And just like that, we’ve reached the end of the year. If you’re feeling anxious about 2023 coming to a close, why don’t you fill this month with as many memorable experiences as you can? There are so many things to do in Melbourne this December, from outdoor cinema experiences to seeing the fireworks. With Christmas on the way, Melbourne is also shining with with festive magic, with markets, projections, carols and more. Here are some of the best things to do, eat and see this month.
1. Take part in the Melbourne Christmas Festival
Melbourne has been transformed into a bright and colourful wonderland for the Christmas season. See cool projections and twinkling lights, then try some fun Christmas activities around the city.
2. Watch movies under the stars at Moonlight Cinema
Enjoy the summer nights by watching festive favourites and new releases at Moonlight Cinema. Find it on the lush Central Lawn at Royal Botanic Gardens from December 1.
3. Explore The Big Design Market
Head to the Royal Exhibition Building and get your Christmas shopping down at this massive market. There’s over 250 exhibitors selling homewares, ceramics, fashion, jewellery and more. The Big Design Market will run from December 1 to 3.
4. Have some topsy-turvy fun at House Down Under
A new experience is coming to The District Docklands that will flip your world on its head. See an inverted house that looks like it dropped straight from the sky. When you enter, you’ll walk on ceilings and explore heaps of upside down rooms. House Down Under will open on Saturday December 2.
5. Have an ink-credible time at Australian Tattoo Expo
Australian Tattoo Expo, the largest and longest-running tattoo event in the Southern Hemisphere, is back in Melbourne from December 1 to 3. This event will have over 400 tattoo artists, as well as tattoo competitions, entertainment and more. Find it at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.
6. Embrace the warmer nights at the Summer Night Market
The iconic Summer Night market is returning to Queen Vic Market. Sip on cocktails, feast on delicious food, browse through stalls, enjoy live entertainment and more. It runs on Wednesday nights, from now until March 15. Learn more here.
7. Have fun at the Colours of Malaysia Festival
Visit Queen Victoria Market and celebrate at Colours of Malaysia. This two day festival features plenty of delicious dishes like Nasi Lemak, vibrant live performances, fun activities and more. Check it out from 9am to 4pm on December 2 and 3.
8. Explore the tremendous NGV Triennial
NGV Triennial is back in Melbourne for its third iteration. This incredible exhibition will take over all floors of NGV International, showcasing works by 100 artists, designers and collectives from 30 countries, including Yoko Ono, David Shrigley and fashion label Schiaparelli. Get ready for painting, sculpture, robotics, fashion, multimedia and interactive art installations, and marvel at over 25 world-premiere projects commissioned by the NGV. This free exhibition will launch on Sunday December 3.
9. Admire the inflatable installation (This is) Air at NGV
Wander into NGV Garden, and see an inflatable sphere that literally breathes during the day. This outdoor installation, (This is) Air, was developed by Nic Brunsdon in collaboration with ENESS, and is the Architecture Commission for 2023. When the structure is fully inflated, it stands over 14 metres tall. The sphere is free to visit, from now until June 2024.
10. Spice things up at A Very Naughty Christmas
Have a laugh at the adults-only comedy concert, A Very Naughty Christmas. The production includes stand-up comedy, singing, dancing, burlesque, and skits with a salacious edge. After seeing this show, you’ll never hear Christmas carols the same way again. The show will run from December 7 to 23. Get your tickets here.
11. Feel the festive season at Fed Square
There’s heaps of things to do at Fed Square this December. Admire the twinkling Christmas tree, listen to choirs, watch Christmas films and more.
12. Wander through the Docklands Christmas Maze
Help Santa find his elves by venturing into a giant, present-themed maze in Docklands. Play fun interactive games throughout the maze and find all the elves for the chance to win prizes. The maze is free to explore, and is open from December 1 to 24.
13. Marvel at the spectacular Christmas River Show
Look out onto the Yarra River and admire the fabulous Christmas River Show, complete with water fountains, lasers, light projections and festive tunes. Shows will run every 15 minutes each night. Find it near Evan Walker Bridge. The show will run from now until December 25.
14. Voyage around the world in the immersive BBC Earth Experience
Take a 360-degree audio-visual journey through the seven continents of the world, with narration from the iconic Sir David Attenborough. This technological marvel will use footage from the BBC Studios Natural History television series, Seven Worlds, One Planet. Melbourne is the second city in the world to host this incredible experience. The BBC Earth Experience is now open at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.
15. Check out MPavilion
MPavilion is back! Enjoy cultural events, talks, performances, installations and more. MPavilion will run until March 28, 2024. See the full program here.
16. Get into the holiday spirit by watching A Christmas Carol
Five time Tony Award winner and West End sensation, A Christmas Carol, will return to Melbourne this November. This production stars Owen Teale as Scrooge, and is playing at the Comedy Theatre from now until January 7.
17. Check out Oz Comic-Con’s Xmas Edition
This fantastic pop culture event is back, and just in time for Christmas. At Oz Comic-Con’s Xmas Edition, you’ll find plenty of festive things to see and do, including cosplay photo opportunities with Santa, gingerbread decorating and more. Find it at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on December 9 and 10. See more here.
18. Journey to the North Pole on the Polar Express thanks to Puffing Billy
The Polar Express Train Ride is coming back to Puffing Billy. Inspired by the book and film of the same name, this magical train adventure will take you through the lush greenery of the Dandenong Ranges, and on towards the North Pole. Meet Santa and characters from the film, swing your legs on the carriage sills and more, from December 9 to 17.
19. Feel like a dancing queen at Mamma Mia! The Musical
Mamma Mia! The Musical is coming to Melbourne for a round of feel-good song and dance on stage. The musical will feature some of ABBA’s greatest chart-topping hits, sparkly costumes, vibrant set design and classic ’70s nostalgia that’ll get you out of your seat and dancing in the aisles. The timeless dance musical is playing at the Melbourne Princess Theatre until December 10.
20. Listen to Christmas Melodies at Hamer Hall
Let the magic of Christmas wash over your senses at Christmas Melodies, a beloved performance at Hamer Hall. Listen to the best carols and sing along to your favourite songs at this feel-good concert. This show will celebrate the festive season on Monday December 11.
21. Have a royally good time at the Princess Diana: Accredited Access exhibition
Go on a visual journey through Princess Diana’s life with countless photographs, and listen to royal photographers tell the story behind these famous images. You’ll find this exhibition at Tea House in Southbank. Get your tickets here.
22. Check out the Christmas Carnival
Head to the banks of the Birrarung for the spectacular Christmas Carnival. Ride the Ferris wheel, drive the dodgems, play carnival games and munch on classic carnival food. Entry is free and tickets for rides can be purchased on-site. The carnival will run from December 14 to 24.
23. Skate your way around the Christmas Roller Rink
Roll around to classic tunes on the pop-up rink in Argyle Square, with free entry and $10 skate hire. The piazza will get a Christmas makeover to help you get into the festive spirit, with colourful decorations and light-up bell swings. The pop-up rink will run from December 14 to 24.
24. Feel mesmerised by Marshmallow Laser Feast: Works of Nature
Visit ACMI and see digital artworks on an awe-inspiring scale. The exhibition, Marshmallow Laser Feast: Works of Nature, will stay in town until April 14, 2024.
25. See Shakespeare Under the Stars
Shakespeare Under The Stars is coming back to Royal Botanic Gardens with a production of the enchanting, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Sprawl out on Southern Cross Lawn and enjoy the show from December 16 to February 11.
26. Dive into the immersive theatre experience Love Lust Lost
Hop aboard the E.V. Nautilus, and descend into an underwater theatrical playground at the choose-your-own-adventure production, Love Lust Lost. Explore 38 intricately designed spaces across over 1500 square metres at The Austral in Collingwood. Go at your own pace, and become active participants in the story. Love Lust Lost will run until December 16.
27. See the king of rock and roll at Elvis: A Musical Revolution
Celebrate the life and music of Elvis Presley at the Elvis musical. The show is now playing at the Athenaeum Theatre.
28. Feel enchanted by Christmas Under the Big Top
Follow the sound of sleigh bells to Christmas Under the Big Top, a new event coming to Burnley Oval. This exciting Christmas paradise will feature carols, rides, crafts, food and more. Christmas Under the Big Top will ring in the festive season from now until December 24.
29. Have a merry time in the Atrium at Crown
The Atrium at Crown Melbourne will bustle with Christmas cheer this December. Meet Santa Claus from December 1 to 24. Then, see a spectacular Christmas Show with dancers, live vocals and musicians at select times from December 16 to 24. See more here.
30. Find something wonderful at this craft fair in Queen Vic Market
At CRFT*WRK, you’ll discover locally-made goods from independent creators at Queen Vic Market. Find art, ceramics, jewellery, homewares and more. This festival will run on Saturday December 16 from 9am to 4pm. See more here.
31. Experience the magic of a Candlelight Concert
The candlelit performances have taken place at venues like The Athenaeum and The Astor Theatre as well as at The Timber Yard, the Meat Market and Fed Square. With more venues being added to the growing list, there’s a Candlelight concert around every corner.
Candlelight concerts in December include festive Christmas specials, tributes to Coldplay and more. See what’s coming up here.
32. See the Myer Christmas Windows
Take part in a Melbourne tradition this December and celebrate Christmas with the help of Bluey and her family. Take a peek inside the Myer Christmas Windows, and watch the beloved characters celebrate a classic Aussie Christmas Day. You can see it every day, from now until Saturday January 6.
33. Voyage through history with the Titanic exhibition at Melbourne Museum
The most extensive Titanic exhibition in the world is coming to Melbourne this December. Feel transported back to 1912, and see over 200 artefacts recovered from the wreck site. In this experience, you’ll discover recreated ship interiors, including the Grand Staircase, First Class Parlour Suite and Verandah Café, combined with real objects rescued from the depths of the ocean. TITANIC: The Artefact Exhibition will dock at Melbourne Museum from December 16 to April 14.
34. Spark your imagination with RELICS: A New World Rises at Melbourne Museum
Perth duo Jackson Harvey and Alex Towler have channelled their creativity to create 15 different LEGO worlds. See an imagined future, and discover LECO minifigures living in discarded treasures. Find RELICS: A New World Rises at Melbourne Museum.
35. Explore the festive Christmas markets around town
Get in the spirit of gifting with these unique and festive markets, both in the city and in the suburbs.
36. Run over to the BTS pop-up store
After taking over Sydney just a few months ago, the highly-anticipated BTS Pop-Up: Space of BTS is coming to Melbourne. This HYBE official store will plenty of merchandise and photo opportunities for keen fans. The pop-up store stay in Emporium Melbourne from November 18 to February 18.
37. Have a spectacular time at Moulin Rouge! The Musical!
After a sold-out premiere season, Moulin Rouge! The Musical! is now playing in Melbourne. Celebrate truth, beauty, freedom and love at the Regent Theatre.
38. Fall in love with The Holiday in Concert
A special screening of the beloved Christmas classic The Holiday will be held at the Plenary in Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre along with a live orchestra this festive season. The Holiday in Concert will take place on Saturday December 16, from 5pm to 7pm. Learn more here.
39. Feel spellbound by Maho Magic Bar
Head to Chinatown and discover the Japanese-themed pop-up experience, Maho Magic Bar. Enjoy delicious drinks, and feel captivated by musicians as they perform close-up magic at your table. Get your tickets here.
40. Immerse yourself in the mesmerising Rain Room
After a sell-out season in 2021, the interactive installation, Rain Room, is here in Melbourne. This immersive experience merges art, technology and nature together, in a 100 square metre space of continuous rainfall. The rain responds to your presence and movement, which gives you the feeling of being in a fierce rainstorm, without having to get wet. Find it in St Kilda.
41. See the devastating musical Miss Saigon
The acclaimed production of Miss Saigon is coming to Melbourne. This story of love and loss in war-torn Vietnam will play at Her Majesty’s Theatre from October 29 to December 16.
42. Feel a sense of Connection at The Lume
The Lume is celebrating First Peoples art and music with their immersive exhibition, Connection. Feel amazed by swirling projections around the 3,000 square metre gallery space, and check out a display of original art. Over 110 visual and musical artists are featured, making Connection the largest representation of First Peoples art and culture ever assembled.
43. Check out the Starry Sky exhibition at Met Art World
Visit Met Art World in Port Melbourne and feel transported to another world, with their immersive Starry Sky exhibition. Journey through mazes, enter a digital tunnel, see plenty of twinkling lights and more. Get your tickets here.
44. Swim over to the Oceanarium at SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium
The Oceanarium will reopen after a $9 million renovation. This massive space will contain 2.2 million litres of water, and be the home of sharks, rays and hundreds of new fish. While an official opening date hasn’t been announced yet, it should open at SEA Life Melbourne Aquarium in December.
45. Immerse yourself in the theatre experience, Hour of the Wolf
Explore the fictional town of Hope Hill on the longest night of the year. In this immersive theatre experience, you’ll discover over a dozen fully realised locations and observe a cast of 11 actors. In Hour of the Wolf, you’ll find three interweaving stories about a wolf that visits the town once a year. See it at The Malthouse from October 19 to December 17. Learn more here.
46. Pass go and discover Monopoly Dreams
Australia’s first Monopoly-themed attraction is here in Melbourne. Immerse yourself and wander around Monopoly City and Mr. Monopoly’s Mansion. Find Monopoly Dreams at Melbourne Central.
47. Meet Santa at Prahran Market
Take some happy snaps with Santa at Prahran Market. He will be available for pet photos on Saturday December 16, and available for pictures with the kids on Sunday December 17. He’ll also roam the aisles on select days from December 16 to 24. See more here.
48. Sleep in Candy Cane Lane at DoubleTree by Hilton Melbourne
Excited for the holidays? Sleep in a festive, themed room at DoubleTree by Hilton Melbourne. Sleep surrounded by stockings, candy canes, Christmas trees and more. The Candy Cane Lane room can sleep up to four people, and stays are available from November 24 to December 27. Bookings can be made via their website.
49. Explore the dome of the Royal Exhibition Building
Head up to the dome of the Royal Exhibition Building and take in gorgeous views of the Melbourne skyline. On this guided tour, you’ll also learn about the landmark’s history. See more here.
50. Catch a film at the Christmas Cinema
Can’t resist a good Christmas movie? Look forward to a mixture of classic flicks and family favourites at Christmas Cinema. Head to the Capitol Theatre and enjoy screenings of Elf, The Polar Express, The Grinch and more, on select days from December 2 to 23. Tickets are $5, and proceeds go towards Make Room, a project assisting people out of homelessness.
51. Unleash your creativity at Chaos Lab
From the Control Room to the Science Lab, the Mirror Maze to the Ball Pit, Chaos Lab is a fun experience for all kids who want to play, explore and create. Find it at The District Docklands. Tickets are on sale now.
52. Try some Poolside Pilates at W Melbourne
Visit WET at W Melbourne on Tuesday mornings and get moving with their Poolside Pilates sessions. Strengthen your core and focus on alignment in the dreamy poolside setting over 50 minutes. Then, dip in the water after class for a swim. Find out more here.
53. Visit the new Palace Penny Lane Cinema in Moonee Ponds
Palace Penny Lane Cinema is opening in Moonee Ponds just before Christmas on Thursday December 21. Find 11 traditional screens as well as a delightful rooftop cinema in this new entertainment hub.
54. Get in the holiday mood with Love Actually in Concert
See your favourite Christmas romantic comedy like never before, with a live orchestra playing along to the movie. This will play at Hamer Hall on December 23 and 24.
55. Sing along to Carols by Candlelight
For over 80 years, Vision Australia’s Carols by Candlelight has enchanted Melbourne audiences with their festive cheer. Head to Sidney Myer Music Bowl on Christmas Eve, sing along to the familiar tunes, and support children who are blind or have low vision along the way.
56. Dazzle your senses with the stunning Christmas Festival of Lights at Adventure Park
Journey to Geelong, and bask in the glow of over 3 million lights at this gorgeous festival. Wander down enchanting trails and glittering bridges in this 50-acre wonderland. On top of the glistening lights, there’s plenty of Christmas activities and entertainment for the family, such as rides and shows. Adventure Park’s Christmas Festival of Lights is on from November 17 to December 31. Learn more here.
57. Visit Lorne Theatre for their pop-up summer season
One of regional Victoria’s oldest cinemas, Lorne Theatre, is reopening for a pop-up summer season. Look forward to summer flicks by the sea, as this heritage-listed theatre will play a blend of contemporary and classic films from December until the Easter period next year.
58. See one of Yayoi Kusama’s pumpkins at Pt. Leo Estate
Drive down to Mornington Peninsula and visit Pt. Leo Estate. Take a stroll through the sculpture park, and see their newest addition, a pumpkin created by famous Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.
59. Have fun at this Cherry Picking Festival
CherryHill Orchards are throwing a delightful Cherry Picking Festival. Wander through rows of trees in either Wandin East or Coldstream, eat as many cherries as you like straight from the tree, and pack some cherries to take home. During the festival, there will also be food trucks, cherry ice cream, cherry drinks and special events. The festival in Coldstream will start on November 13 and run until late December, while the event in Wandin East will start on November 27 and end in early January.
60. Watch something wine-derful at Cinema in the Vines
Drive out to the Yarra Valley and catch blockbuster hits and nostalgic favourites at Tokar Estate’s outdoor event, Cinema in the Vines. Catch a flick on the big screen, and enjoy delicious food, estate-grown wine and more while the sun sets. This outdoor cinema will take place every Friday and Saturday this December.
61. Go on a Garden Spritz Picnic at the Chandon Yarra Valley Estate
As the weather gets warmer, you’re invited to relax and soak in the sunshine in the stunning grounds of the Chandon Yarra Valley Estate. Treat yourself to a Garden Spritz Picnic, and enjoy locally-sourced and house-made bites, while sipping on a refreshing spritz. See more here.
62. Explore Blue Lotus Water Garden
Spanning over 14 acres, Blue Lotus Water Garden contains over 40 different ponds, lakes and water features. Here, you’ll find the biggest display of lotus and waterlily flowers in the Southern Hemisphere. This dreamy garden will reopen to the public for the summer season on December 26.
63. End the year in style at a New Year’s Eve party
Dance the night away at some fabulous New Year’s Eve parties around Melbourne. Sip on free-flowing drinks, move and groove on the dancefloor and gaze at the spectacular fireworks. See our recommendations here.
64. Ring in the New Year at Beyond the Valley
End the year in style at Beyond the Valley. This year, head to Barunah Plains, and listen to an incredible mixture of local and international acts. While you’re there, enjoy other experiences like a Ferris wheel, camping, a beach club and more. This event will run from December 28 to January 1. Learn more here.
65. See the fireworks
Say goodbye to 2023 with a bang. Get hyped up for a shimmering celebration, with fireworks and laser displays from 27 rooftops around the CBD. There will be four Celebration Zones in the CBD. If you’re outside of the city, here are some great places to see the fireworks.