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Arts, Entertainment and Sport in Victoria

Melbourne is Australia's arts, entertainment and sporting capital, with world-renowned galleries, museums, festivals, theatre productions and international sporting events.

Throughout the year there’s something for everyone in entertainment. Victoria hosts jazz, comedy, film, food and wine festivals, as well as a variety of theatre and music events.

 

Theatre

Regent Theatre at nightMelbourne is home to the Melbourne Theatre Company, the Australian Ballet and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Every night performances take the stage at venues including the Victorian Arts Centre, the Malthouse, Her Majesty's Theatre, and the Princess, Regent and Athenaeum theatres.

Pictured:  Regent Theatre in Collins Street at night

Dance

Three young boys doing a traditional aboriginal danceDance is a dynamic part of Australia's performing arts culture. Melbourne is home to the internationally acclaimed Australian Ballet, as well as a number of diverse contemporary dance companies.

Pictured: Echuca dancers

Music and opera

A band performing at the Port Fairy Folk festivalVictorian performances by Opera Australia are supported by the State Orchestra of Victoria. There are also regular performances by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra and Australian Pops Orchestra - or one of the many jazz, blues, pop, rock and alternative bands or artists that regularly perform live in Victoria's pubs, clubs, bars, cafes and nightspots.

For more on arts in Victoria visit Creative Victoria

Pictured: Port Fairy Folk Festival

Comedy

Melbourne's annual International Comedy Festival attracts the biggest international names in comedy and is usually held in April each year. Local and international comedians also perform live throughout the year - for details, check the arts and entertainment pages of The Age or the Herald Sun newspapers.

Film and cinemas

Local and international blockbusters, classics and art-house films are shown throughout Victoria. Adult ticket prices range from AUD$10 to $25. For more information, read the Arts and Entertainment pages of The Age and the Herald Sun newspapers, or visit cinema websites such as Hoyts, Nova, Palace or Village cinemas.

Museums

The National Sports Museum

Some of Melbourne's museums include the Old Melbourne Gaol, Melbourne Museum, Chinese Museum, Gold Treasury Museum, the Immigration Museum, ANZ (Australia and New Zealand) Banking Museum, Australian Gallery of Sport and Olympic Museum, Scienceworks, the Australian Racing Museum and the RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) Museum.

Find out more at Museum Victoria

Pictured:  National Sports Museum at the MCG

Galleries

A woman looking at a painting at the Bendigo Art Gallery

The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), Australia's oldest public gallery, is one of Melbourne's favourite cultural venues, with exhibitions featured throughout the year. Another favourite is the new Ian Potter Centre at Melbourne's Federation Square, which houses 20,000 Australian works including the contemporary and innovative Indigenous collection.

See more at the National Gallery of Victoria website.

Pictured: Bendigo Art Gallery

A plane landing at the Australian International Air Show

Cultural events

Major events in Melbourne include:

For a full list of cultural events and activities go to Visit Victoria

Pictured: Australian International Airshow

Nightlife

There are hundreds of nightclubs, bars and pubs across Melbourne and regional centres. Melburnians are particularly fond of the many small bars in and around the city centre.

The city is famous for its live music scene. Many pubs and cafés are open late throughout the week, hosting live bands or DJs.

All nightclubs, bars and pubs are licensed to serve alcohol.

For more details and listings of what's on go to the Visit Victoria or Time Out Melbourne websites. 

Drinking age

The legal drinking age in Australia is 18 and you must provide photo identification as proof of your age to enter.

Sport and recreation

Melbourne is known as the sports capital of Australia and Victorians are passionate about sport.

Melbourne is also home to the historical Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), which hosts international cricket in the summer and Australian Rules football in the winter, as well as a variety of other sports. Victoria proudly hosts a number of special sporting events.

Victoria’s excellent network of local sports clubs and facilities cater for every sport imaginable. Joining a local club is easy and affordable.

Victoria's communities offer hundreds of sporting and recreational activities in which you and your family can get involved.

For more information about sporting organisations, visit Sport and Recreation Victoria

Major events

  • the Australian Open Tennis (January)
  • the Australian Formula One Grand Prix (March)
  • Australian Rules Football (March to September)
  • the Spring Racing Carnival including the Melbourne Cup (October/November).

Key sports played in Victoria

  • golf
  • tennis
  • Australian Rules football
  • cricket
  • basketball
  • netball
  • football

Food and wine

An aerial view of vegetable stalls at the Queen Victoria MarketMelbourne has a large multicultural population and therefore has access to foods from all nations. Most locals do their regular shopping at large supermarkets but there are specialty foreign food stores available.

Regional Victoria and Melbourne also have a wide range of large scale open markets and farmers' markets selling fresh produce.

Victoria is also world-renowned for its exceptional quality wines. Many famous vineyards and wineries are located within a short hour-and-a-half drive from Melbourne, in regions such as Geelong, the Mornington Peninsula and the Yarra Valley.

Pictured: Queen Victoria Market

Restaurants and dining out

A chef explaining the menu to a female dinerMelbourne is a food-lovers' paradise with thousands of places to choose from in the city centre and throughout the suburbs.

Regional centres also have a great selection of restaurants to choose from.

Two popular books listing Victoria's favourite restaurants are the The Age Good Food Guide and The Age Cheap Eats. They are available at most bookstores and newsagencies.

Pictured: Langham Hotel in Southbank

For a full list of cultural events and activities, see Visit Victoria