Whether you’re roaming the state or staying put this summer, Victoria has a host of free events to keep you entertained.
Compiled by Jade Thrupp
Cinema Pop Up
When: 22 November to 20 January Where: Ararat, Bannockburn, Traralgon, Warragul, Eildon, Barooga, Rural City of Wangaratta, and Kilmore
With Christmas classics such as Home Alone and recent hits such as Coco, this pop-up outdoor cinema is for everyone. Take your own eats or buy food-truck tucker or cinema snacks on site. This cinema visits parks for just a few nights in each of the locations above, so check the website for your town’s dates.
Please note: Free tickets are available online only. There is a charge for tickets bought at the gate.
Join the revellers at Midsumma Festival. Source: Midsumma Festival
Enjoy a night of free outdoor cinema at Cinema Pop Up. Source: Unsplash
When: 6, 13 and 20 January
Where: Ballarat Botanical Gardens
January Sundays are the perfect time for a relaxed post-Christmas catch-up with those you missed in the festive season. Gather friends and a picnic blanket, and settle in for an eclectic mix of live music styles, tasty eats and a relaxed vibe.
Practice your forehand with a hit on the new Tennis Club on Lower Terrace or grab your friends and head over to the Upper Terrace for non-stop food and entertainment, including Huxtaburger and Canadian Club Racquet Club.
When: 19 January to 10 February Where: Various venues
Join the celebration at Melbourne’s leading queer arts and cultural festival. There are more than 170 diverse events: celebrate the beginning of the festival at Midsumma Carnival, hold your rainbow flag high while attending the Midsumma Pride March through St Kilda and keep the party going at the Festival Bar.
While you’re there, check out the RACV dog photobooth to get a snap of your furry friend celebrating pride. Tag @theracv to have your happy snap featured on our Instagram feed.
Richmond’s take on Lunar New Year celebrations is one of Victoria’s most vibrant and best known. Celebrate the Year of the Pig with a range of stalls, displays and food to contribute to a fabulous, free celebration.
Summer Sundays in Ballarat. Source: City of Ballarat.
RACV Australia Day Festival
When: 26 January Where: Kings Domain Gardens
Join RACV at this family-friendly event filled with entertainment and activities. The RACV Australia Day Festival has something for everyone, including a motoring and mobility showcase, an exciting main stage program, Melbourne's favourite food trucks, and a great spot to look skyward to watch the Roulettes air display.
Festival of Sails
When: 26 to 28 January Where: Geelong Waterfront andRoyal Geelong Yacht Club
Summer holidays are the perfect time for a day at the waterfront, and Geelong’s Festival of Sails has it all. The event includes the largest annual keel boat regatta in the southern hemisphere, along with live music, roving performers, food and a fireworks display on the Geelong waterfront.
This French-themed festival takes place alongside the Alpine Classic. There will be free activities for cycling enthusiasts as well as those who are just along for the ride, including a moonlight cinema, live music, food and wine and kids’ entertainment.
When: 5 to 13 January Where: National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
The Kids Summer Festival is an action-packed week of free workshops and exciting live performances. This year’s theme is Make Believe, so get the whole family down to the NGV, where the kids can stay cool with a range of interactive activities.
When: 8, 16 and 20 February Where: Sidney Myer Music Bowl
Gershwin, Dukas, Tchaikovsky … get your classical fix as the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra fills one of Melbourne’s most iconic outdoor venues with music. Gates open at 4.30pm for a 7.30pm start, so get in early to claim a spot for the best view
Showcasing Australian artists and the natural beauty of St Kilda, this summer celebration is one of the biggest free events of the year. The annual festival attracts over 400,000 revellers keen to watch some of Australia’s best musicians along with workshops, carnival rides and more.