Got three days to spend in Melbourne's cultural heart? Immerse yourself in all that's great about Melbourne in winter, with our RISING three-day hit list.

Day 1

Where better to kick off your RISING adventure than Melbourne’s cultural hub, Federation Square? Immerse yourself in The Blak Infinite and be taken on a journey through the cosmos by incredible First Peoples artists.

While you’re in Fed Square, graze on native flavours from Torres Strait Islander chef Nornie Bero at Big Esso by Mabu Mabu. Or drop into Victoria by Farmer's Daughters for a long lunch of fabulous farm-to-table feasting.

After lunch, catch a tram back into Melbourne’s city centre. Keep an eye out for the festival's own six Melbourne Art Trams, featuring new designs by First Peoples artists. These colourful canvases will be crisscrossing their way around the city over the next 12 months.

Drop into Night Trade in the Capitol Arcade, a neon-soaked pop-up filled with micro-bars, music and mayhem. It’s the perfect place to meet for a drink and dip into some world-class weird. Sit down for a psychic reading, join an eccentric sip and paint class, fuel up on fresh dumplings and noodles, or hit the dancefloor as some of the city’s best DJs take over Howey Place.

Walk down towards Birrarung (the Yarra River) and experience The Rivers Sing, an immersive large-scale audio artwork created by Yorta Yorta/Yuin composer and soprano Deborah Cheetham. After your evening stroll by the river, shake off the cold with a cup of hot chocolate or mulled wine.

Stay overnight in the city so you can rest up in convenient, creative luxury and dive right back in the following day.

Day 2

Rise and shine with expertly roasted coffee at Melbourne favourites like Market Lane, Industry Beans or Axil Coffee Roasters. If you’re feeling peckish, pop into Lune Croissanterie’s cosy CBD location and pick up some of their world-renowned pastries.

After brekkie, wander over to the State Library to see Melbourne Out Loud – a free photography exhibition from the uber-talented Rennie Ellis. This curated collection of iconic, unseen and everyday photographs captures the very essence of Melbourne.

Sit for an early dinner of share plates and vino at sophisticated wine bar Embla or go bold at Supernormal, Andrew McConnell's iconic Asian-inspired restaurant.

Make it a night of riveting theatre shows and performances. Follow the siren’s call of sonic oblivion to the hallowed Hamer Hall where gothic synth-pop icon Fever Ray makes their Australian debut. And Melbourne’s prodigal sons Dirty Three return for their first hometown headline show in 12 years.

Top off the night with cocktails into the wee hours at Bar Margaux or Gimlet, then catch some z's back at your hotel.

Day 3

Start the day with a late brunch. You'll be over the moon with Higher Ground, Manchester Press or Hardware Societe.

Book tickets in advance for the afternoon showing of Counting and Cracking at the University of Melbourne’s Union Theatre. This vibrant cultural performance tells the story of reconciliation and the complex strength of family love, set over five decades from Colombo to Australia.

When your belly rumbles, venture to Naked For Satan for tasty tapas and cocktails on the rooftop. Or book ahead to secure your table at Marion – a chic Fitzroy wine bar with an excellent food menu and a seriously impressive wine list.

Keen for a boogie to round off the night? Turn the party up to fever pitch at Day Tripper, a festival within a festival, promising eight hours of post-punk, minimal techno, hip-hop, disco, video works and contemporary dance.

Then there’s SHOUSE Communitas, where hundreds of people will be uniting and partying with world-class dance-floor mavericks at St Paul’s Cathedral, of all places.

Relive all the highlights over a late-night cocktail at Lui Bar. Or head to 80 Collins Street for a nightcap at Nick and Nora's.

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