It’s the most wonderful time of the year, as the Andy Williams Christmas song goes. But December in Sydney is more than just festive events, although there are plenty of good ones around if that’s your thing. In 2022, December also looks like major concerts (finally!), sexy nights out and fashion retrospectives.
Below, you’ll find our edit of what to do, see and enjoy this December, however Christmassy or Grinchy you might be.
There’s seeing an immersive act like Rufus Du Sol in a venue, and then there’s seeing them in the open-air magic of The Domain. The latter is what you can tick off your bucket list in December, as the Australian global sensations perform two shows right before the chaos of the Christmas period.
The Domain, 2 and 3 December.
The first retrospective for famed Australian designer Carla Zampatti, this extensive exhibition covers Zampatti’s business from its establishment through to key defining moments, and includes loaned pieces from Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Dame Quentin Bryce, the Hon Linda Burney MP and many women around Australia after a callout saw hundreds of classic items discovered.
Powerhouse Museum, Ultimo, from 24 November
A multi-sensory, immersive experience that uses time-lapse, aerial and underwater footage collected from over 10,000 hours, Australian Geographic: Our Country might be the next Van Gogh: The Experience, except it’s all in celebration of this beautiful land we live on.
Sydney Exhibition Centre, Sydney, from 19 November
Known in Sydney as one of the best places to pick up pickles, preserves and other delicious goods, Inner West institution Cornersmith is teaching the tricks of their trade in December, this time using chillies. Over an hour and a half session, learn to make hot sauce and spicy salt that you’ll probably burn through in days. Pun intended.
Carriageworks, Eveleigh, 10 December
One of a few Christmas markets on this list (is there anything better than a festive shopping moment in December?), the Martin Place Christmas Markets start at the end of November, and are one of the easiest to slot into your busy festive schedule. They run every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11am until 8pm through December, so there is plenty of time to check out the boutique stalls and pick up pressies (including some for yourself).
Martin Place, Sydney, from 26 November.
Belt out ‘Mr Brightside’ in real life at The Killers’ first Australian gig in years. Filling the Qudos Bank Arena right before Christmas, the band you were obsessed with in 2008 will be bringing all their biggest hits to their Imploding The Mirage tour, which was initially scheduled for 2020 before the pandemic ruined the fun.
Qudos Bank Arena, Olympic Park, 19 December
When something is called “the ultimate Christmas market”, you go. Held at Sydney’s Entertainment Quarter, this day-long event features more than 150 stallholders selling everything from festive ornaments to gifts that even your friend who hates everything will adore.
Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park
Comedy has to be one of the best date nights, from first dates to 150th dates. Who doesn’t enjoy laughing? Just For Laughs is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a stellar lineup of talent, from Aunty Donna to Steph Tisdell and Rockwiz Live; there will definitely be a show that’s your kind of funny.
Various venues, 28 November - 4 December
Sydney Christmas Lights
Whether you want to do a self-drive in your neighbourhood or head elsewhere for the big installations, checking out local Christmas lights is cool even when you’re not a kid anymore. Some streets known for their excellent setups are Avoca Street in Coogee, Holt Road in Taren Point and Kinsellas Drive in Lane Cove. Alternatively, head into the city for the lit-up St Mary’s Cathedral and giant Christmas tree in Martin Place.
Sydney-wide, all of December
Happening one Saturday night per month, this sex and body-positive night that brings queer, sex worker and local communities together is not to be missed if you love to party in a space that’s totally inclusive and all about self-expression. Routines are performed by both professionals and amateurs for tips, and there’s a no phones policy. Clothing? That’s optional. Their December date hasn’t been released yet, but check the Oxford Tavern website closer to the 1st.
The Oxford Tavern, Petersham