The top 11 tourist attractions to visit in Melbourne

Puffing Billy travelling through the Dandenongs

Nicola Dowse

Posted February 03, 2023

There are Melbourne attractions to suit every taste and budget, whether you’re looking for a day of culture, nature, or fun and adventure with the family.

Melbourne is one of Australia’s favourite tourist destinations, with more than 35 million visitors travelling to the city every year, and it’s easy to see why.  

From world class museums and galleries, to historical attractions, shopping experiences, amusement parks and natural wonders, Melbourne has a little bit to offer everyone from families, couples and solo travellers. 

Even beyond the city’s principal attractions (most of which are open almost every day of the year) there are tonnes of free things to do, hit musicals and festivals to enjoy. 

The top places to visit in Melbourne

Queen Victoria Markets 

Queen Street, Melbourne 

These historic markets have been around since 1878, though markets had been operating on the site for some time before that. Strolling through the deli hall, fruit sheds or meat and seafood hall you’ll be hit with plethora sounds, sights and smells as vendors hawk their goods. Many offer samples as well, not to mention great deals on their products – you’ll be hard pressed to find a better bargain or produce across the city. 

You can also find everything from clothes to homewares and souvenirs in the E through L Sheds next to Peel Street. Make sure you try a börek, bratwurst or hot jam doughnut before leaving. 

Luna Park 

18 Lower Esplanade, St Kilda

Step through Mr Moon’s mighty smile and into Melbourne’s longstanding and beloved Luna Park. This amusement park is home to the world’s longest continuously running rollercoaster (aka, the Great Scenic Railway) as well as thrilling rides like the Enterprise, Twin Dragon, Pharoah’s Curse and Supernova. Less adventurous guests are also well catered for with dodgems, a Ferris Wheel, carousel and plenty of carnival games. 

National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) 

180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

The National Gallery of Victoria – known by locals as the NGV – isn't just Australia’s oldest gallery, it’s also the most popular. The gallery comprises two main buildings (the brutalist NGV International and the NGV Australia: Ian Potter Centre) with a third gallery, the NGV Contemporary, currently in the works. The gallery is one of Melbourne’s best free attractions, with the expansive permanent collection (which includes works from Picasso, Dali, Monet, Tiepolo and more) available to view without spending a cent. The gallery also hosts blockbuster touring exhibitions a few times a year.


Luna Park from the outside

Luna Park has been entertaining Melbourne locals and visitors for more than 100 years. Photo: Visit Victoria.

SeaLife Melbourne 

King Street, Melbourne

Meet some of Melbourne’s aquatic residents at SeaLife Melbourne. The aquarium is home to hundreds of fish, rays, seahorses, jellyfish, frogs, turtles and other marine life, not to forget its colony of King and Gentoo penguins as well as Pinjarra, a massive saltwater crocodile weighing in at 750kg. There are 12 different zones to explore including coral atolls, the deep sea and rainforests. Kids will enjoy that it’s not all about just looking too, with ‘touch and feel’ rockpools to get hands on with sea creatures. Adults can also dive with sharks if they dare.  

Melbourne Museum 

11 Nicholson Street, Carlton

Marvel at the natural world, Victoria’s history and culture at Melbourne Museum. The centrally located museum is a favourite with families for how it brings learning to life; you can go walking with dinosaurs (including the world’s most complete triceratops skeleton), explore how life evolved in Australia, learn about the history and culture of Victoria’s Aboriginal people, gawk at a huge collection of insects and arachnids or wonder at the powerful body of Phar Lap, one of Australia’s most beloved horses. There’s also a dedicated children’s gallery for babies through to pre-schoolers, plus IMAX is right next door. 

Brighton Beach 


Only got time to visit one of Melbourne’s amazing beaches? Make sure it’s Brighton. This beach is famous for its multicoloured bathing boxes that first popped up in the 19th century to protect bathers’ modesty. The boxes make for a stunning holiday snap – if the weather is warm don’t forget your bathers for a dip!


A family enjoying the view from Melbourne Skydeck

Only the brave dare to step out into the Edge at Melbourne Skydeck. Photo: Visit Victoria.

Melbourne Skydeck 

7 Riverside Quay, Southbank

See Melbourne – all of it – by ascending nearly 300 metres into the clouds at Melbourne Skydeck. This is the highest observation deck in the southern hemisphere, offering unparalleled views of the city. Skydeck is more than just a high viewing platform though. It also features a restaurant, bar, VR experience, and a 6D theatre. There’s also the ‘Edge’ experience, where the brave can step out into a see-through glass box suspended out from the Skydeck itself and look down at the ground hundreds of metres below them.

Puffing Billy 

1 Old Monbulk Road, Belgrave

Melbourne is home to more than 200 commuter trains – but none quite compare to Puffing Billy. This preserved steam train and railway was first built more than 100 years ago to transport people and goods throughout the Dandenong Ranges. Hop aboard one of the period train carriages and enjoy a daytrip to locations like Lakeside, Menzies Creek or Gembrook.  The experience is popular with families, with kids able to sit on the train’s window sills and dangle their feet out as they journey through towering cool climate rainforest. Pack a picnic to enjoy at your destination or book a grazing box with your tickets. 


Level 2, Chadstone – The Fashion Capital, 1341 Dandenong Road, Chadstone

Kids big and small will have a grand day out at Legoland, an attraction dedicated to the world’s most famous interlocking brick. LEGOLAND features 13 experiences to try, including plenty of opportunities to build your own LEGO creations plus a 4D cinema, and two interactive rides. There's even an incredibly detailed miniature replica of Melbourne recreated out of LEGO to marvel at. 


People walking through an underwater tunnel filled with fish, sharks and sealife at Melbourne Aquarium

Discover an underwater world and meet fish, sharks and penguins at SeaLife Melbourne Aquarium. Photo: Visit Victoria.

Melbourne Zoo 

Elliot Avenue Park, Parkville 

Creatures great and small can be found at Melbourne Zoo, a not-for-profit wildlife conservation organisation. The zoo is home to gorillas, giraffes, elephants, lions, orangutans, tigers and snow leopards among a whole lot more animals. You can even get up close and meet some with behind-the-scenes or encounter experiences available with reptiles, seals, meerkats, otters and lemurs. It’s well worth visiting Melbourne Zoo’s sister venues Healesville Sanctuary and Werribee Open Range Zoo for those visiting Melbourne’s east or west as well.

Hot air ballooning 

Flights departing Melbourne, Yarra Valley and Mansfield

For an experience unique to Melbourne, try hot air ballooning over the city. Melbourne is the only large city in the world to offer such an experience, with locals often spotting balloonists drifting over the inner suburbs and CBD during the early morning. RACV Members can save when booking the experience through Global Ballooning, who also run flights over the Yarra Valley if you prefer wine country views.