Wrap yourself in Melbourne black as the temperature cools and the nights grow longer. Fires roar in bars and restaurants around the city and in neighbourhood watering holes. Live stages are just as hot. This is the season for scarves and beanies. To get out and barrack for your favourite AFL team at the MCG. It’s a time for red wine in laneway bars, boutique shopping, and blockbuster art shows under cover. A calendar of cosy events shows off Melbourne at its wintry best.

Here are our picks for Melbourne in winter.

1. Winter art masterpieces

Explore the much-anticipated Melbourne Winter Masterpieces® exhibitions. NGV International presents Pierre Bonnard: Designed by India Mahdavi, curated in collaboration with Paris's Musée d'Orsay. More than 200 works by leading 20th-century painter Pierre Bonnard, renowned for his luminous palette, are presented within an immersive scenography by acclaimed Paris-based architect and designer India Mahdavi.

ACMI's Melbourne Winter Masterpieces® exhibition is the world premiere of Goddess: Power, Glamour, Rebellion, a celebration of women on screen. This immersive program, which includes costumes, video works and projections, explores and challenges representations of femininity on-screen through the decades.

Other winter arts winners to book for include the multi-sensory exhibit Monet and Friends at the LUME; Melbourne's spectacular winter arts celebration, RISING; and Light Sensitive, a major exhibition by local artists in celebration of light.

2. Winter sports

Rain, hail, shine, or a little bit of all three – the weather is no barrier for Melbourne's sports fans. Rug up in your club's colours with the rest of the big-cheering scarf-and-beanie-clad footy lovers at a high-energy AFL premiership match. Barrack like a local at the MCG or Marvel Stadium, and fuel up at half-time with the obligatory pie and beer.

The city's not shy about getting behind its other codes either: catch the talented men and women of soccer, rugby league and rugby union (international Super Rugby) on the field at AAMI Park throughout the cooler months, and netball matches at John Cain Arena. On the field and on the court, the vibe is pure Melbourne. Fun for all the family.

3. Live music

Winter sounds fine in Australia's live music capital. The city keeps the beat with its diverse music scene. Local and international talent perform across Melbourne, with gigs in grand theatres, historic band rooms, beloved pubs and intimate bars. Look for shows from big names to rising stars to nascent talent. Jazz, hip hop, rock, Afro beats, Latin and everything in between.

For cosy afternoon tunes and high-energy headliners on the weekends, try neighbourhood pubs the Retreat and Brunswick Ballroom in Brunswick, Northcote Social Club in Northcote, and the Espy in St Kilda. Step out for rock at iconic Cherry Bar, and innovative syncopation at the Jazzlab or Paris Cat. Book for big gigs and touring acts at the Corner Hotel, the Forum and the Arts Centre.

4. Culinary comforts

Melbourne's top chefs are your best friends in winter, dishing out award-winning creative meals and perfectly crafted local flavours to thrill your tastebuds and keep the social hours humming. Convivial gastro pubs with open fires, cosy wine bars and chic fine diners –Melbourne is full of welcoming spaces to escape when the chill sets in. Find seasonal produce, intimate booths and bay views at the Prince Dining Room. Chef's-hatted dishes prepared over hot coals and open flames at Matilda. Indian with a contemporary twist at Daughter in Law. Buzzing pan-Asian at Miss Mi, a showcase of Gippsland produce at Farmer's Daughters, and three-storeys of pizza-bar socialising at DOM's.

5. Cobblestones & laneways

Melbourne's iconic lanes are the perfect place to tuck yourself away in winter. Wind your way from one to another, stopping for piping hot soup and expert coffee at bustling cafes along Centre Place and Degraves Street. Join a walking tour to unearth the best of Melbourne's bluestone cobbled laneways and street art along colourful Hosier Lane. Follow fashion at stores along Flinders Lane and Little Collins Street, browsing jewellery and design at Craft and e.g.etal.

Pop into top laneway tables Movida, San Telmo and Tres a Cinco, and discover a new tipple at Little Lon Distilling Co, Trinket and Nick and Nora's. Don’t miss dumplings at the Oriental Teahouse on Little Collins Street, wine and share plates at Bar Lourinhã, and a night cap at stalwart Double Happiness on Liverpool Street.

6. Coffee

Melbourne's reputation is built upon its love of the bean and the expertise of local baristas in crafting a perfect caffeinated cuppa. Do as locals do and weather dark winter days over lively coffee catch-ups or prop up a table of one's own with a book and a flat white. Get ready to taste some of the finest brews around Melbourne at Market Lane, Proud Mary, Code Black, St. Ali, Dukes, Seven Seeds, Everyday Coffee and the Auction Rooms – for starters. Wherever you go, sample a variety of pour over, batch brew, filter and espresso, and pick up locally roasted beans and some brewing equipment for winning home brews, too.

7. Fashion

Melbourne designers excel with style-forward wool knits, leather boots, brightly coloured scarves, gloves, coats and hosiery. Black is staple but far from uniform, with latest trends turning towards vivid colours and bold patterning. Layering is key to the cooler months and locals embrace the art of winter fashion. Find a look that fits you in in the city's many and varied arcades, malls and shopping centres. It's possible to browse and shop through hundreds of labels under cover, keeping dry and warm while hopping between each hub.

Pick up new favourites from Melbourne designers ELK and Alpha60, glorious vintage from Vault, menswear from Masons, and big-name international designs at glittering malls Emporium, 80 Collins and Chadstone.