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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.