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, as well as delicious holiday-themed street food. While in the area, be sure to check out Christmas Wonderlanes, an immersive installation that takes over The Rocks’ picturesque laneways.
The Mosman Christmas Night Markets are back for 2022 as well and will be lighting up Mosman Square and Village Green on 8 December.
Christmas Wonderlanes, The Rocks - Credit: Cassandra Hannagan
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 and gingerbread houses to traditional puppetry. Stroll along Market, Castlereagh and Elizabeth Streets, and enjoy a night of storytelling and festive fun.
Running from 14 November until 26 December, Christmas at Darling Harbour features back-to-back Christmas events and family attractions. Some highlights include the Christmas Festival at Tumbalong Park, floating baubles, Christmas pedal boats, fireworks and much more.
Celebrating Christmas in Darling Harbour - Credit: Anna Kucera
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.
Set festive spirits soaring at Noël Sydney, a new and truly magical Christmas celebration spanning Macquarie St to the Royal Botanic Gardens. From 9-24 December, this free event will open at 6pm each night, inviting friends and families to discover enchanting Christmas markets, light installations and nightly entertainment.
Martin Place, in the heart of the Sydney CBD, truly embraces the festive spirit. From 26 November 2022 until 1 January 2023, 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.
Martin Place Christmas tree, Martin Place
You will find one of Sydney’s grandest Christmas trees in the historic Queen Victoria Building from November onwards. Inspired by Australia’s native Wollemi pine, the decorations – which include interactive art installations, such as a soundscape of the nation’s endangered birds – were designed in collaboration with First Nations artists from Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative. 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 2022 to celebrate its 40th year. Mark Saturday 17 December in your diaries and come join the sing-a-longs, with artists including Leo Sayer, Mark Vincent and The Wiggles.
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.
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 four-course lunch and dinner overlooking the sparkling harbour. Ripples Chowder Bay at Mosman, Nick’s Seafood Restaurant at Darling Harbour and Pilu at Freshwater in the Northern Beaches also feature fantastic festive spreads.
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 $179 per person.
Christmas in Sydney
Christmas in Sydney
Get into the spirit of the season with Sydney's colourful and creative Christmas lights and decorations.
Destination NSW acknowledges and respects Aboriginal people as the state’s first people and nations and recognises Aboriginal people as the Traditional Owners and occupants of New South Wales land and water.