There is nothing quite like Christmas in Brisbane. The balmy nights and the winding river make the perfect backdrop to some amazing Christmas traditions. Each year there are a range of Christmas events across the Brisbane CBD and South Bank. King George Square, in the centre of Brisbane city, is a great place to start and it is where a lot of the free Christmas events in Brisbane happen.
And if you are looking for where to eat Christmas lunch, this Christmas Day dining article will help you out! And you will find a gorgeous Christmas Day dress to wear out to your meal on our website too.
If you are planning to host a festive gathering this year we know where the best Christmas party venues in Brisbane are.
Lighting the Brisbane City Christmas Tree
The festive season really feels like is has begun with the much-loved tradition of lighting the Brisbane City Christmas Tree. This is one of our favorite free Christmas events in Brisbane each year. The tree is the largest solar-powered Christmas tree in Queensland! Join Brisbane’s Lord Mayor, Santa and special guests to welcome the festive season. This is usually done at the very end of November or early December to coincide with the Brisbane school holidays.
Where: Online via the Brisbane City Council Facebook Page
When: Tuesday 1 December at 6:30pm
Gold Lotto City Hall Lights Spectator
Another not to be missed event on Brisbane’s Christmas calendar is the Gold Lotto City Hall Lights Spectacular. A dazzling visual and sound display of fantasy and magic that will transport you to a winter wonderland in Brisbane. Each night the light show is projected onto the City Hall every 15 minutes.
Where: King George Square
When: 7:30pm to midnight from 4 – 24 December (display runs every fifteen minutes)
Christmas in the Queen Street mall
Santa’s Stable will see Santa’s reindeer surprise and delight shoppers in the Queen Street Mall for a limited time each night. There will be live pop-up performances, acrobats, choirs, and all your favourite Christmas characters. Don’t miss the roving festive fun from 4-24 December from 11am-2pm, plus 5pm-8pm during late-night trade.
Where: Queen Street Mall
When: 4-24 December from 11am-2pm, plus 5pm-8pm during late-night trade
Myer Christmas windows
Update for 2020: To the best of our knowledge the MYER Christmas windows are not going ahead in 2020.
The Enchanted Garden at Roma Street Parkland
Have you ever wondered what 40 000 fairy lights looks like? When the sun goes down, the gardens in Roma Street Parkland transform into a festive light wonderland. We LOVE Roma Street Parkland at Christmas!! This year’s display will even involve shining crystal curtains, neon butterflies and laser gardens along the dedicated light trail.
The beloved Enchanted Gardens are back this year and for the first time it will be a ticketed event. Tickets are free but you will have to get in quickly as they will be snapped up quickly. They will be running 45-minute sessions so you will have ample time to enjoy. Once you’ve gazed at all the lights, there will be a number food trucks ready and waiting to feed you on the Celebration Lawn.
Where: Roma Street Parkland
When: Fri 4 Dec 2020 – Sun 17 Jan 2021
Times: 5pm – 9.30pm nightly
Christmas at South Bank Brisbane
There are always so many wonderful Christmas activities going on at South Bank Brisbane.
Kids Craft and Storytelling
Across the green, children will have the opportunity to create their own Christmas craft. They can make their own wombat crowns and be entertained by Santas’s elves as they recite their favourite storybook tales. Tickets are free, but registration is required at least one hour before each session commences.
Where: Flowstate, South Bank Parklands
When: Five sessions nightly from 4pm – 8:45pm from 8–23 December
Christmas Tree Spectacular supported by ABC Brisbane
Head to South Bank Piazza for Christmas entertainment that’ll light up the stage. The Christmas Tree Spectacular show is a riot of circus acts, singing and dancing to ignite joy and wonder for the whole family.
Where: South Bank Piazza
When: 8– 23 December, 5:30pm and 7:30pm nightly.
Santa’s Stop Over
Visit Flowstate for Santa’s Stopover and take a peek at Mr and Mrs Claus who will be getting everyone in the Christmas spirit from their festive sleigh. There will also be opportunities for a photo with Santa (socially distanced of course!). Santa’s Stopover is free to enjoy; however, guests will be required to register their details on the night. You can get a free entry ticket at Flowstate, 1 hour prior to the session.
Where: Flowstate, South Bank
When: 18th – 23rd December. Santa’s Stopover has four sessions nightly running between 4pm- 9pm
Our balmy nights are the perfect backdrop for the outdoor Brisbane’s Christmas Cinema. You can bring a rug and pack a picnic and enjoy the free movie experience. Movie-goers can enjoy a child friendly flick at 6.00pm, while the 8.00pm session makes for the perfect date night or evening with friends. The surrounding eateries also give you plenty of dinner or dessert options as well.
Where: River Quay Green, South Bank Parklands
When: Christmas Cinema sessions are on at 6pm and 8pm nightly from 19-23 December.
Festive beats will be booming in the South Bank Parklands and the singers will be giving it all they’ve got! From 4pm to 9:45pm at Little Stanley Street Lawns and 4pm – 6pm at River Quay Green, delight in the smooth vocals of 30 different local artists as they serenade guests with original tunes and cheerful Christmas covers, with no one artist performing twice across the program.
Where: Little Stanley Street Lawns and 4pm – 6pm at River Quay Green
When: 4pm-9:45pm 18-13 Dec
The Lights of Christmas at St Stephen’s Cathedral
Update for 2020: This event will not be going ahead in 2020 due to COVID-19. It will be back better than ever in 2021.
David Jones Christmas Parade Brisbane
Update for 2020: This event will not be going ahead in 2020 due to COVID-19.
Brisbane Christmas Carols
Brisbane loves a good Christmas carols event. Our suburbs are filled with these local Brisbane Christmas carol events that showcase the best of the local carolers. These events support the local community groups and are well worth a visit. The city centre also has many annual carols events. Our favourite Christmas carol events across Brisbane include:
Lord Mayor’s Christmas Carols
Gather your family and friends for a festive night of carols at the iconic Riverstage for the Lord Mayor’s Christmas Carols. This event is a free all ages event. You will need to register for your free tickets this year as numbers are limited. It will be a night to sing along to your favourite carols with some of Brisbane’s finest performers. Tickets will be available from Tuesday 24 November.
When: Saturday 5th December
Time: 4pm – 9:15pm
Carols in the Reservoir
Be six metres underground, in a 150-year-old water reservoir, in Brisbane’s CBD, in Summer as the snow falls for your Christmas breakup at Carols in the Reservoir! What could be more mystical about Christmas than celebrating in the Spring Hill Reservoir, being serenaded by world-class performers singing traditional Christmas favourites with Carols in the Reservoir.
Where: Spring Hill Reservoir
When: 1st to 22nd December
A Christmas Carol
This December, the award-winning stage spectacle – Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol – returns to lift your spirits. Brimful of song, humour, love, and lashings of festive joy, A Christmas Carol is a magical, grand-in-scale production – perfect for the entire family.
When: 16 – 24 December
Tis the season to go shopping and what better place to shop than local Christmas Markets. You will be supporting local businesses and you can find gifts for even the fussiest of relatives and friends. The suburbs are full of these local Brisbane Christmas markets and you can also find a great variety in the city. Some of the regular Christmas markets in the city are:
QAGOMA Christmas Design Market
The QAGOMA Christmas Design Market is back and bigger than ever, with more than 50 of Brisbane’s best local independent artisans. Treat yourself and those you love to a handmade gift from their diverse selection of handmade ceramics, jewelry, homewares, textiles and clothing, and maybe even pop in to GOMA to check out their latest exhibition,
When: 9am–4pm, Saturday 5 December
The BrisStyle Twilight Markets
The BrisStyle Handmade Markets are at it again this year, with nothing but 100% handmade goods at their stalls. 80 local designers will be lit up by the solar-powered Christmas tree outside City Hall, with food trucks, gift wrapping stations, live music and even craft stations where you can make your own Christmas creations.
Where: King George Square, Brisbane CBD
When: 4pm–9pm, Saturday 28 November
The Collective Markets – Christmas Edition
The Collective Markets in South Bank will return to their home on Little Stanley Street and Stanley Street Plaza from 10.00am- 10.00pm to showcase a wealth of Christmas gifts and bites by independent retailers, unique to South Bank.
Where: Little Stanley Street, South Bank
When: 13 – 23 December
Photos with Santa
For some families, part of the Christmas time tradition is to get a family photo with Santa. This year the photos will be socially distanced, but there is still a variety of places to go to get the photos done. This includes shopping centres, local Christmas carol events, markets and you can even get a photo with Santa with your beloved fur baby at some pet shops!
Meeting Santa for most kids is exciting but if your child has a sensory process disorder like autism, it can be a challenging experience. Some shopping centres are now offering ‘Sensory Santa’. They create a calm and sensory-friendly photo session with dim lights and no music or loud noises.
Christmas lights bus tours
One of the best things about this special time of year is the Christmas lights. We are so spoiled for choice in Brisbane and each year the displays get bigger and brighter. You can drive yourself around the local streets or there are a number of Brisbane Christmas lights bus tours to choose from.
You can choose from the Brisbane City Council bus tours or private tours. The tours last for roughly around 3 hours.
Dates: Monday 19th December to Friday 23rd December
Time: departing at 6.45pm from the following locations:
- Northern Suburbs – Ann Street, Anzac Square, Brisbane City
- Southern Suburbs – Garden City Shopping Centre
- Eastern Suburbs – Carindale Shopping Centre
- Western Suburbs – Indooroopilly Shopping Centre
- Northern Suburbs – Chermside Shopping Centre
Christmas Eve box ideas
There is a growing tradition of giving kids a Christmas Eve Box on the 24th of December to get them right into the spirit of Xmas. Some families I know use this additional gift as a way to get the kids to go to bed without a fuss on Christmas Eve. Whatever your reason for creating a Christmas Eve box, we’ve put together a few ideas for your kids (and one for the mummas too!) You can find all the details including pricing and where to buy their contents here.
Christmas charity options in Brisbane
Becoming involved in Christmas charity work isn’t just the moral thing to do – it’s a way to teach our own children the values of empathy, respect and kindness. For a Christmas family activity with a difference think about getting involved with some of these great Christmas charity initiatives where you can donate items. If you are looking to donate your time, check out our volunteering at Christmas article.
Christmas in Brisbane
The whole month of December is undoubtedly the best time to be in Brisbane! It’s warm, everyone is in a good mood and there is so much to do for families, kids, singles and couples! Get out there an enjoy the best Christmas you’ve ever had!
If you are heading to the Gold Coast to celebrate Christmas, you will need to read this article here. If you would like to give back to your community this Christmas, check out our “Where to Volunteer” article here.
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