December is a busy month. We’re all trying to get work finished before the end of the year while at the same time trying to get our Christmas shopping done, making our Christmas plans, prepping our Christmas meals and trying to enjoy the warm weather as well as all the brilliant things that are going on in town.
1. Catch an outdoor flick at Moonlight 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 to 22.
Watch new releases under the stars, including Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Bros and the Whitney Houston biopic I Wanna Dance with Somebody. There will also be films for the whole family, including Minions: The Rise of Gru and Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile.
Moonlight Cinema – December program
2. Hop aboard this twilight river cruise to visit a few of Brisbane’s best breweries
River to Bay doesn’t do beer crawls, they do beer cruises. And on their Twilight Brewery Tour Cruise, they’ll pick you up from the City Botanic Gardens River Hub for a golden afternoon of award-winning beers.
Between stops at a few of the city’s most iconic breweries, you’ll also get to take in views of the magnificent Brisbane River, debate which beer you like/d best and not have to worry about sore legs—although, sea legs might be a thing.
River to Bay’s Twilight Brewery Tour Cruise
3. Get festive at a Christmas market around the city
There are more than a couple on in the lead-up to the big day, with the first ones starting starting weeks ago. 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.
Christmas markets in Brisbane you can get festive at
4. Drive around Brisbane neighbourhoods to see all the wonderful Christmas light displays
Every year there are some neighbourly neighbours that go above and beyond throwing up a cable of fairy lights, sticking up some festive words, and calling their Christmas light display complete. Instead, they meticulously plan their Christmas light displays days, weeks or even months in advance as the best designers do, and when the time strikes they get to work setting up and decorating.
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 displays in your area or your city.
Find it and some must-see Christmas light displays here.
5. Interact with the art at Museum of Brisbane’s ‘Play Moves’ summer exhibition
When it comes to art, Brisbane is in no shortage of awe-inspiring exhibitions. Neighbourhood Earth just recently opened, then we’ve got a dinosaur exhibition to look forward to next year. To add to the list is Play Moves, a new summer exhibition hitting Museum of Brisbane in December.
Play Moves features a series of six interactive experiences, where you as the viewer can engage with the art through touch and immersion.
Play Moves @ Museum of Brisbane
6. Dine at Brisbane’s best vegetarian restaurant
Hands down, Fortitude Valley’s Za Za Ta is home to some of – if not the – best vegetarian and vegan eats in Brisbane. In fact, it was named as Queensland’s best vegetarian restaurant by Delicious this year. With good reason too! Za Za Ta’s dishes are creative, the dining atmosphere is immaculate, and the wine and cocktail list is curated almost perfectly. Trust us when we say, you need to try their haloumi doughnuts!
7. Admire the view from Brisbane’s newest rooftop bar
We love our rooftop bars here in Brisbane, which means we can never really have enough of them, right? To add to the list, we have Soko Rooftop in Fortitude Valley, which has just opened above the Jubilee Hotel.
Dine inside with the lush green interiors, or soak up the sunlight on the balcony under the striped umbrellas. Fourteen storeys high means glorious cityscape views. But that’s not the only thing Soko is serving up.
8. Get into the Christmas spirit at Love Actually In Concert
The British rom-com has become quite the Christmas staple over the years. And 18 years on, it still works. This year, instead of watching this festive favourite on Netflix, do yourself one better by planning a date at BCEC’s Great Hall because Love Actually in Concert is returning to town on December 10.
9. 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 things to do at Christmas in Brisbane.
10. Head to Fortitude Valley’s new Italian eatery for pizza, pasta and spritz cocktails
There’s a new Italian eatery in town, and if you’re a fan of carb-filled eats and spritz cocktails, you’ll absolutely want to check it out. From the legends behind Teneriffe’s Dalgety 2.0 Public House, say ciao to Italia Lane.
Located in the heart of the Valley, you’ll need to walk down a hidden alleyway to find this gem. But when you do, you’ll come across a vibrant outdoor laneway and spacious restaurant area.
Not only is Italia Lane a choice new spot for a bite to eat, but the festoon lights in the laneway are also a perfect backdrop for a Friday night or weekend session, with DJs and acoustic music on those nights.Italia Lane
11. Indulge in a bite and bubbly from this lobster roll pop-up
Deciding what to eat on a day or night out can be a bit of a struggle. But not with Lobster & Co. because there are three main things on the menu — an exquisite lobster roll, hard-to-resist truffle fries and a chilled glass of champagne. Enjoy this lush and indulgent meal when the decadent Lobster & Co. pop-up returns to Brisbane from December 14 to January 8.
12. Catch a cheeky performance from some of Australia’s best male dancers at Magic Men
Magic Men are Australia’s best male dancers and their shows serve up a heart-racing and sweat-inducing spectacle. From the hunky stars in their eye-catching costumes to the gorgeous waiters, who will be serving you a glass of sparkling on arrival and carrying around complimentary finger food for you to bite down on in the case it all gets a bit much, this is one cheeky show that is not for the prudish.
Magic Men is on Saturday nights.
13. 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 in December, delivering a light display like no other.
The party starts at Northshore Hamilton 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.
14. 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.
$129 – $479
15. 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
16. Whack on your ugliest Christmas shirt or sweater for this special beer run
Some people love running and some people love beer. Some of these people are the same person but rarely, if ever, would they start off a run with a coldie.
However, on Sunday December 11, they’ve got their opportunity to do just that with the return of The Beer Run’s 5k, 5 bars, 5 beers fun run. But this time, it’s Christmas-themed, so whack on your ugliest Christmas sweater, shirt or Santa suit for the occasion.
17. Putt your way around this Christmas-themed mini golf course
Victoria Park Mini Golf has taken down its Halloween decorations and replaced them with more festive and fitting ornaments. Launching on Friday 5 November, the Christmas Putt Putt will see Santa and his reindeer on full display as well as the gingerbread man, a candy cane garden and more snow-covered Christmas trees than you can count.
The Putt Putt course is fully licensed and tickets range from $16 for children to $22 for adults.
18. Immerse yourself in the Neighbourhood Earth exhibition
Developed in partnership with NASA’s George C. Marshall Space Flight Center and the US Space and Rocket Center, Neighbourhood Earth offers an in-depth look into space exploration and beyond with models of iconic spacecraft, family-friendly hands-on activities, a full-size replica of a section of the International Space Station (perfect for some space selfies!), and more.
The interactive exhibition—designed to delight families, students and little future astronauts alike—explores the solar system and our place in it, the journeys we’ve embarked on and what’s next on our missions of discovery. Tickets are now on sale!
The countdown is on for a cosmic adventure.
19. Treat yourself at this souffle pancake pop up
Open from Wednesday ’til Sunday from November 23 – January 29, this pancake pop-up will have you biting into signature souffle pancake varieties such as Black Sugar Boba, creme brulee, Biscoffee, a honey and butter number, as well as the Uji Matcha, which is topped with matcha cream and a red bean paste. Our mouths are watering just thinking about them all, to be honest.
20. Embark on a journey of light and sound at Imaginaria
The specially designed spaces are meant to be part game, part gallery, and part journey where visitors not only walk through but also interact with what’s going on inside. Thought of as an audio-visual journey from the future, Imaginaria has an anti-gravity space, shimmering light sculptures, a cosmic garden and a white bubble you can enter among other experiences that will test your grasp on reality or present new perspectives.
21. Cool off at one of these magical swimming holes near Brisbane
Summer is nearly here, and so is the humidity that comes with it. Just outside of the city, you’ll find some of the best swimming holes in Australia. After all the rain we’ve had, these natural freshwater pools should be filled up—ready for you to take a dip.
22. Experience the beauty of a summer candlelight concert
Candlelight’s candle-music combo has enchanted Brisbane audiences since the captivating concerts first took to the stage. The memorable evenings have shone a new light on live performances, making classical music or music performed by classically-trained musicians more accessible and open to everybody than ever before.
Transforming unique and iconic venues across the city with a sea of candles, the evenings are perfect for romantic rendezvous, dates with mates and outings with your favourite friends, as well as, the ultimate treat to oneself because you really don’t need anyone else to experience an hour of beautiful live music.