What’s on in Sydney in December 2023
December in Sydney signals the start of Summer. Days are long and warm with perfect swimming weather. Afternoon storms are not uncommon, and while you might see more rainy days than you would like, it’s not cold, and rain rarely falls for more than a couple of hours.
Restaurants and bars are busy with Christmas celebrations and the latter half of the month sees the beginning of the 6-week summer school holidays, making shopping centres and attractions much busier.
Accommodation prices normally skyrocket from about 20 Dec. right through until at least 3 January because of the number of people arriving to see the NYE Fireworks spectacular.
Average Temperatures: 25.8 – 18.6°C (64-79°F) While each year varies the last December saw eleven days of rain.
If you are looking for Christmas lunch or dinner ideas, check our list of Christmas Day dining.
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Major December Events in Sydney
We have listed general things on our What’s to Do in December page. For more, check out our list of Christmas markets and Christmas events in Sydney this year.
Need ideas for how to get in the festive spirit? We have a list of the best Christmas events across Sydney here.
- List of Christmas markets in Sydney
- Sydney To Hobart Yacht Race – 26 December
- NYE in Sydney – 31 December
Markets, Fairs and Community Festivals
Ride, play and jump on board to celebrate Summer at South Eveleigh. Don’t miss out on five weeks of epic fun, from 21 November to 23 December, as we dive into the festive season.
Check the website for the event calendar.
When: 21 Nov-23 Dec
Where: South Eveleigh Precinct
If you are looking for authentic, unique gifts, check out the Blak Markets. A huge range of affordable Aboriginal art, jewellery, homewares and beauty products.
The markets support the local aboriginal people with 100% of the profits going back into the community. There will also be Indigenous-inspired food and drinks on offer.
Where: Tallawoladah Lawn in The Rocks Precinct
When: 17 December from 10am to 4pm
Cost: Free – more details on their FB Page
Musicals, Opera, and Theatre in Sydney in December
LUZIA CIRQUE DU SOLEIL
LUZIA draws its inspiration from the people, locales, and tales that define Mexico. It invites you on a journey through a dreamlike Mexico, bridging the gap from ancient folklore to the contemporary urban landscape. LUZIA immerses you in an imaginary Mexico, much like a vivid daydream, where light (“luz” in Spanish) uplifts the spirit, and rain (“lluvia”) brings solace to the soul.
With a surreal sequence of stunning visual surprises and awe-inspiring acrobatic performances, LUZIA ingeniously brings to life various facets of Mexico, blending elements from its rich traditions and modernity onto the stage.
When: 24 November – 12 January 2024
Where: Big Top, Entertainment Quarter Moore Park
Tickets: Starting from $80 Buy from the official site here
DARKFIELD is back with four incredible experiences in special shipping containers. These shows are all about making you feel you’re in a different world.
- Imagine waking up from a dream and finding yourself in a new one called COMA. They’ll offer you a cure, but it’s not real.
- In EULOGY, you’ll enter a dark hotel using your voice. It’s like a maze, and you’ll wonder if what you see is real or just in your mind.
- SÉANCE is all about how your mind can be tricked when you can’t see anything. They’ll test your senses in the dark.
- FLIGHT takes you through two different worlds and two possible outcomes. It’s like having choices and seeing where they lead.
These experiences challenge your senses and thoughts.
When: Opening 23 November to 21 January 2024
Where: Harbour Park Barangaroo
THE MASTER & MARGARITA
In a mesmerising theatrical masterpiece, the devil will make Surry Hills home, as Belvoir brings to life Mikhail Bulgakov’s literary masterpiece ‘The Master & Margarita’.
When: 11 November – 17 December
Where: Belvoir Street Theatre
Tickets: $37-72 available here
Candlelight: Tribute to Taylor Swift at the SMC
Taylor Swift’s biggest hit performed by a string Quartet, the Phoenix Collective, in a gorgeous candlelight setting. If you haven’t been to any of Fever’s candlelight concerts you are in for a treat, the lighting adds a magical element to the performances.
When: 23 December – 2 shows 6.30pm and 8.30pm
Where: Sydney Masonic Centre
Cost: from $32-$62
All aboard for the operatic odyssey of a lifetime; the breathtaking, site-specific pastiche opera TRACK WORKS will take centre stage at Sydney’s iconic Mortuary Station.
Step into the lives of five commuters grappling with everyday challenges during their delayed journeys home.
When: 21 November – 19 December, 2023
Where: Mortuary Station, 52 Regent St, Chippendale
Tickets: $45 – $60
Experience the sultry spectacle of Rouge, an adults-only circus and cabaret show at the Sydney Spiegeltent. Rouge is a tantalising blend of avant-garde acrobatics, operatic cabaret, and burlesque that pushes boundaries and challenges norms. It’s a decadent and daring circus experience where sensuality, allure, and acrobatic prowess collide.
Director Elena Kirschbaum describes Rouge as delightfully subversive and highly inclusive, aiming to break conventions and defy gender stereotypes. This immersive show has garnered accolades, including Best Circus at the 2020 Adelaide Fringe and critical acclaim worldwide.
When: 23 November – 17 December 2023
Where: Sydney Spiegeltent, The Entertainment Quarter, 122 Lang Rd, Moore Park
Comedy, Music and Dance
Rhys & Joel’s Family Christmas
Presented by Comedy Republic, last year’s debut of Rhys & Joel’s Family Christmas had audiences in stitches with its series of uproarious shows. In 2023, the dynamic duo is once again set to sashay across Australia, joining forces in Sydney to host an evening of pure unadulterated hilarity, storytelling and conversation alongside a soon-to-be-announced lineup of the nation’s fiercest comedians, drag artists and musicians.
When: Friday, 1 December 2023
Where: Enmore Theatre
Cost: Adults only $40.00
NEW BREED 2023
New Breed 2023 offers Australian choreographers a chance to create new works with Australia’s leading contemporary dance company. It’s known for showcasing fresh talent and innovative ideas from emerging choreographers.
This year’s program features works by:
- Beau Dean Riley Smith, exploring Australia’s frontier wars and colonial history through the lens of Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds score.
- Eliza Cooper, critiquing the Spaghetti Western film genre and questioning archetypes and narratives in modern society.
- Riley Fitzgerald, inspired by Woodstock ’99 and the sociological concept of “collective effervescence.”
- Tra Mi Dinh, studying twilight and the transformation of light in real-time.
New Breed, supported by Principal Partner The Balnaves Foundation.
When: 6 – 16 December 2023
Where: Carriageworks, 245 Wilson St Eveleigh, NSW
Prepare for an extraordinary journey like no other! Dream Circus offers a unique blend of immersive technologies, including 360-degree projection, mind-bending audio, and mesmerising holograms that will leave you in awe.
Created by Sydney’s most talented creatives, Dream Circus is a whimsical world where the only rule is that there are no rules! This captivating experience transcends generations and adds a touch of wonder to your visit to Luna Park Sydney.
Don’t miss the chance to be one of the first to step into the enchanting world of Dream Circus. Get ready for a fantastical adventure that will challenge your perception of reality!
When: From 21 December – 30 January
Where: Luna Park Milsons Point
Cost: $35 kids $45 adults
Art and Exhibitions
Ramses & the Gold of the Pharaohs
Step into the world of Ramses the Great at the Ramses & Gold of the Pharaohs multisensory museum experience, exclusive to Sydney. This exhibition showcases 182 priceless artefacts, including the stunning sarcophagus of Ramses II, one of the most remarkable royal coffins from ancient Egypt.
These relics have rarely left Egypt and provide a captivating glimpse into the craftsmanship of Egyptian artisans.
Explore a treasure trove of artefacts, from sarcophagi to animal mummies, exquisite jewellery to royal masks, and ornate golden treasures from the tomb. The exhibition even offers a virtual reality experience where visitors can virtually tour Ramses’ incredible monuments, like the Abu Simbel temples and Queen Nefertari’s Tomb.
When: 18 November – May 2024
Where: Australian Museum
Cost: Adults $43-52, kids $29-34 Family tickets available.
2023 Ocean Photographer of the Year exhibition
The Ocean Photographer of the Year exhibition is a stunning collection of over 100 photographs that offer both beauty and contemplation.
This exhibition provides a comprehensive view of ocean life, encompassing drone, land, and underwater photography. It includes remarkable wildlife encounters, breathtaking seascapes, and artistic interpretations of the profound connection between humans and the ocean.
Featuring winners and finalists from Oceanographic Magazine’s prestigious competition, the Ocean Photographer of the Year awards, the exhibition draws entries from global photographers, both amateur and professional.
When: until May 2024
Where: Australian National Maritime Museum
Jurassic World: The Exhibition
Jurassic World: The Exhibition‘s stay at SuperLuna Pavilion in Sydney has been extended until February 18, 2024. Since its September debut, the exhibition has drawn thousands of visitors, captivating audiences of all ages with its immersive prehistoric environments and life-sized dinosaur experiences.
Enter the iconic Jurassic World gates, encounter Velociraptors, stand beneath a towering Brachiosaurus, and even come face-to-face with the fearsome Tyrannosaurus rex. Additionally, visitors can interact with “Bumpy,” a character from the popular animated series Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, now streaming on Netflix.
When: To 18 Feb. 2024, Mon- Thurs 9am to 6pm (5pm in school term) Fri-Sun 9am-7pm
Where: Super Luna Pavilion Sydney Olympic Park
Cost: Family $196 adults $59 Kids $49
Salote Tawale: I remember you
Carriageworks debuts a major solo exhibition by Australian-Fijian artist Salote Tawale, titled “I remember you,” which explores identity formation through memory. An immersive environment with paintings, sculpture, and karaoke, evoking a ‘memory bank.’
It features hanging cardboard masks, plywood cut-outs, and a replica of Tawale’s Fijian family home, reflecting the fallibility of memory. A makeshift karaoke booth invites participation.
In the Public Space, Tawale’s bamboo raft, “No Location,” recalls a childhood memory of Fijian watercraft. It represents displacement and the artist’s Pacific diaspora experience.
A number of public events will be held during the exhibition, including:
- Myself, my memory: Families workshop – Sat 9 Dec, 10am-12pm – $10 per child
- Live cooking demo with Salote Tawale, Pasepa Morrell and Claire Van Vuuren (Bloodwood) – Sat 9 Dec, 10.30-11am – Free admission
- Talanoa and shared meal with Salote Tawale and Jioji Ravulo – Sat 27 Jan 2024, 11am-1pm- Free, registration required
When: 17 November 2023 – 28 January 2024
Where: Carriageworks, 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh NSW 2015
Experience the strange beauty and emotional power of Louise Bourgeois’s art, in the largest exhibition of her work ever seen in Australia.
When: 25 November 2023 – 28 April 2024
Where: Art Gallery of New South Wales South Building Lower level 2
Cost: $35 adult, $88 family (2 adults + up to 3 children) | $16 youth (12–17 years) | Free for children under 12
More info on the event site
Food and Drinks
Tinseltown – Sydney’s favourite pop up Christmas Bar is back
If you’re looking to get into the festive spirit, then Tinseltown is the place to go. It’s Christmas Day, every single day, and I’m not just talking about the decorations. They’ve got Christmas tunes, Christmas drinks, and more Christmas Pudding than you can shake your cracker at.
Find your santa hat, reindeer ears or even bad Christmas jumper and make your way to Cleveland Street.
Where: Glebe Point Road
When: until 30 December
Cost: From $15
Cherry Harvest Season in Mudgee
Fresh cherries are an essential part of an Aussie Christmas, so why not create a new Christmas tradition in your family and make heading bush and picking your own part of your Christmas experience?
Where: Roth Family Orchard, 108 Eurunderee Lane, Mudgee
When: 1-21 Dec.
More: details here Bookings from late October.
Southern Highlands Food and Wine Festival
Immerse yourself in the Southern Highlands Food & Wine Festival set in the picturesque Corbett Gardens. As the historic locale comes alive with festive lights, indulge in an eclectic mix of soulful music ranging from jazz and funk to bossa nova.
This event promises a showcase of the region’s best wines, with over 60 vineyards presenting their finest cool-climate varieties. From crisp chardonnay and zesty sauvignon blanc to the aromatic Riesling and lush pinot gris, every tasting is an invitation to fall in love with the Highlands anew. Perfect for connoisseurs and families, this festival is a journey of unforgettable flavours and sounds.
When: 9-10 December Friday 5pm-10pm, Sat 11am-10pm, Sunday 11am-4pm – Sunday Where: Corbett Gardens, Bendooley Street Bowral
Cost: Adults 18+ $30 includes a tasting glass for free sampling 13-17 years old $10 Under 13 years Free
About the author: Paula Morgan, a born-and-bred Sydney resident, has been sharing this city and its secret spots for over 15 years. She’s not just about the iconic landmarks; she’s all about the hidden alleys adorned with street art, and the joy of discovering a new café or a fabulous restaurant tucked away in a corner you never knew existed and weekends away exploring regional NSW.
Need more ideas? Join our Sydney Expert Facebook Group where you can ask questions, stay updated with what’s happening and meet a bunch of friendly locals just waiting to share their advice!