The best Christmas activities in Melbourne

Federation Square Chrismtas lights

Jessica Taylor Yates

Posted December 01, 2021


Everything from Christmas markets and parades, to carols and festive drinks, here are the best events to get you into the holiday spirit.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Though 2021 has been a tough year for most Victorians, things are finally looking up in time for the Christmas season – and Melbourne is ready to celebrate.

Whether you're looking to adorn over a Christmas window display, create your own holiday treats, enjoy a festive cocktail, or sing some holiday songs, there’s something for everyone this December – so have yourself a merry little Christmas in Melbourne.


Melbourne Christmas events

Myer Christmas Windows

Sun 14 Nov – Fri 24 Dec from 7:30 am - 10:30 pm

One of Melbourne’s favourite Christmas pastimes is back for another year. With 65 years already under their belt, the viewing (and long lines!) of the Myer Christmas Windows are a time-honoured tradition that delights adults and children alike. This year, the theme is the classic Beatrix Potter story, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, narrated by Australian treasure Magda Szubanski and set across six windows. Be on the lookout – Santa may be roaming around town, so have the cameras ready.

Christmas Cinema Events

Federation Square: Weekends from 10 – 18 Dec

Argyle Square: 8:30 pm every Sat from 30 Nov – 21 Dec

Arguably one of the best things about Christmas is getting to watch all your favourite holidays films. As a special treat, Christmas movies will be shown for free, both at Federation Square’s Big Screen Christmas Adventure, and at Argyle Square’s pop-up cinema, complete with festive lights and decorations. Bean bags and chairs are first in best dressed, otherwise, bring your own picnic gear and food from local restaurants for a Christmas flick under the stars.

Christmas Square

Display: Fri 12 Nov – Sat 25 Dec

Santa’s Workshop: Sat 13 Nov – Fri 24 Dec, 10 am – 12 pm, 1 pm - 3 pm

Christmas in the Wizarding World: Tues 7 Dec, 5 pm - late

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 a special live performance and activities from the cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child during Christmas in the Wizarding World, or just enjoying the dazzling display of festive decorations, giant baubles, and 16-metre high light-up Christmas tree, there’s something for everyone at Melbourne’s Christmas wonderland. 

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

Decorations and installations

Christmas Decorations: Fri 12 Nov – Sat 25 Dec

Gingerbread Village: Wed 1 Dec – Fri 24 Dec, 10.00 am – 6:30 pm

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 the city, take in the Christmas Decorations that light up at night, from the giant reindeer and Christmas Maze in the Docklands to the Row Ho Ho Santa Sleigh at Birrarung Marr, the Nutcracker soldiers in the CBD, or the Gingerbread Village in the Emporium. There’s no shortage of dazzling decorations to keep your eyes sparkling in the city.

Christmas projections

Wed 24 Nov – Sat 25 Dec, 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, the Christmas dreamland on Chapter House Lane, or watching the renowned Christmas Projections glisten upon Melbourne Town Hall, there’s plenty to feast your eyes on in the nights leading up to Christmas.

Christmas carnivals and festivals

Christmas Carnival, Thurs 16 Dec – Fri 24 Dec, 11 am – 10 pm

Christmas in Chinatown, Sun 19 Dec, 11 am – 10 pm

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 prefer the 8 Days of Xmas festive fundraiser at Section 8, or activities such as lantern making and dancing at Christmas in Chinatown.

Chanukah celebrations

Pillars of Light, Sun 28 Nov – Thurs 2 Dec, 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm, Fri 3 Dec 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm, Sat 4 Dec 9:15 pm – 11:15 pm, Sun 5 Dec, 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm

Walking Together, Sun 5 Dec, from 3.30 pm onwards

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.’ The Walking Together walking trail (over five separate walks depending on fitness level) can be taken in step with First Nations people from Aboriginal culturally symbolic locations to the Chanukah lighting at Federation Square. Each night will feature themes of ‘connection and collaboration.’

Each night of Chanukah, the event will feature guest speakers and performers from the AFL, Indigenous representatives, menorah lighters from communities including Hindu, Buddhist, and Sikh, and an opportunity to celebrate ‘Melbourne’s harmonious and culturally diverse social fabric with 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

String Bean Alley Christmas Night Market, Mon 6, 13, 20 Dec, 5 pm – 10 pm

Rialto Christmas Creators Markets, Wed 15 Dec – Thurs 16 Dec, 10 am – 6 pm, Fri 17 Dec, 10 am – 5 pm

Christmas Artists’ Market, Sat 4 Dec – Sun 5 Dec, 10 am-3 pm

Still need to do your Christmas shopping? Support local at some Melbourne artisan Christmas markets. Around the city, you’ve got the 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. The kids might even enjoy going on the Christmas trail to find clues and receive a festive prize.

If you’re looking to find the perfect gift on your lunch hour in the CBD, the Rialto Christmas Creators Markets feature local crafts and produce, while the Christmas Artists’ Market features handmade art including prints, jewellery, and kitchen accessories in Fitzroy Gardens for you to enjoy on a weekend stroll.

Koorie Christmas

Fri 10 Dec, 4 pm – 6 pm, Sat 11 Dec, 11 am – 7 pm, Sun 12 Dec, 11 am – 6 pm

Have fun with a First Nations festive show in Federation Square for Koorie Christmas, including markets, workshops, Indigenous performers, and festivities for the whole family – and even a visit from Koorie Klaus!

Christmas shows

Crown’s Christmas Spectacular, Mon 29 Nov – Mon 3 Jan

Father Bob’s We Need A Little Christmas Variety Show, Wed 15 Dec, 1 pm – 2 pm

Christmas All Sorts, Fri 10 Dec, 5 pm – 10 pm

Carols By Candlelight, Fri 24 Dec, 4 pm onwards

It’s time for galas like no other! Perhaps the most famous is Crown’s Christmas Spectacular, the free festive light and music show providing magic and delight for people of all ages. The Atrium transforms into a ‘festive wonderland,’ with a six-storey Christmas tree and giant jewelled eggs that open in time with song to reveal famous Christmas characters.

Those looking for in-person entertainment can enjoy Father Bob’s We Need A Little Christmas Variety Show at Fed Square for free, a night out filled with comedy, trivia, and karaoke at the Christmas All-Sorts or of course, Vision Australia’s Carols By Candlelight at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl on Christmas Eve. 

 

Make gingerbread cookies at RACV City Club

Activities like gingerbread making are interactive and fun for the whole family Image: Getty. 


 


Young hands may enjoy getting in the festive spirit for an afternoon decorating gingerbread with the Christmas elves – with a take-home recipe for more to enjoy. 

RACV Club Members can book here