What’s On for Christmas in Melbourne 2023

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We know that Melbourne is our beautiful cosmopolitan city and at Christmas, the town absolutely sparkles! The decorations are magical and will inspire you to join in the Christmas cheer. You will find tinsel, glass Christmas decorations and beautiful displays in the shop windows.  And of course, the food and shopping options are endless.  We have pulled together the best family friendly events for you to plan your festive activities.

And if you are looking for book a Christmas meal in Melbourne on the 25th, we have that covered too! Or if you are in charge of planning your Christmas party venue, click here.

And you will find a gorgeous Christmas Day dress to wear out to your meal on our website too.

Christmas Square at Federation Square 2023

Make merry at Melbourne’s Christmas wonderland.

Christmas comes to life at Christmas Square with festive decorations aplenty and the city’s iconic 16-metre light-up tree. Pop in to visit the big man himself at Santa’s Workshop from 24 November.

When: 24 November – 25 December

Here is what you will find at Fed Square this year…

Santa’s Big Workshop 2023

Santa and his elves are hard at work in his Melbourne workshop, making toys and presents for the big day. Come along to meet Santa, let him know what’s on your Christmas List this year and get a photo to capture the moment for years to come. And the best part – it’s all free!

This year Santa has taken up residence in Howey Place, which will be transformed into a magical Christmas laneway. Howey Place can be accessed via Collins Street (through 234 Collins Street), Swanston Street (via the Capitol Arcade) or off Little Collins Street.

Please note Santa will be taking regular breaks throughout the day to feed his reindeer, and there may be a small wait time during busy periods.

When: 25 November – 24 December

Christmas Maze

Santa’s lost his elves! Can you help find them?

Make your way through this giant present-themed maze with fun interactive games and find all the elves for a chance to win exciting prizes.

When: 24 November – 24 December

Decorations and Christmas Lights 2023

From the 16-metre tall LED tree to the beloved golden reindeer, Melbourne’s decorations are on another level this year. Visit all the projection hubs, including a brand new wall-to-wall display in Chapter House Lane, plus heaps of hidden laneway installations and more. See the full list of decorations and start planning.

When: 24 November – 25 December

Find out more about all the Federation Square’s Christmas activities click here

Christmas Projections 2023

Let it glow! Watch stunning projections take over State Library Victoria from the Swanston Street forecourt.

The dazzling display lighting up the library’s iconic facade features a range of colourful themes, celebrating everything we love about the holiday season in Australia – enjoying summer and coming together with our nearest and dearest.

Make it a night to remember and visit Christmas Square, Melbourne Town Hall and the Christmas River Show at Southbank for more stunning light shows.

This is a Christmas Festival event, presented by City of Melbourne. Once again, Christmas Square and the Christmas Projections are lighting up with 100% wind powered Christmas cheer.

Where: Chapter House Lane, Hamer Hall and Melbourne Town Hall

When: 24 November – 25 December

You can find the details of the Christmas Projections here

RELATED: Find out what is open on Christmas Day in Melbourne here

Melbourne Myer Christmas Windows

The Myer Christmas Windows have been enchanting Australian families for almost 70 years with imaginary worlds of magic and movement.

This year, the windows tell the story of Bluey’s Christmas with both original and recreated scenes from the Heeler’s holidays.

Where: Myer, Bourke Street. Melbourne

When: 12 November – 6 January, 2024

Find out more about the Myer Christmas Windows here.

Christmas Festival of Lights 2023

See the magic of Christmas and fairy tales come to life in Adventure Park’s dazzling Christmas Festival of Lights. Now with an astonishing 3 million lights over a 1.5km trail! More than a dozen new immersive and three-dimensional installations have been added to an already spectacular display celebrating all things Christmas.

Follow the glow and immerse yourself in a wonderland of enchanting trails, glistening paths, magical glittering bridges and dazzling floating displays. Be amazed by dinosaurs, animals, aquatic displays, the enchanted fairy garden, Cinderella carriage, giant toys, race car and Santa’s opulent Christmas Cave, plus lots more!  See Jingle & Bells who will be performing their amazing interactive and circus acrobatics show every night. We love every square meter of this place!

Where: Adventure Park, 1249 Bellarine Hwy, Wallington

When: 17 November – 31 December

Read more about the Christmas Festival of Lights here.

Santa Fun Run 2023

Get ready to dash through the holiday season with Vision Australia’s Santa Fun Run. Join hundreds of Santas on November 25th at Melbourne’s Royal Botanical Gardens for a festive run, walk, jog or roll around 1 or 2 laps of the iconic Tan Track. 

This family-friendly event raises funds for children’s services at Vision Australia contributing to the magical Carols by Candlelight event, helping kids who are blind or have low vision live the life they choose.

Where: Botanical Gardens, Melbourne

When: 25 November

Find out how to register for Santa Fun Run here.

Christmas Carnival 2023

Enjoy festive thrills on the banks of the Birrarung at the Christmas Carnival. Ride the ferris wheel, drive the dodgems or get the best view of the city lights as you spin 35-metres in the air on top of the Sky Flyer. Try your luck at much-loved carnival games and complete the experience with classic carnival food.

Entry is free. Tickets for each ride can be purchased at the ticket box on site.

You can find more information about Christmas Carnival here.

Christmas Ice Skating at O’Brien Icehouse 2023

Get ready to escape the summer heat and dive into some festive fun at O’Brien Icehouse at The District Docklands! From Monday, December 4th to Friday, December 22nd, Melbourne’s coolest spot is transforming into a winter wonderland, and you’re invited to join in the icy excitement.

Picture this: you’ll be skating surrounded by twinkling Christmas trees and snowflake projections, listening to Christmas tunes, and even have the chance to share a laugh on the ice with Santa himself. Whether you’re a skating pro or a complete newbie, everyone’s welcome to cool off and join the merriment.

Where: The District Docklands

When: 4 – 22 December

There are more details on Christmas Ice Skating at O’Brien Icehouse here.

Tinseltown 2023

Tinseltown is coming, just in time for the festive season.! The all-encompassing Christmas-themed pop-up will fulfil all your wishes and overflowing with holly jolly Christmas spirit!

It’s time to make every day cheery again, and you guessed it…Tinseltown is all about celebrating Christmas so you can expect Santa’s elves, tinsel, festive tunes and lots of winter warmer drinks, including a fabulous Christmas cocktail menu! The halls are more than fully decked with baubles, bows, hanging trees, wreaths and just about every festive goodie ever! You’ll be left unable to shake the spirit and joy of our favourite season.

Where: The District Docklands

When: 22 November – 30 December

There is more information on Tinseltown here.

Santa’s Village 2023

Santa’s Village is coming to Tinseltown, the ultimate interactive wonderland where the magic of Christmas comes to life! This festive season, the District Docklands invites you to join Santa and his Elves on an unforgettable adventure through a Christmas Village!

Get creative with bauble decorating, write a letter to Santa, and play Christmas-themed games like Antler Toss and Candy Cane Limbo. Test your trivia knowledge with our jolly Elves and sing along to your favourite Christmas carols.

Where: The District Docklands

When: 22 November – 24 December

All the details about Santa’s Village are here.

The Christmas Spectacular 2023

The Christmas Spectacular is an extravaganza of music, circus, dance and magic. Let your senses ignite with a kaleidoscope of Christmas songs, dances and world class variety performers as they light up the stage in a show that pays tribute to the Radio City Rocketts, The Nutcracker and much more.

Join The Voice finalist Prinnie Stevens, as she takes you on a musical journey of Christmas classics from traditional songs to Mariah Carey all performed with Prinnie’s unique style and the voice of and angel. This spectacular show will ignite your holiday spirit and remind you that Christmas truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

Where: 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank

When: 15 – 17 December

There are more details about The Christmas Spectacular here.

Christmas Carols

We love playing Christmas Carols in the car, but that’s not nearly as fun as the traditional Carols by Candlelight and we have some really great options for Christmas Carols in Melbourne… and sometimes they even have fireworks and a visit from our favourite big guy, Santa.  We have rounded up the best for you here.

Vision Australia’s Carols by Candlelight 2023

2023 marks the 86th year of the Vision Australia’s Carols by Candlelight. And this year, together with their Carols family of performers, attendees and supporters, they plan to make it the brightest Carols yet! 
Join in this Christmas Eve as we celebrate family, music and the spirit of Christmas and help us light up the lives of children who are blind or have low vision.

On 24 December each year, Melbourne’s Sidney Myer Music Bowl lights up as families and friends gather to celebrate the festive season while raising funds for Vision Australia’s children’s services. From humble beginnings in 1938, with a 30-strong choir, two solo performers and the Metropolitan Fire Brigade Band performing at midnight, Carols By Candlelight has grown into an institution of Christmas magic.

Where: Art Centre Melbourne’s Sidney Myer Music Bowl

When: Sunday 24 December

Find the details of Vision Australia’s Carols by Candlelight here.

Maroondah Carols 2023

Take some time out to enjoy the festive season with your family and friends at the Maroondah Carols. Feast on the delicious donuts whilst and enjoy the pre-show entertainment (starts at 6pm) including music, a free kid’s zone and a spectacular firework show that will light up the Maroondah night sky. This is a free event.

Where: Croydon Park

Date: Saturday 2 December

Time: 5 – 9pm

There are more details about Maroondah Carols here.

Christmas Markets

Take your Christmas shopping to the next level this year.  We love local Christmas markets in Melbourne to find those one of a kind presents. Markets are also a great way to support local artists. We have listed a few of our favourites.

Heide Christmas Market 2023

Heide Market is a collaboration between two well-loved Melbourne institutions – Heide Museum of Modern Art and The Rose St. Artists’ Market. Set in the picturesque surrounds of the Heide Museum of Modern Art sculpture park, Heide Market is the perfect place to shop for beautifully handmade work whilst chatting directly to the makers. You will find an eclectic mix of art, design, handcrafted goods and tasty treats all made with skill by the fabulous stallholders – so get inspired and plan your visit to the Heide Market today.

Where: Heide Museum of Contemporary Art sculpture park, Como House and Rippon Lea Estate

Dates: Saturday 9 – Sunday 10 December

Time: 10am – 3pm

Find more details on Heide Christmas Market here.

Melbourne Christmas Markets 2023

It’s a great time to come pickup all your Christmas gifts, meet some local small businesses, spend a day having some family fun, enjoy some delicious food and best of all purchase your very own REAL Christmas tree!

Where: Melbourne Christmas Tree Farm

Date: Saturday & Sunday November 25 & 26 & Saturday & Sunday December 2 & 3

Find the details for Melbourne Christmas Markets here.

Artisan Christmas Market on Bay Street 2023

This Christmas embrace the festive spirit and celebrate restrictions easing with Port Melbourne’s Artisan Christmas Market. Consisting of around 100 different and unique selection of artisan’s offerings for you to browse through, the Port’s Artisan Christmas Market will feature a range of handmade, homemade, locally produced gifts, art pieces, designs, jewellery and more – there is even something for your four-legged friends!

Offering something for everyone, Port’s Artisan Christmas Market is the perfect one stop shop for a range of unique Christmas presents – for those guilty of last-minute Christmas shopping (we have all been there!) so you can shop knowing you are supporting local businesses.

Where: Bay Street Port Melbourne

Date: Saturday 2 December

Time: 11am – 5pm

Find more information on Artisan Christmas Market on Bay Street here.

Bay Street Christmas Market 2023

The Port’s Artisan Christmas Market are supported by local community groups, businesses, Rotary and city of Port Phillip – is the perfect way to help the Port community get back on their feet after another hard year. Consisting of around 150 different and unique artisan offerings for you to browse, Port’s Artisan Christmas Market will feature a range of handmade, locally produced gifts, art pieces, designs, jewellery and more!

Where: Bay Street, Port Melbourne

Date: Saturday 2 December – 11am – 5pm

Find out more here.

Photos with Santa in Melbourne

Who doesn’t love a Santa photo!? It’s time to get in the spirit, throw on your best festive outfit and get ready to smile. There are plenty of options to capture the moment with Santa in Melbourne this year.  You can find the man in the red suit at shopping centres, carol events, markets and you can even include your favourite furry friends in your photos at some pet stores.  This year, the photos will look a bit different (hello social distancing) but it will capture the year that was!

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.

We have a detailed post about where to get Santa photos in Melbourne here.

We also can show you where to get your pet Christmas photos in Melbourne here.

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 Melbourne and each year the displays get bigger and brighter.  We cant find any bus tours operating in 2023, so your best bet is to use this Christmas lights list for 2023 to find the best Christmas light display.

Christmas Eve box ideas

Boy opening his Christmas Eve box

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. They also have the benefit of getting the kids to bed on Christmas Eve without a fuss (especially if the box includes some new Christmas pjs!) 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.

Get ideas for your Christmas Eve boxes in our detailed guide here.

Christmas Charity options in Melbourne

Becoming involved in Christmas charity work doesn’t just make you feel great – 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 donating to some of these great Christmas charity initiatives or volunteering your time on Christmas Day with one of these.

Christmas in Melbourne

Christmas is a time for families to come together and share in the joy of the festive season.  Melbourne offers a raft of sights, sounds and celebrations to delight all.  We encourage you to enjoy all it has to offer – with some forward planning, you will find something for all ages.

We also know what is open on Christmas Day in Melbourne.

If you would like to know where to buy a REAL Christmas tree in Melbourne this year, we know that too!

Join our Facebook group to jumpstart your Christmas planning all year long!

If you would like to be included in our article you can contact us for more information. Prices start at $295 + GST.

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Regina Gleeson

Regina is a fan of all things Christmas! As the Listings Editor of the popular Families Magazine she was instrumental in putting together the Christmas content in the print publication and on their website since its inception in 2013. She is extremely community-minded and makes it her personal mission to contribute content that is low cost (or free!) and suitable for families. This thirst for knowledge and desire to experience the things she writes about makes her an irreplaceable member of the team.

1 thought on “What’s On for Christmas in Melbourne 2023”

  1. Great list! I’m looking forward to checking out some of these events and activities during the holiday season in Melbourne. Thanks for sharing!


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