We might not have snow, a crackling fireplace or eggnogs but December in sunny Sydney is as magical and contagious a time as anywhere else in the world. Nostalgic carols drone all around, Christmas markets put their best foot forward, restaurants bring out their seasonal fave menus, and strangers actually smile at each other on the street! One thing Sydney does particularly well are the lights and decorations. The whole city transforms into a magical wonderland with glittering lights and a kaleidoscope of colour as far as the eye can see. Christmas in Sydney is all the more special this year after two particularly difficult years. If you’re looking to have a memorable time this Christmas, you might want to weave into your day these brilliant Christmas light displays around the city.
1. Martin Place Christmas Tree
The Martin Place Christmas Tree is a true Sydney icon in every sense. The tallest Christmas tree in all of NSW, the tree is historically decorated with 110,000 LEDs, a 3.4 metre colour-changing star and 330 glossy baubles. Thousands around the city flock to Martin Place for that perfect Christmas shot and the tree stands tall and magnificent both during the day and night.
2. Canopy of Light, Pitt Street
You’ll inevitably find yourself strolling along Pitt Street come December. With carols on the street, the best shopping deals and some of the best light displays in the city, it provides for the perfect Christmas atmosphere. Thousands of sparkling lights adorn the entire stretch of Pitt Street as you shop in this stunning light display.
3. Lights of Christmas, St Mary’s Cathedral
When it comes to Christmas light displays in Sydney, St Mary’s Cathedral is an absolute staple. The catholic church illuminates in marvellous light displays and stunning visual effects every year during Christmas. It also manages to outdo itself every single year not just with the light show but also with the beautiful Christmas choir.
4. Queen Victoria Building, Town Hall
Everything about the QVB spells festive. Right from the iconic Swarovski Christmas Tree — the largest indoor Christmas tree in Australia to the exclusive shopping service, it’s the place to be during the holiday season.
5. Darling Harbour
Darling Harbour is a year-round attraction and is always upping the ante with dazzling art installations and light shows. But when it comes to Christmas light displays, we’re truly spoilt for choice. There are massive floating baubles on Cockle Bay, pedal boats and this time round an illuminated, rainbow Sky Castle.
6. The Golden Tunnel, Darling Square
Darling Square is one of my personal favourite spots in Sydney all-year round. There’s such an infectious energy to the place and the sky’s the limit when it comes to food and drink options. But add to that a golden tunnel of fairy lights along the tail of The Exchange Building and it’s an absolute sight for sore eyes.
7. Christmas Lights Spectacular, Hunter Valley Gardens
Get ready to be whisked away to a magical place with over 3 million dazzling lights on display — yep, you read that right! Open now until January 2022, the immersive light displays are spread over 14 hectares of gardens. Although a bit further away from Sydney, it’s worth the trip to see the most picturesque holiday display in the Southern Hemisphere up close.
8. The Rocks
Christmas at The Rocks means partaking in a truly festive, buzzing atmosphere, delectable dining options and views for days. Plan a trip expecting the merriest of music, glittering fairy and festoon lights and Christmas trees galore. The Rocks Market is an absolute Christmas must-do in Sydney as well.
9. Hillsong, Norwest
Hillsong pulls out all the stops when it comes to its Christmas light displays. You can look forward to glittering Christmas installations, a tunnel of fairy lights, giant trees and reindeers adorned with lights. It’s a gorgeous festive sight; even the Grinch would melt.
10. Macarthur Square
When it comes to Sydney’s very own glamourous light displays, Macarthur Square takes the cake. Complete with spectacular ornaments, vivid, lit up trees, giant reindeers and everything in between, the displays are sure to get you in the holiday spirit. Even better — the centre extends its trading hours this time of year to let you bask in the warm glow of the lights just a bit longer.