Don't miss Australia's biggest sporting event: the AFL Grand Final
September might be a great time to visit Melbourne, but come the final weekend of the month, you can forget about everything that isn’t Australian Rules Football. With Melbourne widely regarded as the central hub for AFL across the country, the city also plays host to the biggest match each and every year at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Once again the so-called 'home of football' will come to life with more than 100,000 screaming fans taking over the stadium on Saturday, September 28 to cheer on the teams who made it through to the AFL Grand Final. Be part of the action and immerse yourself within footy fever this September.
Lively pre-match and halftime entertainment
In recent years, many of the AFL Grand Finals have lived up to the hype, providing a match that has kept fans on the edge of their seats until the very last moments. While we're still a few weeks away from knowing which two teams are going to be fighting it out for the premiership flag, you can be almost certain that the match is going to be another blockbuster affair that fans won't be able to take their eyes off.
In the lead up to the big day, each year, the AFL hosts the Grand Final Parade, which gives locals the chance to cheer on their team before the match takes place. Held Friday, September 27, this extensive parade will snake its way through Melbourne's city streets, accompanied by an array of marching bands and roving entertainers. With thousands of fans lining the streets to show their support, the parade eventually comes to an end at Yarra Park and the MCG.
Another form of entertainment that gets people talking is the pre-match and halftime entertainment. The Grand Final Eve concert has become an infectious event that also takes place on Grand Final Friday, showcasing an array of local and international musical talent that sets the mood for the main event. Meanwhile, Grand Final day also features a collection of headline music acts, with recent highlights to Australia's shores including the likes of The Black Eyed Peas, Jimmy Barnes and The Killers. While the 2019 entertainment line-up is yet to be announced, there's little doubt that AFL fans will have another chance to see some of the world's biggest acts grace the Grand Final stage.
Places to watch the AFL Grand Final in 2019
Given how important the AFL Grand Final is to Melburnians, it's no surprise that just about the entire city is overrun with anticipation for the match. And for those who aren't lucky enough to land themselves a seat inside the MCG, there are still plenty of places to go and enjoy the game. For instance, Federation Square will be transformed into an AFL hub with its central location incredibly convenient for fans looking to get amongst the action. Situated just across from Flinders Street Station, Federation Square's wide-open concourse and massive screen generates an awesome atmosphere, while there are also loads of live entertainment and food trucks to explore throughout the day.
For those looking to get as close to the action as possible without actually being inside the stadium, Yarra Park is where you need to be. Known as the sprawling parkland that surrounds the Melbourne Cricket Ground, it's become an annual tradition for Yarra Park to be turned into an official site for the AFL Footy Festival. Featuring kid-friendly entertainment, bars and great food options, there's also an array of giant screens so everyone can get a great view of the match. With the sound of the roaring nearby crowd echoing around the park, this is an almost unbeatable setting to base yourself on Grand Final day.
In addition to these lively spots, basically every pub and bar in Melbourne will be screening the match. The Corner Hotel in Richmond is bound to be a popular choice, with the place being a hotspot for AFL fanatics to grab a drink throughout the regular season. Located just a short walk away from the MCG, the rooftop bar is set to be bustling with people from early in the morning. Plus, once the game has ended and fans spill out onto the streets, you'll already be ideally located where much of the fun happens on Swan Street.
For those hoping to stay within Melbourne CBD, The Duke of Wellington is another footy institution that also happens to be Melbourne's oldest pub. Positioned on Flinders Street just a few hundred metres from the MCG, this busy two-storey pub offers a range of bars to grab a drink, plus the venue showcases a laid-back terrace and a chic lounge bar. With a plethora of screens spread out throughout The Duke of Wellington, each one will be showing the match as punters are expected to fill the venue early in the day. With so many Melbourne pubs to choose from, a selection of other great spots to enjoy the day include the Imperial Hotel, Garden State Hotel and The Crafty Squire.
How to get to the MCG from Fraser Place Melbourne
From Fraser Place Melbourne's address at 19 Exploration Lane in the heart of Melbourne CBD, you'll be perfectly positioned to explore all the landmarks of this world-class city, including the MCG and the entire Melbourne Sports and Entertainment Precinct. From your luxury serviced apartment, it's only a seven-minute drive or taxi ride to the home of football via Exhibition Street and along Batman Avenue. Meanwhile, if the springtime weather is as beautiful as it normally is, it’s only a 30-minute walk to the MCG on a quick journey that takes you past many of the city's most iconic locations, including Federation Square and the Yarra River. Plus, if you're happy to take public transport, there are also frequent trams and trains that'll get you close to the action within minutes.
With the MCG being one of the world's most recognisable sporting venues, and the AFL Grand Final being its biggest day, experiencing the festivities is a must for any visitor to Melbourne in late September. Find out more event information at the MCG website.