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.
Christmas Square at Federation Square
After a long year huddled indoors, Fed Square is coming out to play this December, in partnership with City of Melbourne. Looking for the best place to take the kids? Santa’s Workshop is here! Plus see the world through Santa’s Goggles with the fantastical Virtual Reality experience – all you need is a phone! Cap off your visit with a wander through Sky Castle – a dreamy, interactive sound and light installation, formed by a cluster of inflatable arches that span in colourful symphony across Fed Square. For a limited time only until 14 December.
If you’re wary of crowds, and prefer to get involved from a distance, then don’t miss the very first virtual Christmas workshop extravaganza, North Pole University! Plus back for young and old is Koorie Krismas, in virtual form, featuring Koorie Klaus himself.
When: Friday 27th November – Thu 24th December
Santa’s Big Workshop
Kids (young and old) can help Santa spread his Christmas cheer throughout Melbourne in a magical augmented reality experience! Take an iPad and watch the Metro Tunnel site shed at Fed Square – that’s the big concrete shed – transform into Santa’s Big Workshop – where the elves need your help so Santa’s sleigh can spread the magic of the festive season. This is a virtual treasure hunt every Melbourne kid (and big kids, too!) will want to experience.
When: Saturday 28th November – Thursday 24th December
Get loved up with Fed Actually. Submit your message of (unrequited) love, friendship or joy directly to us and we’ll display it on the big screen for anyone in the world to see via Fed Square’s world-famous Fed Cam.
When: Saturday 28th November – Thursday 24th December
Proudly presented by Fed Square and City of Melbourne, and designed for the whole family, Santa’s Spectacles is a not-to-be-missed activity that will transport you to the North Pole via Melbourne’s most iconic locations.
When: Saturday 28th November – Thursday 24th December
Join poet, actor and award-winning playwright, John Harding as he hosts the very first virtual Koorie Krismas filled with live performances by First Nations artists and a special guest appearance by Koorie Klaus himself! All are welcome, with thanks to the Koorie Heritage Trust.
Where: Federation Square, Swanston St & Flinders St, Melbourne
When: Saturday 12th December
We can never get enough of Christmas light animations and Melbourne has some of the best we have seen. Stroll Swanston Street to see animations at State Library Victoria and gorgeous static displays light up Melbourne Town Hall and Princes Bridge. The projections at State Library Victoria feature a thank you tribute to some of Melbourne’s COVID-19 heroes. It will have you feeling all the emotions. Visit all three sites for the ultimate Melbourne Christmas experience.
Where: Princes Bridge, St Kilda Rd
When: Fri 27 November – Sun 3 January
Melbourne Myer Christmas Windows
Now in its 65th year, generations of Melburnians have made a visit to the iconic Myer Windows part of their Christmas family tradition. This year the Windows reflect our collective 2020 experience during the COVID-19 restrictions asking – is Melbourne’s Christmas cancelled? The Windows show how Christmas was saved, and feature a nostalgic collection of characters from Myer Windows over the past 25 years. We think this is just what we need for the kids of Melbourne this year.
Where: Myer, Bourke Street. Melbourne
When: Mon 14 November – Thu 24 December
Christmas Festival of Lights
See the magic of Christmas and fairy tales come to life in Adventure Park’s dazzling Christmas Festival of Lights. Now with an astonishing 2 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! We love every square meter of this place!
Where: Adventure Park, 1249 Bellarine Hwy, Wallington
When: Friday 27th November – Thursday 24th December
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
Carols by Candlelight sees the community come together to support children who are blind or have low vision and their families. Melbourne’s beloved Vision Australia Carols by Candlelight from the Sidney Myer Music Bowl will go ahead in 2020, this year’s event will look different. There will be all your favourite Christmas Eve songs with amazing artists, but the carols will have no audience. It will be a magical night where families and friends can enjoy from the comfort of their lounge rooms or backyards.
Where: Channel 9
When: Thursday 24th December
Stonnington Christmas Carols
This year enjoy the family-favourite Stonnington Christmas Carols in the comfort of your own home. Hosted by Australia’s leading lady, Rhonda Burchmore, and backed by The Jack Earle Big Band, the concert will be live streamed from the iconic Chapel Off Chapel, and is set to bring a whole lot of seasonal cheer to living rooms across Melbourne.
Carol lovers will be delighted by performances of festive favourites from local talent including The Masked Singer 2020 winner and Neighbours’ own Bonnie Anderson, Chicago star Alinta Chidzey, and Wentworth actor Zahra Newman.
Where: Livestream via You Tube
When: Sunday 13th December 7:30pm
Monash Carols by Candlelight
It has been a year like no other and the much loved Monash Carols by Candlelight 2020 will be presented with a difference. Due to COVID-19, instead of the annual open air event at Jells Park they will be having a virtual celebration. Of course, the Carols would not be complete without a visit from Santa and this year is no exception. Santa will be making an appearance and may even sing a song or two! Watch Monash Carols by Candlelight 2020 on your laptop, tablet or smart TV and sing along to your favourite Christmas carols and songs.
Where: Broadcast via YouTube
When: Sunday 20th December 7pm
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.
Docklands Christmas Market
Enjoy the salty harbourside tang in the air amongst the festivities of the Docklands Christmas Markets. Stall holders take over New Quay Promenade with a showcase of local Victorian produce, arts and crafts. Make a day of it with Christmas-themed activities including a visit from Santa in the early afternoon, then stay late for DJ Perri Lee and Alex Rose playing good time tunes at Cargo Restaurant and Bar from 4pm.
Where: New Quay Promenade, Docklands
When: Sunday 6th December
Heide Christmas Markets
Heide Christmas Markets are set in the beautiful surrounds of the Heide Museum of Modern Art Sculpture Park. Visitors will have the opportunity to buy local art, design, handcrafted goods and yummy treats. It’s a great day out for the whole family. We love packing a picnic and making a day of it.
Where: 7 Templestowe Road, Bulleen
When: Saturday 12th & 19th December
The District Makers Market – Christmas Edition
The District Docklands Christmas Market will have a range of sustainable and artisan products available from local producers, designers and makers. Explore art, craft, jewelry, homewares, gifts and more. There will be live entertainment and workshops.
Where: The Square, Docklands Drive
When: Sunday 13th & 20th December
WTC Wharf Pop-up Christmas Market
Make a day of it at WTC Wharf on the banks of the Yarra with a pop-up Christmas market. Explore the stalls stocking handcrafted gifts including locally made candles, soaps, wooden items and more.
Enjoy kids’ entertainment and roving musicians, then mosey along the wharfside for Christmas specials on offer at the nearby restaurants, with Mediterranean and Lebanese fare at Byblos, Chinese cuisine at Man Mo or pub grub at The Wharf Hotel. There’s live entertainment through to the evening as well.
Where: WTC Wharf
When: Saturday 5th December
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.
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. Due to COVID restrictions, the Christmas Light Bus Tours are not operating, so your best bet is to set your own agenda and hit the road to find your favourite 2020 Christmas light display.
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. 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.
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 getting involved with some of these great Christmas charity initiatives.
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.
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