Whether this is your first Christmas in the city or you’re a long-time Melburnian, there are a number of sights and celebrations that you really can’t miss. Here’s your shortlist to this year’s festive fun in the city.
Myer Christmas Windows
Taking pride of place in the Bourke Street Mall, the Myer Christmas Windows – now in its 64th year – has been a holiday highlight for generations of Melburnians. This year’s display is features the gumnut babies from Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, the iconic characters created by Australian female author and illustrator, May Gibbs.
The heart of Christmas in the city, Christmas Square offers an amazing array of free sights, sounds and experiences. Central to the festivities is the huge 16-metre tall LED Christmas Tree, which will come to life each night in a spectacular sound and light show. Head to the Festival Launch Party on Friday 29 November to see the first lighting of the Tree, and listen out for the arrival of a very special guest. Visit Santa’s House to take part in fun daily activities, and jostle for your selfie position at Melbourne’s most snap-worthy installation, the Giant Christmas Bauble. Friday 29 November to Wednesday 25 December at Federation Square.
Carols by Candlelight
This glowing ritual in the Sidney Myer Music Bowl gathers thousands of voices to sing with joy and hope, with all funds raised going to Vision Australia. Musical theatre stars Marina Prior and David Campbell are among the performers leading the way at this year’s Carols by Candlelight. Tuesday 24 December.
The city’s beloved Christmas Projections are back, transforming buildings and structures with incredible light displays. Watch the feature show at State Library Victoria, then make your way to Melbourne Town Hall and Princes Bridge. Friday 29 November to Sunday 25 December.
Making Gravy Tour
Now in its third year, Paul Kelly’s Making Gravy tour will kick off your festive season with a celebration of music and merriment. With special guests including Courtney Barnett, Kate Miller-Heidke and Marlon Williams, don’t miss this opportunity to see this legendary songwriter in this spectacular outdoor concert on Thursday 12 December.
Not content just watching? Come to the Gravy Day Singalong to join in the fun, led by special guest Claire Bowditch on Saturday 21 December. Following the singalong, enjoy a special, one-night-only Christmas Tree light show, curated to the song itself!
Gingerbread Village at St Collins Lane
A fun-filled activity for the whole family, visit the magical Gingerbread Village to see Melbourne’s iconic landmarks recreated in edible form. Kids will enjoy a range of activities and plenty of treats, while delicious baked goods make finishing your Christmas shopping list a cinch. Open 9am to 8.15pm daily, Saturday 30 November to Tuesday 24 December.
Laneway Learning’s Crafty Christmas
Learn to make up-cycled bonbons, paper ornaments or beeswax wraps and join in on an afternoon of fun at Laneway Learning’s Crafty Christmas. Sunday 1 December.
The Big Design Market
This much anticipated mega market is a must for foodies, families and lovers of original gifts and design. Head to the Big Design Market at the Royal Exhibition Building to buy direct from over 250 inspirational designers. Indulge in delicious food, cocktails, craft beer and local wines, with free activities and prizes for the kids. Friday 6 to Sunday 8 December.
Handel’s Messiah in concert with the MSO
Handel’s Messiah, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra annual Christmas concert tradition, returns to Hamer Hall on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 December. Featuring a new arrangement of the revered classic and conducted by Grammy-nominated Sir Andrew Davis, it’s the perfect way to celebrate the festive season.
Foodie masterclasses at Henry and the Fox
Up your Christmas culinary skills with three foodie masterclasses at Henry and the Fox. Led by Head Chef Meurig Jones, learn to brine bone and stuff your own turkey, or how to make and decorate your own gingerbread house. Better yet, treat the meat-free members of your family to a vegan Christmas spread. Classes run over three Sundays from 1 to 15 December.
Errol Street Christmas party
Festive fun is coming to North Melbourne on 12 December for Christmas in Errol Street. Enjoy late night shopping and retail offerings, while Christmas Angels and a range of creative street performers keep you entertained. Little ones will love meeting Santa, joining an elf hunt, and could even win a Christmas prize.
From twinkling lights and glittering stars to everyone’s favourite nutcrackers, Instagram-friendly moments will be everywhere when stunning Christmas decorations transform the city. Don’t miss the new giant reindeer at Docklands, the 12 Days of Christmas display at Market Lane, Crossley and Liverpool streets, and more nutcrackers than ever at a number of new locations. Friday 29 November to Wednesday 25 December.
Carols at Baths
For the first time ever, Carlton Baths’ iconic outdoor pool will transform into a Christmas haven for Carols at the Baths. Enjoy Christmas carols performed by the Melbourne Gay and Lesbian Chorus, and a swim with Santa. Sunday 15 December.
The Festival of Independents
The streets surrounding Flinders Lane make up one of Melbourne’s most vibrant precincts. From 29 November, it will be home to the ultimate neighbourhood party – the Festival of Independents. Be inspired and engage with special public installations, buy Melbourne made and designed, enjoy daily in-store offers and delectable goodies from stores, eateries and businesses across the Flinders Quarter. Friday 29 November to Friday 13 December.