Baby it's cold outside!

It's that time of year again; night is falling earlier, the skies have gone grey and the winter blues are threatening to descend. Fortunately, Melbourne is a kickin' city that refuses to let a little bit of cold weather get it down. There are plenty of things happening this winter in Melbourne, with cultural and culinary events that will help you to beat the blues and embrace the season. 

Here are some of the top events to look forward to this winter. 

1. Melbourne International Jazz Festival – June 2-11

Celebrating 20 years of jazz, the Melbourne International Jazz Festival spans 10 days and covers everything from intimate performances in dimly lit venues to upbeat cafe gigs. In total, more than 120 events will entertain listeners with the smooth sounds of jazz over the course of the festival.

2. Winter Night Market at Queen Victoria Market – Wednesday evenings, June 7 – August 30 

What better way to warm up than by visiting a market with a fire and light theme? The Winter Night Market will be lighting up Wednesday nights throughout June, with raging open fires warming up the people wandering between the incredible food, speciality and design stalls. Wrap your hands around a warm drink and chow down on some excellent street food as you admire the bold lighting and quirky entertainment – there is no better place to be on a winter's night. 

3. The Australian Ballet presents The Sleeping Beauty – June 16-27

Winter is the perfect time to enjoy the arts. Cosy up inside and catch theatre shows, art exhibitions – or the ballet. The Australian Ballet will grace Melbourne in June, bringing the tale of Sleeping Beauty to the stage for nearly the whole month.

The grandeur, romance and beauty of this ballet is spellbinding. Be captivated by the woodland nymphs flitting across stage, the passionate love of a prince and the magic of true love's kiss. The vivid colours and light of this show will help you to shake off the winter blues.

4. Circus Oz, Model Citizens – June 20 – July 16

Circus Oz is an outstanding ensemble with incredible talents – it's also a great way to have some fun this winter. Rediscover your love of circus with a show where acrobats perform mind-bending feats to a lively soundtrack. Model Citizens is crazy, bizarre, fun and completely improbable. This is a visual experience that playfully explores what it means to be a model citizen in today's society. 

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May 18, 2017 at 12:23am PDT

5. Italian Food and Wine Festival – June 25

You don't need to travel all the way to Italy to get a taste of Italian sunshine this winter. All the warmth and decadence of Italian food and wine will be brought to you in June when this festival comes to town. Winemakers and importers will be exhibiting over 200 different varieties of wine – if you can't tell the difference between a Piemonte and a Chianti, you can join a wine masterclass to learn everything you need to know – just bring along a sober driver to get you home safely afterward.

Then, there's the food. Pizza, pasta and gelato feature heavily, so you can enjoy a lavish feast that will warm your cockles. Cooking demonstrations and entertainment will keep you smiling – this is going to be a good day!

Melbourne, your Italian adventure awaits! Sunday 25th June 2017 www.italianwinefoodfestival.com.au #italiansdoitbetter

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May 18, 2017 at 3:42am PDT

6. Melbourne International Film Festival – August 3-20

Snuggling up in a cosy, dark cinema in front of a stand-out international film is one of the best ways to spend the winter months. Make the most of the Melbourne International Film Festival and catch some of the red-carpet glamour and thought-provoking global cinema. This is one of the oldest film festivals in the world and one of the biggest screen events in Australia. As well as presenting some of the best examples of contemporary films from around the world, there are throwbacks and tribute events, as well as panel discussions. 

This is a great chance to discover some home-grown talent as well, with emerging Australian filmmakers being included in the comprehensive program. 

The warmest, cosiest form of transport around Melbourne this winter is an East Coast Car Rentals car. If you're planning on visiting for any of these events, make sure you hire a vehicle to get around in comfort.