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Published December 8th 2017
The Best Things in Life are Free
Mimes spontaneously appear at Christmas (by the City of Melbourne)
As Christmas shopping creates chaos for your credit card, enjoy Melbourne's summer season of free events, activities, music, workshops and fun. Revel in the best of Free Melbourne with this list of December's free events and activities.
Light House Christmas Lights - until Christmas Day, 8pm till midnight
Lie back in Buluk Park at Docklands to watch the light show flickering over the 15-storey Light House on Collins St. Fed with forecasts from the Bureau of Meteorology, the installation interprets tomorrow's weather patterns, until midnight when the swirls of colour ease into a reflection of the moon's cycles. Visit the Victoria Harbour website for details.
Parties at QV - 6 to 22 December
Our coolest kids showcase their talents on the main stage at QV Square on the corner of Swanston and Lonsdale Street, beginning with a launch party of hip-hop from Superhoodz and urban dance from Rewind Dance Crew. During lunchtimes, the best tunes since the '80s are broadcast while the Instagram installation is open for Christmas-coloured selfies. After dusk, sidle up to the after bar for fruity cocktails and mellow mocktails. Visit the QV website for details.
Volvo Ocean Race - from 27 December
The Sydney to Hobart is a short pleasure cruise compared with this ultimate sailing adventure. Returning to Melbourne's Harbour Esplanade for the first time in a decade, this round-the-world ocean race began in Spain, and after skirting past Cape Town, will arrive in Melbourne, destined for Hong Kong. Soak up the atmosphere in Docklands with interactive entertainment, pop-up stalls and sailcraft activities. Visit the Volvo Ocean Race website for details.
City Walking Tour - daily, 11am to 1.30pm
Whether you're new to Australia's sporting and cultural capital or you're a seasoned local, you'll discover new treats on this walking tour beginning at Gordon Reserve on Spring St. As you wander through hidden laneways to reveal the history of our city's landmarks, you'll find the best cafes for coffee, giggle at tourists trying their first hook turns and debate the legacy of Ned Kelly on a 'short' visit to Old Melbourne Gaol. Visit the Walks 101 website for details.
Santa's Tree House - until Christmas Eve, noon to 3pm
In the Docklands Shopping Precinct, take your best selfie with Santa Claus in the remodelled Santa Zone. Based on the current obsession with Scandi culture, the zone has a woodlands theme, featuring a Santa Claws game and free colouring-in book and pencils for every child. Visit the District Docklands website for details.
Strawberries and icecream on a summer night (by the Night Markets)
Japanese Comedy Show - 8 December, 7pm to 8pm
Showko Showfukutei has cornered the niche of Japanese comedy, with her amusing antics from a pair of puppets, given life with a dose of ventriloquism. Hear Showko's tall tales of life as a travelling comedian, with hilarious adventures in London, Los Angeles, Paris and Tokyo. The show at the Athenaeum Theatre on Collins St also stars local magician, Nicholas J. Johnson. Visit the Eventbrite website to book free tickets.
Christmas Projections - until Christmas Day, 9pm to 10.20pm
During the most wonderful time of the year, Melbourne's architectural icons will be the backdrop for light show projections. At the State Library, Federation Square and the Town Hall, the story of Christmas at the North Pole will be animated in a 20-minute show. Email email@example.com or call 03 9658 9658 for details.
Ink in the Blood - daily
Decades before digital disruption caused the printing press to slow, our city's newspapers told the daily story of life in Melbourne, recorded by an empire of writers, editors, printers and street sellers. Ponder the world of old school publishing with this photographic exhibition at the City Gallery in Melbourne Town Hall. Visit the City Gallery website for details.
Christmas at Crown - December, 12pm
In the building that never sleeps, Crown Casino, Christmas is celebrated with an animatronics show beside the tree lit 24x7. Santa is on duty from midday to 6pm for family photos in the Atrium, as dancers prance through the precinct, offering free candy cane to visitors. Visit the Crown Casino website for details.
Seed and Plant Swap - December, 12pm
Once you've plucked fresh herbs, from rosemary and mint, to basil and parsley, from your mini-garden on the window sill, you'll be keen to add more flavours at this swap meet in the Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre on Faraday St, Carlton. Bring plants, seeds and worms to swap with other home gardeners, sharing success stories and tips over coffee. Visit the Seed and Plant Swap website for details.
Watch the weather forecasts in a Dockland light show (by the Light House)
Myer Christmas Animated Windows - throughout December
As families throughout Melbourne rack up their electricity bills to install the ultimate Christmas light displays, journey with the characters of Christmas in the window displays at Myer on Bourke St. In 2017, watch as an elf explores magical scenes, returning home to his family to celebrate his adventure. Visit the Myer website for details.
Nativity Scene Blessing - 13 December, 10.30am to 11.30am
Begin the Christmas season with heavenly choral song as the city's nativity scene is blessed in Federation Square. Reflect on the real meaning of Christmas in this spiritual session. Call 03 9658 9658 for details.
Photography Workshop for Parents - 16 December, 10am to 12pm
Even professional photographers can struggle to capture perfect pictures with children, but at this workshop in JJ Holland Park on Kensington Rd, Kensington, you'll learn the tips to snap memorable moments. Bring your SLR, compact or smartphone camera to this 2-hour lesson to master the lighting, poses and techniques from experts. Book at Eventbrite.
Choc-chip Cookies - 9 to 17 December, 12pm to 2pm
In the lobby of the Hilton on Flinders St, pickup a free choc-chip cookie after snapping a selfie with the cookie-baking elf. You can be nice and save the treat for Santa or naughty and eat it immediately. Visit the Hilton website for details.
Michaels Camera Museum - throughout December
A picture is worth a thousand words and since the sale of the first Kodak camera in 1888, we've captured those special moments with photographs. Michaels Camera Video & Digital on 269 Elizabeth St contains the world's largest collection of these mechanical marvels, from Polaroid and digital to spy, military and space cameras. Amongst over 10,000 cameras, highlights include NASA's Hasselblad Space Camera, military Zeiss cameras and our earliest digital contraptions. Visit the Michaels Camera Museum website for details.
Looking for more free fun in Melbourne? Check out part 2 here.