There are many things to do in Melbourne for FREE.
And there are also quite a number of cheap options of what to do in Melbourne.
For no charge at all, you can visit the unique Melbourne sights, view amazing art and designs, recharge in its parks, or stroll through quirky lanes that make up the real Melbourne feel.
One of my favourites and must thing to do in Melbourne is a walk through the city lanes, particularly those off Flinders lane between Swanston and Elizabeth Streets. I take a detour through this when I am in the city rather than taking the main streets.
It gives you the real Melbourne feel, with laneway cafés, lots of unique small shops selling anything from arty cup cakes to designer fashion, mixed in with an old barber shop and old fashioned tea house.
Walking east, up Flinders Lane you can window shop around many galleries as well as Crafts Victoria.
The Queen Victoria Markets are another one of the must see things to do in Melbourne, with their original 1870s façade and sheds, strewn with traders bellowing their specials.
Another great place for original Melbourne shopping is Fitzroy. Take the #86 tram up from Burke Street for galleries, fashion and jewellery designers and funky shops in Gertrude and Smith Streets, Fitzroy.
Or take the #112 from Collins Street to stroll around famous Brunswick Street Fitzroy with its bohemian shops and café scene. If you head into the back streets you will come across a lot of original street art.
Melbourne cherishes its arts and funds a large number of art galleries and arts projects. All galleries, except special exhibitions, are free and are great things to see in Melbourne.
There is the National Gallery of Victoria, the international section of the Melbourne public gallery in Southbank. And there is the Ian Potter Centre, the Australian section of the National Gallery Victoria located at Federation Square.
There is also the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) in Sturt Street Southbank, and, at Federation Square, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI). ACMI has a free permanent exhibition, called Screen Worlds where you can spend hours exploring everything film, television and digital very fascinating.
Another place for free culture and art is the State Library in Swanston Street. It is not just a library but also has an art gallery that hosts different exhibitions. You can also take a free Dome Galleries tour that will take you through the numerous galleries and architecture of this landmark building.
On the corner of Flinders and Swanston Street, take a detour into the St Pauls Cathedral. This is massive and impressive and you might even get to hear an organ rehearsal.
Whatever you do in Melbourne, take an opportunity to take the free City Circle tram around the CBD. This lets you ride in one of the historical trams for free and gives you a commentary on the significant buildings and sites on the way. There is also a free tourist bus that takes you a bit further around Melbourne.
Visit Federation Square. Its just opposite the must-see landmark building of Flinders Street Station. It is a set of cubist buildings (housing various galleries and restaurants) around a city square where you can enjoy many free concerts and events throughout the year.
From there take a stroll through Birrarung Marr along the Yarra towards the MCG. There is plenty of river art sculptures that tell the story of Melbourne.
Just across from Southbank is the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne that many Melburnians are especially fond of. Its an island of tranquillity with an amazing array of plants, birds, habitats, and plenty of secluded picnic spots.
The Yarra River and a number of creeks flowing into it yield a special attraction. There are hundreds of kilometres of bike and walking tracks along these waterways. Cycling or walking along these tracks is very tranquil, as you are right in nature. Many Melburnians use these to commute across the city.
A great way to experiencing Port Phillip Bay is to walk out onto the St Kilda pier. This long pier takes you out to the historic St Kilda Pier Kiosk. In the rocks past the kiosk lives a colony of the native little penguins. If you are lucky you will spot some between the rocks.
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