At night, the eastern end of Melbourne lights up like a stage. Between the Regent, Princess, Athenaeum and Her Majesty’s, the city is blessed with some of Australia’s best theatres, blending period architecture with innovations in entertainment.

Aside from world-class performances, Melbourne’s theatre district also buzzes with things to do, places to eat and shop, and hotels to spend a special evening. So next time you’re heading to a show, why not make a night of it?

Shop

If you’ve already got tickets to a play or musical in the evening, extend your day in the CBD by hitting some of Melbourne’s best and newest boutiques for some retail therapy. One of the year’s most exciting openings comes from streetwear retailer Up There: its subterranean flagship store caters to those hunting for the latest sneaker drop or coffee at the in-house cafe. The revamped QV outpost of Aussie store Incu is well worth a look if you want to invest in your everyday wear.

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For some of us, the fun of heading to the theatre includes getting glammed up and being part of the spectacle. For timeless jewellery and statement pieces, head to the historic Royal Arcade, where you’ll find the new standalone store for Melanie Katsalidis’s Pieces of Eight design and jewellery collective, housing contemporary designs from more than 30 makers.

Eat

In the heart of the district and surrounded by all the best theatres is refined bar and restaurant Bossley. It offers a pre-theatre menu of two or three courses, starting with small plates like burrata with smoked honey and peach before moving along to mains from the grill, like the 200-gram rump cap with smoked-bone-marrow butter.

The full dinner menu expands the offering with a raw bar (featuring Tasmanian oysters, and salmon with wasabi and champagne) and a bigger focus on the grill, with everything from highly marbled, Japanese-style beef from local producer Omugi to Diamond Valley pork with caramelised apple sauce, and a family-sized, 1.2-kilogram tomahawk steak.

If you’re on a big group outing, book one of the two private dining rooms. Or if you’re still feeling thirsty at the end of the night, swing back round for a post-show cocktail – like the bar’s signature Bossley, a mix of Four Pillars Olive Leaf Gin, vermouth, sherry, a little miso and saltbush-infused olive oil.

Watch

Melbourne’s theatre schedule is always packed, and this season features some big names – the hardest part might be deciding which to see first. Our current pick is the high-energy Mamma Mia! The Musical, which is inviting audiences to get up and dance to Abba’s timeless hits until December 10.

In the new year, we’re looking at the new production of Grease, which opens on December 31 at Her Majesty’s Theatre. Plus, Wednesday evenings from January 17 will be Pink Ladies nights (named for the teen girl gang of Rydell High School, of course) with a DJ spinning ’50s tunes before the show. And cult classic musical The Rocky Horror Show is getting a reboot at the Athenaeum from February 9, with Jason Donovan starring as Frank-N-Furter.

Stay

Extend your CBD adventures another day (and skip the post-show commute home) by staying at a hotel after the curtain goes down. Rydges Melbourne on Exhibition Street is close to the major theatres, and has a few packages (like this one for Grease) that include a room, theatre tickets and bonus extras. With Chinatown downstairs, a heated rooftop pool with city views and a buffet breakfast, there’s plenty to do the next day, too.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Rydges Melbourne.