The best Christmas activities in Melbourne

Federation Square Chrismtas lights

Jessica Taylor Yates

Posted November 17, 2022

With everything from Christmas markets and parades to projections and pop-up playgrounds, Melbourne really knows how to get into the holiday spirit. Here's our guide to the best free festive activities and events happening across the city this silly season.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

The festive season is just around the corner and Melbourne is ready to celebrate. Whether you're looking to delight over a Christmas window display, shop for holiday gifts, learn how to make a festive wreath or sing some holiday songs, there’s something for everyone in the city this December.

Here's how to have yourself a merry little Christmas in Melbourne.

Melbourne Christmas events

Myer Christmas Windows

Until 6 January, from 7:30am - 10:30pm

Is it even December if you haven’t seen the Myer Christmas Windows? The tradition has been going strong since 1956, when the first ever theme - Santa and the Olympics, after Melbourne hosted the Summer Olympics (XVI Olympiad) earlier that year – was unveiled at the flagship Bourke Street store.

This year the windows will celebrate Disney’s 100th anniversary, with the iconic display giving a nostalgic nod to some of the Walt Disney Company’s favourite films. Among the characters being celebrated this year are Mary Poppins, Mickey and Minnie, Peter Pan, Elsa and the Lion King’s Simba, Nala, Timone, Pumba, Zazu and Rafiki.

Christmas Cinema 

Federation Square: Weekends from 10 – 18 December.

Arguably one of the best things about Christmas is getting to watch all your favourite holidays films. As a special treat, Christmas movies - including Love Actually, Bran Nue Dae, Arthur Christmas and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - will be shown for free, both at Federation Square’s Big Screen, complete with festive lights and decorations.

It's first in best dressed for bean bags and chairs, otherwise bring your own picnic gear and grab food from local restaurants for a Christmas flick under the stars.

Christmas Square

Display: 25 November – 25 December

Santa’s Workshop: 26 November – 24 December, 10am - 5:30pm (Saturday to Wednesday) and 10am - 7:30pm (Thursday and Friday).

Christmas in the Wizarding World: 16 December, 4pm - 9pm

As well as the Christmas movies, Federation Square in Melbourne’s CBD is being transformed into a Christmas wonderland with an abundance of activities in the lead-up to the holiday season.

From getting photos with Santa and his elves in his workshop, to spellbinding activities including a virtual wand workshop and screening of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets as part of Fed Square's Christmas in the Wizarding World event, or just enjoying the dazzling display of festive decorations, giant baubles, and 16-metre-high lit-up Christmas tree, there’s something for everyone at Melbourne’s Christmas Square. 

Christmas projections light up Melbourne monuments. Image: Getty.
Christmas projections light up Melbourne monuments. Image: Getty.

Decorations and installations

Christmas Decorations: 25 November – 25 December

Docklands Christmas Maze: 26 November - 24 December, 11am - 6pm

Tinseltown: 17 November - 30 December, various session times

If taking in beautiful surroundings in your own time is more your holiday bag, you’ll be spoiled for choice with the array of Christmas decorations, installations, and winter wonderland-themed pop-ups.

Around Melbourne, there’s no shortage of dazzling decorations and themed displays to keep your eyes sparkling in the city. Take in the Christmas Decorations that light up at night, from the giant reindeer and Christmas Maze in the Docklands to the floating Row Ho Ho Santa Sleigh at Birrarung Marr or the Nutcracker soldiers in the CBD.  

The halls will be decked with baubles, bows and boughs of holly at the Docklands' Christmas-themed Tinseltown pop-up. As well as meeting Santa and his elves, Tinseltown is also home to a festive bar, where a Christmas-themed cocktail menu features all things merry and bright.

Christmas projections

25 November – 25 December, 9 pm – 11 pm

Take in the spectacular imagery amongst the night skies as Melbourne comes to life with a series of Christmas projections around the city. Whether it’s the festive imagery lighting up Hamer Hall, or watching the renowned Christmas Projections glisten upon Melbourne Town Hall or Flinders Street Station, there’s plenty to feast your eyes on in the nights leading up to Christmas.

Christmas carnivals and festivals

Christmas Carnival: 14 December – 24 December, 11am – 10pm

Japan Christmas Festival: 11 December, 11am – 5pm

Little Korea Christmas Festival: 18 December, 11am - 5pm

The Great Greek Quarter Christmas Feast: Sunday 18 December, 12:30pm - 5:30pm

Cuban Christmas Party: Sunday 18 December, 3pm - 8pm

8 days of Xmas, 19 - 25 December, 6pm - late

Step right up folks, the Christmas carnivals and festivities have arrived! Thrill-seekers can take a spin on the 35m high Sky Flyer at the Christmas Carnival on the Yarra, while those who prefer their activities with their feet firmly on the ground may delight in the light-up dancefloor at Queensbridge Square's pop-up Christmas Playground, live music, DJ performances and an Orphan's Xmas BBQ at Section 8, or learning how to make origami decorations at the Japan Christmas Festival.

If you like the sound of an afternoon in Seoul, jingle all the way to the Little Korea Christmas Festival, which will see some of your favourite Korean restaurants and food trucks dishing up delectable festive bites. Experience a taste of Christmas in Cuba with an evening of food, music, and sunset salsa dancing at the Cuban Christmas Party, or feast on delicious Greek food, entertainment and live music at the The Great Greek Quarter Christmas Feast.

Christmas circus

Christmas Eve Circus Spectacular: 24 December, 11am - 12:30pm

The circus is coming to town this Christmas with a special, family-friendly performance at Melbourne Town Hall. The Christmas Eve Circus Spectacular is an interactive circus comedy adventure where everyone goes home with a treat. You'll also be paying it forward, with all proceeds (tickets cost $5 each) going to Make Room, a project assisting people out of homelessness.

Chanukah celebrations

Pillars of Light, 18 - 23 December, 7:30 - 9:30pm

For those looking to celebrate Chanukah over the holiday period, Federation Square will be hosting Pillars of Light, a commemoration of the Jewish holiday, and an opportunity to ‘come together over a multicultural celebration.’

Each night of Chanukah, the event will feature guest speakers, dignitaries, artistic performers, cultural groups, sports people and more, who’ll be invited to light the menorah, bringing together Melbourne's varied communities through hope, positivity, love and light.

Have fun spotting Christmas decorations and statues around the CBD. Image: Getty.
Vision Australia's Carols by Candlelight at Sidney Myer Music Bowl. Image: Getty.
Make a holiday out of it at RACV Cape Schanck Resort.

Christmas markets

Good Food & Wine Show Christmas Market: 25 - 27 November

String Bean Alley Christmas Night Market: 5, 12 and 19 December, 5pm - 10pm

The District Docklands Christmas Twilight Market: 10 December, 3pm - 8pm

Christmas Market, 10 December, 12pm - 5pm

Boho Luxe Market: Christmas Edition: 11 December, 10am - 4pm

Still need to do your Christmas gift shopping? Support local as a range of artisan Christmas markets swing into action. Around the city, you’ve got the Queen Victoria Market's String Bean Alley Christmas Night Market, encompassing festive food, drink, specialty Christmas market stalls, and even a Christmas pop-up complete with snow, carolers and Santa himself. 

From the team behind the Good Food & Wine Show comes the inaugural Christmas food and drink market, which boasts a curated line up of more than 100 small producers offering the best of artisan food and wine and an abundance of festive feast inspiration.

Gift shopping and live entertainment will be the name of the game at the the District Docklands Christmas Twilight Market, which brings together live performances, muralist art, live DJs and amazing market stalls, or you can shop Melbourne's most talented jewellers, fashion designers, illustrators, artists, and makers at the Boho Luxe Market: Christmas Edition.

Koorie Krismas

10 December, 10am - 3pm

Have fun with a First Nations festive celebration in Federation Square for Koorie Krismas. The festival will include a range of free family-friendly workshops where you can learn everything from how to make jewellery to bush tukka. There will also be a Koorie Krismas market, performances from First Nations musicians, dancers and poets, as well as a visit from the main man, Koorie Klaus. 

Christmas shows

Australian Girls Christmas Choir: 10 and 18 December, 11am - 1pm

National Boys Choir of Australia: Sing Christmas: 11 December, 5pm - 7pm

Carols By Candlelight, 23 (rehearsal) and 24 December, from 4pm 

Comedy Republic's Third Annual Christmas Pageant: 15-17 December

From Christmas carols to choir songs, the best way to spread Christmas cheer is by singing loud for all to hear. Over two weekends in December, you'll find the talented Australian Girls Choir roving Collins Street, delighting city visitors with angelic renditions of beloved Christmas carols, while the National Boys Choir will be taking over Melbourne Town Hall for a night of classic Christmas bangers.

And, of course, there are the Vision Australia Carols By Candlelight at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl on Christmas Eve. If you can't make it on the night before Christmas, why not check out the rehearsal show on December 23. 

For those looking to add a little pre-Christmas jolly, Comedy Republic's Third Annual Christmas Pageant brings three nights of raucous comedy, cabaret and carols.

Sustainable Christmas 

Laneway Learning Crafty Christmas: 4 December, 11am - 2:30pm

Native Festive Wreaths: 23 November, multiple sessions

Dried Botanical Holiday Wreath for Christmas Workshop: 26 November, 10:30am - 1pm

Christmas Clothing Swap: 3 December, 12pm - 4pm

If you're looking for ways to reduce waste and make your Christmas more sustainable, there are myriad craft classes and creative workshops at which you can master the art of festive DIY.

Create low-waste, handmade decorations and at the Laneway Learning Christmas crafternoon, or head to the Laneway Learning HQ for a festive wreath-making masterclass.

You can also master the more traditional art of wreath weaving at a dried wreath workshop hosted by the Royal Botanic Garden's Plant Craft Cottage. Rather than using wire, plastic or adhesives, the wreath is made by weaving, tying and threading materials together, with all flowers, seedpods, foliage and grasses used Australian grown. 

And instead of hitting the stores, look great and feel good about it by choosing to swap, rather than buy, your new festive frocks. Swap up to five items of clothing at the Christmas Clothing Swap, including a minimum of two festive dresses plus accessories from high street to high-end fashion designers.

Christmas at the RACV Club

19 December to 23 December

Christmas is coming to the RACV City Club. From taking a photo with Santa to decorating gingerbread, the RACV City Club Christmas Village is bringing all the laughter and merriment to Bourke Street. 

If you'd prefer to get out of town, gather the family for a day of celebration in the gardens of RACV's Healesville Country Club & Resort. Enjoy a festive high tea, beverages, Christmas activities for the kids, and expect a visit from a very special guest.

The RACV Bridge Club is also hosting its annual Christmas Luncheon at City Club, celebrating a wonderful year of Bridge events. There will be Bridge play in the morning, the final Bridge for 2022, followed by a 2-course festive lunch with beverages.

Clear your schedule, Christmas is coming to City Club! Keep your eyes peeled on the Club What’s On page for more information and booking. 
RACV Club Members can book here