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Free Festive Activities in Adelaide CBD

Home > Adelaide > Christmas | Family | Free | Fun Things To Do | Walks | Lists
by Kat May (subscribe)
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Published December 1st 2015
Take a walk around your city and bring on Christmas
You may think Adelaide CBD is looking somewhat void of Christmas decor during the daytime this joyous December, but if you know where to look there is plenty going on. With this guide to Christmas in Adelaide, your family will soon be chiming a 'Jingle Bells' ditty together. There are some fantastic light displays, and also the Christmas tree in Victoria Square. There is something special to see at the Town Hall and some very cheeky reindeer are hiding and waiting for you to find them.

There may be only an occasional red bauble hanging from the light poles on King William Street, so you will have to go indoors to see some pretty decorations. The Myer Centre has a fabulous huge reindeer wire sculpture all covered in shimmering gold. David Jones has some attractive looking trees, and the Rundle Place Food Hall and shops are looking splendid, shimmering in sliver and blue.

Christmas in Adelaide Myer Centre
Is this the biggest store Christmas decoration you have ever seen? The reindeer wire sculpture in the Myer Centre. Image by Out and About.

Well that is there official name, but they are really mischievous imps who are skipping about all over the place and riding a unicycle. They are not here to answer boring interview questions, and gave me a candy cane to suck on. They tried to impress me with talk of the North Pole and juggling antics. I'm sure kids love them as they are bright and chirpy and have a few tricks up their sleeve. They love to have their photo taken with the kids, who will be amused by their pointy elf ears. They pop into town whenever there is some event on in the CBD throughout December.

christmas in the city adelaide
These pesky elves speak to you in squeaky voice and want to show off and juggle their balls. Image by Out and About.

The City's Christmas Tree is in Victoria Square and it looks dull and boring by day but come nightfall this all electric tree dazzles like a hollywood star. Thank goodness we buy extra electricity from Victoria to run it from December 2 to January 7 from 8.30 pm every night.

Grote Street retailers are having a Christmas window and lights display and competition for the best display. Walk all the way along across Morphett St to Ruthven Ave, and check out the displays on both sides of the street. The old Hampshire Hotel is strung up with lights full of dazzle with a Santa sleigh and stars.

Too far to walk for me, but you may want drive around and see the lights hanging from the moreton bay fig trees in Whitmore Square. It would be a pleasant walk on a hot summer night and then sit in the Square after a meal in the city.

 christmas in the city adelaide
This old pub in Grote Street has some pretty lights with a Santa sleigh and stars. Image by Out and About.

 christmas in the city adelaide
A vintage Christmas scene in the window of the Antique Centre in Grote Street. Image by Out and About.

 christmas in the city adelaide
Image by Out and About.

The Adelaide City Councilors have decided to deck their own Hall this year just as we do at home. The star of the city this year is the Town Hall in King William Street. The facade of the building shows an illuminated projection display, much like was seen on buildings during 'Blinc' at this year's Festival of Adelaide. The building displays a huge red bow all day, with the projection light show after dark. Its on now from 8.30 pm until New Years Eve. It takes a while to see all the images, so please don't just drive past and try to view it. Park and walk to the spot and take some photos.

 christmas in the city adelaide
Some of the images on the town hall. Image by Out and About.

Gone are the days of the city dripping with tacky decorations. Even our much loved giant Santa which stood in front of one of the department stores in the Mall for may years
has gone. But you can find him now at the Central Market building in Grote Street. Alas he has no lights and cannot be seen in the dark.

 christmas in the city adelaide
Sit your friends in the giant pressie for some happy selfies. Image by Out and About.

This very large and dazzling light display of a wrapped present is sitting at the west end of Rundle Mall near the tram stop. Its is a popular spot for selfies. It seems to be the only decoration in the mall itself. Be sure to see it after it is dark for the best effect. While you are there take a look behind at the gorgeous window display at S.A.'s very own Haighs Chocolates, and please don't drool on the windows.

So now to those cheeky reindeer, and where they are hiding. If you look around all over the main shopping area you will see some big red dots or stickers on the ground. These stickers are part of an interactive app, sponsored by The City of Adelaide. I did a quick check on this years app, and found some animated images I did not see last year so it pays to walk around and go to some different spots this year. The images are hidden, and you need to download the app to see them. Read all about the Christmas In The City App -Review here I wrote last year for more details of how it works. You don't need to be connected to wifi to make the app work once it is downloaded.

 christmas in the city adelaide
All over the city you can see these adorable animated reindeer. They move about and turn to look right at you. Image taken with the app photo feature. Image by Out and About.

Little kids will miss out on the gift box and most lights as they are home in bed at night dreaming of sugar plums. The App can be viewed at all hours so is ideal for young children to have a break and a giggle during a shopping spree with Mum.

I'm sure the gift box is the most photographed thing in town, because it is readily seen. But the reindeer and Santa on the app are much more fun. You can take your photo with them also- just press the top right hand corner on your screen and a camera icon will drop down and you can then take a photo. They were saved on my device in an automatic folder called Christmas in the City; not in the photos gallery.

 christmas in the city adelaide
The app images include not only these delightful reindeer, but decorations and Santa flying across the sky in his sleigh. Image by Out and About.

Most people have no idea what I am doing, when I say, hey "come and see the reindeer." It is a great way to say hello to the person standing next to you. The reindeer standing at the bus stop on North Terrace is absolutely the cutest. I am pleased to say this year they have included a map with the app, and also have printed it up the correct way, that is facing north. Its easier to print the map off and take it with you to look at as you walk around the streets.

 christmas in the city adelaide
These reindeer and their antics are so funny. Some turn and look at people passing by. They almost seem real. Image by Out and About using the app.

The best way to view the app is on an Ipad or tablet. It is very hard to see the screen in strong sunshine. The hours of late afternoon are best and leading up to the evening. This would make a great activity for families to do while waiting for the Christmas lights to come on, or before driving to see the Brewery Christmas Display on Port Road.

 christmas in the city adelaide
The sideways Christmas tree fell from the sky. Hilarious. Image by Out and About.

So there you have it; plenty of free and fun activities to share with family and friends. The way festive decorations and celebrations are being presented to us is changing. It's no longer tinsel that teases us, but now colourful animated images with our computers in hand. Things have changed from my childhood and the excitement of a plywood cutout of jolly red Santa at Christmas.

These fabulous new lights, images and more are all best seen on a walk around town, so take public transport or try the special prices Upark have on in the evenings for Christmas. Do get out and about and see the best your city has on offer this Christmas.

Thank you to all my readers and subscribers this year.
I wish you peace and happy times this Festive Season.
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Why? Seeing the city at night puts you in the Christmas spirit.
When: All through December 2015
Where: Main streets of CBD including North Terrace, King William, Victoria Square and Grote Street.
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Wow this is a great list of Christmas things to do in Adelaide. Definitely on my list of places to go next year. It's great being on Weekend Notes. All I have to do is check out the pages of other authors to find some amazing places to travel to. Great article. Well done.
by CassandraJoy (score: 3|1021) 1917 days ago
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