Culture in Melbourne


As well as being a foodie city, Melbourne is something of a cultural hub, too. Head to the Southbank precinct for a real crash course in Melbourne’s arts and culture scene. There’s the Arts Centre, Melbourne Theatre Company, Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne Recital Centre and the National Gallery of Victoria.

The Performing Arts Centre hosts regular national and state music events, theatre, dance performances and festivals. And with its Eiffel Tower-like shape, the Performing Arts Centre building itself is actually something of an icon. For large-scale music performances, artists and ensembles, it’s all about the Melbourne Recital Centre. It’s known as ‘the best place to hear’ because it has two of the best acoustic spaces in the whole of the southern hemisphere.

Labelled Melbourne’s ‘home of live storytelling’, the MTC is one of the major performing arts companies in the country. And as it was founded in 1953, it’s also one of the oldest large-scale theatres in the English-speaking world. Another major theatre is Malthouse, which although primarily known for theatre, also has a popular bar and café.

Federation Square is another key area of cultural activity as well as a beautiful example of modern architecture and social city planning. There are numerous places to eat and drink as well as a few shops and a gallery. But one of the key purposes of Federation Square is to provide an open public space for cultural activities and performance art. On any given day you might find exhibitions and showcases, festivals and celebrations, hobbies and crafts, multicultural events, music and sporting events.

Sure there are art galleries dotted throughout the city, but for a real dose of both local and international art, a visit to the National Gallery of Victoria is a must. Impressively, the gallery was founded in 1861, which makes it the oldest public art gallery in Australia. You can see modern, contemporary and Indigenous art, sculptures, Italian masterpieces and even furniture design here.