I Asked My Colleagues To Share Their Ideal Melb Outings On Payday Vs When They’re Skint

Ah, Melbourne. Voted one of the best cities in the world in years gone by, (we’ll get you next year, Vienna), it’s still the reigning champion of Best City in Australia. And you can see why. There’s always something going on. Honestly, every time I walk out my front door there’s a new poster showcasing what the city has to offer. Whether it’s the British Film Festival at the Kino Cinema, or a new Alexander McQueen exhibition, the city is well and truly back, baby. 

While I have my favourite jaunts, I thought I’d ask my colleagues what they enjoy doing in our beautiful city to add some fun to my repertoire. But, because we know everyone is on different budgets (especially these days), I asked them what they do on payday versus when the funds look a tad sad. 

Louie, 30, he/him


Take a nice jaunt down to a rooftop bar to discuss hard-hitting matters (why my primary school friend didn’t invite me to a pool party in 2003) while looking down on the little ants walking around the city. My favourite is Rooftop Bar (11/10 for creativity) in Curtin House.


Straight to dumplings in Chinatown with a BYO bottle. It’s always worth lining up for the homemade xiaolong bao at Shanghai Street which is under $15 a plate. My absolute dream night in Melbourne when I’m strapped for cash is taking a first date to one of the best picnic spots on the Yarra while it’s still warm enough to be comfortable but dark enough for them not to properly read the wine label.

Shantelle, 26, she/her


Catch me at Father’s Office for a nice meal and a cocktail. Then I’d go over to my favourite bookstore Readings in Carlton, for another edition of a poetry book I most likely already have, before I head over across the road to Cinema Nova for a relaxing end to the night.


I love going to the NGV, ACMI, or the Melbourne Museum when I’m a bit tight on cash. Getting to experience art, especially for free, is one of my favourite things!

Maisy, 22, she/her


One of my hobbies (lol) is eating out at nice restaurants. That’s where my payday money is going — a luxe long lunch. Yakimono is on my to-vist list. Yes, I will get that tiny, expensive starter, thank you.


You can honestly make a day of walking around aimlessly and window shopping with friends. Some surprisingly enjoyable afternoons have come from going on foot around Melbourne’s (famous) grid layout. I might stretch a tenner and grab lunch from a curry spot like Om Vegetarian, it has delish all you can eat curries and naan for under $10.

Then, we’ll settle in front of the State Library, or around the NGV. There’s nothing better on a sunny day. (If it’s raining, check out the Australian Music Vault at Arts Centre; it’s free and there’s a fun concert room.) The city always delivers on cheap options. The comedy night at Spleen Mondays is only $10 and is the best way to start your week with a laugh. 

Tiffany, 22, she/her


I tend to eat at my fave bougie restaurants in the name of treating myself. I love Gilson and yummy Italian at Tipo 00. The W Hotel has a cute pool session that is so fun with friends and lets you try the hotel pool without actually staying there. 


Going out for food is truly my favourite activity, whether that’s going out for dinner or just trying a new bubble tea place in town. If I’m skint, I will defs go for my old cheap faithfuls over trying something new and bougie. My friends and I always shop around for cheap eats and pub deals like all-day $18 rooftop parmas at The Prince Alfred. There are a bunch of cheap eats on at any given time, which can be nice to check out, even if you don’t buy anything. The Kino Cinema also has $8.50 tickets on a Monday night. So cheap!

Brb, going to book up every spare weekend until 2023. 

Melbourne’s most unmissable moments are yours to explore, only in the city.

Visit whatson.melbourne.vic.gov.au/only-in-the-city and follow @whatsonmelb on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok to find out what’s on.