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, 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.

In the Eastern Suburbs, the Double Bay Christmas Fair is a fun day out for all ages, with markets, a carols concert and family entertainment on 9 December. Over the bridge, the Mosman Christmas Night Markets are back for 2023 as well and will be lighting up Mosman Square and Village Green on 7 December.

People exploring Christmas Wonderlanes, The Rocks

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 16 November until 25 December, Deck The Harbour - Darling Harbour Christmas features back-to-back Christmas events and family attractions. Some highlights include The Harbour Village, Christmas pedal boats, weekend fireworks, Santa's workshop and much more.

Couple under the Xmas lights at Christmas Socialisers 2021, Darling Harbour - Credit Anna Kucera

Celebrating Christmas in Darling Harbour - Credit: Anna Kucera

On 3 December, the Ultimate Christmas Market is taking over the Entertainment Quarter at Moore Park with 150 stalls, live entertainment and kid's rides – just to name a few fun activities. Meanwhile, the Jolly Market, set against the stunning backdrop of Customs House and inspired by Europe's Christmas markets, is returning to the city centre from 15-22 December, complete with wooden huts, artisanal giftwares, delicious food and wine, and live music. 

If watching a classic Christmas movie is your idea of festive cheer, check out Love Actually in Concert at ICC Sydney, returning once more after a sold-out performance in 2022. 

8 Nights of Xmas Spirit at Jolly Market, Sydney CBD

Jolly Market, Sydney CBD - Credit: Jolly Market

Christmas trees & carols

Martin Place, in the heart of the Sydney CBD, truly embraces the festive spirit. From 25 November 2022 until 27 December 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. Nearby at Pitt Street Mall, stroll underneath thedazzling Canopy of Light, a canopy of 80,000 suspended lights from 25 November 2023 to 1 January 2024.

Martin Place Christmas tree illuminated by lights, Martin Place

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 2023 to celebrate its 41st year. Mark Saturday 16 December in your diaries and come join the sing-a-longs with some of Australia's biggesta rtists, including The Wiggles, Casey Donovan and Dami Im.

View of the stage at Woolworths Carols in the Domain, The Domain

Woolworths Carols in the Domain, The Domain

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 ZooSEA 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. Sitting 36 levels above the twinkling lights of Sydney harbour, Altitude at Shangri-La puts on a five-course lunch and dinner by Executive Sous Chef Michele Menegazzi. 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 and Pilu at Freshwater in the Northern Beaches also feature fantastic festive spreads focused on seafood.

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. 

An array of other cruise companies also offer Christmas Day adventures on the harbour, including Australian Cruise Group and Vagabond.



Celebrate the holiday season in Sydney


Public holiday dates 2023-2024

Holiday 2023 2024
New Year's Day Sunday 1 January (Additional day Monday, 2 January ) Monday 1 January
Australia Day Thursday 26 January Friday 26 January
Good Friday Friday 7 April Friday 29 March
Easter Saturday Saturday 8 April  Saturday 30 March 
Easter Sunday Sunday 9 April  Sunday 31 March 
Easter Monday  Monday 10 April  Monday 1 April 
Anzac Day  Tuesday 25 April  Thursday 25 April 
King's Birthday/June Long Weekend Monday 12 June Monday 10 June
October Long Weekend (Labour Day) Monday 2 October Monday 7 October
Christmas Day public holiday Monday 25 December Wednesday 25 December
Boxing Day Tuesday 26 December Thursday 26 December