Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) hosts some of the most important local and international sporting events every year (and not just cricket). The massive stadium can house over 100,000 spectators, and is almost as old as the city of Melbourne itself!
About the MCG
There are a few ways to enjoy this magnificent arena, whether that be on a stadium tour, or watching a live game. We will dive into both and give you all the information you need to make the most of your MCG experience!
The MCG is the biggest stadium in Australia and the tenth biggest on earth.
For over 150 years the MCG has been the centrepiece of Melbourne’s skyline, the meeting point for millions of Melbournians and is the symbol of the city in a way the Empire State is for New York.
For any sports lover, the MCG must be high on your Australian itinerary. So let’s get up to date on the best ways to experience Australia’s own Coliseum.
1. A Stadium Tour of the MCG
The MCG has a long and storied past dating way back to the mid-19th century. The MCG was formed only 20 years after Melbourne became an official city, so Victoria’s capital has always been linked to the hallowed turf of The G (as locals call it).
On a tour of the MCG, not only will you learn more about its history, such as hosting the 1956 Summer Olympics, but you will be able to walk onto the ground itself and imagine playing in front of 100,000 rowdy fans.
Along with taking your first steps onto the famous turf, on the hour-long tour, you will head into the inner sanctum.
Highlights of the MCG Tour include exploring the team rooms, the Ponsford Stand, visiting the iconic MCC Long Room and Library (built in 1873), and the cricketers’ viewing rooms.
A visit behind the scenes is sure to paint the full picture of what the MCG is all about and why it is a stadium cherished by all Melbournians.
For up-to-date information about MCG Tours, including ticket prices, dates, and times, you can book stadium tours here through booking.com..
2. Watch a Game of Aussie Rules
The MCG may have begun as a cricket ground, but throughout the winter it is the ‘Home of Footy’ for Victorians.
On any given weekend from late March to the last Saturday in September, Melbourne’s Aussie Rules football teams battle it out against their local and interstate rivals.
The AFL, as the league is known, sees the 4th largest worldwide attendance of any domestic sport, much because of the pulling power of the MCG.
Regardless of whether you know much about this unique, indigenous game or not, there is no better way to experience the joy of the MCG and Melbourne’s passion for live sport than to head to the MCG for an AFL game.
That being said, if you really want to understand what ‘footy’ is all about, then you should circle the month of September in your calendar.
September in Melbourne is fever pitch, the weather is getting warm, the sun is out and all eyes are on the MCG for the AFL Finals (playoffs).
Over 4 weeks, the MCG will usually have one or two games per weekend, featuring the leagues best teams striving to make the Grand Final.
Like any major sporting event, tickets to the Grand Final, held at the MCG aren’t easy to get and don’t come cheap. But for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, enjoy the biggest game of the year among 100,000 screaming fans.
- Owing to the ground’s monstrous capacity, the vast majority of AFL games do not sell out which makes getting a ticket super easy. You can go online via Ticketek and AFL or simply walk up to the MCG and buy a ticket at the gate.
3. Day 1 of the Boxing Day Cricket Test Match
The only event at the MCG that consistently rivals that of Grand Final Day, is the beginning of the traditional Boxing Day Test.
Held every year, on the day after Christmas, the Boxing Day Test is as much a celebration of cricket as it is a celebration of the Australian summer and time off from work.
The origins of the Boxing Day Test as we know it only date back to 1980, but it quickly became a staple on the Australian sporting calendar and Melbournians helped transform it into the biggest annual cricket event in the world.
The Boxing Day Test features Australia’s national cricket team against the overseas team touring Australia that summer.
Regardless of the opponent, excited crowds still hopped up on Christmas ham, head to the MCG for some sun and cricket.
The test match can last up to five days, with day one seeing the biggest crowd. You can expect to enjoy the day’s play alongside 70,000 other fans.
However, when Australia plays England, you may find yourself among 80,000 or even 90,000 spectators.
- Tickets for Day 1 are best purchased in advance via cricket.com.
- For days 2 through 5, online tickets are available and can also be bought at an MCG gate.
4. Australian Sports Museum
For those fascinated by the incredible past of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, then a visit to the Australian Sports Museum will complement your MCG tour perfectly.
The Australian Sports Museum combines the history of the MCG and the national sporting landscape.
Exhibits within the museum cover Cricket, Aussie Rules Football, the Olympics and over 3500 artefacts from almost 100 sports.
To show the importance of the MCG not just to locals but to all Australians, the museum is home to multiple Hall of Fames, including cricket and the AFL along with the Australian Sports Hall of Fame.
Some of the most popular exhibits include Don Bradman’s famous Baggy Green Cap and Cathy Freeman’s gold medal-winning suit from the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
But this isn’t just a museum to walk and observe, the Australian Sports Museum is very interactive which also makes it a great place to bring the kids.
The Game On exhibition is where kids and adults alike can test their skills against the very best. Test your abilities in a series of events like kicking a goal with an Aussie Rules footy and shooting hoops. At the end, you can compare your scores with the best in the ‘biz’!
5. Getting to Melbourne Cricket Ground
The MCG isn’t just known for football and cricket, it hosts events all year long. Melbourne’s love of live sport and entertainment ensures these one-off events have huge crowds.
Did you know Liverpool FC’s highest ever crowd was at the MCG? In 2013 Liverpool played an exhibition game in front of over 95,000 fans.
Before landing in Melbourne, check to see what events are coming up at the MCG during your time here, who knows a big event could be making its way to The G!
How to get there?
The MCG is a very easy stadium to get to, thanks to Melbourne’s public train and tram systems.
There are two train stations that are within a few minutes walk of the stadium, these are Jolimont and Richmond stations.
Being one-stop each from Melbourne’s main station, Flinders Street, it is convenient and easy to get a ride to either of these.
Jumping on one of Melbourne’s iconic trams is another way to get to the MCG. These are a bit slower than trains, yet will drop you off slightly closer to the stadium’s entrance.
Keep an eye out for the number 48, 70 and 75 trams for a relaxing journey to the ground.
However, if it is a nice day out, most locals choose to walk to the MCG from Flinders Street Station. The 15 to 20-minute walk is flat and you will be surrounded by other fans chatting and getting excited about the game.
Aside from getting your steps in, you can sense the atmosphere grow as the stadium comes into view, buskers playing live music dot the walk and only add to the anticipation.
However, if you want to save yourself a walk, taxis, and Uber are the best way to arrive at the base of the MCG with ease.
For those heading to the MCG for a tour or to visit the museum, head to Gate 3 for the entrance.
6. Experiencing the MCG Before and After Events
For Melbournians going to the MCG is as much a social experience as it is a sporting one.
That’s why before and after games or events you will see restaurants and bars packed out with supporters draped in team colors.
Depending on where you are located in the city, there are a few places to hit up for a meal and a pint pre or post-game.
A popular spot, especially before an AFL game, is around Melbourne’s Federation Square.
While locals have always despised the Square’s weird and ugly architecture, there are numerous great pubs and bars that are well-placed for your day at The G.
Two popular bars (Arbory and Riverland) are right on the Yarra River and give distant views of the great stadium. Grab a pint and count how many supporter scarves you can see.
7. Where to Stay in Melbourne
There are numerous great options for staying in Melbourne. You can use the map below to click and search for suitable accommodation.
8. Other Sporting Opportunities in Melbourne
Has the MCG only heightened your enthusiasm for Melbourne’s sporting scene? Well lucky for you there is plenty more where that came from.
Melbourne is Australia’s sporting capital and the home of the:
- Australian Open
- Melbourne Formula 1 Grand Prix
- the A-League (domestic football/soccer)
- and the NBL (basketball).
- You can also catch more AFL games at the indoor Docklands Marvel Stadium.
Sports Travel Booking Resources
Traveling around the world to watch & experience sports, I tend to always use the same resources for booking trips. These are the ones I use most frequently and that I find to have great customer support and competitive prices.
- Sports Event Tickets – Tickets for all sporting events
- Get Your Guide – is an excellent site as a one-stop shop for booking attractions, local tours, activities, and excursions. Great customer service and an easy-to-use site.
- Booking.com – The best site I have found for hotel and accommodation bookings.
- Flights – are also now offered by booking.com and as I love the brand this is my first port of call now for flights.
- Safety Wing Travel Insurance – I love Saftey Wing as they cover everything I need to be covered and they have a simple-to-use site, and again, I have found their customer service very good, when I needed to ask questions.
- Hostelworld – Book backpacker hostel rooms around the world with Hostel World.