In summer, Melbourne basks in long, golden days. The city kicks up its heels from first light until late (and sometimes the whole night long). Read more

In summer, Melbourne basks in long, golden days. The city kicks up its heels from first light until late (and sometimes the whole night long). Breakfast alfresco, stumble across a market or festival, then top off the day with drinks and dinner. Still not enough? Do it again the next day, to see a new and totally different side of Melbourne. Get set for the good life – from high culture to street culture, it's all here.

Friday night

Kick off the summer fun at Argentinian bodega San Telmo, or watch the sunset by the Yarra at contemporary Japanese restaurant Sake.

Toe-tap your way on to Melbourne's Regent Theatre for a spectacular performance of Moulin Rouge! The Musical.

After the curtain falls, keep the summer-vibes going at Arbory Afloat. This year's theme takes inspiration from the Turkey's Turquoise Coast, with sunny yellow deck seating and a menu of classic and contemporary coastal plates, colourful cocktails and refreshing spritzes.

Mad for cricket? The Boxing Day Test takes place at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds from the 26 to 30 December.

Saturday morning

Start your day with brunch at Mabu Mabu's Big Esso in Federation Square. Help yourself to big and small sized share plates of seasonal produce, which incorporate incredible native flavours.

Wander over to ACMI to see Disney: The Magic of Animation, an in-depth examination of the creativity and innovation of Disney Animation. The extended exhibition will run until 23 January 2022.

Saturday afternoon

Wander down St Kilda Road to check out leading architecture commission MPavilion. The 2021 program is full of free events, which includes talks, workshops, performances, installations and more.

Or head to Melbourne's sports precinct to explore AO Beach House. Watch the tennis action play out on the big screen from your own deckchair, or show off your skills on the sandy beach tennis court.

Saturday night

See in sunset with a summery cocktail and seafood fare at the AO, or grab a seat at a match.

Alternatively, Top off the night at Rooftop at QT, where the terrace is open until 11pm for refreshing drinks and city vistas.

Sunday morning

Break your fast with NYC coffee shop-inspired Bowery to Williamsburg. Pair US diner style plates and bagels with Brunswick's own Padre coffee.

Jump on a tram to Fitzroy and wander through quiet, cobbled backstreets to check out the wares at popular Rose St. Artists' Market.

Cricket lovers should set the day aside for the unmissable summer highlight matches at the iconic MCG.

Sunday afternoon

Time for lunch of Basque pintxos and maybe an early cocktail on the rooftop at Naked For Satan. Enjoy the bar's fresh air and expansive views of the city. Or slip into intimate Poodle Bar & Bistro and choose plates from their menu of classic European dishes.

Head back to West Side Place in the CBD to see Australia's first 'artcade'. Renowned contemporary artists Rone, Reko Rennie, Lisa King, Adnate, Meggs, George Rose, John Aslanidis, and Mayonaize have transformed the retail space into an immersive outdoor gallery, adorned with their vibrant art. See it for yourself, before the space is remodelled into shops, cafes and restaurants.

Sunday night

Retreat to The Espy for a beachside meal, and some top local bands. Explore the five-levels and three live-music stages of this historic, much-loved and revamped pub on St Kilda's esplanade.

Back in the heart of town, get a taste of the good life on the rooftop of Pinchy's, where champagne pairs perfectly with lobster rolls, tacos and truffle fries. Or swoop into Curtain House and climb the stairs to the Rooftop Bar and Cinema for beers, burgers, and a deck chair for a film on the open-air screen.