Free kid-friendly family fun in Melbourne’s CBD

Stay at City Club and keep your kids entertained with free activities around Melbourne's CBD.

There are lots of free ways to explore Melbourne’s CBD and keep children entertained these school holidays. If you stay at City Club you’ll have time to try a few of these free family-friendly activities. Enjoy a big buffet breakfast in Bistro and then set off on an adventure. Come back for lunch at Sojourn or afternoon tea at Le Petit Gateau. Check out our family rooms at City Club. See what’s on at City Club. We have children’s cooking classes for tinies, tweens and teens during the school holidays.

Little girl laughing upside down on a tyre swing
Eggs and flour on a bench with a smiley face made of flour
A little boy amongst lush greenery

Bring your magnifying glass 

Take your wild thing to Melbourne Gardens and go hunting for plants and mini beasts. Collect a colourful Seek & Find Nature Cards from the Visitor’s Centre and be sure to explore the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden too. 

Melbourne Gardens Visitor’s Centre, 9am-5pm, Birdwood Ave

Be smart about art 

The NGV’s free exhibitions are great for those with short attention spans. Name all the different colours at Spectrum (until 29 August), recharge in the roof garden and travel back through time with the International Art collection.  

NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road 

Go with the flow 

Have a swashbuckling adventure on this 1.8km Yarra River loop walk. Starting at the Melbourne Aquarium, chase the seagulls across Batman Park, skip over Spencer St footbridge, play pirates at Polly Woodside and sail across the Seafarers Bridge. Crank the handle of Russell Anderson’s sci-fi sculpture for a miniature view of Melbourne. 

Yarra River Promenade

Light up your night 

Warm up with the blazing spectacle of the gas brigades at Southbank. Winter is the perfect time to see the fireballs because the sun sets earlier and the kiddiwinks don’t have to stay up too late. The gas brigades erupt on the hour every hour between 6pm and midnight. 

Southbank Promenade, between Spencer St Bridge and King Street Bridge

Change the world 

Be creative. Speak up. Think differently. An eclectic exhibition featuring posters, textiles, sculptures, photos and videos, We Change the World challenges young and old to consider how arts and design can contribute to a positive future. Until 19 September. 

The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Fed Square 

Join tick tock  

Little faces light up when the giant fob watch at Melbourne Central opens on the hour with native birds rocking to the overtures of Waltzing Matilda. Check out the 50m Coop’s Shot Tower and the Shot Tower Museum on Level 2.  

Shot Tower Square, Level 1, Melbourne Central, Swanston St 

Hunt for a bunyip 

Go on a quest for mythical creatures and legendary figures outside State Library Victoria. The Bunyip of Berkeley’s Creek, St George and the Dragon and Joan of Arc keep company with Sir Redmond Barry and many other bronze statues.  

State Library Victoria, 328 Swanston Street

Book a nook 

By hook or by crook it’s time to read a book. The Pauline Gandel Children's Quarter at State Library Victoria is a super-duper space for toddlers to tweens. Select a book from the library’s vast collection and retreat to a nook. School-holiday activities are listed online. 

Pauline Gandel Children's Quarter, 10am-6pm, 328 Swanston Street, Melbourne 

Swing into Docklands  

Take the No. 70 tram along Collins St to this cute inner-city playground. Charge around the swings, slide, sculptures and grassy area. Docklands is a gateway to family-friendly activities, including ArtVo gallery, Melbourne Star and Glow Golf. 

Docklands Park playground, Victoria Harbour

Roar with dinosaurs 

Catch a No. 11 or a 48 tram to Library at the Dock for a dinosaur hunt. Research shows a child’s obsession with dinosaurs (or any topic) is great for their cognitive development. Collect a sheet from reception and hunt at your own pace. 

Library at the Dock, 107 Victoria Harbour Promenade, Docklands 

Run like the wind 

There’s history, mystery and plenty of space to run around at Flagstaff Gardens. Find the Burial Hill memorial where pioneers were once buried, zip around the playground, behold the magnificent Morton Bay Figs and go possum-spotting on the way to the Queen Victoria Night Market. 

Flagstaff Gardens, 309-311 William St, West Melbourne 

Dance at the market 

Queen Victoria Market is open every Wednesday evening until 25 August. Wander around and enjoy the live music and roving entertainers. Warm up in front of a fit pit or browse the stalls and sample the street food. Until 25 August. 

Queen Victoria Market, corner of Elizabeth and Victoria Streets 

Away with the fairies 

Fire up the imagination at Fitzroy Gardens, with a visit to Ola Cohn's Fairies Tree and a horsey ride around the miniature Tudor village. There’s a playground and lots of hidden garden paths to follow. If the weather is fine, have a picnic. 

Fitzroy Gardens, Wellington Parade, East Melbourne

Join the protest 

Got a tween or teenager flexing their right not to clean their room? This exhibition will open their eyes to more significant protests, such as those against convict settlement in the 1840s and conscription in the 1960s. 

Protest Melbourne - Old Treasury Building, 20 Spring Street

Take your footy 

Even when there’s no game, a walk to the MCG can be entertaining. Birrarung Marr has a playground, there’s an Indigenous soundscape as you walk over William Barak bridge, the 10 statues along the Avenue of Legends inspire greatness and the scar trees outside the MCG reflect Melbourne’s history. Finish off with kick-to-kick on the grass. 

Flinders Street to Jolimont Walk

Plan and book now

Whether you are looking for an overnight stay, a weekend away, a short break or a longer holiday, the City Club in Melbourne’s CBD has a range of accommodation options to suit your needs. There are 134 large and spacious rooms including suites, family suites, double and twin, disability friendly rooms and interconnecting rooms for families.

For bookings and enquiries, please contact Reservations on (03) 9944 8888 or book online.

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