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The HOT List: Top 12 places to go for Open House Melbourne Weekend 2017

Open House Melbourne Weekend is on Saturday 29 July and Sunday 30 July once again to give Melburnians the opportunity to access and experience great design and architecture.

There are houses, buildings, infrastructure and landscapes to visit over two days and it can be hard to make a plan – so I’ve done the research for you.

Here are my Top 12 places to go for Open House Melbourne Weekend 2017, with a focus on locations and events that you can’t access at any other time and places that aren’t already booked out.

  1. Medibank Place (Sat 29 July 10 – 4pm)

Discover the rainbow inside this office tower.

  1. Australian Tapestry Workshop (Sat 29 July 10 – 4pm)

Kids can come along to try their hand at tapestry weaving and explore the ATW, including the galleries, studio floor and viewing balcony with a view to the ATW Colour Laboratory.

  1. Collingwood Arts Precinct including Circus Oz (Sat 29 Jul 10 – 4pm)

Learn how to juggle and hula-hoop just like Circus Oz at their homebase in the Collingwood Arts Precinct.

  1. Melbourne Athenaeum Theatre and Library (Sat 29 Jul 10am – 4pm)

An exhibition of books and artwork by cartoonist Judy Horacek (Where is the Green Sheep) will be on display throughout July to celebrate the launch of her latest book Random Life.

Melbourne Athenaeum Library

  1. Artplay (Sat 29 Jul & Sun 30 Jul 10 – 4pm)

Contribute to a huge collaborative artwork made completely from lines of colourful electrical tape.

  1. Box Hill Community Centre (Sat 29 Jul 10-3pm)

Drop in to see live artists’ demonstrations and displays by local and resident artists, or visit the Ceramics Studio from 11.30 – 1pm for hands on pottery and craft activities.

  1. Eildon Mansion (Sun 30 Jul 10 – 3pm)

Colouring-in and craft activities will be available for children; a 19th century couple will be paying a visit from France and roaming the premises for your entertainment, and fresh crepes and coffee will be available from ‘Crêpe for Change’.

  1. Dancehouse, Former Carlton Community Hall (Sat 29 Jul and Sun 30 Jul 10.30am – 4pm)

Free classes will be offered in diverse dance disciplines. Walk-ins for classes welcome.

Artplay Backyard

  1. Triple R – 3RRR 102.7FM (Sat 29 July 10 – 4pm)

Go behind the scenes at a working radio station.

  1. The Drill Hall, Home of the Women’s Circus (Sun 30 Jul 10-3:30pm)

Resident Trainer, Franca Stadler, will share the history of Women’s Circus in the Drill Hall and guide you through some circus activities in our training space.

  1. 3CR Community Radio (Sun 30 Jul 10am – 4pm – Booking required for this building)

Step inside a radio studio and record a message. See programming going live to air. Tours are children and family friendly.

  1. Collingwood College Dolls House (Sat 29 Jul 10am – 1pm – Booking required for this building)

The Doll’s House, built in the 1880s, is possibly the smallest house in Victoria. In 2013 the house was restored by a group of Collingwood College students as part of a history project. It now looks as it would have when Lily was living there with her parents in the 1880s.

HOT Tips:

  • When planning your n house melbournen House Melbourne Weekend stick to certain precincts to make the most of your time and energy. The locations are spread out all over Melbourne and you don’t want to spend most of your travelling.
  • If you want to stick to one area my recommendation is Docklands. One of the most spectacular (and popular) buildings Medibank Place is close to Library at the Dock and Ron Barassi Snr Park for a break.
  • Realistically plan on visiting 2-3 locations within a precinct before everyone needs a lie down. There is a limit to how much architecture a child will be happy to admire.
  • Depending on the age of your child don’t pre-book tours. I find that working to a structured timetable makes the day unnecessarily stressful (especially when you have to deal with queues). Also tours can be 30+ minutes and young kids may get bored and whiny.
  • If there are places you desperately want to visit then try to just pre-book the first event of the day, when you’re less likely to be running late.
  • Bring books, toys, water and snacks for the queue.
  • Be early. For popular locations turn up before opening time. We arrived at Medibank Place at 9:40am for a 10am opening and wait approximately 30 minutes.
  • Follow Open House Melbourne on Twitter for immediate updates as to where there is a #queue or #noqueue.
  • Find an old camera phone and let kids snap away.
  • Dress for a Melbourne winter – it’s likely to be windy, rainy and cold. There may be outdoor queues or heritage buildings may not be heated.
  • Plan ahead and know where your nearest playground or library is so you can all relax a bit after a tour or a day of traipsing.

Note there are some locations you can access at other times of the year:

  • Foyers of most office, university or public buildings, including Medibank.
  • Guided tours are available of Federation Square, Melbourne Town Hall, Melbourne Central, Parliament House, Arts Centre Melbourne, State Library, Shrine of Remembrance.
  • Hawthorn Tram Depot opens twice a month.
  • The Johnston Collection run regular tours.
  • The Portable Iron Houses open once a month.
  • The Supreme Court is open during Law Week during May.
  • Visit Government House on Australia Day for its open day for lots of free family-friendly activities.
  • Visit the German Lutheran Church is for their annual German Christmas Fair.
  • Visit Eildon Mansion when Alliance Francaise hold special events eg Bastille Day, Christmas.
  • The Myer Mural Hall is open for certain events such as Mother’s Day high tea.
  • The Mission to Seafarers, Meat Market, most Town Halls, Hotel Windsor are open to public.

Joyce Watts

Joyce Watts loves to blog about ways in which families can have more fun together!

She's a former intellectual property, IT and media lawyer turned entrepreneur who combines her love for kids, food, travel and bikes into several passion projects.

She owns an online bike store; develops and produces bike-related creative experiences for families via; and writes another popular lifestyle and food blog called MEL: HOT OR NOT The decisive guide to Melbourne with (non-kid related) reviews about things to do and places to go in Melbourne.

She lives in inner-city Melbourne with her husband, two children and seven bikes.

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