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

Photograph: Graham Denholm

If you’re one of the thousands that don’t participate in the December 25 holiday, then you might be looking for something to do. While it may seem that the jolly red man has an iron grip on Australia, with most shopping centres, cinemas and attractions closed for the big day – it's actually not the case. If you’re ambivalent towards the holiday (or you’re just looking for some entertainment post-turkey) then 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.


Visit the zoo

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).

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Walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens

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, a stroll, jog or a closer look at the 8,500 species of plants that call the Botanic Gardens home.

Open Christmas Day 7.30am-sunset.

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See Melbourne from up high

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).

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Catch a flick

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

It’s pretty difficult to light a brandy pudding under the sea so fish tend to not celebrate Christmas a lot. 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).

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Grab a Chinese feed

Unlike the rest of Melbourne, shops and restaurants in Chinatown will be celebrating Christmas by predominantly staying open and offering sustenance to anyone caught out by the city shutdown. 

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Get a 360 panoramic view

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).

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Thinking about a barbecue?