Ultimate Christmas in Sydney: Guide to Events 2023
If you are spending Christmas in Sydney this year we have you covered with this guide to the very best Sydney events from concerts and tree lightings to Christmas carols and Chrissy drinks on the way.
It’s time to get into the Christmas mood, and to help you along we have collected all the options so you can find all the best things to do in Sydney at Christmas, from festivals and Christmas markets to carolling and the prettiest Christmas trees.
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Christmas Festivals and Special Experiences
These special events will help you get in the Christmas spirit quick smart.
Sydney Zoo Christmas Animal Kingdom
Experience the magic of Christmas at Sydney Zoo in Eastern Creek! This enchanting event blends wildlife, wonder, and the festive spirit. With millions of dazzling lights, stunning Christmas displays, 4,000 animals, entertainment, and FREE activities for everyone, it’s the must-attend event of the year.
Explore the Magical Snow Land, slide down the giant snow slide, step into Candyland to decorate your gingerbread, unleash your creativity at the Elves workshop, visit Rudolph’s Barn, glide on the roller rink, or send a letter express to the North Pole at Mrs. Claus’ Post Office.
And, of course, meet Santa himself for a professional photo to cherish. Plus, every child receives a FREE gift from Santa! Don’t miss this magical Christmas wonderland.
When: 24 November – 24 December, 3 sessions 9am-1pm, 2pm-5pm & 6pm-9pm
Where: Sydney Zoo – 700 Great Western Highway, Eastern Creek
Cost: $44.95 adults, $29.95 kids (3-15 years)
Enjoy the music of Love Actually? Well, there is no need to sing along in your lounge room. This stage version is a must for fans of this classic Christmas film.
When: 6-9 December Sydney
Where: Sydney Opera House
Love Actually In Concert
It’s impossible not to get into the Christmas spirit at this concert. The Sydney Symphony will perform live while the Christmas classic is played on the big screen.
When: Saturday 16 December 2023, 3.30pm
Where: Darling Harbour Theatre, ICC Sydney
Cost: $60-152, more details
A Cracker Kransky Christmas
Get ready for a unique and entertaining journey with the musical Kransky sisters as they roll into town in their trusty Morris from Esk. These quirky sisters are excited to unravel their stories and treat you to their one-of-a-kind renditions of popular songs using an eclectic collection of unusual instruments.
From Britney Spears to the Spice Girls, from M to AC/DC, and even carols like you’ve never experienced them before, the Kransky sisters will have you in stitches and tapping your toes all night long. This delightfully twisted trio guarantees to fill your Christmas stockings with laughter and unforgettable music. Don’t miss out on this extraordinary musical adventure!
When: Friday 16th December.
Where: Riverside Theatre Parramatta
Australian Brandenburg Orchestra Noël! Noël! concert series
The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and the Brandenburg Choir, joined by special guest Christina Leonard, one of Australia’s foremost saxophonists, are set to enchant audiences with their much-anticipated Noël! Noël! concert series.
This beloved tradition has graced the Australian summer for over two decades and remains a cherished Brandenburg hallmark, offering a selection of music that celebrates the holiday season.
Noël! Noël! promises an uplifting program filled with timeless carols, excerpts from Handel’s monumental Messiah, and a delightful array of festive musical surprises.
Where: City Recital Hall from 9 – 14 December
Where: St Patricks Church Parramatta 12 December
City of Sydney Community Christmas Concert
Experience music, dance, and entertainment by performers like The Listies, Justine Clarke, Diver City, and Lah Lah’s Big Live Band. Join in the fun with games, food trucks, and a special visit from Santa Claus.
- Pyrmont Christmas concert, Pirrama Park, Friday 1 December, 6pm-8pm
- Surry Hills Christmas concert, Prince Alfred Park, Saturday 2 December, 6pm-8pm
- Rosebery Christmas concert, Turruwul Park, Sunday 3 December, 6pm-8pm
- Rushcutters Bay concert, Reg Bartley Oval, Friday 8 December, 6pm-8pm
- Glebe Christmas concert, Bicentennial Park, Saturday 9 December, 6pm-8pm
- Alexandria Christmas concert, Alexandria Park, Sunday 10 December, 6pm-8pm
Don’t miss the chance to capture a moment with Santa for a $5 donation to the City of Sydney’s charity partner, the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation. Celebrate the holiday season with family and friends at these festive, community-filled events.
Nothing gets me more in the Christmas spirit than belting out a few Christmas Carol or two. These next few shows are bound to make every carol lover happy.
Christmas Choirs at Martin Place
Get into the festive spirit by listening to some of the city’s best choirs as they perform next to the Martin Place Christmas Tree.
Our picks include:
- Friday 1 December: Australian Girls Choir
- Sunday 3 December: Glee Bees
- Monday 11 December: Sydney Harmony Choirs
- Thursday 14 December: Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir
- Monday 18 December: Sydney Street Choir – Martin Place / Belle Acapella Wednesday 20 December: Sydney Philharmonia Choir – Martin Place / Fiestaville Choir – George Street
- Thursday 21 December: Soulfood – Martin Place / Cleftomaniacs
When: 6pm-8pm daily 1 Dec to 24 Dec
Where: Martin Place Christmas Tree – George Street Sydney
The Rocks Homegrown Christmas Concert
Experience a unique Christmas concert at The Rocks with free performances by Dan Sultan, Jack River, Josh Pyke, and Lisa Mitchell. This Homegrown Christmas Concert is not just a musical event but a community celebration featuring some of Australia’s finest artists.
When: 6pm -9.30pm, Fri 15 & 16 Dec
Where: First Fleet Park, The Rocks
Carols in the Domain
Carols in the Domain is Sydney’s biggest carolling event. There is a free area – known as the festive lawn but you will need to get here early to nab a spot. You can also book tickets with funds raised going to charity.
When: 16 December 2023
Where: The Domain Sydney
Cost: Ticketed area from $89 More details
Gloria! End of Year Concert
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir Gloria! End of Year Concert celebrating all things Gloria + Christmas songs to lift your spirits in the St Stephen’s Uniting Church.
This special event that goes beyond “in excelsis Deo”! The Choir is embracing Glorias from pop songs, artists with the name Gloria, and even some unconventional Christmas tunes to add a unique twist to your holiday spirit.
When: Sat 2nd Dec 2023, 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm AEDT
Where: St Stephens Church, 197 Macquarie St, Sydney
Cost: Tickets from $30 available here
Carols by the Sea – Bondi
Nothing screams Aussie chritmas more than singing carols by the beach. Bring your family and friends, along with some snacks and a blanket, and get ready for a night filled with music and entertainment.
Enjoy Christmas songs with Cool Yule, the fantastic Bondi Brass, and entertaining performances by talented local youth. Kids can also join in the festive fun with face painting and the possibility of a special visit from Santa.
When: Monday 13 December 5pm-8pm
Where: South Bondi Park
Carols by the Sea – Brighton Le Sands
Christmas Carols on Botany Bay presented by Bayside Council. Join the Royal Navy Band for an evening of Carolling.
When: Saturday, 16 December 6pm
Where: Lady Robinsons Beach, Brighton Le Sands
Christmas Carols at Halliday Park
Come and enjoy a wonderful evening of Christmas cheer with your community.
When: 13 December 2023 5pm-9pm
Where: Halliday Park, McGrath Avenue, Five Dock.
Carols on Norton
Join us for this iconic community event in its 20th year presented by Leichhardt Espresso Chorus and the Inner West Council.
Bring a picnic, your singing voice and experience some inner west Christmas magic.
Join the Candy Cane Children’s Choir, The Choir will be conducted by leading choral conductor Michelle Leonard OAM with a chamber orchestra of Sydney’s leading players, 100 adults in the Leichhardt Espresso Chorus, star soloists, and the award-winning Moorambilla Voices treble choir.
When: 17 December, 7pm
Where: Pioneers Park Leichhardt
Christmas Markets in Sydney 2023
Le Jolly Christmas NIGHT Market
Sydney’s eagerly awaited “Jolly Market” is back, bringing festive joy to Customs House. This annual Christmas night market offers a unique experience with wooden huts featuring artisanal products, delicious food, fine wines, and live music against a stunning backdrop. Don’t miss this enchanting opportunity to embrace the holiday spirit while enjoying a memorable night out in Sydney.
Treat yourself to Champagne and Rosé while savoring a foodie’s Christmas feast. Discover tantalizing lobster rolls, fresh oysters, gingerbread, grilled scallops, and irresistible melted cheese creations. Don’t miss pasta in a cheese wheel or Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers. With five wine bars and 40 specialty foods, you won’t go home hungry!
There will also be stalls selling locally sourced products and hand made goods at affordable price.
When: 15-22 December 2023 5pm-10.30pm
Where: Customs House Forecourt Circular Quay
There are several special Christmas Markets running across the city beginning in October, and all your favourite regular markets will probably have some Christmas stalls. Check out our Christmas Market Guide here.
Free Christmas Movie Screenings
Christmas @ Bexley Park
Grab a picnic blanket and head to the park for a screening of the Family Christmas movie The Search for Santa Paws.
There will be food stalls, face painting and a visit from Santa and live music by “When Mother Comes to Town”
This is a glass free and alcohol free event.
When: Friday, 1 December , 5pm
Where: Bexley Park, Stoney Creek Road Bexley
Christmas @ Cahill Park (Wolli Creek)
Christmas favourite Elf will be screened at Cahill Park. There will also be live music provided by the Royal Australian Navy Band and plenty of food stalls, face painting and a visit from Santa.
This is a glass free and alcohol free event.
When: Saturday, 2 December, 5pm
Where: Cahill Park Gertrude Street, Wolli Creek
Christmas @ Botany Pool
Enjoy a fun family night with a screening of The Santa Claus with live music with
Music Shed Big Band. BYO picnic or enjoy eats from food stalls. There will be face painting and a visit from Santa.
This is a glass free and alcohol free event.
When: Saturday, 9 December, 5pm
Where: Botany Aquatic Centre, Myrtle Street, Botany
Christmas Trees in Sydney
Need a photo for your Christmas messages? Make your way to one of these trees and snap a selfie or two.
The Rocks Christmas Tree
The Rocks Christmas Tree will be set up in the heart of the Rocks and feature plenty of Instagrammable spots for sharing your images with family and friends.
When: 13 November to 25 December
Where: Playfair Street and Argyle Street The Rocks
Martin Place Christmas Tree
Martin Place is home to a 3.4m high tree decorated with 10,000 LED lights and 330 colourful baubles. This year the tree will feature 15000 Aussie flowers and will be unveiled on 28 November. The area will also boast over 4 thousand fairy lights strung across Martin Place.
This year the tree features 15,000 Australian flowers including banksia, waratah, bottlebrush, wattle, eucalyptus gum flower, kangaroo paw, flannel flower, pink waxflower and white waxflower. See more here
When: Saturday 26 November to Wednesday 1 January.
Where: Between George St and Pitt St at Martin Place
QVB Christmas Tree
This year, the QVB presents a distinctive Christmas tree, celebrating Aboriginal culture in Australia. Inspired by the Wollemi Pine, it features an interactive installation by Dr. Bronwyn Bancroft, showcasing Aboriginal innovation and art.
Artists Jude Jarrett and Jeffrey Samuels have adorned Flannel Flowers with their artwork, symbolizing a connection with nature and celebrating native flora and fauna.
On Level 2, the tree is topped with a Swarovski topper and features an exclusive Augmented Reality experience, where Bancroft’s Southern Royal Albatross-inspired decorations come to life. Visitors are encouraged to explore the tree from every level for unique views.
When: 10 November – December 30
Where: Queen Victoria Building George Street Sydney
Christmas Drinks & High Teas
Looking for somewhere to have a pre Christmas celebration with your nearest and dearest this yule season? These next few spots should fit the bill.
Santa’s Village At Tinseltown
If you have an ugly Christmas sweater sitting at home waiting for an outing, this one is for you! Tinseltown with Christmas tunes and in house Santa and plenty of sugary treats.
Activities on offer include:
- Package: Biscuit Decorating (one biscuit) + Toy Making (two crafts) – $30pp
- Toy Making (one craft) – $15pp
- Biscuit Decorating (one biscuit) – $10pp
- Curling Lane + 8 holes of mini golf at Potion Putt – $10pp
- Santa Photo Package (1 photo with Santa, print out + digital copy) – $25 per group
When: 1-31 December
Where: Glebe Point Road Glebe – On sale now
Whimsical WONKA High Tea
In celebration of the upcoming holiday film WONKA, set to hit cinemas on December 14th, Shangri-La Sydney is delighted to introduce the WONKA HIGH TEA BUFFET—an enchanting and delectable experience that promises to transport your readers into a world of sweet imagination.
From Bubbly Brownie Surprises to Nutty Bliss Delights and Sourlicious Buttercream Swirls, each bite is a ticket to a flavor-filled adventure. Savory treats will also be on the menu, including Beef Wellington Pockets, Roast Beef and Horseradish Sandwiches, Classic Rendered Bacon Butty, Egg Sandwiches, and much more!
When: 9-17 December 11am-1pm or 2pm-4pm. Adults only sessions 9 & 15 Dec 5pm-7pm
Where: Grand Ballroom, Shangri-La Sydney
Cost: $84 adults, $64 kids 3-11 years) Adults only session with signature drink $99
High Tea with Santa
Why not join Santa for high tea? The Tea Room in QVB, along with delicious eats, there will be opportunities for photos with Santa – either professional or with your camera.
Sensory Santa Experiences are also available for a calm and comfortable environment. Your experience includes at least two digital photos. You can also take photos with Santa on your own device.
Where: Level 3, QVB George St
When: Book a one-hour session between 8:30am-10am or 13:30am to noon.
Vaucluse House Festive Workshops
Don’t miss the opportunity to join a festive workshop! Learn to craft unique handmade gifts and decorations, or become a master in making traditional plum puddings or delightful cocktails that will amaze your family and enhance your festive table. Space is limited, so be sure to make a booking.
Enjoy various drop-in activities, including admiring the beautifully decorated tree in the drawing room or joining a house tour at 11am or 2pm to discover Victorian Christmas traditions. Kids can get creative at the craft station, crafting their Christmas garlands inspired by the objects displayed in the house.
While you explore the house, enjoy the melodious tunes of the Spyglass Gypsies in the courtyard, accompanied by live classical music on the grand piano. Don’t forget to explore the gardens, pack a picnic, and make it a memorable day!
When: 10 December 10am-4pm
Where: Vaucluse House – Wentworth Road, Vaucluse
Cost: Classes from $45 drop in activities free.
CHRISTMAS MOVIE NIGHT AT SUB BASE PLATYPUS
Imagine watching the Christmas classic “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” with friends and family, surrounded by the beautiful views of Neutral Bay from the Torpedo Factory Precinct.
The evening starts at 6pm with a creative DIY craft activity, where you can make unique holiday decorations from recycled materials. There will also be live Christmas music to enjoy. Put on your Santa hats and be part of this magical event for just $5 per person.
When: 9 December 6pm
Where: Sub Base Platypus, 120 High St, North Sydney
See Christmas Lights and Decorations in Sydney
Sydney city council has developed a self-guided walking app that will guide you around the city’s best decorations and light displays. The walk covers 4km and is estimated to take 1-2 hours, depending on how many stops you make.
Lights of Christmas – St Mary’s Cathedral
The best Christmas light show in the city takes place in front of St Mary’s Cathedral. This year’s show is a three-part narrative on the importance of ‘home” in our lives.
Where: St Mary’s Cathedral College St Sydney – entry via William Street
When: 2023 dates TBC Usually from week 2 in December till 25 December
Time: 8.30pm-11pm with carols from 7:30pm
Christmas in Darling Square & Darling Harbour
Take your annual Christmas photo with the Giant Christmas gifts – These enormous 1.8m Christmas presents create a perfect shot – sparkling silver and pink packages can be found in the Harbourside Forecourt.
- The Harbour Village – Saturday and Sunday from 10am-2pm – Kids entertainment, kids craft, write letters to Santa and meet Santa.
- Join a Christmas wreath workshop in the Chinese Garden
There is plenty of Christmas fun to be had at Darling Square this month too:
Darling Square is collaborating with Warner Bros to bring a Wonka-themed extravaganza, featuring a range of activities throughout December. The precinct will be a sight to behold with a gigantic, Christmas tree-shaped candy jar for unforgettable family photos, exclusive retail offers, wandering performers, and live music.
The area will be adorned with eye-catching decorations suitable for all ages, including an umbrella display, twinkling fairy lights, cotton candy trees, a Wonka Bar-themed table, and more.
Local retailers are joining in the fun, offering over 17 delicious specials, such as:
- Toastie Smith: A decadent chocolate French toast topped with fairy floss for $10.80.
- Auvers: A cocoa crepe served with coconut jelly, chocolate sauce, mochi ice cream, and berries, priced at $18.
- The Brothers Cafe: Thai tea soufflé pancake garnished with white TimTam crumble and ice cream for $26.90.
- Holy Basil: A range of treats including a Coconut ice cream sundae with a Chupa Chup ($19), a color-changing butterfly margarita ($21), a bubblegum martini ($21), and the Lego Passion featuring toasted meringue and marzipan Lego blocks ($21).
- IIKO Mazesoba: Offering a variety of dishes such as Wagyu Mentaiko Mazesoba ($41), Mentaiko Mazesoba ($22), Scallop Pesto Mazesoba ($29), a unique Spicy & Savoury Chocolate Chicken Mazesoba ($25), the Invisible Yuzu Tart ($8), and the Chashu Chup, featuring candied pork belly chashu ($25).
Where: Darling Harbour Foreshore and Darling Quarter
When: 16 Nov – 25 Dec.
Three gigantic interactive Christmas bells with inbuilt swings will light up Sydney harbour this festive season. Listen while you swing and you’ll notice the bells sound and light up every time you reach the top!
Adding to the festive ambiance, many Barangaroo retailers are presenting exclusive Christmas-themed menus and special promotions, inviting everyone to indulge in the holiday joy and toast to the year that has passed. Highlights include:
- Rivareno: Customers can pre-order the renowned Rivareno panettone for $80, a delightful treat filled with two flavors of gelato of their choice, encased in a luscious coating of gianduia and caramelized nuts, available for pick-up from December 12th to 23rd.
- Anason: Offering a lavish 5-course communal feast to celebrate Christmas, priced at $195 per person and $95 for children under 14 years.
- The Butcher’s Block: Featuring a 2-course Christmas meal for $70 per person or a more extensive 3-course feast for $85 per person.
The festive spirit will be enhanced with live music performances scheduled from December 1st up to New Year’s Day. Every Wednesday to Saturday, DJs will set the holiday mood, bringing the unique Sydney summer feel to the Barangaroo waterfront.
Where: Wulugul Walk, Barangaroo South
When: Now until 5 January
David Jones Christmas Windows
Sadly, the grand David Jones Christmas windows are a thing of the past. Last year, while colourful, they were just not the same. Looking forward to seeing what this year brings
Where: David Jones, 86-108 Castlereagh St, Sydney
When: 24 hours a day from mid November to early January (avoid peak shopping hours for the best experience)
Christmas decorations inspired by native flowers, the Strand Arcade is always stunning, but it looks especially lovely with some extra sparkle.
Where: 412-414 George St, Sydney
When: From early November
Westfield Sydney Central
Westfield has 150 trees featuring half a million twinkling LED lights inspired by Eucalyptus Trees, the ‘Christmas Gum’. Plenty of backgrounds perfect for your Christmas Instagram shot. “Check out the 3D Matrix lighting installation between Zara and Innisfree, the Christmas forest down the Grand Staircase into the Food Court or the twinkling green wall pillars on the Level 3 Market St entry.”
Where: Westfield Central (Pitt Street Mall)
When: From early Dec until Dec 28 approx.
Flour Drum Newtown
Giving David Jones window a run perhaps is the Christmas Display Window at Flour Drum This will be the 6th year this Newtown cafe will be decorating and it promises to be bigger and better than ever. The window is just the start with the dining room and garden also decorated.
Pop in and try their delicious Xmas treats including Christmas Pudding / Cake / Mince Pies (all marinaded for over 12 months with a more than healthy tipple of Brandy), Gingerbreads People, Gingerbread Animals, White Christmas, Christmas Jams and Relishes. As well as handmade cookies and biscuits range, Christmas Pudding and an array of handcrafted gourmet treats.
Where: 531 King Street Newtown.
When: Mid Dec Mon, Thur & Fri : 7:30am – 2pm, Sat & Sun 7:30am – 2:30pm
Regional NSW Christmas Events
Central Coast Christmas Fair
Explore a treasure trove of local handmade delights at the Central Coast Christmas Fair bought to life by Harts Events. Featuring over 160 vendors you will find unique gifts, arts, crafts, clothing, and fresh produce. From summer sun dresses to outdoor furniture, fresh cherries to handmade glass ornaments, and even international pick ‘n mix lollies or handcrafted leather goods, there’s something for everyone.
As you shop, enjoy the festive tunes played by talented buskers scattered around, courtesy of Fairplay Entertainment. And when hunger strikes, indulge in a variety of international food vendors offering Gozleme, Southern Fried Chicken, Greek cuisine, dumplings, and more.
For the kids, there’s a world of fun, including free lawn games, running races, Christmas characters, and face painting, all courtesy of Party Chameleon. The Crud Muffins have created a vibrant creative space filled with nostalgia for kids of all ages. Hit 101.3 adds to the festive cheer with crafts, giveaways, and fun activities. Piccolos Party Hire keeps the little ones entertained with clowns, giant inflatables, and rides. It’s a day of family-friendly fun you won’t want to miss!
Where: Mingara Recreation Club
When: Sunday 3 December 2023 9am-2pm
Southern Highlands Festival of Lights
The Southern Highlands Festival of Lights is a month-long celebration in December that merges creativity and technology, magically transforming the towns and charming villages of the Southern Highlands with an abundance of fairy lights and captivating lighting installations for the festive season.
Now entering its third year, it offers an extensive program filled with festive events and concerts that cater to the enjoyment of the entire family.
- Saturday 2nd Dec – Angels In Our Town 7pm–Parade, 8pm–Concert
- Thursday 7th Dec – Christmas Night Markets 5–10pm
- Friday 8th Dec – Sunday 10th Dec – Southern Highlands Food & Wine Festival
- Thursday 14th Dec – Southern Highlands’ Family Carols 7–9pm
- Friday 15th Dec – A Celebration of Light 5–10pm
Where: Corbett Gardens Bowral
When: 1-31 December 2023
Christmas Light Spectacular at Hunter Valley Gardens
The annual Christmas Lights Show at Hunter Valley Gardens is back. Book early to avoid disappointment.
Where: Broke Road, Pokolbin
When: Friday 3 November 2023 – Sunday 28 January 2024
Cost: $34 adults $27 for kids (Family tickets also available)