On Day two of Xen’s 12 Days of Christmas, I’m bringing you a Christmas Guide to Melbourne. Whether you live in Melbourne, or you just want to see how we do Christmas here, this list has some fantastic options for getting into the festive spirit!
Carols By Candlelight
Vision Australia’s Carols By Candlelight is my favourite part of Christmas in Melbourne. It’s an annual Christmas concert held on Christmas Eve at the Sydney Myer Music Bowl. It’s been a Melbourne tradition since 1938, where Australian musicians come together to perform Christmas carols to raise funds for Vision Australia – to support those who are blind or have low vision. Melbournian’s either watch the Carols from home on Christmas Eve, (like me), or they head to the music bowl to experience the Carols well, by candlelight. It’s my favourite way to get in the Christmas spirit, and relax before Christmas day.
Summer Night Market
The Summer Night Market at the iconic Queen Vic Markets is the perfect way to start your Christmas celebrations off on the right foot – it’s basically a huge outdoor party, complete with strings of fairy-lights. Taking place on Wednesday nights from November 21 – March 20 (excluding Boxing Day), the market showcases over 60 global street food stalls, specialty shopping stalls, live music, and festival bars. It’s a lovely way to spend a summer night, maybe do some Christmas shopping, and start your Christmas celebrations with some loved ones.
You have to check out the film lineup at Moonlight Cinemas – in the lead up to Christmas you can watch Elf, the Grinch, and LOVE ACTUALLY under the stars in the Royal Botanic Gardens. If Christmas movies aren’t your thing, don’t worry – there are films on the program to suit everyone. You have several viewing options at Moonlight Cinemas, from packing your own picnic and relaxing on a blanket, to the ‘Gold Grass’ package, which includes a prime viewing location and food service. There are heaps of food and beverage options available to purchase (including alcoholic beverages!) – but remember that Moonlight Cinemas is now cashless, so don’t forget your debit card.
Ice Skating (at the Summer Night Market)
Would you normally see ‘ice skating’ and ‘Summer night market’ in the same sentence? No. But, the Queen Vic Summer Night Markets have partnered with Air Canada to create the first outdoor Summer ice-rink in Melbourne! Have you dreamed on skating under the Rockerfeller Center’s iconic Christmas Tree? Or maybe in Central Park at Christmas time? Well, while I can’t offer you tickets to New York, I can tell you that you can take a spin around the ice-rink under the iconic sheds of the Queen Vic Markets. There will also be Christmassy treats to enjoy rinkside, including coffee, maple syrup ice-cream and poutine! The ice-rink will pop up for the first three weeks of Summer (closing on December 24), and will be a great way to add a little festive magic into your Christmas season!
Lido on the Roof
Another cinema-related entry – did you know that the Lido has a rooftop? That’s right, a rooftop cinema in the heart of Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn. The Lido is offering a bit of a Christmas program just like Moonlight Cinemas, so you can catch the new Grinch film, The Nightmare Before Christmas, or my personal favourite non-Christmas Christmas movie – Die Hard! Imagine kicking back on the roof of the Lido, drink in hand, and watching Die Hard in Summer night air. Sound heavenly? I think so. You can book tickets online or the Lido also offers gift vouchers if you would like to organise an experience for someone as a gift.
The Myer Christmas Windows
A list about Christmas in Melbourne wouldn’t be complete without the Myer Christmas Windows. This is a free Christmas exhibition in the shopfront of Myer, Bourke Street which has delighted young and old alike for 63 years. This year the theme is Alice in Wonderland, so the windows will be decorated to the nines in magical Christmas-Wonderland style. The lines are almost always long, especially the closer it gets to Christmas, so you will probably have to wait. However, there’s almost nothing more iconically Melbourne at Christmas time than this tradition.
There you have it – a Guide to Melbourne at Christmas-time. I hope some of these Melbourne experiences help you get into the Christmas spirit!
Let me know below if you try out any of these experiences, or if you have in past years!