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The 15 Best Art Galleries in Melbourne for a Hit of Culture

Get your culture fix at the best art galleries in Melbourne.

NGV Melbourne - Winter Masterpieces 2023

Melbourne’s the undisputed art capital of Australia – we need somewhere to go when it inevitably starts raining, after all. Our oldest public gallery was opened in the 1800s, and we’ve got exciting new venues popping up all the time.

Across dozens of spaces you’ll find priceless classical art, blockbuster international exhibitions, thought-provoking contemporary works plus sculpture, new media, textiles and more.

Whether you’re a casual enthusiast or an art history major, there’s always something new to explore, so get out there! 

NGV Melbourne

NGV International

Make no mistake, The National Gallery of Victoria is the mother of Melbourne’s arts and culture landscape. As Australia’s oldest public art gallery, it’s built up a collection with both breadth and depth, spanning everything from irreplaceable classical paintings to contemporary acquisitions from modern masters. In short, this is the place to see your Picassos and Rembrandts. Enter from the famous water wall and make your way around four floors of galleries. You could easily spend an entire day here, and even enjoy a high tea break at the building’s atmospheric Tea Room.

Currently showing: NGV Triennial, a major exhibition of new art, design and architecture that offers an arresting view of the world at this time.

180 St Kilda Road, Southbank

Heide Museum

Heide Museum of Modern Art

It’s well worth the drive out to quiet Bulleen to see this flourishing testament to modern art. Famed art patrons John and Sunday Reed purchased the former dairy farm in 1934 and turned it into what it still remains as today: a haven for free-spirited artists. That's right, the Reed's have taken the likes of Sidney Nolan, Joy Hester and many more under its wing.

Heide Museum of Modern Art is home to a vast permanent collection hosted across three buildings, plus a sculpture park and 15 acres of manicured gardens. Enjoy a lunch in the newly refined onsite cafe after a morning exploring the gorgeous galleries and grounds. 

7 Templestowe Road, Bulleen

LUME Melbourne

LUME Melbourne

Step inside art at a jaw-dropping scale at the world’s largest digital art gallery. Ranking among the most-loved and most-visited attractions in Melbourne, THE LUME immerses visitors of all ages in art, wellness (hello, yoga classes), dining and more like never before. One of the more unmissable art galleries in Melbourne - and one which we enjoy going back to time and time again. 

5 Convention Centre Place, South Wharf 

Gertrude Contemporary

Gertrude Contemporary

Head to Gertrude Contemporary for art that’s new, thought-provoking adventurous. Both a gallery and an educational studio, the programs and residencies hosted here have shaped the careers of countless contemporary artists. Since the 80, they’ve offered space for emerging artists to display exciting new work across every medium, giving visitors an intriguing insight into the creative development of artists.

21-31 High Street, Preston 


Australian Centre for Contemporary Art

The geometric red-rust structure that houses ACCA is one of the most recognisable buildings in Melbourne. What’s inside is just as striking – multiple galleries of daring contemporary art across every medium imaginable, from sound and sculpture to performance and painting. A rotating schedule of exhibitions means that there’s always something new to see, not to mention regular talks, lectures and educational programs for art enthusiasts.

111 Sturt Street, Southbank 

NGV Ian Potter Centre

NGV Ian Potter Centre

While the main building down the road gets most of the attention, the NGV’s offshoot dedicated exclusively to Australian art is just as worthy of your time. Housed within a stunning glass matrix in Fed Square are over 20 galleries presenting the history of Australian art. There’s a suite of galleries devoted to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, plus works from the colonial period and Heidelberg School through to contemporary photography, print and fashion textiles. You’re sure to come out with a greater appreciation of our domestic art landscape.

Flinders Street & Russell Street, Melbourne

Buxton Contemporary

Buxton Contemporary

Buxton Contemporary is the result of a landmark gift from renowned art collector Michael Buxton, who in 2014 donated 350 major Australian artworks to form a new gallery. Adjoining the Victorian College of the Arts, the gallery comprises four exhibition galleries plus a huge outdoor screen devoted to moving image art. The gallery’s acquisitions tend to follow a smaller number of artists in depth and over time, building a rich insight into their changing practice. 

Southbank Boulevard & Dodds Street, Southbank  

Centre for Contemporary Photography

Centre for Contemporary Photography

Fans of lens-based art will be in heaven at CCP, a not-for-profit exhibition and resource centre devoted to photography. Five gallery spaces weave seamlessly together, showcasing oft-rotating work by emerging and established photographers, across all eras and genres. The fifth space, named the ‘Night Projection Window’ is an illuminated window space that lets onlookers peek in and view works after dark. 

404 George Street, Fitzroy

Linden New Art

As its name suggests, Linden New Art supports brand new contemporary art from mid-career artists. The not-for-profit gallery is housed within a grand Victorian mansion in the heart of St Kilda and rotates exhibitions every eight weeks, making it a place to visit again and again. Next time you head south, why not catch brave, inspiring and thought-provoking works on your way to the beach?

26 Acland Street, St Kilda 

Lyon Housemuseum

This remarkable family home is also one of Australia’s most unique exhibition spaces. Lyon Housemuseum belongs to art patrons Corbett and Yueji Lyon, who open it up for pre-booked tours on select days of the year so that people can enjoy their exquisite private art collection. In 2019 they also opened a completely public gallery showcasing national and international exhibitions. Striking geometric architecture is signature to both spaces, blurring the lines between public and private.

217-219 Cotham Road, Kew

RMIT Gallery

RMIT Gallery

RMIT’s premier gallery is for more than just university students. The exhibition space features a year-round program of distinctive visual art plus new media, design, technology and multidisciplinary practices. Being a university offshoot, you’ll see a lot of innovative work from the emerging artists of tomorrow. 

344 Swanston Street, Melbourne 

Lamington Drive 

We love Lamington Drive, not just for being one of the more unique art galleries in Melbourne, but also for its recognition and continued connection of it's home, Collingwood, to its traditional owners. They remain ever inspired by the historical and contemporary artwork produced by First Nations artists, as a tool for the transformation of cultural knowledge. 

With a name like Lamington Drive, you can expect the art displayed at this brilliant gallery to capturing the true blue essence of Australian life. Originally established as a space to show the work of creative services agency The Jacky Winter Group, the gallery bucks the trend by showcasing commercial artists in a traditional gallery space and welcoming many up-and-coming illustrators and designers. The result is a pretty eclectic schedule of shows, whenever you visit. We can't get enough! 

52 Budd Street, Collingwood 

Incinerator Gallery

Discover a unique artistic experience at Incinerator Gallery, located by the picturesque Maribyrnong River in Moonee Valley. Housed within the historic Essendon Incinerator designed by the office of Walter Burley Griffin, this is a community gallery showcasing an array of inspiring solo and group exhibitions.

The gallery's commitment to fostering a strong sense of community is reflected in their diverse suite of community engagement programs. There's something for everyone - sketch clubs and children's clubs and more - and they're a fantastic opportunity to connect with like-minded locals to share in the joy of creativity. 

180 Holmes Road, Aberfeldie

Tolarno Galleries

Tolarno Galleries 

This sizable, long-standing art gallery in Melbourne spotlights cutting-edge, contemporary art in a variety of media. Tolarno Galleries was established in 1967, and has a rich history of presenting innovative and challenging work and of nurturing artists through their careers.

In the early years, exhibitions by modern masters including Bonnard, Dali, Chagall, Matisse, Picasso, Pissarro, Renoir and Vuillard, were shown alongside new works by Rauschenberg, Johns, Rosenquist, Warhol, LeWitt and Koons. Significant bodies of work have also been shown by the pioneering Australian modernists including Charles Blackman, Arthur Boyd, Joy Hester, Albert Tucker, Patricia Piccinini and Bill Henson. 

Director Jan Minchin, previously Curator of 20th Century Australian Art at the NGV, is especially known for working closely with artists, curators and collectors to support the newest work of both up-and-coming and established artists. This is one of the must-visit art galleries in Melbourne that you might not have known about...until now. 

Level 5, 104 Exhibition Street, Melbourne

After a visit to one or more of the best art galleries in Melbourne, continue exploring the city’s visual treasures by following our guide to must-see street art.

Ready to invest in your own? Check out some of our favourite Australian artists or these ethical purveyors of Aboriginal art and make a purchase you can feel good about.

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