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People gather around a giant, glowing pink-and-purple Christmas bauble
Photograph: Darling Harbour

The best Christmas lights and decorations in Sydney

Go on an adventure to find the brightest Christmas lights and most festive displays in Sydney

Alannah Maher
Written by
Time Out editors
&
Alannah Maher
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Sydneysiders spent almost a quarter of 2021 in lockdown, and just as we’ve emerged from such a gruelling period under stay-at-home orders, little miss La Niña has swept in to wash out the summer. So it’s fair to say that what the city needs right now is a little festive cheer. And not to worry, you better not pout, we're telling you why – Christmas lights are coming back to town. Yep, Carols in the Domain is coming back to the actual Domain, and the world is righting again.

If you go looking, you'll find illuminated displays to put a twinkle in your eye all over town. There are some pockets of Sydney that go all out for the festive season, and we're seeking them out for you and putting them on this list. 

Ready to get into the spirit? Check out the best Christmas markets in Sydney.

Sydney's best Christmas lights and decorations

Darling Harbour
Photograph: Darling Harbour/Bronnie Barnett

Darling Harbour

[Sponsored] Break out your biggest smiles and best poses in front of larger-than-life decorations dotted around the harbour. Start at the Convention Centre Forecourt, where a six-metre-high giant bauble will light up its surroundings – and your selfies – in kaleidoscopic colour. Over at Darling Square a glowing tunnel of fairy lights will greet you near the Exchange building. Come and make a wish for a golden year to come, and have your phone handy so you can share the magical moment on the ‘gram. Finally, travel along the boulevard to visit the six-feet-tall Christmas presents shimmering over Tumbalong Boulevard and pretend to be one of Santa’s elves as you pose for an adorably oversized piccy. While not strictly Christmassy, the glowing, inflatable arches of the colourful Sky Castle immersive art installation will also be hanging around Tumbalong Park until December 26.

You’ll find the largest Christmas tree in the city lighting up the civic heart of Sydney in Martin Place for the 50th year in a row (Nov 27-Jan 1). This whopper 800-branch tree is decorated with 110,000 LED lights, dressed with 15,000 buds representing nine different kinds of native Australian flowers, 330 glossy baubles, and topped with a 3.4-metre colour-changing star. Surrounding the tree, 4,104 warm white icicle fairy lights span across Martin Place. You can see the tree burst into a kaleidoscope of colour every 15 minutes between 7pm and midnight each night. While you're in the area, wander over to see the canopy of light on Pitt Street

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The humongous indoor tree towering over multiple floors at the QVB has always been a popular festive attraction, and 2021 marks a new era and a new tree for the historic building. In the place of the usual Swarovski encrusted fir, the QVB has introduced a tree inspired by Australia's rare native the Wollemi Pine and adorned with over 130 ornaments inspired by native flora. Want to know more? Book a guided tour.

Another new addition this year is a dynamic ‘light display’ staged on the exterior of the QVB, which features a kaleidoscope of colours illuminating the grand entrance of Sydney’s heritage-listed luxury retail hub. There will also be light installations across the Druitt Street side of the building, made up of more than 7000 bulbs spanning a 260-square-metre area. 

Head down to Circular Quay and you'll find a big, bright display at the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House that will delight Lego lovers of all ages. The only Lego certified professional in the southern hemisphere, Ryan ‘The Brickman’ McNaught, is part of the global team of Lego designers behind four massive festive baubles built from thousands upon thousands of tiny bricks. The bauble desgins are inspired by the theme #RebuildTheWorld and some famous Aussies including Robert Irwin and cake master Kat Sabbath have contributed. The activation is open daily from 9.30am until 7pm to walk through the pathway, until December 13. Find out more here.

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For a Christmas installation that emulates the likes of the outrageously over-the-top displays seen at Dubai Mall and the Mall of Emirates, head to Macarthur Square. Stroll amongst towering illuminated reindeer that stand over six metres tall, a ten-metre Christmas tree and masses of lights strung across Kellicar Lane. Adding to the festivities a brand new, larger than life Christmas Bauble will arrive in the centre in early December. Customers will be able to truly immerse themselves in the Christmas spirit as they walk through the bauble, a perfect photo moment, located on level two near David Jones. The centre will have extended trading hours in the lead up to the big day, giving you more after-dark hours to admire the displays.

The best neighbourhood Christmas light displays

Christmas lights around the suburbs
Photograph: Christmas Light Search | Doust Place, Grasmere

Christmas lights around the suburbs

Quakers Hill
Mallee Street

This one is arguably the brightest and jam-packed Christmas light display in all of Sydney! Watch Santa take off from the roof with his reindeer and sleigh, feel the snow fall over the handmade Christmas village, or just stand back and admire the spectacle – complete with nativity scenes, Santa letter drop off for the kids, and carols on the front lawn. More details.

Mount Annan
Swansona Ave

After being in lockdown for months, the Swansona Avenue Christmas lights are back bigger than ever. Lots of great houses are lighting up along the street. Displays this year include huge stars, ‘2021’ in lights, and a great big love heart. There are photo opportunities too with Santa, his reindeer and elves, a snowman, the gingerbread man and the Grinch. This display runs until Dec 30. More details

Saint Clair
Palena Crescent

There are many nice displays in this crescent, but one in particular is next level. Here you’ll find nativity scenes, moving features, music and thousands of lights strewn across the house, garden and driveway. More details

Gledswood Hills
Walseley Crescent

Out in the south west, not far from Campbeltown, you’ll find the residents of Walseley Crescent getting into the Christmas groove. The whole street participates in these yearly festivities with many properties, big or small, lighting it up. Lots of lights, decorations, features make for a great atmosphere. Running until Dec 30. More details.  

Mount Warrigal
Dickson Avenue

These owners here know a thing or two about Christmas lights, having decorated their property for over ten years. In 2020 they raised over $2,000 for the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation. Come show your support and help them smash that for 2021! Besides being covered in more LED’s than you could count, you’ll be treated to their Australian themed display including the Harbour Bridge, Sydney Tower, Opera House and the Luna Park face. More details.

Pitt Town
Farmhouse Avenue 

A massive and magical Christmas lights display with over 50,000 lights, interactive snow play and loads of colour and fun, this one is great for families of all ages. These guys are raising money for Lights for Kids and the Sydney Children’s Hospital. More details

Taren Point
Holt Road

Roll up, roll up to this bustling Christmas display where you’ll be greeted with more Christmas lights than you could imagine. Admire the snow pool (yes, snow pool!), life-sized reindeer, rocking Santa, and a Christmas village with plenty of moving features. Running all the way through to Jan 9. More details

Greystanes
Cumberland Road

A local favourite in Greystanes, this two-story house lights up to impress. Decked head to toe in lights, there is a nativity scene and a window display. A worthwhile stop off if you’re in the area. More details

Beverley Park
Jubilee Avenue

Come down and enjoy the show at this interactive display featuring a snow machine and light show every Friday and Saturday night at 8pm. A creative Christmas display sure to impress if you’re in the area, this one kicks off from Dec 4. More details

Castle Hill
Excelsior Avenue

With over 30,000 lights throughout, this house has become somewhat of a staple of the Sydney Christmas lights scene, with the owners lighting up year after year to raise money for HeartKids NSW and 22q Foundation. More than just lights, you can enjoy weekend events, sausages sizzles and raffles. Running until Dec 31. More details

Christmas light displayPhotograph: Christmas Light Search | Excelsior Avenue, Castle Hill

Grasmere
Doust Place

This is a fun and elaborate walk-through Christmas light display with plenty of inflatables, reindeer, lasers and of course, lots and lots of lights. Feel free to explore through the driveway and enjoy. Running until Jan 7. More details

Tempe
South Street

You’ll find massive displays around the streets here, but this one on South Street is sure to impress. Friday, Saturday and Sunday night at 8pm and 10.30pm is when the action kicks off with laser, fog, bubbles and snow machines. More details

Asquith
Lockwood Street

A brilliant Christmas light show awaits at the end of Lockwood Street, with thousands of strands of lights pumping sparkles up the house and down the front lawn. Find a parking spot nearby or bring along a portable radio for something a little different to our usual static display – tune in to 98.4FM and you’ll witness the lights move in synchronisation to the music. Admire the performance as the LED’s, and you might even feel like having a little dance yourself. Keep your eyes out for the three Lego men on the side fence, as well as the lightbulbs that love to have a sing-a-long. More details.

Lane Cove North
Kinsellas Drive

Winner of the ‘Best Street Lights in Lane Cove’ award in 2020, these guys are back and bigger for 2021. The owners have started early and installed additional lighting, with the display to keep growing until Dec 12. Park at the end of the street, walk down the lane and enjoy the vibe. Runs to midnight throughout December. More details.

Birrong
Stephenson Street

This interactive display boasts a huge arrangement of lights, giant inflatables and sparkly decorations and ornaments. The whole front yard and roof is decorated for you to enjoy. The owners are also holding a present drive and barbecues from 6pm on December 4, 11 and 18 to raise funds for Sydney Children’s Hospital. More details.

Quakers Hill
Trezise Place

Here’s another good one in Quakers Hill to add to your trail. Adjacent to a sparkling LED archway, massive letters spell out Merry Christmas across the front lawn. Lots of well positioned Christmas characters lead you up the drive to Santa’s cabin where you’ll get a glimpse of a projected Santa in his home. More details.

Special thanks to the team at Christmas Lights Search for helping us put together this suburban list. If you're keen to make a night of exploring Christmas light displays, be sure to check out the map and light search on their website. 

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