With international travel no longer an option under current COVID conditions, it can be hard to escape the Melbourne mundane. Fortunately there are a number of cultural events in Melbourne that require no passport stamps and are only a short tram ride or Uber away. Whether you are craving a buttery croissant under the Eiffel Tower or a day immersing in Italian traditions – we are going to bring the excitement to you with four cultural events in Melbourne worth celebrating.
Add these Melbourne cultural events to your calendar and prepare to immerse in the destinations you love and miss.
Bastille Day in Melbourne
Bastille Day is a French holiday celebrating the fall of the Medieval Fortress (the Bastille) on July 14, 1789. The fall of the Bastille marked the start of the French Revolution, with this day of liberation celebrated in France and French Quarters all over the world. It’s not surprising that Bastille Day in Melbourne attracts a lot of fanfare. What’s not to love about French food and wine? The Bastille Day French Festival is a weekend of events and exhibitions at Federation Square. You won’t miss the blue, red and white celebration and will leave well-fed and wined.
If you are looking for something a little more authentic, there are many events and tributes to be enjoyed in honour of our friends in France in the city and regionally.
Some French-inspired businesses to keep an eye on are:
- La Petite Crêperie (Little Collins Street)
- Laurent French Bakeries (across Melbourne)
- Lune Crossaintrie (Fitzroy, Melbourne City)
- Franco-Belge (Camberwell)
- Bar Ampére (Melbourne City)
If you would like to do your own thing, you can find a champagne bar or take the party outside with baguettes and a picnic basket.
Chinese New Year in Melbourne
Chinese New Year usually falls over January or February, based on lunar patterns with a zodiac animal assigned to that year. Chinese New Year in Melbourne is celebrated by not only the Chinese community but thousands of others who descended on Chinatown or incorporate this holiday into their own traditions. If you are looking to celebrate, there is a two-week window of festivities with the pinnacle being Lunar New Year’s Eve. Missed out on Chinese New Year in Melbourne? Well, on the fifteenth day you can still celebrate Lantern Festival Day which celebrates the first night of the full moon. If you love traditional Moon Cake and a generous Chinese banquet, you won’t want to miss a single celebration, made more exciting as it coincides with Melbourne’s summer weather.
Some events to be a part of are:
- Crowne Casino’s outdoor exhibition (Southbank)
- Dancing and Chinese Drumming at Queen Victoria Markets (North Melbourne)
- Melbourne Central’s Lunar Feast (Melbourne City)
- Yum Cha (across Melbourne)
- Chinese banquets in Chinatown (various restaurants)
If you don’t want to get to the city to enjoy the fanfare, look to see what is happening in your suburb and how you can get involved in this fun holiday.
Italian Festa in Melbourne
One could argue that every day in Melbourne is a celebration of Italian culture. With so many restaurants, suburbs and communities hailing from rich Italian backgrounds – we are spoiled for choice. The Italian Festa in Melbourne is where you can see the very best of Italian culture, and probably have one of the best meals you have had in a long time. Not surprisingly, the Italian Festa (also known as La Dolce Italia or the Lygon Street Festival) event takes place in Carlton during a weekend in November. Fun for adults and kids, you can expect rides, music, wine, Italian cars – not that the Italian feast isn’t enough of a drawcard.
If you would rather dine at a restaurant than buy food from the many local stalls that line Lygon Street, you can still enjoy a sit-down meal from your favourite restaurant on Lygon or Argyle Street.
Greek Easter and Greek cultural events in Melbourne
Easter to you might just be a holiday that means a long weekend, but the Greek community take this time of year very seriously. And the celebrations are deliciously fun. Falling later in the year than Catholic Easter, Greek Easter is a longer celebration of night masses, baked goods, decadent roasts and getting together with extended family. If you would like to bring Greek Easter to your home, you can bake Tsoureki and dye eggs red with your kids or friends. If you would like to leave the Greeks in charge of the festivities there are many restaurants, bakeries and religious traditions you can enjoy.
Some places and businesses you can count on for Greek Easter in Melbourne:
- Cafe Pantheon (Brunswick)
- Hellas Cake Shop (Richmond)
- Greek Bakery (Oakleigh)
- Eleni’s Kitchen & Bar (Yarraville)
- Stalactites Restaurant (Melbourne City)
Melbourne is densely populated with an extensive array of cultures, and you can always find something happening in the many suburbs and restaurants dedicated to that corner of the world. Be sure to celebrate these four cultural events in Melbourne and keep an eye on our What’s On page for more events happening around Melbourne.