8 (actually good) summer activities for broke Melburnites

Words by Alyce Cowell

Illustration by Twylamae

Cheap thrills.

Do you think it’s easier to be broke in summer or winter? I guess both seasons have their pros and cons.

Like, in summer, you can literally spend every second splashing around at the beach (free) and you can avoid buying groceries by living solely off McDonald’s soft serve cones ($1 with a Flake, which is an obvious and worthwhile addition). However, summer is also the season of parties and Sunday sessions and Aperol Spritz deals that seem cheap but aren’t really when you’ve had eight of them.

On the other hand, winter is ideal for staying indoors and simultaneously binging on Netflix, online shopping, pizza delivery and red wine… but unfortunately, those things add up real quick.

I’d like to submit my vote that overall, it is far better to be penniless in summer, not only because of the points I’ve outlined above, but also because Melbourne does a damn good job of supporting the broke and bored during the warmer months, so we can save up for overseas holidays and get the hell out of here when it gets cold.

Here are eight of those fun things.

Sidney Myer Music Bowl Free Concert Series

I love nothing more than an activity that has free in the title, except maybe if it’s got to do with live music. Rally up your friends and prepare to get cultured AF because the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is hosting three free concerts on February 7, 10 and 14. Gates open at 4:30pm and you can take your own food and drinks. I’m not sure what’s not to like about this.

The Food Truck Park

The Food Truck Park in Preston has some doozeys lined up for summer, from the Vegan & Vegetarian Fest (February 2) to the Taco & Tequila Weekend (February 9) to the Indian Street Food Festival (February 23). Give yourself a lunch allowance and go crazy on some pappadums. You’ll eat so much you’ll save on the cost of dinner.

Prahran Summer Jam

Free entry, live music, food, competitions, instant prizes, barbers and BBALL ALL DAMN DAY. The Prahran Summer Jam is an invitational tournament showcasing some pretty badass basketball players competing for a $10,000 cash prize. For the rest of us, it’s a fun and cheap day out where we can marvel at other people’s talents while we sit in the sun doing nothing.

Triennial at the NGV

The NGV website labels the free Triennial exhibition as a “celebration of contemporary art and design practice… exploring cutting-edge technologies, architecture, animation, performance, film, painting, drawing, fashion design, tapestry and sculpture.” I went last week, and I would describe it as a complete mind f**k of which I loved every second.

Spice World Singalong at Moonlight Cinemas

Slip on your platforms and practice your peace signs cos the Spice Girls are comin’ to the Moonlight Cinema for one night only on February 9. We’ll be celebrating the 20th anniversary of Spice World (don’t even) so the organisers have turned it into a big ol’ singalong so we can relive our youth and talk about which Spice Girl we wanted to be (I was Baby, for the record). Tickets are just $13, which means you can probably afford some Maltesers too. Treat yo’ self.

All the rooftop cinemas

Consider yourself a bit of a film connoisseur but also consider yourself too good for Spice World? This summer, Melbourne is dotted with outdoor cinemas all over the damn place. From the iconic Rooftop Cinema in the CBD, which has some killer movies on the line-up, to the brand new Barefoot Cinema, which is taking place at the Rippon Lea Estate Mansion & Gardens for the very first time from February 1-16. Fancy.

Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait at the Jewish Museum of Australia

It’s been running since October, but if you haven’t been able to get your shit together yet, this is your last chance. For just $12, you can check out the Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait exhibition at the Jewish Museum of Australia, which takes a look at her family photos, iconic outfits and record collection.

Sydney Road Street Party

The Sydney Road Street Party returns on Sunday March 4 to delight our senses with live music across six stages, tastes from around the world and market stalls so you can buy yourself something nice if you’ve saved up your allowance this week. There’ll also be live music all day long at The Brunswick Green, The Penny Black, The Retreat Hotel and The Spotted Millard. Basically, we’re all coming together to celebrate the amazing suburb that is Brunswick. Did I mention it’s totes free?

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