Guess what? Not everything in Melbourne costs a bunch of money. There are heaps of things to do in this fine city that you can do for free. Yep, free. Zilch. Nada. Zero dollars. We’ve found the best free comedy show, free art galleries and activities, so you can have a super fun time in Melbourne without spending a cent.
1. Visit Lune to try its monthly specials. Past offerings have included carrot cake croissants and Iced VoVo cruffins – yum.
2. LOL until your face hurts at Spleen Bar which hosts free live comedy every Monday night. Entry is $10.
3. Catch a free (or very cheap) gig in one of the many music venues of the inner north; we suggest the Tote, the Evelyn, Bar Open or the Night Cat.
4. Eat oysters for $2 a pop with a $15 glass of bubbles at Hemingway's Wine Room every Wednesday from 5pm to 7pm. Bonus: we've rounded up heaps of other tasty and cheap oyster happy hours in the city.
4. Go to town on dumplings by the plateful at Shanghai Street on Little Bourke St, with dollars to spare for beer.
5. Feast on an all-you-can-eat meat-free lunch or dinner for less than $10 at Crossways. If you're a concession cardholder, it costs a measly $7.50.
6. Try your hand at free karaoke at Jankara Karaoke on Russell Street. Instead of your typical karaoke bar where there are private rooms, Jankara opts for an open floor policy. If this sounds nerve-wracking, don't worry: there's plenty of alcohol to help calm your nerves.
7. Visit the Queen Victoria Night Market and enjoy a balmy summer night of filling your belly with snacks from local food trucks. Entry is free, so you can spend your hard-earned dollars on food instead!
8. Head to the NGV and check out some of the free exhibitions. The permanent collection is always free to explore, and at the moment you can check out the pink pond at well.
9. Head to Werribee and explore the Werribee Park Gardens and Victoria State Rose Garden for free. If you'd like to explore the historic mansion, tickets are just $11.10 per person.
10. Hit St Kilda Beach on a sunny day, but not until you’ve stocked up on some flake and chips from Pink Flake for less than $14 and a treat from one of the many old-school cake shops on Acland Street.
11. Play with cute farm animals at the Collingwood Children's Farm for $15 per person. You can take part in activities like feeding the chooks and milking the cows, or you can just explore on your own and spend some time cuddling the goats or guinea pigs.
12. The Fitzroy institution formerly known as Bimbo reopened as Kewpie, but it's still slinging the same cheap pizza at $8 per pie.
13. Wind through the fern-filled trails of the Sherbrooke Forest at the foot of the Dandenong Ranges, then explore the cute tea shops and boutiques in the nearby village of Olinda.
14. Grab some falafel, baklava and salads from Just Falafs. Then, enjoy your banquet across the road at Edinburgh Gardens.
15. Head 30 minutes out of the city and discover the Heide Museum of Modern Art, a centre of Australian modernism and contemporary Australian art. Entry from $17-$22.
16. Pat all the good doggos at Collingwood’s Doghouse – Melbourne’s first café catering to pups and their humans (dogachino, anyone?).
17. Hop on a ferry from Docklands to Portarlington and explore the quaint, seaside town on the Bellarine Peninsula. Tickets are between $17.50 and $18.50 each way.
18. Try formerly Michelin-starred food at Hawker Chan. The restaurant is an offshoot of Singapore's famed street stall, and people queue for their $10 serve of soya chicken and noodles.
19. Pick up a new skill at one of Laneway Learning's many cheap classes in centres across Melbourne, which range from anything from learning the moves to ‘Smooth Criminal’ to craft and cooking. Classes are from $9 and up.
20. See the city on two wheels with Melbourne Bike Share. Pick up a blue bike and hit the Yarra Trail at just a cool $3 for the entire day.
21. Relive your childhood with a visit to Scienceworks. Learn about black holes, coral reefs and artificial intelligence through guided tours, changing exhibitions and special activities. Entry is $15.
22. Fill your belly with cheap ramen from Shujinko on Russell Street. The best part? It's open all day, every day and is the perfect place for a feed when it's too late to get a decent meal elsewhere. From $17.50.
23. Watch a movie the old-fashioned way: at a drive-in movie theatre like the Coburg Drive-In. For $40, you can bring a car with up to five of your mates – just $8 per person.
24. Play nine holes of putt-putt at Holey Moley Golf Club for $20 per person.
25. Take a free tour of the 1850s-built State Library of Victoria and explore everything from the famous dome to the permanent exhibitions.