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Top 4 Art Galleries to Visit on Your Next Trip to Melbourne

Said to be Australia’s “culture capital,” Melbourne is a diverse and fascinating city to visit, with plenty of museums, galleries, theaters, and more for both locals and tourists to explore. When it comes to works of art, Melbourne is home to a thriving artistic scene and a wide range of public and private galleries, street art, sculptures, and photography pieces to admire.


Demonstrating just how much of a draw the city is on the international art scene, one of Melbourne’s premier galleries is currently playing host to a new exhibition by acclaimed French couturier, Jean Paul Gaultier. The fashion designer has recently opened his “From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk” exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, which is sure to attract visitors in droves.


Look for discount flights through sites like or so you can visit Melbourne soon. There are also cool hotels in Melbourne to add to some of the city’s best art galleries.


The National Gallery of Victoria


The National Gallery of Victoria, or NGV as it is known by locals, was founded in 1861.The establishment is the oldest gallery in Australia and one of the country’s most popular public art spaces. The extensive collections on display at the NGV are recognized as amongst some of the best in the world, and many of the ever-changing exhibits draw tourists from across the globe — as the new Jean Paul Gaultier display is sure to do.


The gallery’s pieces are on display at two different venues: the NGV International, on St Kilda Road, and the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, located right in the Melbourne central business district at Federation Square.


NGV International is home to a comprehensive display of international artworks. Pieces come from Europe, Asia, Oceania, and America, and the display is said to be one of the world’s finest art collections. The gallery houses around 16,000 international drawings and prints plus sculptures, photographs, furniture pieces, fashion, and textile exhibits.


On the other hand, the Ian Potter Centre is the gallery to visit for Australian works. This venue showcases pieces by acclaimed Australian artists such as Sidney Nolan, Arthur Streeton, Arthur Boyd, and Frederick McCubbin. The gallery also features a wide variety of major contemporary and historical Indigenous artworks.


Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery


For a fantastic display of Eastern artworks, head to the Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery (FGY) in the heart of the city. This establishment is a branch temple of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order, and as a result the gallery focuses on showcasing both traditional and modern examples of Eastern culture and philosophy. FGY is based on the ideals of the Buddhist Grand Master Hsing Yun, and his commitment to promoting the values of virtue, wisdom and compassion.


The venue houses an impressive collection of works by both Australian and international artists, and the range includes pottery, paintings, textiles, sculptures, drawings, and calligraphy. Fo Guang Yuan also provides a meditation space, on-site tea house and gift shop for visitors.


art galleries melbourne
The Linden Centre for Contemporary Arts Photo by jfnolen Flickr


Linden Centre for Contemporary Arts


A top spot to see contemporary artwork in Melbourne is the Linden Centre for Contemporary Arts. This not-for-profit gallery is situated in the pretty bayside suburb of St Kilda, within a significant Melbourne historical house. The unique venue focuses on supporting artists, developing the community, and audience engagement with art.


This is all served up in a friendly, laid-back environment that beckons tourists to spend their time wandering around the displays. The Linden Centre features an Innovator’s Program for new artists, as well as a yearly exhibition that’s dedicated to contemporary Indigenous art in Australia.


art galleries melbourne
The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art by Wojtek Gurak


Australian Centre for Contemporary Art


If you like the idea of exploring an art gallery that focuses as much on commissioning artworks as it does on collecting them, head to the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. Located in Southbank, an inner-city area that’s popular with tourists, the ACCA is another not-for-profit establishment, and the leading contemporary public art gallery in the city.


The Centre, which opened in 2002, encourages people to discuss a variety of social and cultural issues, and presents a broad range of contemporary visual art. The gallery displays a collection of significant artworks by living artists from all across the world within its distinctive red-steel building that has become a Melbourne icon. No matter your taste in art or your knowledge of its history or influences, you’ll find a gallery in Melbourne that will keep you captivated for hours.


Whether you have just a short amount of time to spend in the city, or are planning to stay for a while, a visit to Melbourne is not complete without spending time in at least one public art gallery.

Christa Thompson

Christa Thompson is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. She started traveling the world in 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

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