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10 cheap things to do in Melbourne

Discover some of the top places to visit when travelling to Melbourne on a budget.

Travel doesn’t need to be expensive. If you’re open to adventure and looking for cheap accommodation so you can spend more on experiences, ibis budget hotels are the smart choice. We teamed up with travel blogger Mel (@iamalreadylost) to curate an adventure on a budget with ibis budget Melbourne Airport her accommodation basecamp. Here’s her list of the top 10 things to do when travelling to Melbourne on a budget.

State Library of Victoria
La Trobe Reading Room - State Library of Victoria

State Library of Victoria

Australia’s oldest public library is nestled on Swanston Street in the heart of Melbourne and open 7 days a week from 10am-6pm. One of the first free libraries to open in the world, visitors will find a rich collection of books and resources, in addition to a place of calm to sit and reflect in bustling central Melbourne. Stop by the La Trobe Reading room, which octagonal in shape and framed by balconies that arch up to a domed atrium, is an impressive site to behold (and worth a selfie-stop). Visiting the State Library of Victoria is a fantastic thing to do for-free in Melbourne.

The Block Arcade

Cost – free entry
Named in honour of the fashionable Melbournians that promenaded the Collins Street block many moons ago, the Block Arcade is a historic building that best represents the architecture from the Victorian era. You don’t need to spend a cent to visit this gorgeous shopping arcade, in fact the glass frontage of the boutique shops inside give the perfect access for a spot of window shopping. You could make a quick dash into Haigh’s Chocolate shop of course to buy a chocolate frog or two.

The Tea Rooms 1892

Cost - $4 - $75

There’s always room for cake. Whilst in the Block Arcade, stop in at The Tea Rooms 1892 to experience the beauty of the Victorian decor whilst tucking into a slice of one of the Instagrammable cakes on display.


Cost - $29.95 per adult
Located at The District Docklands in Melbourne, Imaginaria awaits for a limited time only. Endorsed as ‘Part Game, Part Gallery and Part Journey’, visitors of any age can experience an immersive light display where technology helps unfurl the imagination in a futuristic display that has to be seen to be believed. 

Spaghetti Tree Restaurant

A Melbourne dining institution, Spaghetti Tree is a cheerful and popular place to dine at the top end of Bourke Street. Due to its proximity to Melbourne’s busy Theatre district, the venue is sizable with capacity to seat up to 350 patrons, so it’s a great place to dine with a group of friends. Take your pick from the extensive menu and enjoy the surrounding decor, including pictures of movie stars and entertainers from the classic Hollywood era.
Shopping in Melbourne

DeJour Jeans

Cost - $50 and upwards for a pair of jeans
If you’re looking for jeans that fit where they hit, this local Brunswick business established in the late 80’s is worth a look. Tailored to fit at no extra cost, you’ll be impressed with the range of jeans on offer. After all, if you’re saving dollars on your accommodation you’re sure to have some budget to hit Melbourne’s shopping districts.

Project 281

When in Brunswick and ready for refreshment, call in at Project 281. This industrial style roaster / café will draw you in for a caffeine hit and keep you staying for its mouth-watering Japanese and Korean inspired menu. Try the Smashed Avo and Mango for an old fav with a twist, or go full traditional with the Big Brekkie. Oh and be sure to order a coffee or two.


If you’ve been to New York it wouldn’t be an official visit without gorging on an ice cream sandwich from Melt Bakery or licking the frosting off a Magnolia cupcake. Similarly, Pretzel in Melbourne is the go-to place for delicious dough-baked treats that come sweet (hello peanut butter and Oreo), savoury or customised for a taste that’s truly your own. Pick from 2 locations in Melbourne, each rocking an unashamedly pink fit-out.
Ballers Clubhouse
Ballers Clubhouse

Ballers Clubhouse

Cost - various, check the website for more info.
This place is built for fun and is a great cheap thing to do in Melbourne at night. Essentially a social club, Ballers Clubhouse offers a melting pot of entertainment venues from Virtual Reality and interactive game tech, dart boards, to showy ping-pong tables – all mingled with great food and drink. It’s a one stop shop playhouse right in the heart of Chinatown Melbourne.

Meatball and wine bar

Cost - $6.50 - $58 (for a bottle of wine)
When in Melbourne, you’re spoilt for choice with quality places to eat. The final eatery to feature on Mel’s list from her ibis budget adventure is The Meatball and Wine Bar. This place is exactly as its name suggests; a cosy bar where you take your pick of ball-shaped goodness (whether that be a type of meat or veg) plus a choice of trimmings and pair it with a full bodied Italian wine. Located in Flinders Lane and in Richmond, this is the perfect dining concept when you don’t want to spend a fortune on lunch or dinner and don’t want to compromise on taste.
If you’re ready to make your own adventure happen and looking to visit Melbourne on a budget, check out budget accommodation Melbourne options today.

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