A Guide to the Best Christmas Markets and Events in Melbourne (2023)
It's almost that time of year again – streets and shopfronts are laced with decorations, shopping centres have switched on the essential soundtrack of Michael Bublé's best tunes, and family members are sneakily dropping hints about their dream gifts. Despite all slightly panicked notions of 'Where did the year go?' we have once again arrived at the festive season.
Here at Dorsett Melbourne, Christmas has to be one of our favourite times of the year. Why? Because Melbourne seriously does its celebrations right.
In a city known for its cosmopolitan charm and flair, Melbourne's Christmas celebrations are no exception. This year, we're turning the spotlight on the finest markets, the most exciting events, and the truly exceptional moments that make Christmas in Melbourne unforgettable.
Join us on a journey through a world of elegant Christmas extravagance, as we guide you to the crème de la crème of Melbourne's holiday festivities. Get your wish lists ready and your taste buds primed because we're about to indulge in a Christmas like no other!
Melbourne Christmas Markets
As the holiday season sweeps Melbourne in a shimmering blanket of cheer, it's time to explore the city’s magical Christmas markets. Melbourne’s market scene is pretty top-tier all year round, but when the festive season arrives, it truly becomes a whole new world of tantalising excitement.
From handcrafted gifts to delectable treats, Melbourne's Christmas markets offer an exquisite array of options. Picture stalls adorned with artisanal crafts, the sweet scent of gingerbread, and the festive melodies of carollers filling the streets and laneways.
Festive markets are a stunning way to embrace the spirit of the season. Whether you're seeking unique presents for loved ones or simply wish to soak in the enchanting atmosphere, these markets are an absolute must-visit.
The Big Design Market
Where: The Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton
When: Friday 1st December – Sunday 3rd December
Distance from Dorsett Melbourne: 12-minute drive or 19-minute tram ride
Looking for the perfect, one-of-a-kind gift this holiday season? The Big Design Market in Melbourne’s iconic Royal Exhibition Building is where creativity and uniqueness shine. Showcasing an array of innovative and artistic products, this market gathers designers and artists from all corners of Australia, offering you an exclusive shopping experience.
This year, the market boasts over 250 exhibitors, showcasing wares from finely crafted jewellery to sustainable homeware and captivating art. You’ll also find a delicious array of food stalls, cafés, and bars on-site to keep you going throughout all your Christmas shopping.
The Big Design Market isn’t just a market; it's a celebration of creativity and a treasure trove of gifts you won't discover anywhere else.
Photography Credit: Simon Shiff
South Melbourne Christmas Market
Where: 322-326 Coventry St, South Melbourne
When: Wednesday 1st – Friday 24th December
Distance from Dorsett Melbourne: 16-minute drive or 19-minute tram ride
The South Melbourne Market is transforming itself for the festive season with all the best decorations, carols, and festive goodies we could ask for. Situated in the vibrant South Melbourne suburb, the sprawling food and wares market is a hub for delicious delicacies and stunning gifts.
Experience the market come to life with festive cheer throughout December. With a jam-packed Christmas program including free live music, roving performances, decoration competitions, and exciting giveaways, there’s plenty on offer for everyone to enjoy.
We’ve also heard that Santa himself might be popping in for a visit to these must-visit markets – now that’s a sure sign that they’re worth a look!
Port’s Artisan Christmas Market
Where: Bay St, Port Melbourne
When: Saturday 2nd December
Distance from Dorsett Melbourne: 16-minute drive or 32-minute bus ride
For a big sprinkle of holiday cheer, we highly recommend visiting Port’s Artisan Christmas Market in Port Melbourne. Located southwest of the city and close to the stunning coastline (very near to St Kilda Beach, another great summertime hotspot), these one-day-only markets are sure to ignite enough festive spirit to last you for the entire season!
This beloved Christmas market has earned its spot among Melbourne's favourites, and for good reason. With community at the forefront, the market gathers nearly 150 local producers, skilled artisans, and creative makers to fulfill your gift-giving desires. From handcrafted treasures to one-of-a-kind finds, you're sure to discover the perfect presents for your loved ones.
As you explore the vibrant market stalls, the city's local cafes and restaurants will join in the merriment, ensuring you're never too far from delectable treats and beverages to keep you fuelled. To set the perfect holiday atmosphere, live music will fill the air with joyous melodies.
Melbourne Christmas Events
Now that we’ve explored all the best Christmas markets, let’s dive into some of the most wonderful Christmas activities Melbourne has to offer. Presented by City of Melbourne, this multi-event city-wide festival is the ultimate celebration of all things festive.
From candlelight carols to Christmas tree lightings, riverside light shows to window displays, Christmas in Melbourne this year is set to be one truly magical wonderland!
Christmas Square and Christmas Tree Lighting
Where: Fed Square, Swanston Street and Flinders Street
When: 24th November – 25th December
Distance from Dorsett Melbourne: 17-minute drive or 20-minute train ride
The spirit of Christmas itself calls Fed Square home for one glorious month. All throughout December, the city’s iconic square will transform into a twinkling, dazzling, buzzing light-filled land just waiting to be explored by people of all ages.
Drink in the incredible light displays, create memories to last a lifetime, and feast your eyes on the magnificent 17.5m tall Christmas tree.
The tree is set to light on the night of the 24th of November, which marks the official beginning of the Melbourne Christmas Festival. This free event kicks off at 6:30pm, but we recommend arriving earlier to ensure a prime spot for witnessing all the magic.
Credit: City of Melbourne
Christmas River Show
Where: Between the Princes Bridge and the Evan Walker Bridge, Yarra River, Southbank
When: 24th November – 25th December
Distance from Dorsett Melbourne: 15-minute drive or 25-minute walk
If there’s one sure-fire way to ring in the festive period in style, it’s with this year’s simply spectacular Christmas River Show. Witness the Yarra River explode into a whirlwind of colours, lights, lasers, fountains, and projections each night until Christmas night itself.
Take up a spot in Southbank close to the Evan Walker Bridge for the best seats in the house. Shows begin at 9pm and run every 15 minutes, so there’s no stress if you miss one – simply wander down to the water, put your eyes to the river, and await the promised magic.
Melbourne Town Hall Christmas Projections
Where: 90/130 Swanston St, Melbourne
When: Friday 24th November
Distance from Dorsett Melbourne: 11-minute drive or 14-minute tram ride
Melbourne Town Hall is an iconic landmark, and during the holiday season, it transforms into a canvas for breathtaking Christmas projections. These captivating displays tell a visual story of Melbourne's history and culture, all imbued with a dazzling dose of Christmas cheer and twinkling festive spirit.
Witness six astonishing colour shows light up the building as this delightful blend of art and history blankets the city in nostalgia and wonder. Strolling past the Town Hall or taking up a prime position to watch these mesmerising projections is a must-do for anyone seeking the true essence of Christmas in Melbourne.
Docklands Christmas Maze
Where: NewQuay Central Park, Docklands Drive
When: 29th November – 24th December
Distance from Dorsett Melbourne: 9-minute tram ride or 16-minute walk
Everyone’s favourite holiday game is back this year with the iconic Docklands Christmas Maze. Treat your little ones (and big kids!) to this fabulously fun-filled pop-up maze in the heart of the Docklands.
Embark on a colourful and delightfully decorate hunt for Santa’s missing elves as you wind your way through giant candy canes, gift boxes, and interactive mini games. With a string of prizes to be won each day and endless joy to spread, this free event is a must when you visit with the family during summer.
Melbourne Myer Christmas Windows (and Shopping)
Where: Bourke St, Myer Centre
When: Now until Saturday 6th January
Distance from Dorsett Melbourne: 13-minute drive or 11-minute tram ride
The Melbourne Myer Christmas Windows are an iconic Melbourne tradition, loved by young and old alike. Every year, these magical window displays transport visitors to a whimsical world. It's a heartwarming experience that often tells a charming Christmas story.
The 2023 window display theme is one the kids will simply adore – this year, it’s Bluey’s Christmas with a wondrous display of original beloved characters and recreated snippets from the Heeler’s holiday traditions.
While you're there, don't forget to step inside the flagship Myer Centre for some Christmas shopping. The bustling aisles and expansive centre are filled with the finest festive decorations, including towering nutcrackers, lush garlands, and twinkling lights at every turn.
Surrounding the Myer Centre you’ll also find plenty of trussed-up shops, boutiques, and plazas filled with gorgeous gifts and stylish clothes. No Melbourne trip is complete without a day of shopping, and what better time to spend a little than during Christmas?
Whether you're looking for that perfect holiday outfit or special presents for your loved ones, Melbourne's shopping district is the place to be.
Carols by Candlelight
Where: Arts Centre Melbourne's Sidney Myer Music Bowl
When: Friday 24th December
Distance from Dorsett Melbourne: 15-minute drive or 25-minute train ride
One of the most cherished Christmas traditions in Melbourne is the nationally-renowned Carols by Candlelight. Held at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, this enchanting event brings the community together under the sprawling starry night sky every year on Christmas Eve.
Families and friends gather with picnic blankets and candles, ready to sing along to classic carols and revel in some of the country’s most famous and awe-inspiring acts. The angelic voices of performers add a touch of magic to the evening while a special appearance from the big man in red always inspires the biggest wave of joy from the littlest faces in the audience.
Carols by Candlelight is televised each year, but attending the concert is truly a different experience. Organised and sponsored by Vision Australia, this event is a beautiful way to share the joy of the season.
Can’t make it to the Christmas Eve show? You might be lucky to secure tickets to the Carols by Candlelight Rehearsal Night on the 23rd of December. Watch as the performers iron out the last kinks and treat their special preview crowd to a magical night.
Indulge in Melbourne’s Festivities with Dorsett Melbourne
With a wide array of Christmas events, Melbourne goes above and beyond to embrace the spirit of the season.
Whether you're enjoying the melodious Carols by Candlelight, witnessing the historic Christmas projections, exploring the Christmas Festival at Fed Square, or stepping into the enchanting world of the Myer Christmas Windows, the city provides unforgettable moments that make your Christmas truly special.
To create a truly memorable experience this festive season, treat yourself and your loved ones to a stay at Dorsett Melbourne. With close and easy access to all of these wonderful Christmas events Melbourne-wide (and more!), not to mention plush rooms and exquisite dining, our hotel is ready to welcome you for a magical Christmas this year. It’s the perfect place for a little R&R to keep you relaxed and rejuvenated through the holidays.Book your stay and mark your calendar for the best festive season yet in the heart of Melbourne!