there’s also the reflections on the water. Head to this laidback restaurant-bar on South Wharf Promenade just before sunset and watch the city-light show unfold.

A restaurant on the waterfront with flame towers blazing in the background

Boatbuilders Yard