Where to watch the AFL Grand Final

If you weren’t lucky enough to nab a ticket to this year’s AFL Grand Final, never fear. You can still be in the thick of it at many venues throughout Melbourne. Head to the following places to watch the game:

With the family

Live at Yarra Park
From Wednesday 26 September to the big day, the free AFL Footy Festival will be celebrating Melbourne’s sporting obsession. Head to Yarra Park to watch pre-match entertainment and the battle for the Premiership Cup at the live site’s giant screen.

A huge crowd of people cheering on a football game in a big stadium

The AFL Grand Final is almost here. Photo: The 2016 Toyota AFL Grand Final match between the Sydney Swans and the Western Bulldogs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on 1 October 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/AFL Media)

Live at Federation Square
Make your AFL viewing party a blockbuster event with food trucks, face painting and Fed Square’s brand new digital screen. Their five-storey high screen will be lit up with all the action from 2pm, but you can grab a beanbag seat and kick back with the festivities from 9am.

A night-time shot of Federation Square, with a large screen showing a football match.

The digital screen at Federation Square will be screening the AFL Grand Final from 2pm

With the crew

Waterside Hotel
Come for the giant screen, stay for the unlimited BBQ!  Doors to the public bar open at 10am with the match playing live and loud on every single screen.

The Botanical
Kick on after their massive Grand Final Eve party and enjoy food specials and live entertainment while the game unfolds. Located opposite the Botanic Gardens, there’s even space for the kids to run around after the game. Free entry, 10am to late.

European Bier Café
The European Bier cafe boasts over 50 varieties of beer and four levels including a rooftop. You’ll be spoiled for choice on where to watch the action (and what to drink while doing it).

A man standing by the bar in a big pub, with people sitting in booths on one side

European Bier Cafe

Melbourne Public
Two teams, seven screens and one massive projector – grand final footy looks awesome at Melbourne Public. Get in early at 11am and pick yourself a perfect spot to watch the action, have a drink and enjoy their in-house DJ spinning tunes from 3pm.

The George On Collins
Burgers, ribs and a free beer for the first 120 guests? That makes The George a must visit spot for the grand final in our eyes. Book a table and nibble on charcuterie while you watch the biggest sporting event of the year at Melbourne’s iconic George building.

Garden State Hotel
Take in the action on the big screen with a three course lunch package in The Observatory, or make it a classic Saturday afternoon in the Garden Grill with an awesome share-style menu. Foot-balling on a budget? The match will be shown live and loud in the beer garden and public bar across all their screens. Doors open at 10am.

Left Bank Melbourne
Bump up your game day festivities with beer cocktails, DJs and BBQ canapes along Southbank. With multiple screens showing the action and glorious views of the Yarra River, you’ll have something awesome to look at where ever you turn.

The outdoor eating area of a restaurant

Left Bank Melbourne

The Boat Builders Yard 
After much demand, the waterfront AFL fiesta at Boaties is back. Work up an appetite with a handball competition, then devour everything from classic meat pies to loaded tater tots and poutine. Settle in at 2.30pm to watch the action unfold on their mega screen.

Imperial Hotel
Join the grand final party on the rooftop of the Imperial Hotel. Enjoy the live broadcast on the ‘jumbotron’ screen, or hang out across the ground floor and level one with beers and BBQ. And if that’s not enough, get there earlier for Grand Final Breakfast. Unlimited beer, wine, and bubbly is on offer, alongside a buffet from 8.30am – 11.30am.

Another epic grand final day party is coming to Riverland. Big screens with the volume on high, loaded dogs fresh off the grill and a live DJ working into the night. Get in early to nab a seat or book ahead.

An outdoor bar surrounded by trees, with the city skyline behind it.

Riverland Bar

The Wharf Hotel
Enjoy footy, food and free furphy when you make a booking for four or more people. Watch the game on their huge riverside screen or on plasma screens throughout the venue – there’s even a kid’s games area to keep little fans entertained! Free entry, with doors open from 12pm.

Royal Melbourne Hotel
Free entry, two massive screens and an adjoining courtyard offering a bit of fresh air when it all gets too much? The Royal Melbourne Hotel is a classic game day spot to soak up all the action. Bookings highly recommended.

The Leveson
Pull together a tenner and head to their Grand Final party (with a free drink on arrival) or splurge on a room for your mates with a private bar. Multiple huge screens will be showing the match at this North Melbourne favourite, with special footy menus offering the goods all day long.

After the game

Virgin Australia Premiership Party
Fans without a Grand Final ticket can get access to the MCG from 7pm for a free concert featuring legendary Australian rocker Jimmy Barnes. This free concert takes place straight after the game, where you’ll also be able to see the presentation of the 2018 AFL premiers.

A man standing in the middle of a stage singing into a microphone with stage lights above him

Jimmy Barnes on stage