Whether you’re planning to watch the footy final or trying to avoid at all costs, our list for the best things to do over the weekend is sure to keep you entertained.

You don’t have to be a footy fanatic to celebrate the Grand Final Weekend. You know the city is serious about football when the whole state gets a public holiday the day before the AFL grand final and Melbourne is pulling out all the stops to create a weekend bursting with excitement! The city is hosting a range of events, from tranquil activities away from the crowds, to unforgettable moments smack bang in the inner city. Follow our guide for the best things to do to really make the most of the time off.

Join in the footy celebrations at the many festivities

Starting from Wednesday, and leading to the big game day, several free football festivities will be on offer! Celebrate Melbourne’s sporting obsession in the centre of the city. Yarra Park is packed full of kid’s zones, obstacle courses, and pre-match entertainment. The park will also be teeming with food trucks, offering delicious fare from burgers to sweet treats. The AFL Grand Final Parade marches on Friday, starting from the Old Treasury Building to Yarra Park, with marching bands, performers, and past athletes strolling amidst the crowd. Last but not least, the actual grand final is on Saturday afternoon, shown live on Aussie screens. Simply pop down to the public viewing areas or the endless number of bars and restaurants broadcasting the game. Join in on the celebrations and get involved in the footy spirit!

Enjoy brunch at a Melbourne café

If you are feeling a bit peckish during the long weekend, then there is nothing better than relaxing in a café with a coffee and a bite to eat. Melbourne is one of the cafe capitals of the world, known for its uniquely brewed coffee and experimental food culture. From the classic alleyway cafes to inner-city trendsetters, to five-star dining experiences, Melbourne has a café for any palette and budget. And the cafes don’t just offer eggs and bacon, they cook-up a range of foods to create their own unique menus. Make sure you save room for an incredible brunch (or two) this weekend!

Enjoy the endless stream of bars

You don’t have to wait until dusk to trek out to Melbourne’s bars, as many of them are open during the day. With the air filled with BBQ smoke, and eskies jam-packed with frosty cold beers, Melbournians are certainly in the mood to party throughout the day over the Grand Final weekend. Both locals and tourists swarm Melbourne’s rooftop bars and beer gardens in hopes of catching the game with a crowd or to simply take advantage of the nice weather and good atmosphere. There is an endless stream of happy hour deals, boozy brunch spots, or AFL specials, so you don’t have to break the bank to have a great time.

Avoid the crowds and visit Yarra Valley

If you’d prefer to unwind over the weekend, then Melbourne’s bustling inner-city celebrations may not be for you. But don’t despair, as the tranquil region of the Yarra Valley is only a short drive away, promising you an endless supply of wine, gourmet food, and picturesque scenery. Hop from one winery to the next, visiting popular brands such as Chandon and Helen & Joey Estate. Art exhibitions can also be found in the Yarra Valley, with many art galleries boasting excellent restaurants. Unique gourmet shops also line the roads, with Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery providing something for those with a sweet tooth and the Yarra Valley catering for the cheese lovers.

Regardless of what you decide to do, we guarantee that Melbourne’s Grand Final weekend will be filled with endless entertainment and unforgettable moments, even if football doesn’t feature!

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