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Melbourne Christmas Festival 2023

Melbourne's dazzling month-long Christmas festival returns for 2023 with its markets, maze and skating rink.
By Sarah Ward
November 21, 2023
By Sarah Ward
November 21, 2023

It'll look like Christmas in a big way around Melbourne when the city's annual festival celebrating the jolliest time of the year returns for 2023. No matter whether you like staring at luminous lights and dazzling sights, hitting up every single festive market around town or soaking in as many Christmas-themed activities as you can find — including Christmas rollerskating, a Christmas maze and a Christmas cinema — that'll all be on the agenda from Friday, November 24.

Once again, the city will have an array of methods to get merry this festive season, with the annual Melbourne Christmas Festival running for an entire month until Monday, December 25. If you weren't aware before, you will be now: Christmas in this city doesn't just mean buying gifts and roasting turkeys.

Accordingly, from the end of November, you can make a date with spectacular projections and a whole heap of excuses to get shopping, among other festivities. Those nightly Christmas lights are a clear drawcard, and they'll beam across Melbourne Town Hall and and the State Library of Victoria. You'll also be bathed in seasonal vibes when you hang out at Federation Square's Christmas Square, where a 17.5-metre LED Christmas tree will take pride of place. And, a new river show will get Southbank all aglow ever evening.

Other standouts around town include the Christmas-themed roller-skating rink making a comeback Carlton's Argyle Square; the Christmas maze at Docklands, which is also a returning favourite; and an 11-day Christmas carnival at Birrarung Marr with dodgems and a ferris wheel.

Like Christmas movies? The Capitol Theatre is joining in with screenings of Elf, The Polar Express, The Grinch, The Nightmare Before Christmas,  The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, and The Santa Clause — all for $5 each. Or, Fed Square is showing movies for free outdoors, with Elf, The Polar Express, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street and It's a Wonderful Life on its lineup.

Elsewhere, you'll be able to take part in Christmas scavenger hunt and a treasure hunt, mosey along a festive walk that's all about knowing how best to mark the occasion in Melbourne, enjoy a comedic holiday pantomime show, see lights and lasers illuminate the Yarra, hear choirs sing carols and go cruising on a busking boat. If all the merriment makes you hungry and thirsty, you can also partake in a packed stocking's worth of food- and booze-focused Chrissie events. One highlight: Christmas on Afloat. Another: Chinatown's Christmas festival.

Ice skating — not just roller skating — is on offer as well. And if nothing says Christmas to you like getting a snap of your pet all dressed up for the occasion, pictures with Santa are also part of the fun.

Plus, from a clearly heaving lineup, market and festival devotees can take their pick, with boho, vegan, makers, German, Korean, Japanese and wine options. There's also the Koorie Krismas Market, selling arts and crafts from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

'Tis the season to spend a month feeling the Christmas spirit all throughout the City of Melbourne, obviously, because there's more where all of the above came from, too.

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