20 of the Best Things to see and do in Melbourne with Kids

by | Last updated Mar 20, 2024 | Melbourne | 8 comments

So you are coming to Melbourne with kids for a holiday. And you are wondering what the best things to see and do in Melbourne with your family are? You want to experience Melbourne but also keep the kids entertained. Well, I can help you there. I currently reside in Melbourne and love getting out and about in Melbourne and with so many wonderful family things to do in Melbourne, I have put them in this guide.

There are plenty of kid’s activities Melbourne offers and even though many are found in the CBD, there are plenty of kid-friendly activities in Melbourne’s suburbs. So one minute you could be discovering Melbourne’s street art, riding the free tram, visiting Melbourne Gaol and the next dipping your toes in Port Phillip Bay at St Kilda. There is a lot of variety of things to see and do in Melbourne for families, particularly if this is your first time in Melbourne. 

And as Melbourne is an easy city to get around, with many of the sights small distances from each other, you can see many of Melbourne sights with kids in toe in just a couple of days. Then, you could consider some Melbourne day trips to round out your family visit to Melbourne with kids.

I’ve divided this guide into two parts. The first part is all about the best things to see and do in Melbourne with kids. While the second part is to help you organise you Melbourne holiday with family including how to get around Melbourne and the best places to stay in Melbourne. 

Let’s Get into it.

 

Best things to see and do in Melbourne with kids

 

Here are my suggestions on the fun things to do in Melbourne with kids. But don’t think I’ve left adults out of this post. There is plenty in Melbourne for parents to enjoy too. Whether that be for 1 day in Melbourne or 7 days in Melbourne.

 

Flinders Street Station

 

Start your visit to Melbourne with family at Flinders Street Station. This is a Melbourne meeting point. That’s right! If you are meeting someone in Melbourne you meet them under the clocks on the facade of Flinders Street Train Station. And it is one of the best free things to do in Melbourne. From here, you have Federation Square and the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria) and ACMI (Australian Centre for Moving Image) across the road. Diagonally St Paul’s Cathedral and on the other corner Young and Jacksons Hotel. You could do some train spotting here at Flinders Street Station, but usually it is the central meeting point.

Location: Corner of Swanston and Flinders Street Melbourne, on the free City Circle Tramline.

 

City Circle Tourist Tram

 

Free Red City Circle Tram, Melbourne.

Riding the trams are a fun thing to do in Melbourne

 

A really fun way to start your holiday in Melbourne with kids is taking a ride on the free City Circle Tourist Tram (number 35). Melbourne has an extensive tram network making it quite unique compared to other Australian cities, so riding one is great fun. You can catch it from outside Flinders Street Station. 

For the first time, I would do the whole city loop and listen to the commentary. It makes many stops as it moves around the city and takes a good hour or so to complete. Then you can take it to get you back to places of interest you want to spend more time at. And by then, kids might have had enough!

The City Circle Tourist Trams are heritage W class trams that are decorated in maroon and green with gold trimmings. They are one of the oldest style of trams and rattle along the tracks. It goes in both directions around the city.

Location: check out the map and timetable for the City Circle Tram Route 35 here.
Opening Hours: Sunday – Wednesday 10 am to 6 pm and Thursday – Saturday 10 am to 9 pm. Trams runs every 30 minutes (in both directions).
Price: Free

 

Federation Square, NGV, ACMI and IceBar

 

I’ve grouped Federation Square, NGV, ACMI and the IceBar together as basically, they are all in the same area.

Federation Square or ‘Fed Square’ as it is known, is opposite Flinders Street Station and after your ride on the City Circle Tourist Tram it is a great place to start your family holiday in Melbourne. Many special events are held throughout the year so there may be something happening when you are there, and most of them are free. If wanting tourist information, pop into the Melbourne Visitors Centre. Federation Square is home to the NGV and ACMI. So there is plenty here to see and do on your family holiday to Melbourne with kids. You could spend most of a morning or longer here because of all the family-friendly Melbourne activities.

Perhaps head into the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) to see one of its many exhibits. Many of the exhibits are kid friendly and interactive keeping young and young at heart entertained. 

Maybe head into the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) to check out the museum showcasing Australia’s film, TV, digital culture, video games and art. This is a free and fun thing to do in Melbourne CBD with kids. It is pretty cool seeing how technology has progressed over the years. My kids couldn’t believe the size of the TV I watched as a child!

Or get your bearings in one of the cool cafes in Fed Square or what about enjoying a cold drink at the IceBar where everything inside, including the furniture, is made from ice. No need to bring warm and waterproof clothes if you plan to sit down at one of the tables as these are supplied. For something totally different that is not only great for adults to feel like adults on this Melbourne family-friendly holiday, the IceBar is also great fun for kids Melbourne has on offer also.

Location: Corner of Swanston and Flinders Street Melbourne, on the free City Circle Tramline.
Opening Hours: Federation Square is open 24 hours per day, 365 days a year, however the NGV and ACMI (open 10am to 5pm daily) and the shops and cafes are mostly open business hours.
Price: Free, though some exhibitions at NGV and ACMI may have a cost. The Icebar located in The Atrium in Federation Square costs $55 that includes entry, snow gear and a drink. Click here for more details on the Icebar and to purchase your ticket.

 

Street Art and Laneways

 

Rutledge Lane street art, Melbourne.

Plenty of street art in Melbourne to discover

 

After a spending time at Federation Square and the NGV head across the road and check out Melbourne’s street art in its laneways. Melbourne’s street art is internationally renowned. It is also very kid-friendly thing to do in Melbourne, and it’s free.

Depending on the age of your kids, you may or may not find the street art of interest. I found it is quite easy to walk along the laneways with my kids and say ‘OK, was that it?’. What you really need to do is stop and look at the walls because it is surprising what you will see. But I will leave that up to you and your family to decide if its street art or graffiti! 

Some of the best street art is found in AC/DC Lane, Duckboard Place and Hosier Lane. As well as the street art in the laneways, some laneways have many cozy cafes, boutiques and restaurants. Some of them are very beautiful, old and ornate. Some of the best laneways to visit include Flinders Lane and Hardware Lane for award-winning eateries for foodies. And many of the restaurants are kid-friendly. Click here to explore and plan your Laneway Adventures.

 

Yarra River Cruise

 

A popular thing to do in Melbourne with family is to go on a river cruise down the Yarra River, the river that runs through Melbourne. Get a totally different perspective of Melbourne from the water. You will get wonderful views of the Melbourne CBD, Southbank and other areas of Melbourne. Sit back and relax and listen to the commentary explaining the city sights.

There are different tours available from simple 2 hour sightseeing cruises to afternoon tea and dinner cruises. So if you are seeking a fun thing to do in Melbourne with kids, then a sail along the Yarra is one of the great Melbourne activities for families.

Click here to book a sightseeing cruise on the Yarra River

 

Chinatown Melbourne

 

Melbourne's Chinatown Entrance.

Chinatown Entrance

 

Most cities have a Chinatown and Melbourne is no different. Melbourne’s Chinatown is a fun place for families to visit. The precinct is dominated by a range of restaurants from noodle houses to fine dining that will suit all family member’s taste buds. Many of the restaurants cater for families visiting Melbourne, with kids meals on the menu.

There are also karaoke bars, Chinese herbalists and other traditional retailers all sitting alongside each other making this area unique to discover while in Melbourne. There is also the Chinese Museum located in the heart of Chinatown. Learn about the contribution Chinese people have made to Australian society over the past 200 years or so.

Location: Little Bourke Street’s northern end (between Swanston to Spring Streets and Bourke to Lonsdale Streets including all the laneways)
Opening Hours: Anytime – stores have differing opening hours.

Australian Sports Museum @ the MCG

 

MCG Sport Museum entrance in the hallowed hallway of the MCG.

Australian Sports Museum

 

If you are wondering what to do in Melbourne for kids who are sports mad, take them to the Australian Sports Museum. This brilliant little museum is located at Melbourne’s home of sport. Just inside Gate 3 of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, also known as the MCG or ‘the G’.

Sports-mad families will love visiting the National Sports Museum. The museum has many interactive displays and an extensive collection of sporting memorabilia. On display are plenty of items associated to football (AFL), cricket, the Olympics (the 1956 Olympics were held here) and horse racing.

While at the museum, you should take the opportunity to go on a guided tour of the MCG. See parts that only sports people get to see. Go to the change rooms, see the broadcasting rooms and visit the members Long Room. But the best thing is walking out onto the hallowed ground of the MCG.

Location: Gate 3, Melbourne Cricket Ground – Brunton Ave, Melbourne.
Opening Hours: The Museum is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm and MCG Tours operate from 10 am to 3 pm. Tours don’t operate when a sporting game or event is on.

Click here for more details and to book a tour of the MCG and/or an MCG & Sports Museum Visit.

 

After visiting, go for a walk along the Sporting Walk of Fame and see the statues of some of Australia’s sporting heroes. You can continue walking around the MCG and see the Australian Tennis Centre. Perhaps you actually want to experience a game of football or cricket at the G. Since covid it is best to buy a ticket online.

 

Melbourne Skydeck

 

Another cool activity for older kids Melbourne has is the Melbourne Skydeck, the highest viewing platform the Southern Hemisphere. Travel up to floor 88 in less than 40 seconds to get a bird’s eye view of the city of Melbourne. If you are game, you can try the Edge Experience where you step onto a suspended 300 metres glass box. Too scary for me, but my kids loved it.

Location: 7 Riverside Quay, Southbank.
Opening Hours: Sunday to Thursday 12 pm to 9 pm & Friday & Saturday 12 pm to 10 pm
Price: The Melbourne Skydeck experience costs from $30. Click here to book tickets online.

 

SEA LIFE Melbourne

 

Sea Life Melbourne showcases some 10,000 marine creatures in the centre of Melbourne! On display are penguins, sharks, rays and hundreds of fish along with one of the biggest saltwater crocodiles in captivity. So if you are looking for a fun family thing for kids to do Melbourne offers this great family attraction. And its in the CBD with the free City Circle Tram stopping outside – so this is one place you can get to in Melbourne with kids without walking a long distance – just in case your little ones are getting sick of walking! If you fancy a swim with the sharks well, you can organise a dive with them where an expert guide will accompany you for around 60 minutes. Are you brave enough?

Location: The corner of Flinders Street and King Street on the Yarra River.
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 10 am to 5 pm | Saturday & Sunday 9.30 am to 5 pm
Price: From $40 – Click here to book tickets online.

Melbourne Zoo

 

Is your family wanting to see some animals during your Melbourne with kids holiday? Then a trip to the Melbourne Zoo is in order. Try and time it for a weekend as kids get free entry then. 

Melbourne Zoo is only 10 minutes north of Melbourne’s CBD and can be easily reached by tram, if you don’t have a car. The tram ride in itself is a fun Melbourne kid-friendly thing to experience. Melbourne Zoo is home to over 320 species from around the world. We really loved the elephants in their enclosure as we watched them cool themselves in the water. But there are plenty of other animals to see so if you are looking for activities with kids Melbourne’s on offer, then a trip to the zoo should be on your list of things to see and do in Melbourne with kids. I would budget most of a day to spend with the animals at Melbourne Zoo.

Location: Elliott Avenue, Parkville.
Opening Hours: Daily from 9 am and 5 pm.
Price:  starting at $46 for an entrance ticket – click here to book tickets online.

 

State Library Victoria

 

The Reading Room, State Library in Melbourne. A room with hundreds of bookshelves with books.

Reading room at the State Library

 

Libraries aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but the State Library Victoria can be quite a kid friendly thing to do in Melbourne. As well as plenty of books to see I the magnificent reading room – don’t forget to look up at the magnificent dome roof – there are other things to see and do. The library is home to the armour of Australia’s infamous bushranger Ned Kelly. The older kids may like to sit in the cafe and use the free wifi to catch up on things!

Want to know more of what is happening at the State Library Victoria for your Melbourne family holiday, get on line and see what’s happening here.

Location: 328 Swanston Street, Melbourne.
Opening Hours: Daily from 10 am to 6 pm.
Price: free

 

Old Melbourne Gaol

 

If you are wanting to know more about Ned Kelly, Australia’s infamous bushranger and other dark characters of Melbourne, take a visit to Old Melbourne Gaol. This is probably a better fit for families with older children visiting Melbourne. 

Old Melbourne Gaol is one of Melbourne’s oldest buildings that was built in the 1800s. It is quite a fascinating Melbourne attraction where you learn about many of its inhabitants during its operation between 1842 and 1929. It held many of Australia’s notorious prisoners that were also executed there including bushranger Ned Kelly. You are actually shown the rafter in the gaol he was hung from.

There are plenty of displays and various memorabilia of the prisoners and staff. See Ned Kelly’s death mask! Tours are held throughout the day but Old Melbourne Gaol also runs tours at night so get ready for ghosts!

Location: 377 Russell Street, Melbourne.
Opening Hours: Wednesday – Sunday 10 am to 5 pm
Price: Entrance fee from around $33 or go on a Melbourne Troublemakers tour that includes entry to the Gaol to learn more about notorious gangsters such as Ned Kelly. Click here to book your ticket.

 

Immigration Museum

 

If you are looking for something educational to do in Melbourne with kids then a visit to the Immigration Museum is in order. You will find the museum the Old Customs House, which was the former administrative centre for Melbourne’s immigration and customs.

Learn about the various policies in place over time that has influenced reasons why certain people have immigrated to Australia. There are also interactive displays spread over two floors helping visitors discover the history of immigration in Australia. 

Location: 400 Flinders Street, Melbourne
Opening Hours: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm.

 

The District Docklands

 

Originally the docklands area of Melbourne was a swamp that became a bustling dock as part of the Port of Melbourne in the 1880s. It declined over the years but in the 1990s it was decided to redevelop this area. Today, it is home to the Docklands Stadium currently called Marvel Stadium and is home to AFL football teams and hosts many events. 

With all the redevelopment has come much accommodation and plenty of Melbourne family attractions. So if you are looking for some great shopping, dining and entertainment for the kids while in Melbourne, then head here. Great anytime, it is particularly a popular place to head to if it is raining outside in Melbourne.

There are plenty of great Melbourne attractions for kids at District Docklands, including Hoyts Cinemas, ArtVo, Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq, Chipmunks Playland & Cafe, O’Brien Icehouse to get your ice skates on, Saboteurs, Chaos Lab, Glow Golf and plenty more. So many fun things for families to do in Melbourne.

Location: 440 Docklands Drive, Docklands
Opening Hours: Open daily 10 am to 6 pm.
Price: Free to enter and browse the numerous shops and eateries. Check out their website by clicking here for details of individual attractions at the Docklands to help you decide what activity or activities to do in Melbourne with kids.

 

Bourke Street Mall

 

Bourke Street Mall Melbourne is a popular place to visit in Melbourne with kids for shopping.

shop till you drop on Bourke Street Mall, Melbourne

 

Bourke Street Mall is widely recognised as one of Melbourne’s most iconic shopping destinations. Right in the city centre, this is a pedestrian-only retail and dining hub. You will find many leading department stores, high end boutiques, independent designers and food places.

The Mall is a vibrant area and is worth just sitting outside and watching the people and the trams pass by. Older kids to Melbourne will probably appreciate being able to shop till they drop along Bourke Street Mall.

Location: Bourke Street Mall, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia

 

Queen Victoria Markets

 

If you are looking for a family friendly Melbourne activity for everyone in your family then you might want to check out the largest open-air markets in the Southern Hemisphere – the Queen Victoria Markets.

If you didn’t have any luck shopping till you drop in Bourke Street Mall, you just may at the markets. As well as fresh produce, at the Queen Vic market you will find many handmade crafts from local artisans and designers. There are stalls selling clothing, footwear, leather goods, jewellery and toys. But it is in the food halls in Melbourne families will love the most. Kids will love all the treats such as the freshly made jam doughnuts to different cuisine. But you can also buy the fresh foods to take home to cook yourself. There is plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, meats and some of the cheeses are to die for!

If you are a foodie, join a Foodie Tour. Taking some 90 minutes, you will be guided through the various food halls, learning its history and having a few tastings along the way.

Location: The markets are surrounded by Queen and Franklin Streets, Melbourne – Click here for more information about food tours of Queen Victoria Market.

 

Southbank

 

Polly Woodside 3 masted ship in Melbourne.

Polly Woodside

 

Southbank is the area south of the Yarra River and encompasses the Crown Entertainment Complex and South Wharf. You may associate Crown with the casino, and yes, that is there along with excellent eateries, boutiques and plenty of entertainment for kids and adults visiting Melbourne.

If you are looking to keep the kids entertained while visiting Melbourne, the Crown Entertainment Complex is home to mini golf, bowling, arcade games and movie theatres. And after all the activities sit back and dine alfresco in one of the many restaurants to suit all budgets and taste buds. 

If looking for  a kid-friendly thing to do in Melbourne of an evening, take a stroll along here and witness the Crown’s Gas Brigades show of fireballs lighting up the night sky.  

Continue walking along Southbank and you will reach South Wharf. This is another entertainment zone housing mostly waterfront bars, restaurants and cafes and one of the best DFOs for shopping for a bargain.

Little explorers may like a maritime adventure on the tall ship Polly Woodside which is permanently docked at South Wharf. But you will need to time your family trip to Melbourne as Polly is only open twice a month and that is usually the first Sunday of the month 10 am to 4 pm with tours on at 10.30 am, 11.30 am, 1.30 pm, 2.30 pm. Pirate Day Third Sunday of the month with yours on at 10 am & 1.30 pm.

Location: 21 South Wharf Promenade, South Wharf

 

Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria

 

Another one of the nice places to go with kids Melbourne offers is the Royal Botanic Gardens. Located in Melbourne CBD is the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria which spans over 94 acres and is home to over 8,500 species of native and exotic plants.

Various activities are available within the gardens, including a guided tour of the Wurundjeri people’s land where you taste Indigenous food straight from the garden on the Aboriginal Heritage Walk. You can experience a traditional punt on the Ornamental Lake or take a scenic drive on the Garden Explorer bus. The kids will also love the Children’s Gardens which have plant tunnels to crawl through, rocks to climb over and a bamboo forest for hiding in.

During the Summer months, a trip to the Moonlight Cinema is great for families, where you can watch a movie under the stars. There are numerous activities for young and old at the gardens.

Within the gardens are also two cafes, so it’s the perfect spot to grab a coffee or have some morning tea.

Location: Birdwood Avenue – approximately two kilometres from Melbourne’s city centre.
Opening Hours: Daily from 7.30 am to 7.30 pm.
Price: Free

 

St Kilda

 

St Kilda Pier at dusk. You can see the penguins come home here.

St Kilda Pier at night to see the little penguins

 

No doubt, one of the fun family things to do in Melbourne is to catch a tram to St Kilda. St Kilda is an inner seaside suburb in Melbourne only 6km from the CBD. You can easily spend a day here dipping your toes in the water at St Kilda Beach, going on the rides at Luna Park, having a sweet cake on Acland Street and seeing the penguins come ashore at dusk at the end of St Kilda Pier. Of an evening, adults can catch a show at the Palais Theatre or a band at the Esplanade Hotel, ‘the Espy’ as it is known. 

If feeling energetic you can walk the coastal walk from St Kilda to Brighton to see the famed colourful Brighton beach boxes.

Luna Park is one of the best family things to do in Melbourne with kids. Luna Park is one of the world’s oldest existing amusement parks. You cannot miss it with the giant smiling face entrance that leads you to 18 different rides aimed at different age groups. There are height restrictions on some rides so be prepared to accompany your child on different rides. As well as the rides, there are plenty of games to play and places to eat. My family have had loads of fun here a number of times and I highly recommend it as one of the fun things to do in Melbourne kids of all ages will love.

Luna Park Location: 18 Lower Esplanade, St Kilda – between Jacka Boulevard, Shakespeare Grove and the Esplanade.
Opening Hours: only open weekends (Friday 6 pm to 10 pm, Saturday 11 am to 10 pm & Sunday 11 am to 7 pm), public holidays and school holidays. But you can always get a photo with the clown face anytime.

Other things to do in St Kilda is to head to Acland Street and check out the cake shops. They are a link to the European heritage of the area. But of course, you can just get some fish and chips and sit on the beach!

If you can stay till the end of the day in St Kilda, one of the best things to do in Melbourne with children is to see the little St Kilda Penguins. Each night they return from fishing in the ocean to their little colony at the end of St Kilda Pier. They are quite adorable to watch but I found a lot of the little kids got bored as there was a lot of waiting around. Plus the night we were there it was extremely windy and cold! Better weather would have made the experience one of the best things to do in Melbourne with kids in the evening.

Location: St Kilda Pier, past the pavilion – Pier Road, St Kilda. A viewing platform is accessible at the head of the pier.
When: Just before dusk is the best time to view the colony coming ashore.
Price: Free

 

Easy Day Trips from Melbourne with kids

 

Of course, not all the best things to see and do in Melbourne with kids are in Melbourne. There are plenty more great attractions and activities in Melbourne’s surrounding areas. Here are a few day trips from Melbourne you could include in your Melbourne itinerary with family.

Phillip Island – Penguin Parade
Great Ocean Road Day Trip
Sovereign Hill, Ballarat
Healesville Sanctuary and Puffing Billy Tour
Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery

 

Organise Your Melbourne with kids trip

 

Best Time to Visit Melbourne

 

If you are wondering if there is a best time to visit Melbourne, well, anytime is a good time to visit Melbourne as there is something always happening. When you visit Melbourne can depend on a number of things. Activities you want to do like going to an AFL or cricket match or the weather so you can maximise your time.

The summer months of December to February are often hot and a great time to spend it outdoors, walking through the laneways or spending time at one of Melbourne’s beaches, notably St Kilda and Brighton.

The autumn months of March to May are still warm as are the spring months of September October and November. 

The winter months in Melbourne are rather cold and sometimes harsh but there is still plenty going on in Melbourne because it is footy season.

 

Where to Stay in Melbourne

No matter what your budget is, there is a great range of family accommodation in Melbourne. If this is your first visit to Melbourne with your family and wanting to do and see the best things in Melbourne, I suggest you stay in Melbourne’s CBD.  You will find some of the best accommodation in Melbourne CBD to suit all family types. Here’s some suggestions.

 

HostelsMelbourne City BackpackersAll Nationals BackpackersThe Village Melbourne
Budget HotelsHotel Grand Chancellor MelbourneIbis Melbourne Central
Luxury HotelsInterContinental Melbourne The RialtoThe LanghamGrand Hyatt Melbourne
ApartmentsMelbourne SkyHigh Apartments

 

Are You Ready for Your Melbourne with kids Holiday?

 

I hope this post has helped you decide the best things to see and do in Melbourne with kids. As you will have read, Melbourne is not only for grown ups to wine and dine and enjoy the cafe culture! There are loads of kid friendly Melbourne activities suitable for all ages. I hope you have the best time with your family visiting Melbourne.

Melbourne with kids PIN. Ride tram, see the street art and walk around the city.

8 Comments

  1. Lisa

    I love Melbourne. I was there last weekend. This is a great list of things to see and do. I still need to get to the State Library though.

    Reply
  2. galatia savva

    hey, i don’t have kids myself but I still picked up some great tips from this guide – like the markets and botanical gardens! Australia is so high on my bucket list – I just really wanna visit in its summer time!

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      wonderful, you don’t need kids to enjoy Melbourne.

      Reply
  3. Sonia

    Thanks for the comprehensive guide. I was surprised to see an Ice Bar in Melbourne–that looks like a great change of pace, especially on a hot summer day with the kids.

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      The Ice Bar is one of those unique things you can go to in Melbourne. Lots of fun for all ages.

      Reply
  4. Jasmina

    That’s a great list of things to do! I don’t have kids but I’d also love to do some of those things.

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      A lot of things to see and do in Melbourne are friendly to all ages so I hope you get to Melbourne to experience them.

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About Me

Bells Beach Surfing Recreation Reserve Sign shaped like a big white wave with Sharyn McCullum On the Great Ocean Road.

G’Day! Sharyn here, an Aussie loving discovering Australia. Let me show you around so you can discover Australia too.  Read my story here.

Follow along on Facebook

Don't miss out!
Subscribe to the Newsletter
We promise not to spam you. Unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address

Adsense