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 2021
This year, the Lighting of the Christmas Tree will be an held at King George Square and live-streamed via Brisbane City Facebook page, from 6.30pm – 7.30pm on Friday November 26.
Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner will turn on the 22m-high Christmas tree’s twinkling lights accompanied by special Christmas musical performances to get you in the festive mood. The Brisbane Christmas Tree will be on display from 26 November to 6 January in King George Square. This is usually done at the very end of November or early December to coincide with the Brisbane school holidays.
Where: King George Square and online via the Brisbane City Council Facebook Page
When: Friday 26 November at 6:30pm – 7.30pm
The Lott by Golden Casket City Hall Lights 2021
Located in King George Square is The Lott by Golden Casket City Hall Lights, a dazzling visual and sound display of ‘The Night Before Christmas’, narrated by Robin Bailey. Take the kids to enjoy this classic Christmas tale in larger than life form sure to light up their eyes.
Where: King George Square
When: 7:30pm to midnight from 10 – 24 December (display runs every fifteen minutes)
Christmas in the Queen Street Mall 2021
Enjoy the magic of Christmas in Queen Street Mall with Christmas on Queen, daily pop-up performances and roaming entertainment throughout the mall. Don’t miss the roving festive fun from 3-24 December from 11am-3pm and 4.30pm-8.30pm during late night shopping.
Where: Queen Street Mall
When: 3-24 December at 11am, 3pm and 4.30pm – 8.30pm during last night shopping.
Myer Christmas windows
To be updated for 2021.
The Enchanted Garden at Roma Street Parkland 2021
Combining magical lighting, audio special effects and digital art, The Enchanted Garden is returning to Roma Street Parkland in 2021!
Running 1 – 23 December, the family-friendly lighting trail combines over 8000 square metres of custom-made lighting, audio, special effects and sculptures to deliver a world-class digital art experience in the heart of Brisbane.
The lighting trail is constructed with cutting-edge visual and auditory elements like holograms, LED fields and hundreds of 3D-printed birds, with the 11 unique activations combining nature and technology for an unforgettable immersive journey.
The installation’s self-guided narrative will take guests around 30 minutes to complete, with entry available every 15 minutes from 6:30 pm to last entry at 9 pm. Roma Street Parkland’s gardens are precious, so visitors are asked to keep to the installation pathways while enjoying their journey.
Tickets to The Enchanted Garden are $7 per person (free for under 2 years), and guests can take as long as they like enjoying The Enchanted Garden once admitted. Please be aware of ticketing scams—tickets are exclusively sold through Ticketek—and consider donating to The Children’s Hospital Foundation when purchasing tickets to help families in need.
To complete the magical experience at The Enchanted Garden, food trucks will be pulling up nightly on Celebration Lawn and Lakeside Lawn, and The Garden Room cafe will offer two specially curated share-style menus for kids and adults.
Where: Roma Street Parkland
When: Wednesday 1 Dec 2021 – Thursday 23 Dec 2021
Times: 6.30pm – 9pm nightly
Christmas at South Bank Brisbane 2021
There are always so many wonderful Christmas activities going on at South Bank Brisbane.
The South Bank Christmas Show 2021
Prepare for a nostalgic celebration of Christmas magic with this diverse variety show perfect for the whole family!
Running nightly at 6:30pm and 8pm on 18-23 December, The South Bank Christmas Show will combine live music, singing, dancing, circus and Santa for an all-out mash-up of festive fun that will have everyone in the South Bank Piazza tapping their toes and singing along.
Keep an eye out for the tap-dancing teddy bear, rockin’ rocking horse and more joyful Christmas characters gifted to Brisbane by the creative minds of acclaimed local collective Oscar Production Company.
A range of ticketing options are available for each session of The South Bank Christmas Show:
- $6 per ticket in seating banks (free for under-2s who don’t require their own seat)
- $18 for a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 children)
- $24 for a family of 5 (2 adults, 3 children)
- $45 for a table of 4 on the floor (front of stage)
- $70 for a table of 6 on the floor (front of stage)
Tickets can be purchased online via Oztix, with any remaining tickets available from the Piazza box office outside prior to each show—pre-purchasing in advance via the Oztix website is recommended to avoid disappointment! More information coming soon.
Kids Craft and Storytelling 2021
Across from Santa’s Stopover on the Flowstate Lawns, South Banks Christmas craft and storytelling station is guaranteed to get the kids involved and their creative juices flowing.
At alternating craft and storytelling sessions facilitated by creative arts educators Bazil Grumble from 4pm to 9:30pm, kids will make their own take-home Christmas koala instrument before enjoying a Christmas storybook and carols session with Santa’s elves.
Free tickets must be obtained to manage crowd numbers; they can be collected from the ticketing booth outside the Flowstate Lawns from one hour prior to each session, or until all spots are allocated.
Where: Flowstate, South Bank Parklands
When: Five sessions nightly from 4pm – 8:45pm from 8–23 December
Santa’s Stop Over 2021
Delight the little ones this festive season with a visit to see Santa himself!
Santa and Mrs Claus will be pulling up in the sleigh and available for socially distanced photos at Flowstate daily from 4 pm to 9:30 pm on 18-23 December. Please note that attendees will be required to take their own photos. (If you wanted to know where else you can get Santa photos in Brisbane check our article here.)
Santa’s Stopover will operate sessions daily between 4pm and 9:30pm and is free to enjoy, but there will be limited tickets which must be obtained at the event. Ticketing booths can be found at the Flowstate Lawns and will open from 4pm.
Where: Flowstate, South Bank
When: 18th – 23rd December. Santa’s Stopover has four sessions nightly running between 4pm- 9.30pm
Christmas Cinema 2021
Enjoy free Christmas films and family favourites at River Quay Green as the sun sets over South Bank. Two films will screen nightly at our riverside cinema, with a family-friendly movie playing at 6:15 pm and a flick for the older folks at 8 pm.
BYO picnic rugs are recommended (but guests are asked to leave chairs at home so as not to obscure anyone’s view), as are packed or purchased picnics to enjoy during the film. Four-legged friends on leads are welcome, too!
The Christmas Cinema presented by eatSouthBank is free, but guests will be required to check in via the Check In Qld app.
River Quay Green and Little Stanley Street Lawn (North) is a licensed venue until 10pm. To consume alcohol, event attendees must be over 18 years and drinks must be accompanied by a substantive meal.
Saturday 18 December
- 6:15pm – Up
- 8pm – Crazy Rich Asians
Sunday 19 December
- 6:15pm – Elf
- 8pm – Pitch Perfect
Monday 20 December
- 6:15pm – Babe
- 8pm – Ghostbusters
Tuesday 21 December
- 6:15pm – Polar Express (subtitled)
- 8pm – Men in Black (subtitled)
Wednesday 22 December
- 6:15pm – The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
- 8pm – Last Christmas
Thursday 23 December
- 6:15pm – The Grinch
- 8pm – National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Where: River Quay Green, South Bank Parklands
When: Christmas Cinema sessions are on at 6.15pm and 8pm nightly from 19-23 December.
The Lights of Christmas at St Stephen’s Cathedral Postponed until 2022
Postponed until 2022.
David Jones Christmas Parade Brisbane – Postponed until 2022
Postponed until 2022.
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 2021
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 11 December 2021
Time: 5pm – 11.45pm
Carols in the Reservoir 2021
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: 10th to 22nd December
A Christmas Carol 2021
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: 2 – 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 2021
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 4th & Sunday 5th December
The BrisStyle Twilight Markets 2021
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 27 November
The Collective Markets – Christmas Edition 2021
The Collective Markets in South Bank will return to their home on Little Stanley Street and Stanley Street Plaza from 10.00am- 9.00pm to showcase a wealth of Christmas gifts and bites by independent retailers, unique to South Bank.
Where: Little Stanley Street, South Bank
When: Friday 17th – Thursday 23rd 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 – Postponed until 2022
Postponed until 2022: 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 2021
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. We also know where to get a real live Christmas tree in Brisbane!
Join our Facebook group to jumpstart your Christmas planning all year long!