Essential night-time events for your diary

Save the date for these exciting nocturnal events that will keep you merry and bright through November and the festive season. From a laneway beer festival to a big Christmas tree lighting, there’s lots happening in Melbourne.

Festival of Independents

Traders along Flinders Lane and adjoining alleys and arcades are uniting for a distinctive, creative Christmas shopping night. The Festival of Independents promises live entertainment, tasty treats, installations and creations by Melbourne artists and designers. 4-9pm, Thursday 6 December.

People walking over a level crossing in a city laneway at night.

Explore Flinders Lane and adjoining alleys and arcades as part of the Festival of Independents

Snow Days at Chuckle Park

The sun may be shining, but a snowy wonderland reigns at Chuckle Park, Melbourne’s kooky little laneway camp ground. Don a set of antlers or a Santa hat and get into the spirit with their snow-capped gin cocktail, Sherbet Peaks. Pair it with a S’mores dessert pizza, topped with melted marshmallows and Nutella, and it might just start snowing. 5pm until late, Saturday 1 to Monday 24 December.

Christmas Festival Official Tree Lighting Ceremony

Be there at Federation Square – aka Christmas Square! – for the City of Melbourne’s Christmas Festival Official Tree Lighting Ceremony. Sleigh bells will ring as Santa and his friends arrive to entertain the crowd gathering around the festival hub’s 16-metre centrepiece. Wonder at the 192 individually programmed LED branches, and the all-new star perched atop this magical tree twinkling in the night sky. From 6pm, Friday 30 November.

A city square at night time with Christmas deborations and a giant Christmas tree all lit up

Christmas Festival at Federation Square

Christmas projections

Melbourne’s famous animated Christmas projections return, lighting up iconic locations around the city. Catch the feature show at Fed Square, and make your mark using ‘finger-paint’ technology to control your own vibrant light projection. Then check out the Town Hall projections, and the colourful transformation of New Quay Promenade’s Silence sculptures in Docklands. Classic free festive fun! 9 to 10.20pm, Friday 30 November to Tuesday 25 December.

J Day Christmas Beer Laneway Festival

Denmark’s favourite festive celebration is J Day, when breweries release their Christmas beers, or julebrygs. There’s no need to fly to Copenhagen to get a taste – just head to the J Day Christmas Beer Laneway Festival! Denmark House is flying in lots of julebryg for their one-night-only pop-up laneway bar. There’s also Danish food and DJs, plus more tipples including cocktails indoors at the Akvavit bar. From 5pm, Friday 30 November.

Summer Night Market

International street food, cool drinks, 100-plus curated stalls (ideal for fun Christmas shopping), live entertainment and party lights. Yes, the Summer Night Market is back! Tasty new traders at Melbourne’s Wednesday evening summer essential include Colombiantojos for traditional Colombian treats.  5 to 10pm Wednesday nights, starting 21 November.

A crowd of people walking through a busy market with city skyscrapers in the background

The Summer Night Market

Stomping Ground La Boca

Mega musical Evita will get everyone crying for Argentina at Arts Centre Melbourne this summer. But out in the forecourt there’s a hot Buenos Aires party vibe at the Stomping Ground La Boca pop-up beer garden. Live la vida loca, from tango lessons to a Collingwood craft brewery’s event-exclusive Argentine-inspired lager. Tuesday 4 December 2018 to Sunday 24 February 2019.

School of Rock – The Musical

Remember that Jack Black film School of Rock, where he plays a failed rocker who pretends to be a substitute teacher? Well get ready for School of Rock – The Musical. Once again, Dewey Finn blows those private-school kids away with epic guitar riffs and a rock’n’roll attitude that changes hearts and minds. This international Broadway hit with music from Andrew Lloyd Webber is an Australian premiere.

A group of teenagers dressed in high school uniforms performing in a rock band

School of Rock