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12 Unmissable New Things To Do In Melbourne This Winter

Coax yourself out of the house for seasonal food, wine and culture experiences worth their weight in gold.

Fable
Fable

With the tidal wave of things to eat, drink, see and do this winter, there will certainly be no hibernating in these quarters. Marvel at blockbuster new exhibitions bringing some the world’s greatest masterpieces to Melbourne, rendezvous with friends and lovers over heartwarming dishes and seasonal drinks, or rug up for luminous outdoor experiences that will inspire awe and intrigue.

Late Night Records
Late Night Records
Transport yourself to the trattorias of Italy at Late Night Records

Every Thursday night through winter, Carlton wine bar Agostino is transforming its private bluestone cellar into an intimate dinner party brimming with curated food, wine and music. Located within the King & Godfree complex on Lygon Street, expect to step inside a late night enoteca where martinis, negronis and wine are flowing, eggplant polpette and vodka pasta are plated, and vinyl records are spun by DJs selected by Hope Street Radio. With only 50 seats to fill, the vibes will be as lively as the trattorias and bars you’d find in Italy.

From 6.30pm Thursdays

297 Lygon Street, Carlton

ACMI
ACMI
Be entranced by Light: Works from Tate’s Collection

During winter the days are short and the sun ever more evasive, leaving us craving the spiritual warmth that light provides. ACMI’s blockbuster new exhibition is here to bathe you in the glow of art, with 70 works spanning 200 years of art history all harnessing this elemental force. Curated by the UK’s famed Tate Gallery, the chosen works are connected by their fascination with light as both material and subject. Highlights include Olafur Eliasson’s crystalline sculpture Stardust Particle , Yayoi Kusama’s kaleidoscopic The Passing Winter, James Turrell’s immersive Raemar, Blue.

Until 13th November 2022

Tickets $30

Federation Square, Melbourne

Smithward
Smithward
Achieve your cheesy dreams with melty raclette and fondue

Temperature goes down, cheese consumption goes up – it’s simple maths. At this time of year the best way to get your cheese fix is by diving head first into a mountain of molten cheese. Head to Collingwood wine bar Smithward for classic grilled raclette melted over potatoes, cornichons and house sourdough, best enjoyed with a glass of red. Over at cheesemonger Milk the Cow they’re doing silky fondues made with luxurious cheese blends, including one with Gruyère L’Etivaz (known as the ‘Rolls Royce’ of Gruyère).

48 Smith Street, Collingwood

23 Lygon Street, Carlton

Fable
Fable
Drink warming winter cocktails on a rooftop at Fable

Drinking cocktails on a rooftop may seem like an exclusively summer activity, but look more closely and you'll find venues equally alluring in the colder months. At 14 storeys up Fable is Melbourne’s highest rooftop bar, and with a fully retractable awning and heaters it’s weatherproof and surprisingly cosy in winter. Catch a lift up to experience their new vegan and gluten free-focussed drinks offering, which even includes an vegan milk punch made of coconut milk, toasted rice, sencha, sakura, yuzu and yellow Chartreuse. Lead mixologist Alessandro Nardini will draw on warm flavours, colours and seasonal fruits for the winter menu, as well as spirits favoured at this time of year like rum and whisky.

13/168 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

Fed Square
Fed Square
Enjoy free intriguing art, film and dance at Anything But Square: Under Surveillance

This July, Fed Square is turning up the heat with Anything But Square: Under Surveillance, an epic five-week program of showstopping art, intriguing film and dystopian dance parties – all playfully exploring the idea of how we are constantly being watched, and watching each other. Your attention will be drawn immediately to The Eyes, a wildly ‘grammable 10 metre tall sculpture featuring hyper colourful eyes darting in every direction. Stick around for a free outdoor ‘Surveillance Film Festival’, eye-themed craft workshops, and disco dance parties DJed by the likes of YO!MAFIA and John Course every Friday night.

1st July - 17th August 2022

Swanston Street & Flinders Street, Melbourne

Neighbourhood Wine
Neighbourhood Wine
Dig Into A Delicious Sunday Roast At Neighbourhood Wine

During the colder months there are few things better than sitting down to a hearty Sunday roast with all the trimmings. Fitzroy North fave Neighbourhood Wine is plating up a mighty fine three-course roast menu every Sunday throughout winter for just $55 per person. The menu changes every week, with centrepieces including beef porterhouse and lamb shoulder, buffered by starters such as persimmon and goat curd or roasted heirloom beetroot and chestnut cream. What you can expect every week though is crispy potatoes and Yorkshire pudding to soak up all that roasty goodness, plus a delicious winter dessert (baked caramel pudding, anyone?) to finish.

Every Sunday

$55pp

1 Reid Street, Fitzroy North

National Gallery of Victoria
National Gallery of Victoria
Marvel at the NGV's new Winter Masterpieces exhibition: The Picasso Century

Each year, the National Gallery of Victoria unveils a ‘Winter Masterpieces’ exhibition to draw in art-loving Melburnians from the cold. This year they’re premiering The Picasso Century, an engrossing insight into the artistic legacy of one of the 20th century’s most influential and celebrated artists. Not only will you see work from all his distinct Blue, Cubist and Surrealist periods, the exhibition also features works by many of the artists who steered him throughout his career, including Dorothea Tanning, Salvador Dalí and Henri Matisse.

Until 9th October 2022

Tickets $30

180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne 

The Distiller
The Distiller
Make cocktails with friends at a masterclass by The Distiller

Honing your home bartending skills ensures you can make yourself a mean drink even when it’s too cold to go out. Learn from the best with a fun and educational cocktail masterclass at Thornbury bar and micro-distillery The Distiller, where you’ll work your way through three easily-adaptable, signature cocktails using their handmade Australian vodkas. There’ll be plenty of time to chat and enjoy each creation, making it a great way to shake up a Saturday afternoon with friends.

2pm & 5pm, Saturdays until 20 August 2022

530 High Street, Northcote

Wharf Hotel
Wharf Hotel
Rendezvouz under the stars while staying warm inside pop-up igloo gardens

Escape to a snowy alpine wonderland without stepping foot outside the CBD. At four venues – the Wharf Hotel, Station Hotel, Auburn Hotel and Studley Park Boathouse – you’ll be able to rent out cosy private igloos to kick back with friends in. Sessions come fully catered with options including sharing platters, three course meals or high tea, plus bottomless dessert and drink packages (think mulled wine, cider and hot toddies). Each igloo will be decorated with twinkling fairy lights and comfy décor to relax in.

18/38 Siddeley Street, Docklands

59 Napier Street, Footscray

85 Auburn Road, Hawthorn East

1 Boathouse Road, Kew

White Night
White Night
Spend a weekend in the regions for White Night

For the last decade White Night has been synonymous with winter in Melbourne – a one-night-only festa of unforgettable immersive light, art and connection. After a long hiatus the event returns this year reimagined as a multi-stop regional show passing through Geelong, Bendigo and Shepparton. Make your way around enthralling installations and film projections, with something unexpected around every corner. And while you’re there, why not stay the night and make a weekend of it?

25th June, 3rd September & 8th October 2022

Around Shepparton, Bendigo & Geelong

Cappo Sociale
Cappo Sociale
Indulge in a truffle degustation at Cappo Sociale

Winter is the best time of year for truffle tragics, with the fragrant funghi in high supply for a short time only. Make the most of truffle season by indulging in a limited-edition five course shared banquet at Italian restaurant Cappo Sociale. The $150 feast for two is available until the end of July, but there’s plenty of soul-stirring delights on the new winter menu to enjoy after that, including a stunning fettuccine cacio e pepe finished in a huge parmesan wheel then topped with tuna tartare and yuzu caviar.

127 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

Lightscape
Lightscape
Admire the intricate installations at Lightscape

Lightscape is coming to Australia for the very first time this winter, taking over the Royal Botanic Gardens with magical light installations that will delight young and old. See glowing tunnels, tree canopies drenched in colour, light running up trees like fireworks, and awe-inspiring installations like the Winter Cathedral, which comprises over 100,000 tiny lights. There’s 1.8 kilometres of luminous walkways to explore at your own pace, with pop-up vendors selling street food, mulled wine and hot cocktails to keep you sated.

Wednesday to Sunday nights, 24th June - 7th August 2022

$32pp

Birdwood Avenue, Royal Botanic Gardens

We’ve got even more ways to stay toasty this season. Fire up the slow cooker for these deliciously low maintenance recipes, work up a sweat at these fun fitness classes, or go out for a steamy bowl at these top ramen joints. Want to treat yourself? Travel out to our favourite rejuvenating hot springs across Victoria.