Are you visiting Melbourne on a budget?

It can be disheartening knowing that you might not be getting the full Melbourne experience.

So if the only thing in your wallet is a family of cartoon moths, don’t worry! Melbourne is more than willing to accommodate for those with tighter budgets. Look hard enough and you can uncover plenty of fun, cheap or in some cases, completely free experiences!

We’ve got you covered with this list of fantastic free activities in Melbourne.


1. The NGV Collection

For the art lovers in the audience, Melbourne’s very own National Gallery of Victoria simply can’t be beat!

For the budget conscious art enthusiasts, the NGV’s permanent collection is a great way to view both international and local pieces at the NGV on St Kilda Road as well as the Australian division, the Ian Potter Centre, located at Fed Square.

General entry is, wait for it, absolutely free! The NGV and the Ian Potter Centre are open 10am-5pm daily.


2. Royal Botanical Gardens and Albert Park

Opened in 1846, the Royal Botanical Gardens are the pride of many a Melburnian. And with its shady footpaths and beautiful

“The Tan”, as locals call it, boasts a fantastic range of native flora for the botanists in the audience.

And if plant biology isn’t really your thing, the Tan also offers fantastic lawns, perfect for a picnic with family/friends or a cheeky pick-up game of cricket in Melbourne’s beautiful spring and summer weather.

Further out from the CBD, we have Albert Park. When it isn’t playing host to thousands of rev-heads and the fastest cars known to man, it’s actually quite a relaxing place to be! Take a stroll around the Albert Park, or unroll a picnic rug and unwind by the lake.


3. Queen Victoria Market

If you’re looking for gifts, knick-knacks or a good deal on seafood, be sure to stop by the largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere!

Queen Victoria Market is home to a mind-bogglingly wide range of different stalls and shops: from 100% certified Australian-made knitwear and wines, to boutiques selling handmade clothing, bags and jewellery, all the way to the iconic fresh food markets and deli.

With thousands of stalls ranging from general audience to niche, boutique to novelty, there’s bound to be something that piques your interest at these historic markets.

And in summer, you can stop by at night for one of the market’s vibrant night market events, with dining, live music... and, of course, shopping.

Whether you’re looking for souvenirs, want a relaxed day out or just happen to be in the neighbourhood, you must stop by this vibrant market.


4. Comedy at Spleen Bar

If you ever find yourself wandering down Bourke Street on a Monday night and you hear the sounds of uproarious laughter drifting down from number 41, it’s probably comedy night at the Spleen.

With a roster that has boasted appearances from local comedy legends such as Wil Anderson, Charlie Pickering, Josh Thomas and many, many more, you’re guaranteed a night of belly laughs and good time all round!

Entry is free and the drinks are cheap, although a dollar coin donation is appreciated!


5. Take a stroll through Southbank

There’s a reason Melbourne is commonly referred to as the food capital of Australia!

Take a stroll through the glamourous Southbank district. Located on the banks of the Yarran River, Southbank is home to some of Melbourne’s best restaurants – from riverside fine dining to craft-beer bars, Southbank is the place to be for those with more urbane tastes.

If you’re not in the mood for food, stop by anyway: Southbank’s trendy riverside is filled with buskers and is the perfect spot to spend an afternoon relaxing and people-watching.


6. Free yoga

Improve your physical, mental and spiritual well-being with free yoga classes at Federation Square.

Every Tuesday from 1:15-2pm, experienced yoga instructors run office workers and city residents through a routine of yoga techniques from beginner to advanced.

Yoga can be a great tool for relieving the pressures of city life and full-time work. So if that sounds like you, roll up a yoga mat and head down to the Atrium at Fed Square for free classes that relieve your tension and soothe your spirits.

If you’re a newcomer, remember to turn up 15 minutes in advance to register.


7. Explore our famous laneways

Melbourne’s laneways are a world (and a blog post!) of their own!

Divert off the main roads and head for the colour: our vibrant alleyways, home to various street artists and styles, continue to delight both locals and international guests.

Part of the fun is getting lost, so we suggest starting in Hosier Lane (right next to the Forum on Flinders Street) and heading north for some truly Insta-worthy photos.

Once used solely for storage, dumpster bins and couriers, the last two decades have seen a revitalisation of Melbourne’s now-iconic laneways.

From grimy garages and workshops, the city’s underground and hipster scene has embraced everything that once made the city’s laneways a place to be avoided and reshaped them into the thriving places of culture that they are today.


Need cheap accommodation in Melbourne, too?

Choose Urban Central’s budget accommodation in Southbank

Travelling on a budget can be difficult. Fortunately, Melbourne is more than willing to accommodate with its huge range of free or cheap activities!

And for accommodation that won’t break your budget either, you can’t go past Melbourne’s favourite hostel, Urban Central! Our clean and cheap accommodation is situated right in the heart of Melbourne.

Located in a prime spot in Southbank and just steps from public transport, Urban Central makes exploring easy.

We have budget accommodation for individuals or groups, ranging from dormitories, to private rooms to family rooms for short or long-term stays – all fully-furnished and offered at fabulously low prices!

So for accommodation in Melbourne that won’t drive you dangerously close to the red, book your rooms now! Whether you’re here for a weekend or a month, Urban Central’s ready to welcome you with open arms! View our rooms here and book online today!