Every year, Brisbane comes alive with festivities around Christmas time. The massive Christmas tree illuminates King George Square, gift shopping is in full swing at the various Christmas markets around the city, and Mariah Carey is heard almost everywhere we go. For those looking for some inspiration to get into the festive spirit in Brisbane during the Christmas period, we’ve curated a list of things to do (and checked it twice, of course).
1. Check off your gift list at a Christmas market
With Christmas fast approaching, our attention is turning towards gifts, good times and good food. And some of the best places to get these gifts, have a good time and get your hands on a huge array of good food is at one of Brisbane’s Christmas Markets.
There are more than a couple on in the lead-up to the big day. You’ll be able to grab plenty of presents, festive trinkets and more amongst a range of locally-made goods. You might even hear some carols, see Santa himself, or find the perfect pressie for yourself.
The market closest to Christmas Day is the Portside Twilight Christmas Markets on Sunday, December 18, which is on the same night as Brisbane’s first Christmas Boat Parade.
Christmas markets in Brisbane you can get festive at
2. Putt your way through this Christmas-themed mini golf course
Get into the festive spirit at Christmas Putt Putt, a themed mini golf course that’s popped up for the festive season. The course has undergone a merry makeover, decked out with tinsel, giant candy canes, Christmas trees, reindeer, lights and of course a massive Santa statue.
This is a perfect Christmas-themed activity for the whole family, which you can pair with lunch or dinner at the Victoria Park Bistro.
Open until January 3, 2023.
📍 Victoria Park
💲 $14 – $20
3. Tuck into a Christmas Day lunch at one of these iconic Brisbane venues
If you and the fam are looking for a restaurant in Brisbane to spend Christmas Day lunch this year, there are plenty of options. Christmas lunch packages vary between venues, but here are some we recommend: Brisbane Marriott, Emporium Hotel South Bank, and Goldfinch Restaurant & Street Café.
4. Catch a festive flick at this outdoor cinema
The December program for Moonlight Cinema is now out, and unsurprisingly, there’s heaps of Christmas classics to get you in the holiday spirit.
Love Actually, The Holiday, Home Alone, The Grinch That Stole Christmas and Die Hard will play from December 13 – 22.
In Brisbane, Moonlight Cinema returns from Thursday, November 24, 2022 to Sunday, February 19, 2023.
📍 Amphitheatre at South Bank Parkland
💲 $15 – $40
Moonlight Cinema – December program
5. Walk off your Christmas Day feast with a short stroll
The Christmas Day arvo nap is a given to any festive household. But after you’ve emerged from your slumber, why not take a leisurely stroll to walk off that Christmas food coma whilst soaking up some awesome views?
Your sluggishness will thank you for it.
We’ve curated a list of some of the best short walks in Brisbane.
6. Wander around Brisbane’s largest interactive lighting display
Returning for another year, The Enchanted Garden will be on display and open to visitors in the lead-up to Christmas, from November 25 until December 21.
The spectacular sensory experience will envelop the plants, trees and gardens in a kaleidoscope of colours and light for an incredible trip.
📍 Roma Street Parkland
7. See King George Square light up at night with a 22-metre Christmas tree and projections on City Hall
From November 25 until January 8, Brisbane’s famous 22-metre Christmas tree will make a return. The tree is one of the largest Christmas trees in the Southern Hemisphere, so be sure to catch it in all its glory.
Every evening from December 9 – 24, City Hall will become illuminated with lights and projections every fifteen minutes from 7.30pm – midnight. It’s best caught from the centre of King George Square.
These are both perfect for free things to do at Christmas in Brisbane.
📍 King George Square
8. Sip on a tipple at the Tinsel Tavern
Raise a toast to the silly season at the Tinsel Tavern in South Brisbane, your go-to stop for a festive tipple. From December 17 – 22, enjoy a drink with a side of local musicians from 4.30pm – 9.45pm.
📍 South Bank Parklands
9. Take the stress out of cooking this year with at-home meals made by a local chef
If you’re hosting Christmas Day this year and want to do something different (i.e. not cook), then let Brisbane’s top chefs take care of food for you. Providoor is delivering at-home meals up until December 24 from the likes of local restaurants such as:
Clarence in Woolloongabba – showstopping meat centrepieces, including a glazed pork belly ham and confit duck leg.
La Valle in Fortitude Valley – gourmet Italian-inspired antipasto platters and cheese boards with some of the city’s best cured meats and schiacciata.
Donna Chang in Brisbane City – an Asian inspired Christmas celebration with red braised pork belly, steamed barramundi and roast duck pancakes,
Siffredi’s in Teneriffe – a seafood lover’s feast with oysters, baked scallops and mouth-watering scampi spaghetti.
10. Use this website to find the best neighbourhood Christmas lights
To save you from driving around aimlessly searching for bright beacons of light in the distance, there’s a handy website that helps you find not only all the Christmas light displays in your area or your city, but also across the entire country.
That website is Christmas Light Search. It works by users submitting their Christmas lights display with a bit of info like if the display has been confirmed for this year and when the lights will be on as well as a description of what visitors can expect to see and hear. (Some add a more detailed description than others.)
Spectacular Christmas light displays in Brisbane
Escape the heat and see these lights in an intimate setting
11. Skipper you and your mates down the Brisbane River on these BYO electric boats
GoBoat have become the easiest way for you and your friends to enjoy time on the water. The boats—constructed from fibreglass, which uses recycled PET bottles instead of virgin glass—are powered by an electric motor and have a top speed of seven kilometres per hour.
This means that you don’t need a license to skipper them and anyone over the age of eighteen can be captain for a day.
📍 Breakfast Creek
💲 $129 – $479
12. Get in on the Christmas cheer at the South Bank Christmas Show
The South Bank Christmas Show is returning this year.
From December 17 – 22, spend an evening watching a 45-minute play set in the North Pole, with two nightly family-friendly sessions: one at 5.30pm and another at 7pm.
You can expect plenty of dancing, live music, costumes, as well as a visit from Santa of course.
📍 South Bank Piazza
13. Laugh out loud at this Christmas-themed musical
Babushka Regifted is the cabaret musical to check out if you like your Christmas events a little more irreverent and raunchy.
Showing from December 14 – 17, this special showcase is full of festive tunes and cheeky humour. Perfect for a Christmas-y activity with your mates, or for a hilarious date night.
📍 New Benner Theatre, Metro Arts, West End
14. Picnic on the river at Brisbane’s first Christmas Boat Parade
The inaugural Christmas Boat Parade is set to cruise along the Brisbane River for one night only, delivering a light display like no other.
The party starts on Sunday, December 18, where you’ll find a spot on the water and get comfy. From 5pm, the pre-parade entertainment begins. We’re talking live music, carols, photo ops, as well as market stalls you can browse from.
📍 Northshore Hamilton
15. Get cosy at home with a Christmas movie on Netflix
It’s that time of the year again where our viewing pleasures turn red and green as the twenty-fifth fast approaches. And although there are plenty of festive things happening around the city, sometimes it’s nice to just get comfy at home and watch a Christmas-themed movie or series. This year, Netflix really has delivered in that department—from new romantic comedies like Falling for Christmas with Lindsay Lohan to nostalgic classics such as The Polar Express. So settle on the couch, kick your feet, pour a sneaky bev, and enjoy the most wine-derful time of the year.
Christmas films and shows on Netflix
16. Try a new Aussie coffee roaster in the lead up to Christmas
Elevate the days of December with a coffee advent calendar from ‘Feind Coffee. The Beanvent coffee advent calendars comprise of 24 coffee blends from 24 Australian roasters, which means you can try a different one every day of the month leading up to Christmas.
It’s a great way to discover some smaller independent Australian roasters. You know never know, you might find your next favourite blend and never go back.
Give The Gift Of Experience This Christmas With A Candlelight Gift Card