City set to jingle all the way to Christmas

Celebrate the festive season like never before thanks to Melbourne’s expanded Christmas Festival, featuring a themed night market, pop-up maze and many more exciting new attractions.

The city will dazzle with the glow of thousands of decorations, including a 16-metre tall Christmas tree, as families and shoppers are welcomed into the streets and shops for an extended festival period from Friday 12 November.

It will see the return of time-honoured favourites like the Gingerbread Village and Christmas Square at Fed Square – the home of Santa’s Workshop and free activities for families, and the young at heart.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the city was enlisting the help of as many elves as possible to help make Melbourne the Christmas destination of the season.

‘Our friends from the North Pole are helping us ensure the city is the ultimate destination to celebrate the festive season with family and friends as we bring the buzz (and bells!) back to Melbourne,’ the Lord Mayor said.

‘This year’s Christmas Festival is expected to generate more than $15 million in economic activity – providing the city’s business owners with a much-needed boost as they bounce back from lockdown.’

A 10-day shopping festival will highlight local retailers and business owners, offering shoppers the chance to snap up Christmas bargains and support traders across special shopping events including the Vogue American Express Fashion Night Out, plus Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

‘We’ve all had a tough year and we want to make sure everyone – shoppers, families and business owners – have the best Christmas possible,’ the Lord Mayor said.

The City of Melbourne has bolstered its Christmas line-up this year, adding a range of events, installations and activities to the program. To view the full calendar of events, visit What’s On.

New festival events

  • a Christmas Carnival at Birrarung Marr
  • a floating art installation on the Yarra River
  • a Christmas night market at the Queen Victoria Market
  • a full-size maze to explore at Docklands
  • augmented reality ‘Elfie Selfie’ stations scattered across the city

Returning favourites

  • Christmas Square at Fed Square, with Santa’s Workshop, decorations and free festive activities
  • Christmas projections lighting up Melbourne Town Hall, Hamer Hall and Chapter House Lane, and new laser light projections at the Arts Centre
  • Christmas cinema at Carlton’s Argyle Square, screening silly season favourites every Saturday in December
  • the Christmas Quest citywide scavenger hunt
  • the Christmas Collective grant scheme, supporting small events including Christmas markets, workshops, and laneway and street parties.

‘Whether it’s a Christmas catch-up at one of the city’s famous eateries, a family trip to meet Santa at Christmas Square or some late-night shopping to fill the stockings, there will be something for everyone to enjoy in Melbourne this Christmas,’ the Lord Mayor said.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp with Santa and two inflatable candy canes

Lord Mayor Sally Capp meets Santa in central Melbourne

City Activation portfolio lead Councillor Roshena Campbell said the festive trading season is the most important time of the year for city businesses.

‘Our city retailers have been disproportionately impacted by these lockdowns. The Christmas trading season will be critical to their economic recovery,’ Cr Campbell said.

‘That’s why the Christmas festivities will be bigger and longer than ever this year.

‘We want shoppers and families to enjoy the best parts of the season that you don’t get with online shopping. Our city will be filled with decorations, entertainment and rides to enjoy while supporting our retailers.’

The Christmas Festival will run for six weeks until Saturday 25 December. For program information, visit What’s On.

The festival is part of a landmark $200 million investment by the City of Melbourne and the Victorian Government to stimulate the economy and bring the city to life.

Major partners include Fed Square, TAC, and Development Victoria.