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What to Do and Where to Eat on Christmas Day in Sydney

Trying to decide what to do on Christmas Day in Sydney? This list will help you survive Christmas in Sydney with details on coffee, lunch, buffets and activities to help you enjoy a summer Xmas Day. 

It can be hard being away from family and friends during the holidays and challenging finding out what is open on Xmas day in an unfamiliar city, so I have put together a list of ideas for all types of travellers and budgets. Whatever you do I hope you have a fabulous Christmas in our gorgeous city.

Last Updated 24/12/2019

Things to do on Christmas Day in Sydney besides eat!

If you would rather miss all the Christmas feasting and spend your day either sightseeing or fighting off homesickness check out these ideas.

Christmas day mass at St Mary's Cathedral
Attend Christmas day mass at St Mary’s Cathedral

If you are from the Northern Hemisphere, you might enjoy the novelty of a day at the beach. Bondi is usually busy on Christmas Day, and everyone is happy to share the Christmas spirit.

Say Merry Christmas to the animals at Taronga Zoo – They would love your presence, and a bonus is the crowds are usually a little smaller on Christmas Day. SeaLife Aquarium and Wildlife Sydney Zoo are also open and offer joint tickets that reduce the cost a little.

Check out our list of the best Christmas celebrations in Sydney in the lead up to the big day!

For something memorable, you could book a Bridgeclimb. These will probably book out to best to get in early. Prices from $258pp

Attend mass at St Marys Cathedral (Catholic) or St Andrews Cathedral (Anglican)

Jump on the 8.54am train up to Katoomba and explore the Blue Mountains in relative peace as many tour operators do not run on Christmas day.

Head to the cinema and get an early jump on the Boxing Day new releases.


Where to Eat Christmas Lunch in Sydney

Christmas Buffet at Sylvesters Sydney Harbour Marriot
Christmas Buffet at Sylvesters Sydney Harbour Marriot Hotel

It is recommended that you book your Christmas lunch well in advance, at least 7 days but as soon as you can if you have your heart set on a specific spot.

From buffets with a smorgasbord of choice to Christmas lunch with a view and everything in between we have gathered here some great options for anyone wanting to find the best places to have Christmas lunch in Sydney

Are there any Christmas Eve or Christmas night dinners?
Some readers have been asking about Christmas Eve and Christmas day dinners – many of these restaurants are offering those options too so check them out via their websites linked below.

Where to find the best Christmas buffet lunch or dinner in Sydney

Lunch with a bird’s eye view – Sydney Tower buffet will feature Christmas favourites with its regular offering 2019 was – $140 adults and $49 for kids. Bookings and deposits were required. They also offered a Christmas Eve dinner if that is more your thing $120 and $49 for kids.

Lunch for those with a big appetite – Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park is my favourite Sydney buffet; the food is always excellent quality, and it has a lovely outlook on Hyde Park. Last year Christmas lunch buffet including drinks was $355 for lunch. View this Christmas Menu here.

Christmas Lunch Buffet at Silvester’s in the Sydney Harbour Marriot Hotel will offer all the Christmas favourites. On offer will be roast turkey, Christmas ham and all the trimmings and a dessert grazing bar all curated by Michelin Star-trained chef Raphael Szurek. Prices: 18+ $199, 13-17 years $179, 6-12 years $115.


The Intercontinental Double Bay will offer both lunch and dinner buffets from $230 per person food only or $295 with drinks. No charge for children under 5, $90 per child age 5-11 years or $210 per child aged 12-17 years. The dinner buffet is cheaper. There is also a rooftop seafood buffet for $165. Get all the details here.

Rydges World Square is offering a seafood buffet with prawns, oysters and smoked salmon along with all the traditional Christmas favourites. Adults $150 and kids $76. Bookings open now

Crown Plaza Coogee Bay will offer a Christmas Seafood Buffet Lunch featuring Sydney Rock Oysters, tiger prawns, crispy salmon, beef rib, carved turkey and ham and Pavlova and includes a 3-hour drinks package. Adult: $219 and teens (13-17 yrs) $145.00 and kids (4-12 yrs): $60.00

The Star Casino will offer a Christmas buffet at $153.32 Per Adult* and $50.42 Per Child. Must be booked in advance.

Acre Eatery in Camperdown three-course lunch served shared banquet-style featuring seafood, pork and turkey. This is a very family-friendly venue with space for kids to run around and good value prices. Dinner plus one drink is $199 for adult and $50 for kids Noon till 5pm. View the menu and book here. Special diets can be catered for.


Christmas lunch in the city, Darling Harbour and Barangaroo

The Star Casino has several fine dining options. Just be sure to book as these restaurants are bound to be popular. A wood-fired feast for $200 at Black Bar and Grill, Tastes of Tokyo at Sokyo for $175 and a 4-course lunch at Flying Fish for $185.

360 Dining at Sydney Tower is offering a 3-course set menu with one glass of bubbles for $185 per person.  Bookings open now. You can pay extra to secure a window seat.

Darling Harbour is a good option if you have left things a bit late – several of Nick’s chain are offering affordable Christmas meals and all the hotels will also have special meals.

If you are dining on a budget, you might find an Asian meal in Chinatown is less likely to break the bank. Feast on yum cha or dumplings in Chinatown

The new Botanic House Restaurant in the Royal Botanic Gardens will offer a  3-course shared feast of Australian Christmas classics including oysters, crab, scallops, ham, pork and salmon. Adults $155 | Kids $45 – Sold out 21/11/19

Christmas at the Calyx in the Botanic Gardens – An succulent seafood & Australian Christmas feast served buffet style featuring seafood, pork, salmon and fresh salads. Adults $145, Kids $80 – Sold out 21/11/19

Claires Kitchen on Oxford St will offer a traditional 5-course lunch with a modern twist. There will also be lots of Christmas fun. $120 per person.


Christmas Day Lunch Harbour Cruises

Captain Cook MV2000 Boat Sydney Harbour Cruise

Christmas lunch cruises are actually more affordable than many of the waterfront restaurants and most offer a mix of Christmas and Seafood options with drinks included.

  • Vagabond Cruises have a 3-hour lunch cruise $120 for adults and $100 for kids (children under five free) Drinks not included
  • Sydney Pearl Harbour Cruises – 3-hour buffet lunch with DJ drinks not included $110 per
  • Oz WhaleWatching – one of the friendliest boats on the harbour is offering a 3-hour seafood buffet including drinks for $147 for adults and $97 for kids.
  • Majestic Cruises – a Christmas buffet and drinks package about their most modern vessel $195 for adults and $130 for kids. Family ticket savings too.
  • Sydney Harbour Showboat – a 3-hour buffet lunch cruise with drinks package included. Jazz duo and the views provide the entertainment. Adults $175

Pilu at Freshwater is a fantastic choice for a relaxed waterfront Christmas day.  This year they will be offering a four-course menu without drinks for $265 per adult. Children under 12 are $80.00

The Nielson at Nielson Park in Vaucluse will offer a 3-course set menu for $215 for adults and $95 for kids. It’s an easy transition to the beach for a Christmas Day swim in the afternoon. 2019 details not yet available.

Kingsleys Woolloomooloo is offering a 3-course set menu – shared hot and cold seafood platters to start, followed by your choice of main and dessert. $179 adults and $45 kids.


Christmas Day lunch with Sydney Harbour or water views

Watson's Bay Christmas lunch
Christmas lunch at Watson’s Bay Hotel

Aqua Dining North Sydney – with its position almost directly under the harbour bridge and views across to the Opera House this Christmas lunch will be one you remember. On offer is a 3-course set menu for $255. Matched wines are available from $75 per person. A children’s menu will be available for $95 per child (under 12 years old).

Quay Restaurant – with a prime position on the waterfront opposite the Opera House and it’s status on various lists of best restaurants around the world this is a splurge for sure but for cashed-up food lovers, it’s an experience that’s hard to beat. The menu will offer Champagne on arrival, three canapes, and a five-course menu for $450 per person.

O Bar and Dining at Australia Square will offer a 4-course lunch for Adults $230 and $210 for dinner. Kids $100 each at either meal. Fantastic harbour views.

Q Dining at Circular Quay – will offer a 3-course meal with 3 choices per course.  Adults $329, kids 12-17 $159 and kids under 12 $89  inclusive of drinks.

The Catch – This brand new seafood eatery at the Campbells Stores in the Rocks is offering a 3-course lunch (alternate service) including drinks. Adults are $225 and kids $75. Santa will make an appearance and all kids will get a gift.

The Park Hyatt at The Rocks will offer 2 options for both lunch and dinner menus  Either a set menu or shared family-style. Lunch $340 with dinner on Christmas Eve or Xmas Day at $220

Ripples Milson’s Point – along with great Harbour views  Ripples will offer a 3-course meal for $215 and $95 for kids.

Sofitel Darling HarbourChristmas Dinner in Restaurant Atelier will be 5-course fine dining style meal featuring duck and pork. $119 for 4 courses per adult, Children can order à la carte from children’s menu. There is a15% discount for Accor Plus cardholder.

If you want something a bit different to the traditional Christmas fare The Gantry at Pier One will feature a four-course tasting menu showcasing Australian ingredients for only $349 per person, add a 2-hour premium drinks package for $60 or Champagne for $ 99.

Otto at Woolloomooloo Wharf is offering a three-course menu with plenty of choices. No turkey, ham or plum pudding here, just plenty of Italian inspired eats featuring fresh local ingredients. Adults $350 Kids $120.


Lunch at the beach –  Watson’s Bay Hotel is a very Sydney spot to spend Christmas Day combining a small beach and harbour views. This years menu features seafood, ham and beef, with a 4-hour beverage package for Adults $299, Teens/kids (10-17 yrs) $125, under 10 free. There is also a seafood buffet for Adults $149, Children (6-15 yrs) $99, Under 5 Free.

Lunch like a local – Bather’s Pavilion with its fantastic beach and harbour views and a few dining options ranging from brunch, a restaurant or cafe lunch or a formal lunch with a drinks package. The restaurant recently underwent renovations and will reopen shortly. This year Brunch will be $125, a formal lunch with drinks $295 and a 3-course bistro lunch only $195. Full pricing details here. Sold out 21/11/2019

Christmas Lunch in Manly

If you fancy Christmas day in Manly, then you should have several options. Last year many of the restaurants on the wharf were open for Christmas lunch and dinner. As these become available I will update this page.

Manly Wine, one of our favourite spots overlooking Manly Beach is offering a three-course shared menu that includes Ham, Turkey and Barramundi and prawns. It is very reasonably priced at $105 for adults and $50 for kids. Check the menu on their website.

Q Station at North Head in Manly is offering 2 options, a buffet which is now sold out and a degustation lunch. Prices $210 adult (18+) / $180 teen (13+) / $155 child (9-12) .

Whitewater at Manly Beach is a local favourite and is offering a 3-course non-traditional menu perfect for anyone that prefers to avoid roast turkey and stuffing. $130 for adults and $65 for kids.

Intercontinental Hotel – For something, a little different how about a Christmas Day high tea? The Intercontinental will host a special high tea with a Nutcracker theme and live entertainment. $99 with bottomless sparkling wine (+$50 for Champagne) and $49 for kids. Bookings from 11am – 4pm with 2-hour seatings. Bookings here


Christmas Lunch in Bondi

The Bucket List in the Bondi Pavilion – a lunch buffet with 3 seating times at only $199 per adult and a very generous $15 per child.

Good Choices for Christmas Lunch in Sydney with Kids

Darling Harbour would be high on my list for anyone travelling with kids. Most, if not all of the restaurants here will be open and child-friendly. 

  • Fratelli Fresh’s Italian menus are well suited to kids and the venues are family friends. Their 2019 menu features budget-friendly offerings at only $79 for adults and $19 for kids.
  • Nicks Restaurant Group is a great option for families. There are several restaurants in the group including Seafood, Italian, Greek and steak options. Most located at Darling Harbour. You will find all the 2019 Christmas menus here.
  • Pancakes at the Rocks will be trading as usual
  • City Extra will also be opened with their usual menu

Centennial Homestead in Centennial Park will feature a Christmas Day BBQ with special kids grazing stations (great for fussy eaters) and a visit from Santa. Adults $159 and kids $55 – sold out 21/11/19

Christmas Day Coffee

Casual Christmas Day Eats & Coffee (and drinks)

If you prefer not to book something fancy these establishments have confirmed they will open Christmas Day 2019. If you are travelling out of your way to one of these it might be good to double-check before you set out.

City centre and inner suburbs

  • Edition Coffee Roasters will be open for coffee and cakes from 9am till noon
  • Meet Mica in Surry Hills will be open all day 8am-3pm
  • A1 Canteen in Chippendale 8am till midday
  • Boon Cafe – Pitt Street (near Museum Station)
  • Chat Thai -Haymarket
  • Coffee, Tea and Me – Redfern –
  • Organic Bread Bar – Darlinghurst
  • John Montagu – Darlinghurst – coffee only 8am-noon
  • The Factory Grind – Surry Hills – from 6am
  • The Pelican Hills – Surry Hills
  • Joseph Hyde – Darlinghurst – morning only
  • Tropicana – Darlinghurst
  • Continental Deli – Newtown – noon till 4pm

Barangaroo and Darling Harbour

  • Anason at Barangaroo will be offering up their famous Turkish hospitality from 11.30am-11pm
  • Muum Maam – Thai Christmas lunch or dinner from $65
  • Bungalow 8 at Cockle Bay Wharf will be open noon till midnight
  • Mamak – Haymarket – Malaysian – lunch and dinner

Circular Quay and the Rocks

  • Customs House Bar 11am -11pm
  • Munich Brauhaus in The Rocks 11am till late
  • Tayim in the Rocks will open from noon till 3pm for Middle Eastern eats
  • City Extra at Circular Quay – 24 hours a day 365 days a year for 30 years. These guys will be serving their full menu all-day
  • Pancakes at the Rocks – Pancakes and more.
  • Grain Bar, Four Season Hotel – 2pm–late


  • Pacific Club Bondi Beach – noon till 5pm
  • Shuk – North Bondi, Elizabeth Bay and Chatswood from 7am
  • Love of Beans Carlton – coffee and cake 7am- noon at least
  • Neptunes, Brighton-Le-Sands: 9am-late
  • Sake Manly – Japanese – lunch
  • Efendy – Balmain Middle Eastern – noon–3pm, 5–10pm

Have you sorted your plans for Boxing Day?  Don’t miss the start of the Sydney to Hobart

Five ways to spend Sydney Christmas in Sydney for budget travellers

  1. Have a picnic in the Royal Botanic Gardens – head to the supermarket on Xmas Eve just before they close and put together a bargain Christmas picnic. Supermarkets will not be open on Christmas day.
  2. Ride the ferry to Cremorne and take a swim with a view at the beautiful and free Maccallum Pool or if you are in the east try  Wylie’s Baths in Coogee.
  3. Visit Bundeena and view indigenous rock art. Take the train to Cronulla and then the little Bundeena ferry across the bay to the beach and the rock art walk.
  4. Try my 389 self-guided bus tour.  The buses are operating on the Sunday timetable on Christmas day, and the roads will be less busy than usual.
  5. Follow my Inner West street art walk, Newtown will be much quieter than usual but the window shopping and street art will be waiting for you to discover, and you are bound to find somewhere to eat along King Street or Enmore Road.
Wylies Baths are open on Christmas Day

I hope one of these ideas appeals to you. I would love to hear how you plan to spend your Christmas day in Sydney.

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16 thoughts on “What to Do and Where to Eat on Christmas Day in Sydney”

  1. Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all people you actually know what you are talking approximately!

  2. St James Church on King St is much better than the cathedrals, and more friendly to all people. The do a kids service on Christmas Eve too

  3. Hi. Are there any late afternoon or dinner options or is everything centred on lunch. We like to enjoy the day and have a great dinner afterwards.

  4. We are wanting to have a Christmas Lunch buffet not over the top cost wise with the family in Sydney but has to be electric wheel chair friendly and if possible not far from a railway station so the patient can travel from hospital in the wheel chair to the destination by train.

    • I have just completely updated this page so have another look if you can. I think Silvesters at the Sydney Harbour Marriot could be a good choice with a flat 3 minute walk from Circular Quay Station.

  5. we are a group of 6 who would like to have lunch on Christmas Day do you have a luncheon Menu for Christmas Day this Year ?

    • That would be fine Rie, just make sure you have all your picnic supplies on Christmas Eve as very little is open Christmas day and what is open is very expensive. Merry Chrismas

  6. Thank you for some great tips Paula. I’ll be in Tasmania this year for Christmas but it’s always good to know what to do on a day like Christmas.


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