Melbourne’s Best Annual Events

Melbourne is a fascinating city to live in because there are so many different annual events that take place throughout the year. The variety of different cultures, sports, and celebrations that have become part of Melbourne’s tradition provide a rich tapestry for any Melbournian to experience and enjoy. Here we have chosen our top annual events that are not to be missed if you are in town.  

1. Spring Racing Carnival

The spring racing carnival is one of the biggest annual events for people who love to spend time at the racetrack or enjoy dressing up for a day where all things equines are celebrated. The Spring Racing Carnival runs from approximately mid-September through to the end of October and features some of the biggest races in Australia.

2. Cup Day

Cup Day, also known as ‘The Cup’ or ‘the race that stops a nation, is another one of Melbourne’s most popular annual events for people who love spending time at the racetrack or celebrating with friends. The Cup takes place every year on the first Tuesday in November.

3. Australia Day Celebrations

Australia Day is held each year on 26 January to celebrate the country’s national day and recognize all who have contributed to its development. There are many activities taking place around this time including the Australia Day parade, fireworks show, and concert which usually take place at Docklands or Federation square.

4. White Night Melbourne

White Night is one of the latest annual events to become a part of Melbourne’s already vibrant calendar and focuses on arts and culture through a series of exhibitions, installations, performances, screenings, and workshops across many venues from the City Centre out to the inner suburbs. The next White Night will take place in August 2014.

5. Melbourne International Comedy Festival

The Melbourne international comedy festival is held in March each year and features many of the biggest names in comedy, both local and international – some of which are new up-and-coming stars while others are experienced professionals with sell-out shows. There are plenty of free events on offer, but tickets to some of the major shows sell out quickly so you will need to plan ahead.

6. F1 Grand Prix

Formula 1 is held in March each year and is one of the most exciting annual events for racing fans around the world. This event is popular with locals and tourists alike, so there are plenty of hotel room options available during this time.

7. Melbourne Food and Wine Festival

The Melbourne food and wine festival is a four-week-long event in spring that showcases the best of Victoria’s produce, wines, and beers. There are also many events for people who would like to discover their inner ‘Foodie’. The next festival will run from February to April in 2015.

8. Melbourne Winter Masterpieces

Melbourne winter masterpieces is another one of Melbourne’s newest annual events that take place in June each year. The event features both Australian and international artists who showcase their work at different galleries around the city – many of which are free to attend. There are also live music performances, book launches, and special workshops for art lovers to enjoy.

9. Melbourne International Film Festival

The Melbourne film festival is the largest screen event in the southern hemisphere and takes place over three weeks each year in July. The festival has been running since 1952, so there are many free screenings during the day as well as paid events which usually sell out within hours – so make sure you plan ahead.

10. Open House Melbourne

An open house is an event that takes place on a weekend in October each year where many of Melbourne’s historic buildings and interesting spaces are open for the public to explore – some of which have been transformed into art installations or performance spaces. There are also talks from people who work in design, architecture, and more as well as live music performances.

11. Melbourne Cup

The biggest horse race in the southern hemisphere, the Melbourne cup is a major part of Melbourne’s Spring racing carnival and sees millions of people flock to the city to celebrate with friends or enjoy an exciting day at one of Melbourne’s finest racetracks. Although it may seem like this annual event is simply a jockey’s competition, this three-day carnival includes fashion shows, champagne picnics, and much more.


There are many annual events taking place around Melbourne each year that highlight different aspects of the city’s culture, community, and creativity. There is sure to be one that appeals to you – why not make your next trip to Melbourne coincide with one?

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David Rosenberg: A seasoned political journalist, David's blog posts provide insightful commentary on national politics and policy. His extensive knowledge and unbiased reporting make him a valuable contributor to any news outlet.