Guide to Christmas lights and decoration hotspots

We’ve scoured the city (and Instagram) to bring you the most photogenic Christmas spots from projections, light shows and trees to decorations and hidden gems. Even better – it won’t cost a cent to see them.

Federation Square Christmas Tree

The centrepiece of the City of Melbourne’s Christmas Festival Hub at Federation Square is the new 16 metre tree. Visit after 9pm for a dazzling spectacle of multi-coloured lights as well as nightly projections, Beci Orpin’s A Christmas Tale, a festive film screening accompanied by a live choir and the Giant Christmas Bauble. Walk inside this six-metre-high wonder, a perfect spot for a bit of date night strolling or a #melbmoment selfie. Shows until Sunday 25 December.

Don’t miss the 16m high LED lit Christmas tree at Federation Square

Christmas Projections at Docklands

While the projections at Federation Square are dazzling the crowds, there is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered at Docklands. Walk along New Quay Promenade and interact with the glowing sculptures, with lights depicting Christmas colours, characters and imagery. Until Tuesday 25 December.

Giant glowing sculptures on a city plaza at night

Christmas Projections on New Quay Promenade, Docklands

ArtVo at Crown

One of the biggest Instagram hits of Christmas 2017, the ArtVo at Crown is back in 2018, with even more festive scenes to snap a selfie. Created by immersive ‘trick art’ gallery ArtVo, visitors are invited to take a photo in one of twelve Christmas scenarios – and become part of the picture. Runs until 28 December.

A man and a woman standing inside a life size snow globe

ArtVo at Crown is back in 2018

Crown Christmas Spectacular

While you’re there make sure you drop past the Crown Christmas Spectacular for the 24-hour, fully-lit Christmas tree and dazzling animatronic light show. See larger-than-life baubles creating a musical compilation of favourite Christmas songs, running daily from 10am to midnight every 30 minutes. Santa will also be in the Atrium every day until Monday 24 December between noon and 6pm. It’s the perfect opportunity for family Christmas photos in a fabulously lit gold throne. Runs until 1 January 2019.

A huge lit Christmas tree in a grand foyer surrounded by people and giant Christmas tree baubles

Crown Christmas Spectacular

The Melbourne Town Hall

Everyone’s loving the Melbourne Town Hall Christmas makeover. But while the day reveals nutcracker soldiers, perfectly cultivated flower beds, wreaths and a giant bow, it’s nightime where the real action begins.

a historic building with Christmas decorations

Christmas at Melbourne Town Hall

Christmas Throne in Degraves Street

Be king of the laneways, if only for a moment, and take your seat on the Christmas throne currently in residence on Degraves Street.

A woman sitting on a large throne in a city laneway

The Christmas Throne in Degraves Street

The foyer at 333 Collins Street

One of the most elegantly beautiful foyers in the city, just got more spectacular. We wish this tree could stay there forever.

A giant Christmas tree in the foyer of an old building with high ornate ceilings

Christmas grandeur – the foyer at 333 Collins Street

Hamer Hall

If sunset on the Princes Bridge and the numerous waterside bars and eateries aren’t enough reasons to linger along the Yarra at dusk, here’s another.

A giant sign with the words Merry Christmas projected onto the outside of a concert hall at night

Hamer Hall lights up for Christmas

QV Market’s Santa throne

Deck the stalls and watch as Christmas comes to life at Queen Victoria Market! You can meet the main man himself on 22 and 23 December but getting the throne all to yourself is just as fun.

Santa sitting on a throne

Santa on his throne at the Queen Victoria Market

Christmas Lights at Light House

Docklands architectural icon, the Light House at 888 Collins St, Docklands displays a light show from dusk to midnight, seven days a week, every day of the year. The facade of the building runs a special Christmas Light Show on the hour – head to Buluk Park for the best viewing spot.

A skyscraper lit up with lights next to trees also lit up at night

Christmas Lights at Light House

St Collins Lane

Noted for its eye-catching sculptural lightscape that runs the entire length of the second-floor canopy,  St Collins Lane is already one of Melbourne’s key Instagram hotspots. Now there’s even more to photograph with stunning decorations now up outside their Collins Street entrance. Stroll inside to browse through treasures from Coach, Debenhams, Maje and Tag Heuer.

St Collins Lane

Looking for more?

The fir tree facade at Cartier

We’re impressed with their commitment to the Christmas theme. Find Cartier in the Paris end of Collins Street.

A jewellery shop window decorated with fir tree branches

Fir tree facade at Cartier

Centre Place

This low-key approach Christmas lighting makes one of Melbourne’s most photographed laneways even more photogenic. For more on what to see and do while you’re there, read Melbourne Laneways: a guide to Centre Place.

Strings of lights hanging from buildings in a city laneway

Christmas lights in Centre Place

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Costume Exhibition at Emporium

Drop by Emporium Melbourne to gaze at the visually spectacular costume exhibition centered around the movie, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms‘ key characters. Showcasing the work of Academy Award-winning costume designer Jenny Bevan, it includes Clara’s beautiful blue party dress, the ornate Captain Phillip uniform, the extravagant Sugar Plum Fairy gown and the graceful costume for the Ballerina of the Realms.

Christmas at The District, Docklands

Docklands’ shopping and creative precinct, The District, will be filled with the season’s cheer this year. Lots of local primary school kids have got busy and imaginative for the Christmas Tree Exhibition. Plus there’s more entertainment and oodles of treasures to please the eye at The District Makers Market.