Christmas in Sydney

Christmas in Sydney

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! The city of Sydney sparkles during the summer holiday season with everything from a traditional Christmas lunch by the harbour to magical lights and plenty of carolling.

 

Festive season fun

Every year a magical marketplace pops up in the historic precinct of The Rocks with fairy lights strung above the cobbled streets and market stalls offering handmade Christmas decorations, artisan jewellery and locally designed fashion. Not to mention elves on stilts, light up angels, live music and DJs, as well as delicious holiday-themed street food. The Mosman Christmas Night Markets are back for 2021 as well and will be lighting up Mosman Square and Village Green on 9 December.

People enjoying dancing and live music in The Rocks, Sydney

Live music in The Rocks, Sydney City

Department store David Jones creates whimsical Christmas shop window displays every holiday season. With a different theme each year, peer through the glass to see everything from Christmas dollhouse scenes, gingerbread houses to traditional puppetry. Stroll along Market, Castlereagh and Elizabeth Streets, and enjoy a night of storytelling and festive fun.

Running from 12 November until 26 December, Deck the Harbour at Darling Harbour features back-to-back Christmas events and family attractions. Some highlights include the Darling Harbour Christmas Festival, the iconic GIANT Bauble installation, the Sky Castle interactive light installation, Christmas pedal boats, the Golden Light Tunnel at Darling Square and much more.

Img Credit Sydney Christmas Fair

Image credit: Sydney Christmas Fair

Spread over three jam-packed weekends in December, the Sydney Christmas Fair takes over the Entertainment Quarter at Moore Park with carnival entertainment, games, Santa photos, elf workshops and a gingerbread house party – just to name a few fun activities.

 

Christmas trees & carols

Martin Place, in the heart of the Sydney CBD, truly embraces the festive spirit. From 25 November 2021 until 1 January 2022, there’s a super-sized Christmas tree woven with more than 110,000 LED lights, providing a beautiful backdrop for city strolls, selfies and post-shopping dining. Treat yourself to a gelato or coffee from the pop-up GPO Dessert Bar as you listen to the evening choir who perform traditional Christmas carols.

In the lead up to Christmas, St Mary’s Cathedral becomes a festive creative canvas with the Lights of Christmas show. The intricate facade is illuminated with colourful light projections and there are nightly choir performances at 7.30pm.

St Mary's Cathedral at Christmas

St Mary's Cathedral at Christmas

You will find one of Sydney’s grandest Christmas trees in the historic Queen Victoria Building from November onwards. Decorated with 130 ornaments and adorned with the famous Swarovski tree topper, this year the QVB Christmas Tree is inspired by Australia’s native Wollemi Pine. Shop for Christmas gifts, enjoy an aperitif at Reign Champagne Parlour & Bar and marvel at the majestic tree, which sparkles from every angle. While visiting, sit down with the man in red himself with QVB's High Tea with Santa experience at The Tea Room.

The popular Woolworths Carols in the Domain is returning in 2021 to celebrate its 39th year. Mark Saturday 18 December in your diaries and come join the sing-a-longs, with artists including Carrie Underwood, Samantha Jade, Paulini and The Wiggles.

 

On Christmas Day

Looking for something to do with the kids after all the presents have been unwrapped? A number of attractions remain open on Christmas day in Sydney, such as Taronga Zoo, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium and WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo. Many cinemas across the city open their doors on Christmas, including venues by Hoyts, Event and Palace Cinemas. Of course, you could always get outdoors by spending a day at the beach, enjoying a hike or having a picnic in the park.

Curious giraffes at Taronga Zoo in Mosman, Sydney

Curious giraffes at Taronga Zoo in Mosman, Sydney

If you want to take the day off from cooking, several restaurants put on Christmas day menus. SkyFeast at Sydney Tower does an unlimited feast of over 30 dishes for lunch and dinner – all while basking in 360-degree revolving views of the harbour and city below. O Bar & Dining offers a five-course lunch and dinner overlooking the sparkling harbour. Ripples Chowder Bay at Mosman, Nick’s Seafood Restaurant at Darling Harbour, Watson’s Bay Boutique Hotel in the Eastern Suburbs and Pilu at Freshwater in the Northern Beaches also feature fantastic festive spreads.

Oysters from Pilu at Freshwater. Image Credit: Nikki To

Oysters from Pilu at Freshwater. Image Credit: Nikki To

If you want to treat yourself, cruise on Sydney Harbour and enjoy million-dollar views while dining on a traditional Christmas lunch with friends and family with Captain Cook Cruises. Board the MV Sydney 2000 by noon on Christmas Day for a premium menu on the Sky Deck; a Club Deck lunch or a Christmas buffet of leg ham, prawns and plum pudding on the Ocean Deck. Departing from Darling Harbour King Street Wharf, from $159 per person.

 

Highlights

Plan your trip

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Public holiday dates 2022-2023 

Holiday 2022 2023
New Year's Day Saturday, 1 January (Additional day Monday, 3 January ) Sunday 1 January (Additional day Monday, 2 January )
Australia Day Wednesday, 26 January Thursday 26 January
Good Friday Friday, 15 April Friday 7 April
Holy Saturday Saturday, 16 April Saturday 8 April 
Easter Sunday Sunday, 17 April Sunday 9 April 
Easter Monday  Monday, 18 April Monday 10 April 
Anzac Day  Monday, 25 April Tuesday 25 April 
Queen's Birthday  Monday, 13 June Monday, 12 June
October Long Weekend (Labour Day) Monday, 3 October Monday 2 October
Christmas Day public holiday Sunday, 25 December (Additional day Tuesday, 27 December) Monday 25 December
Boxing Day Monday, 26 December Tuesday 26 December