What’s on in Melbourne in December (Updated for 2023)

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Article written by: Rebecca
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As the year comes to a close, December in Melbourne is the perfect time to visit the city – before the rush of the school holidays and Christmas period.

This month, like usual, Melbourne’s event calendar is packed. There are Christmas markets that bring a festive atmosphere (and allow you to get your last-minute shopping done) and outdoor events that take advantage of the warming weather.

In this article, I’ll guide you through my top picks for December in Melbourne, including the best Christmas lights and decorations, outdoor activities, theatre shows and how the city celebrates New Year’s Eve.

Here’s a curated selection of the must-dos happening this December in the city.

This blog post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you).

Melbourne weather in December

Welcome summer! The weather in Melbourne during December is typically warm and inviting, the perfect backdrop for Christmas and New Year’s festivities. Average temperatures hover around 17 to 26 degrees Celsius (63 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit).

The days are longer and sunnier, although the city’s famous “four seasons in a day” can still make an appearance. This means you might experience occasional showers, but they’re generally short-lived.

Check the upcoming Melbourne weather forecast online, and read my full guide to summer in Melbourne.

Public holidays in Melbourne in December

Christmas means two public holidays – Christmas Day (Monday 25 December) and Boxing Day (Tuesday 26 December).

The term 4 summer school holidays kick off on 21 December 2023.

Major events and festivals in December

Check back regularly throughout the month – I’ll keep this page updated as I hunt down more events!

Christmas in Melbourne

There’s so much happening around Melbourne in the lead up to Christmas! My full guide to Christmas in Melbourne includes:

  • The best lights and decorations around the city
  • Must-do Christmas events
  • Where to get your Christmas decorations and ornaments
  • Where to eat on Christmas Day
  • And… some ideas for what to do on Christmas Day if you don’t celebrate

I’ve also got a guide to the best Melbourne Christmas markets.

New Year’s Eve

Ring in the New Year in Melbourne. There are plenty of events and parties around the city:

  • Watch the fireworks – head to Birrarung Marr, Queensbridge Square or Fed Square
  • Dance at NYE festival Heaps Good, headlined by Flume
  • Book a night out at a restaurant

Theatre, film and music

A Very Naughty Christmas

A hilarious adults-only Christmas comedy – think raunchy reindeer, carnal carols and (ahem) a long North Pole.

Dates: 7-23 December
Where: Alex Theatre, St Kilda
Cost: Tickets from $48
More info: Website

The Wind in the Willows

The Australian Shakespeare Company brings back this classic play to the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Dates: From 21 December
Where: Royal Botanic Gardens
Cost: From $30
More info: Website

Alice in Wonderland

Tumble down the rabbit hole with the beloved children’s story.

Dates: From 24 December
Where: The Capitol Theatre
Cost: From $30
More info: Website


ALWAYS LIVE is back, with 17 days of live music, with gigs held across the whole state.

Dates: 24 November-10 December
Where: Various venues
Cost: Ticket prices vary
More info: Website


Celebrate Blak cultures and Blak artivism at this festival headlined by King Stingray.

Dates: 1 December
Where: Hamer Hall
Cost: Tickets from $30
More info: Website

Mamma Mia! The Musical

The world-famous musical is heading in Melbourne – book tickets for a great night out for all ages.

Dates: Until 10 December
Where: The Princess Theatre
Cost: Tickets from $69
More info: Website

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Clearly a fan favourite, because this musical spectacular has returned to Melbourne!

Dates: Throughout December
Where: Regent Theatre
Cost: Tickets from $59
More info: Website

Hour of the Wolf

An immersive performance that plays out around you, follow the characters like a choose your own adventure to see the story from each of their perspectives.

Dates: Until 17 December
Where: Malthouse Theatre
Cost: Tickets $99
More info: Website

Elvis: A Musical Revolution

Seen the movie? Now come see the music live.

Dates: Throughout December
Where: Athenaeum Theatre
Cost: Tickets from $69
More info: Website

Miss Saigon

The epic and tragic love story is in Melbourne, with a cast of 42 performers.

Dates: Until 16 December
Where: Her Majesty’s Theatre
Cost: Tickets from $59
More info: Website

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill

This Melbourne Theatre Company performance follows Billie Holiday – who was nicknamed Lady Day – as she prepares for her final performance.

Dates: Until 9 December
Where: Arts Centre Melbourne
Cost: Tickets from $29
More info: Website

BBC Earth Experience

Experience an unforgettable journey through the natural world, narrated by David Attenborough. 

Dates: Throughout December
Where: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
Cost: Tickets from $24.90
More info: Website

Museums and art

Titanic: The Artefact Exhibition

More than 200 artefacts from the Titanic are used to tell the stories of those involved in that fateful night more than 100 years ago.

Dates: From 16 December
Where: Melbourne Museum
Cost: Adults $32.50 (includes museum entry)
More info: Website

NGV Triennial

This blockbuster exhibition will take over all floors of the NGV, featuring the works of more than 100 artists and designers.

Dates: From 3 December
Where: NGV International
Cost: Free
More info: Website

(This is) Air

This year’s NGV Architecture Commission and part of the NGV Triennial, (This is) Air uses air as a building material. The sphere structure will morph and change throughout the day.

Dates: Throughout December
Where: NGV International
Cost: Free
More info: Website

Photography: Real and Imagined

This new exhibit examines photography from two perspectives: as documentation of real events and as a creative storytelling mechanism.

Dates: Throughout December
Where: Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia
Cost: Free
More info: Website

Marshmallow Laser Feast: Works of Nature

Featuring five large-scale digital works, this new ACMI exhibit explores the majesty of the natural world – from droplets of water to cells of the human body to black holes.

Dates: Throughout December
Where: ACMI
Cost: Tickets from $10
More info: Website

RELICS: A New World Rises

This playful LEGO exhibition comes from previous winners of LEGOMasters and tells a story set in a future long after humanity’s reign, where LEGO® minifigures have risen from the debris.

Dates: Throughout December
Where: Melbourne Museum
Cost: Tickets from $17.50
More info: Website

Connection at The Lume

The Lume – the incredibly immersive art experience – welcomes a stunning First Nations exhibition called Connection.

Dates: Throughout December
Where: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
Cost: Tickets from $49
More info: The Lume website

Rain Room

Walk through a room of rain without getting wet? This immersive art installation is beautifully done.

Dates: Throughout December
Where: Jackalope Pavilion, St Kilda
Cost: Adults $29
More info: Website

Princess Diana: Accredited Access Exhibition

A showcase of photographs taken by Princess Diana’s “favourite” royal photographer.

Dates: Until 21 December
Where: The Tea House, Southbank
Cost: From $29
More info: Book online

Monopoly Dreams

Immerse yourself in giant Monopoly sets, win prizes and – most importantly – stay out of jail!

Dates: Throughout December
Where: Melbourne Central
Cost: From $38.50
More info: Website

The Friends Experience

Recreate your favourite Friends scenes at this fun new exhibit, which includes sets such as Monica’s kitchen.

Dates: Throughout December
Where: The District Docklands
Cost: From $25
More info: Website

Planetarium Nights

Head to Scienceworks for an adults-only, after dark experience. December’s events include Moons: World of Mystery (follow astronauts’ journeys to the moon) and Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon (a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the iconic album).

Dates: Friday nights throughout December
Where: Scienceworks
Cost: Tickets from $25
More info: Website

Liam Young: Planetary Redesign

This thought-provoking – and visually stunning – exhibition by filmmaker Liam Young proposes some radical solutions to climate change.

Dates: Throughout December
Where: NGV
Cost: Free entry
More info: NGV website

Gandel Gondwana Garden

Gondwana – the huge supercontinent that formed a mere 500 million years ago and connected Australia to much of the Southern Hemisphere – is brought to life in a new exhibition at Melbourne Museum.

Dates: Daily throughout December
Where: Melbourne Museum
Cost: Included with museum entry ($15)
More info: Website

Experience the Dome Promenade

One of Melbourne’s most iconic buildings has opened a hidden part that hasn’t been accessible to the public for 100 years.

Dates: Select dates in December
Where: Royal Exhibition Building
Cost: $29 for adults
More info: Museums Victoria website

Food and drink events in December

Summer Night Market

Summer means the return of Queen Vic Market’s Summer Night Market!

Dates: Wednesday evenings, 5-10pm (excluding 27 December)
Where: Queen Vic Market
Cost: Free entry
More info: Website

Jamaican Food and Music Festival

Celebrate all things Jamaican, from reggae to jerk chicken, at this all-day festival.

Dates: 2 December
Where: Seaworks, Williamstown
Cost: From $46
More info: Website

Little Korea Street Food Christmas Festival

Enjoy Christmas with a Korean twist at this delicious street food festival.

Dates: 9 December
Where: Healeys Lane
Cost: Free entry
More info: Website

Community events, festivals and shopping

The Big Design Market

Shop from a beautiful range of unique and handmade gifts, including jewellery, homewares, fashion and more from over 250 designers from around Australia.

Dates: 1-3 December
Where: Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton
Cost: $6 entry fee
More info: Website

Alliance Française Xmas Market

Pick up fabulous Frenchy gifts and sample French foods like crepes and raclette at this festive market.

Dates: 1-3 December
Where: Madame Brussels Lane
Cost: Free
More info: Website

Boho Luxe Christmas Market

Browse unique jewellery, art and fashion from Melbourne’s best designers. There are also workshops and psychic readings throughout the day.

Dates: 10 December
Where: Fed Square
Cost: Free entry
More info: Website

Pasko Sa Melbourne

Celebrate Christmas the Filipino way at this “Christmas in our hearts” event. There’s a photo booth, face painting, games and parol (lantern) making.

Dates: 5 December
Where: Queen Victoria Market
Cost: Free entry
More info: Website

Christmas Carnival

A ferris wheel, dodgem cars, carnival games and fried snacks all make for a fun family outing.

Dates: 14-24 December
Where: Birrarung Marr
Cost: Free entry
More info: Website

What are you most excited to see and do in December in Melbourne?

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I’m Rebecca, a Melbourne local excited to show you the best of Melbourne. I've visited more than 40 countries and have a Master of International Sustainable Tourism Management. After living abroad for 8 years, I’m back home in Melbourne, rediscovering this city that I love and have missed. My aim is to help you find the best things to do in Melbourne.

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