Things to do in Melbourne: Your Ultimate December Guide
Looking for December entertainment inspo? Our jam-packed guide has got you covered with the best things to do in Melbourne.
If you're still coming to terms with the fact that Christmas is just weeks away, you're not alone. Between the seemingly endless lockdowns, months in activewear and not knowing what day it is, let alone what month, the holiday season has crept up on us all. While we've been tucked up at home, the city has quietly been preparing itself for a festive season to remember. From cheerful holiday installations and hot new venue openings to boozy wine weekends and a marathon for good measure, this is your comprehensive guide of all the coolest (and festive) things to do in Melbourne this month.
Things to Do in Melbourne: Christmas Cheer
It’s that time of year again when Melbourne’s Town Hall lights up the city and kicks off the holiday season. If you haven’t had the chance to visit yet, head down to see this year’s five festive adornments, complete with a countdown to Christmas clock. Continue the fun and check out the projections at Chapter House Lane and Hamer Hall too.
9pm – 11pm, Until 25th December 2021
90-130 Swanston St, Melbourne
Create a beautiful, bespoke Christmas wreath to adorn your door with the expert guidance of Daily Bloom's head florist Bella at this fun, collaborative workshop. Hosted at the popular Melbourne's florist's head office in Kensington, you'll be treated to plenty of bubbles, nibbles, and floral festivity as you create your botanical work of art.
10am-12pm, Sunday 12th December, 6pm-8pm, Wednesday 15th December
Daily Blooms Kensington Warehouse
Lose yourself in the magic of Christmas at the Docklands Christmas Maze. Journey through the giant present themed activation and help Santa find his elves. There are a bunch of prizes up for grabs thanks to The District Docklands, including family passes to Imaginaria, O’Brien Icehouse, ArtVo, Chipmunks Playland, and more.
11am – 6pm, Until 24th December 2021
429-437 Docklands Drive, Docklands
The perfect holiday activity for the little ones, it wouldn’t be Christmas without a visit to the Myer windows. A staple of the season for the past 66 years, the 2021 windows tell the story of Beatrix Potter's, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, narrated by the wildly hilarious Magda Szubanski. Weekend visitors can head up to level 6 to meet Peter Rabbit and Flopsy (Peter Rabbit 2) for a photo between 10am and 2pm. There is also a Peter Rabbit Farmers Market where kids can create their own reusable bags.
7:30am – 10pm daily, Until 24th December 2021
314/336 Bourke St, Melbourne
City Gift Wrapping
There's no in between when it comes to gift wrapping – you either love it or you hate it. If you find yourself in the latter category, drop your presents off at the free gift wrapping store in the city. Featuring unique illustrations designed with love by local artists, this genius service is running all the way up to Christmas.
Thursday - Friday 12pm – 9pm, Saturday - Wednesday 12pm – 7pm, Until 24th December 2021
239 Bourke St, Melbourne
The sweetest activity on the holiday calendar, the Gingerbread Village is back! Over 600kg of gingerbread, 460kg of royal icing and 200kg of marzipan have been transformed to recreate Melbourne’s most iconic landmarks like Luna Park, Federation Square, Royal Botanical Gardens and more. Setting up shop in The Emporium, sugar addicts can also pick up some tasty treats from Epicure’s pastry chefs which are available for purchase. Entry is by gold coin donation, with all proceeds going to The Royal Children’s Hospital.
Monday-Thursday 10am – 4:30pm, Friday-Sunday 10am – 6:30pm
Until 24th December 2021
Level 4/287 Lonsdale St, Melbourne
Art and design lovers will be delighted by this fun inner-city Christmas initiative. Stop by to see the adorable collection of specially commissioned window installations by Australian craft-based designer Kitiya Palaskas, Campbell Arcade trees and lighting, giant Christmas selfie postcards (perfect for your 'gram shots), shopping specials, music performances and more.
Until Friday 31st December
Flinders Quarter, Melbourne
Things to Do in Melbourne: Food & Drink
The Garden State Hotel is bringing la dolce vita to Flinders Street with its hot new dining extension, Tippy-tay. Channeling coastal European summer vibes, this vibrant Italian eatery is rocking some seriously cool interiors – think bold and bright colours, walls lined with vintage glass bottles and tables topped with mix-matched plates. The menu follows suit, breathing new life into classic Italian flavours.
101 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Sunbury’s last remaining 19th century hotel is rocking a fresh fit out thanks to its new operators, Australian Venue Co. The historic pub has been refreshed with new furniture, a coat of paint and landscaping across its sports bar and dining spaces. Aside from the classic pub fare, a range of weekly specials has also been added to the menu including $15 porterhouse steaks, $15 pot and parma and midweek seniors’ discounts for lunch.
56-60 Macedon Street, Sunbury
Spritz season, oh how we've missed you! Baby Pizza is bringing fun, summery vibes to Richmond with Aperitivo from 3pm – 5pm every day. There's $6.50 Aperol Spritzes, Bird in Hand Rosé and Peroni Rossa, plus specialty cocktails like the Lemon Sgroppino (Vodka, Limoncello, Lemon Sorbet) and Baby’s signature Negroni Frappe (Gin, Campari, Chambord, Rose, Orange), for $8.80 each. Salute!
631-633 Church St, Richmond
Summer brings a change of blooms to Melbourne’s most Instagrammable venue, The Smith. Adored with dreamy pastel florals and a picture perfect archway, the Midsummer Night’s Garden has a range of weekly events running throughout summer as well as a secret dining area perfect for balmy evenings. Head down on a Thursday and enjoy 1 ½ hours of bottomless wine, bubbles and spritzes plus a cheeseboard for just $45.
213 High Street, Prahran
With sprawling city views, banging beats, and a worldly menu from the culinary masterminds of some of Crown Melbourne’s most popular restaurants, Pétanque Social has your summer sessions sorted. Plush day beds and cosy communal lounges lend themselves perfectly to an afternoon of nibbles and drinks in the sun – Nobu’s wagyu beef taco and Gradi’s pizzas are a must. Pair your bites with your favourite drops from the solar-powered bar and make the most of the warm weather from the stunning Crown’s Riverwalk.
Until May 2022
8 Whiteman Street Southbank
The newest contender for the best spritz in Melbourne, CHANDON welcomes winos to their Garden Summer Spritz Sessions, a luxury outdoor experience in celebration of their newest venture into the game. Transforming its already immaculate outdoor terrace and lawn into a garden oasis, the weekly indulgence includes its own summer menu, lawn games, entertainment and bar carts loaded with their new Garden Spritz.
Saturdays until February 2022
727 Maroondah Hwy, Coldstream
Rooftop seltzers – don’t mind if we do! The Provincial Hotel and Moon Dog Brewing have joined forces offering thirsty Melburnians use of the brewery’s world first post mix machine. With a variety of flavours for you to choose from, Moon Dog Fizzer is available exclusively at The Provincial’s sun-soaked rooftop this summer. Settle in for the afternoon and sample them all with two hours of free-flowing Fizzer from the self-serve Moon Dog Fizzer wall for $49.
299 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Frosé season is finally here, and Richmond’s Fargo & Co is kicking things off by launching nine fruity flavours to get you through the summer months. Available all day, these frosty refreshments can be purchased on their own for $12, or as a two-hour bottomless package for $39.
From 6th November 2021
216 Swan Street, Richmond
Arbory Afloat is bringing the Euro vibes to you as Melbourne’s largest floating bar has been transformed into the picturesque Turquoise Coast in Turkey. Back for its sixth season, expect dreamy coastal interiors complete with 80-year-old olive trees, tasseled umbrellas and iconic Missoni graphic-patterned upholstery. The menu follows suit with classic and contemporary Turkish dishes by Executive Chef Nick Bennett and his team.
2, Flinders Walk, Melbourne
After a year of lockdowns, a trip down Victoria’s picturesque Cherry Trail is just what the doctor ordered. Support local this cherry season by visiting one (or all) of Victoria's gorgeous orchards and get first dibs on popular varieties like Merchant, Bing, Regina, Lapin, Sweet Georgia, Sweetheart and Van. Buy farm-fresh from the on-site shop or pick your own!
Until January 2022
Summer is fast approaching and that means one thing: beach clubs are back baby. Returning this year to Port Melbourne, the Exchange Beach Club has your sunny day kickbacks sorted. Boujee babes can snack and sip the day away in true VIP style at the cabanas (minimum spend applies) while casual catchups lend themselves perfectly to the day beds. The seaside inspired menu features light bites, skewers, burgers and salads as well as thirst-quenching cocktails. (Four Pillars Shiraz Spritz anyone?)
Until 30th January 2022
Corner Beach Street & Bay Street, Port Melbourne
Things to Do in Melbourne: Arts & Culture
Ready the picnic rugs because Australia’s OG outdoor cinema is back this month screening the hottest titles from the picturesque Royal Botanic Gardens. Feeling a festive flick? The December program includes holiday classics like Love Actually, Home Alone and The Grinch alongside new releases such as Black Widow and Cruella. Pack a spread or stop off at one of the food trucks and bars on site for the ultimate flick and feast experience.
Until 27th March 2022
Royal Botanic Gardens, Birdwood Ave, Melbourne
Have a mosey around this magnificent home and its renowned gardens, all in the name of a great cause (the local SES and CFA, to be exact). At the exclusive garden party, you'll explore the Oak & Monkey Puzzle property, which has graced the covers of many Australian magazines, discover more about the design and construction of the gorgeous gardens, and take your pick of special treats from local producers and artisans to enjoy at your picnic. Located just 1-hour north of Melbourne near holiday hotspot Daylesford, the event is a great excuse to bring your friends together for a day trip.
10am-4pm, Sunday 23rd January 2020
1333 Ballan-Daylesford Road, Spargo Creek, Victoria
Hit your exercise quota for the month at the Melbourne Marathon Festival. Held over two days, distances include the 3km walk, 5km run and the SriLankan Airlines 10km run. Welcoming runners of all ages and abilities, participants are encouraged to raise money for the official charity partner, Cerebral Palsy Education Centre, and associate charities: JMB Foundation, Australian Red Cross, the Heart Foundation, and Very Special Kids.
Saturday 11th – Sunday 12th December 2021
Various locations around Melbourne
Celebrating its 22nd year with a bang, the ST Ali Italian Film Festival returns this month with a class line-up of titles on the roster. The screenings include a collection of classics celebrating traditional filmmaking practices, with a focus on modern cinema to highlight stories from present day Italy.
Until 12th December 2021
Palace Kino Cinemas, 45 Collins St, Melbourne
Tacos, tequila, and mariachis – need we say more? Join Melbourne’s vibrant Mexican community for a weekend of celebration at this one-of-a-kind, free community event. More than 25 Mexican and Latino-American food vendors will be serving up your favourite bites while a fully licensed bar will keep you hydrated with five different Margaritas on offer. Post-feed, immerse yourself in the festivities with live music, DJs, folklore, and dancing.
10th - 12th December 2021
309-311 William St, West Melbourne
What would summer be without catching the newest releases under the stars? Lucky we don’t have to find out as our favourite sky-high cinema returns. Lido’s rooftop series is a hit each year for its diverse programming, sweeping views and next-level snacks (think cheese plates, craft beer and veggie dumplings) so no need to BYO. Promising fresh air and even fresher releases, November screenings include The Eternals, Titane and No Time To Die.
Tickets from $12
Daily sessions through to 2022
Ever wondered how Disney's most iconic films came to be? Showing in Australia for the very first time, ACMI’s latest exhibition is bringing the magic of make-believe to life. Take a journey through the animation ages and preview over 500 original sketches and rare artworks from your favourite films like Steamboat Willie (1928), Fantasia (1940), The Little Mermaid (1989), The Lion King (1994), Frozen (2013), Moana (2016) and the studio’s latest release, Raya and the Last Dragon (2021).
Until 23rd January 2022
Federation Square, Flinders St, Melbourne
With glitz, glamour and one hell of a soundtrack, Baz Luhrman’s iconic film is taking centre stage this month at the Regent Theatre. The story of beauty, truth, freedom and above all things love, was made to be a musical and one not be missed at that.
Until 7th April 2022
Regent Theatre, 191 Collins St, Melbourne
See Scienceworks come to life after hours with Melbourne's favourite interstellar film experience. Where art and science collides, venture through fluorescent underwater corals, marvel at the cosmos, journey through black holes and witness an alien invasion from the dome. Choose between a presenter-led tour through the night sky and a fulldome art piece offering an immersive voyage into unseen worlds.
Tickets from $20
Every Friday (7:30pm & 9:00pm sessions)
2 Booker St, Spotswood
Australia’s first permanent digital gallery, The Lume, is transforming the iconic works of Van Gogh into a full-blown immersive experience like no other. Light ripples, curated tastes, aromas and a choreographed soundtrack will transform your favourite masterpieces across every surface. Follow his artistic evolution through the Netherlands, Paris, Arles, Saint Rémy and Auvers-sur-Oise, stepping inside The Bedroom, Starry Night and more.
Tickets from $39
06 November 2021 – 01 May 2022
Check out the kaleidoscope of colours across four unique interactive installations at Northcote's Town Hall Civic Square and thriving High Street. Installed by renowned Australian visual artist Carla O’Brien, the dazzling designs light up the suburb – recently voted as Melbourne's best – for two weekends only. Stop by for the lights and stay for the vibrant mix of bars, cafes, boutique shops, and restaurants along High Street.
Thursday 16th-Sunday 19th December
Town Hall Civic Square and High Street, Northcote
I'd love to live near