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What to do on December 25 if you don’t celebrate Christmas

Don't celebrate Christmas? We suggest spending the day at one of these attractions

Melbourne Town Hall light up for Christmas
Photograph: Graham Denholm

If you’re one of the many who don’t participate in the December 25 holiday – or you're just looking for something to do after you open your presents – there’s still lots you can do on Christmas Day.

The fun doesn't end at Christmas: find out what to do on New Year's Eve and how to make your bare bank account stretch further post-holidays with 25 things to do under $20.

RECOMMENDED: Restaurants and cafés open on Christmas Day.

Melbourne Zoo
Photograph: Paul Philipson

Visit the zoo

icon-location-pin Parkville

While everyone else is at home eating animals, you can visit them alive and kicking at Melbourne Zoo. Normal opening hours apply, giving non-Christmas goers a chance to skip the generous crowds the zoo attracts during the warmer months.

Open Christmas Day 9am-5pm (animal areas close 4.30pm).

Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
Things to do, Walks and tours

Walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens

icon-location-pin Melbourne

One of the great certainties in life is that the Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens will be open every day of the year. It’s the perfect location for a non-Christmas picnic, or walk off the turkey while gazing at the 8,500 species of plants that call the Botanic Gardens home.

Open Christmas Day 7.30am-sunset.

Eureka Skydeck 88
Things to do

See Melbourne from up high

icon-location-pin Southbank

Get a sky-high perspective of Melbourne at Christmas time with a trip to Skydeck 88. Stand nearly 300 metres above the ground or terrify yourself with the Edge experience: a glass observation box the extends out from the viewing platform.

Open Christmas Day 10am-5.30pm (last entry 5pm).

Peninsula Hot Springs, Mornington Peninsula

Soak away the holiday stress

icon-location-pin Fingal

The end of the year can be a stressful time, so visiting the Peninsula Hot Springs sounds like a wonderful way to relax and rejuvenate. The Bath House will be open from 7am until 10pm, so escape your family or bring them with you for a guaranteed tranquil Christmas. 

Lido Cinemas

Catch a flick

Escape Christmas on the silver screen. A surprising number of cinemas will be open on Christmas Day, including the Lido, Classic and Cameo Cinemas. They’ll have their usual film programs running plus a few extra holiday specials. If December 25 proves to be a hot one then catching a film also means an air-conditioned respite.

The Lido and Classic Cinemas are open noon-9pm Christmas Day.

Cameo Cinemas is open 4-9pm Christmas Day.


Unwind at the aquarium

icon-location-pin Melbourne

It’s pretty difficult to light a brandy pudding under the sea, so fish tend to not celebrate Christmas. While the rest of the city is busy turning up the festive factor, take a stroll through the tranquil exhibits of the aquarium.

Open Christmas Day 9.30am-6pm (last entry 5pm).

Things to do

Grab a Chinese feed

icon-location-pin Melbourne

Many shops and restaurants in Chinatown will be celebrating Christmas by staying open and offering sustenance to anyone caught out by the city shutdown. 

Sunset at St Kilda Pier
Photograph: Roberto Seba
Things to do

Go to St Kilda Beach

icon-location-pin St Kilda

Yes, we know, Melbourne beaches don't have waves. But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the summer weather and go for a dip. Wear a Santa hat and a bikini, bring some friends and chill out, or just read a book and relax – enjoy the day however you would like.

Melbourne Star Observation Wheel

Get a 360 panoramic view

icon-location-pin Docklands

The Christmas star might have guided three wise men, but the Melbourne Star could have given them a 30-minute rotating flight. The Melbourne Star at Docklands will be running at a reduced schedule on Christmas, but it’s still open to anyone wanting a go in the only giant observation wheel south of the equator.

Open Christmas Day 1-10pm (last ticket sales 9.15pm and last entry 9.25pm).

Thinking about a barbecue?