Melbourne in winter

Indulge your appetite for adventure in Melbourne this winter. Come for a blockbuster winter event or East End theatre show and stay on to explore. See Melbourne's Winter Masterpieces or a footy game, then discover intimate laneway bars, bistros and pubs with flickering fireplaces.

Wander undercover, through Victorian arcades. Shop independent boutiques and big brands. Stop off at cosy cafes and craft breweries. Catch an after dark gig and linger after midnight at late night diners. Find your winter twist in Melbourne.

Friday night

Start your Melbourne winter weekend right with late-night arts and culture programs at the NGV or Melbourne Museum. Enjoy live music, a bar and after dark access at Melbourne Winter Masterpieces: Terracotta Warriors | Cai Guo-Qiang and Revolutions: Records and Rebels.

Afterwards, grab a quick bite at a late-night diner. Slurp pho until sunrise at Straight Outta Saigon eatery, or find burgers, yakitori and steak sangas 24/7 at Butcher's Diner. Stop in at Boney for live music and an excellent quick bites menu or pop into Arlechin for midnight spaghetti until 3am.

Saturday morning

Eat your way through Queen Victoria Market. You'll find food halls and market sheds bustling with buyers, sellers and fresh produce, locally made goods and great coffee. Graze your way from stalls to counters at Pickett’s Deli, The American Doughnut Kitchen, and the borek and bratwurst shops.

Slept in? Take it easy with brunch at Manchester Press on Rankins Lane – a cosy café in the city’s heart. Hole up with a coffee and a good read – and pick something tasty from the menu.

Saturday afternoon

Wrap yourself in a woolly scarf and follow the friendly flock from the CBD to the iconic MCG for an AFL match. Grab a pre-game bite at Feast of Merit, Top Paddock or London Tavern. Kick on in Richmond after the game, with top dining options and great pubs.

Settle in for a session at The Corner Hotel – or prop yourself by a roaring fire at the Royal Saxon. And roll on to Moon Dog Brewing in Abbotsford for the latest seasonal craft brews.

Saturday night

Tee up tickets to an East End theatre show, musical or indie production. Grab a pre-theatre meal at one of Melbourne's phenomenal restaurants and diners. Try spicy dishes from Thai eateries Long Chim and Dodee Paidang or head to Hawker Hall for Asian style street food stalls. Pop to Meatmaiden in the CBD near Melbourne's East End Theatre District, or Fatto on Southbank for a meal before a show at The Arts Centre or MTC. Late dinner? Get your fill of barbecued bits at Belle's Hot Chicken, Fancy Hanks and Le Bon Ton.

Sunday morning

Jump a tram to nearby neighbourhoods, and explore leafy streets, cafes, bakeries and patisseries, record stores, wine bars and boutiques. Discover Carlton Gardens; Rose St Artist's Market, Gertrude and Brunswick streets in Fitzroy; and Smith Street, Collingwood.

Sunday afternoon

Winter Sundays in Melbourne are for roasts and wine-matched long lunches by a cosy fire. Check blackboards at Epocha, The Estelle or Marquis of Lorne for warming specials. Sidestep the sidewalk to explore undercover heritage arcades in the CBD. Head to The Block and Royal arcades for chocolatiers, dress makers and jewellers, then on to St Collins Lane for big brands.

Take flyovers connecting Melbourne Central to Emporium and the Bourke St Mall. Cross to Centre Place and Degraves for cafes and Flinders Lane for the best boutiques.

Sunday evening

Ease into Sunday evening at a cosy bar with top-notch food. Take your pick of Embla, Bar Tini, Bar Liberty or Marion – and join the great debate: is it a bar or a restaurant? With food and wine this good, we're happy to keep searching until we find the answer.