Whether you’re in the festive spirit or simply looking to relax after a big year of study, there’s no shortage of fun things to do in Melbourne during December.

To get you through to New Year without breaking the bank, we’ve compiled this list of free festivities in Melbourne. Enjoy!

Christmas Lights


Catch interactive animated light shows illuminated on iconic building at Fed Square and Docklands every night between 9pm and 10.30pm until 25 December. Melbourne Town Hall will also light up but will not feature an animated show.

Check out some of Melbourne’s most spectacular Christmas lights at The Boulevard in Ivanhoe, from 15 to 24 December.

Festivals

Mapping Melbourne is a 16-day multicultural arts festival encompassing visual art, live art, music, dance, public programs and new multidisciplinary collaborations across 14 venues.

Every Sunday is a Summer Fiesta at the Docklands, with Latin food, dance, music and food.

The African Music and Cultural Festival (8 December, Fed Square) brings the tastes, sounds, rhythms, smells and flavours of Africa to life.

Coinciding with the Australia vs. India Boxing Day Test, the Indian Summer Festival (23-27 December) is a celebration of modern Indian culture.

The World Rice Festival is coming to Melbourne 7-9 December. Experience cooking demos, live music, dance performances and of course, rice-inspired dishes, desserts and drinks.

Markets

Celebrate Hump Day at the Summer Night Market, with global street food, festival bars and a rotating line-up of live music and entertainment like totem tennis, Jenga and chess. Every Wednesday, 5pm-10pm (excluding 26 December).

Shop for artisan gifts in the picturesque sculpture garden of the Heide Museum of Modern Art on 8 December.

Spend Friday nights at the Coburg Night Market and get food trucks, artisan stalls and local bands and DJs. Happening 7, 14 and 21 December, 5.30pm-10pm.

At the Melbourne Book Market (16 December) you can peruse a curated collection of more than 5,000 new and pre-loved titles as well as quality second-hand vinyl records and CDs.

Enjoy all things French at the Alliance Française Market in St Kilda on 15 and 16 December.

Food

If you fancy yourself a good cook, there are prizes up for grabs in The Dock Christmas Bake Off, December 8.

While you can’t actually eat it, it’s still pretty fun to see 560 kilograms of gingerbread carved into miniature buildings, trees and people at the Gingerbread Village at Fed Square (daily until 24 December).

Music

Kick back with free concerts every Thursday evening in December at Fed Square Live.

In the mood to belt out a tune? Sing What You Feel is an installation at the Arts Centre that invites visitors and passers-by to express themselves through song.

If Christmas carols are your thing, check out Lakeside Carols at Gasworks Park (6 December), Banyule Carols by Candlelight (15 December) or Bayside Carols in the Park(11 December).

Classical music lovers can watch a recital of Beethoven piano sonatas at Melbourne Uni on 11 December, 11am – 12.30pm.

Learn more about Australian music history at the Australian Music Vault.

Movies

Who doesn’t love a free movie night? Catch Hugo (3 December) and It’s a Wonderful Life (19 December) at Fed Square, or the holiday favourite Home Alone on December 19 at North Fitzroy Library.

For the little ones

Check out the Myer animated Christmas windows, a Melbourne tradition for the past 63 years. This year’s theme is Alice in Wonderland.

Post a letter to Santaand receive one in return!


Graduate Student Association