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Peninsula Hot Springs
Photograph: Supplied

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

Not celebrating Christmas? Don't despair, we've rounded a bunch of alternative things to do on December 25

Nicola Dowse
Written by
Nicola Dowse
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If you’re one of the many who doesn't hang your holly and participate in the December holiday – or you're just looking for something to do after you open your presents – there are still plenty of activities to enjoy in Melbourne on December 25.

The fun doesn't end on December 25: find out what to do on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

RECOMMENDED: Restaurants and cafés open on Christmas Day.

  • Museums
  • 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).

  • Things to do
  • Melbourne

Now that it has reopened, the Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens intends to resume its normal schedule of being open every day of the year – including on December 25. 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.

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  • Art
  • Digital and interactive
  • Melbourne

While you're at the botanic gardens, why not check out the augmented reality art exhibition starring Ai Weiwei and Refik Anadol? Seeing the Invisible is showing until September 2022 at both of Melbourne's botanic gardens. It's free to enjoy – all you'll need is a smartphone.

Catch a flick

4. 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.

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  • Travel
  • Fingal

Peninsula Hot Springs is Victoria’s first geothermal mineral springs and day spa. It’s here you’ll find more than 50 bathing experiences, including shared thermal mineral pools, wet and dry saunas plus so much more. The bath house is open on December 25 too, so it's a great chance to relax an unwind.

Contact the hot springs for Christmas opening hours.

Unwind at the aquarium
  • Museums
  • 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).

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  • Travel

Dust off those hiking boots, pack that scroggin, fill your Camelbak and get ready to explore some of the most gorgeous hikes within an easy drive of Melbourne – and do so on a day where you're more likely to have the tracks all to yourself.

Check ahead to make sure the location of your hike is open on Christmas.

Grab a Chinese feed
  • Things to do
  • 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. 

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  • Things to do
  • 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.

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  • Things to do

There's something mystically calming about watching the sun rise or set. The sunrise in particular on Christmas morning tends to be quite magical, with many people still sleeping in our staying at home later than usual. Make the most of it and check out one of Melbourne's best locations for watching the daily phenomenon.

  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours

National and state parks don't close for Christmas, and it's a great time to stretch your legs when lots of other people are staying close to home. Plus, a nice gentle walk is a great way to settle your lunch – and make room for seconds when you get back. 

Thinking about a barbecue?

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