Sure, there aren’t many quaint town squares, snow-covered roofs or aromas of sweet roasted chestnuts drifting through the air, but Sydney can still get into the Christmas spirit. The city is all sunshine and surf in December, but Sydneysiders make a valiant attempt at Northern Hemisphere-style traditions – think sweltering red-clad Santas and the baking of elaborate gingerbread houses. For a European tradition that’s also perfectly suited to our December climate, spend balmy evenings and sunny days getting into the festive spirit at a Christmas market. Some focus on unusual and special gifts; others on festive foods – and some are a combination of food, gifts and entertainment. Here are our favourites.
Very Merry Markets
On Friday evenings in December, the cobbled streets of the Rocks area become the Very Merry Christmas marketplace, complete with an enormous Santa made from milk crates, Christmas decorations and enough delicious morsels to keep your energy up in the midst of Christmas shopping. There is a selection of Australian stallholders selling cool threads, homewares and food.
Friday 2, 9, 16 and 23 December; 4pm to 8pm; Jack Mundey Place and Playfair Street, The Rocks
Central Night Market
Warm nights, Dutch pancakes, live jazz, and local farmers with produce for sale light up the park in front of Central Station each Thursday leading up to Christmas for Central Night Market. Gather up European foodie gifts such as saucisson, fresh pasta, olive oil, sauces and cheese and make a hamper for a treasured gourmand – or simply make a picnic for yourself to enjoy as you take in the music and roaming performances.
Thursdays until Christmas, 3pm to 9pm; Belmore Park, Sydney
Christmas Fare at Hyde Park Barracks Museum
Sydney Living Museums’ annual Christmas Fare takes place on December 15. At Hyde Park Barracks there will be 50 stalls offering handmade wares from Sydney artisans and makers, and a cool option for creating your own gift hamper. Stop by the bar and food stalls after shopping and take in the live entertainment.
December 15, 4pm to 9pm; Hyde Park Barracks Museum, Queens Square, Macquarie Street, Sydney
Finders Keepers Market
The next Finders Keepers event is a Christmas extravaganza: three days of design, art, food and music. Impress loved ones with your thoughtful, unique gift-giving this Christmas – stallholders include jewellery-makers, clothing designers and ceramicists.
December 9, 6pm to 10pm, December 10, 10am to 6pm, December 11, 10am to 5pm; Exhibition Hall, Locomotive Street, Australian Technology Park, Eveleigh
See also: 10 Markets to Visit in Sydney
Carriageworks Christmas Market
Make this year’s feast a real slap-up affair with locally grown produce from this special twilight edition of the regular weekend Carriageworks farmers’ market. For sale will be free-range turkeys, cured hams, fresh seafood, cheese and puddings from some of the state’s best farms, dairies and bakeries.
Friday 23 December 4pm to 9pm; Carriageworks, 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh
The new Barangaroo Reserve foreshore park is the venue for more than 25 stallholders selling traditional Aboriginal arts and crafts, skincare products and bush foods. Apart from the opportunity to nab some last-minute Christmas gifts at Blak Markets, there’s dance performances, traditional storytelling and weaving workshops.
Sunday December 4, 9.30am to 3pm, Barangaroo Reserve, Sydney
Chatswood Mall Christmas Market
Just outside Chatswood Station in the bustling open-air Chatswood Mall, a festive marketplace will rise for two weeks in the lead-up to Christmas. Stalls selling clothes, jewellery, arts and crafts and fresh produce line the mall from morning until evening for the Chatswood Mall Christmas Market – with late nights on Thursday and Friday for after-work Christmas shopping. There’s also lots of great fresh food stalls and entertainers performing each night.
Saturday 10 December to Friday 23 December, 2016; 9am to 6.30pm (Thursday and Friday until 9pm); Chatswood Mall; Chatswood
Mosman Twilight Christmas Market
Santa’s taking some time out of his busy end-of-year schedule (we feel you, Santa) to make an appearance at Mosman Twilight Christmas Market. There are Christmas decorations, gifts, fine foods as well as music, face-painting and the exciting aforementioned visit.
Thursday 8 December, 4.30pm to 9.30pm; Mosman Square and Village Green, Mosman
Rivergum Cottage Twilight Markets
There will be more than 70 stalls selling handmade wares in the grounds of one of Rouse Hill’s oldest buildings for a special one-off Christmas market. Browse for vintage pieces, local art and gourmet foodstuffs before settling in to listen to Christmas carols on the lawn from 7pm. As the sun sets, the historic Lintbrae Cottage will be lit up with festive lights. Santa’s coming to see the kids and there’s also a fun Christmas photo booth.
3.30pm to 8.30pm; 49 Withers Road, Kellyville