In Focus

What to do in Melbourne over summer

Felicity Allen

Felicity Allen

December 2021

January is an unusual time to be in Melbourne.

When the crowds move down to the Mornington or Bellarine Peninsulas, Melbourne is left delightfully empty.

There is a dry heat in the air, the lack of cars on the road means that where it would typically take over an hour to cross one side of the city to the other, the same route takes less than half that time, the streets are bare and the shops are empty. And yet, for many people, these very reasons are why Melbourne can be the best place to be at this time of year.

Found yourself one of the few people in Melbourne during January? Read our guide on all the things to do and places to go in our city over summer.

1850 CORP Summer Series 1221 NGV

Image via NGV


Homewares Shopping in the North

Fitzroy and Collingwood are jam-packed with some of the most beautiful homewares stores in the country. Try Modern Times, MUD, Cibi and Third Drawer Down - all must-visits.

Hire a Boat on the Yarra River

Self-skipper on a hired boat along the Yarra River with a group of up to 9 of your friends. BYO drinks, snakes and furry friends and experience Melbourne from a different vantage point.

Australian Open

The Australian Open is back to full capacity in 2022 and we couldn't be more excited. The AO is worth a visit for the tennis alone, but soaking up the atmosphere during the first week of the tournament with a ground pass is the best way to experience it.

Petanque Social at Crown Melbourne

Laze on a day bed and eat food by Nobu, 400 Gradi and other Crown restaurants along the Yarra. The pop-up also includes a full-service bar serving spritzes and summer cocktails.

Van Gogh at Lume

A digital experience at Melbourne’s newest art gallery in South Wharf turns Van Gogh’s life and recognised works into an immersive adventure.

NGV Friday Nights

Friday Nights at the NGV are back and there are several new exhibitions opening in December to peruse including: Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto, The 2021 NGV Architecture Commission pond[er] and Bark Ladies: Eleven Artists from Yirrkala.


For a comprehensive list of walks in Melbourne and surrounds, read our guide here.

Half Moon 2020 Simon Shiff 0 27 scaled

Image via Half Moon



A small café in Carlton North doing big things. Florian opened in March this year and has become a much-loved favorite by locals thanks to its delightful menu and community feel.

Di Stasio Pizzeria

The third venue for the high-profile restaurateur couple has the DNA of the original sites but with more intimate spaces and a casual feel and menu.

Half Moon

The perfect option for a sunny afternoon or an evening after a day at the beach, Half Moon in Brighton retains the building’s original historic façade with drinking and dining areas spanning two levels.


Taking just 12 diners a day (and booking out very quickly), is Uminono in Prahran. Uminono is a distinctly untraditional sushi place. The owner and chef, Arnaud Laidebeur talks each visitor through each dish in detail. A must-visit.

Image via Broadsheet



Armadale welcomed a new wine bar in mid-2021. Auterra is a casual yet slick space for locals and wine lovers to stop by and settle in for an array of shared dishes and wines.

Baby Snakes

It’s all fun and no fuss at Baby Snakes in Footscray. Head to the inner west bar for non-pretentious wine, food and beers. Baby Snakes is also licensed for live music, with a resident DJ on Fridays and Saturdays, whilst Sundays will be reserved for relaxed live sets by local bands.

Bouvardia CBD

Inspired by modern London-style cocktail bars, effortlessly cool Bouvardia is another new venue that opened in mid-2021. It is an elegant addition to Melbourne’s bar scene, perfect for late-night or first date visits.

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