Celebrate Christmas early in Sydney

Do you suffer from chronic Christmas stress? Get your present shopping out of the way and enjoy a city escape in Sydney before Christmas… and save some serious coin with YHA’s Chrissy presi, up to 30% off private and shared rooms in Sydney with promo code XMAS30, read on.


Christmas Markets

You won’t need much help from Santa Claus if you pick up your own sack of presents at these great markets peppered around Sydney at Christmastime.

  • Finders Keepers Markets, Friday 8 December to Sunday 10 December: Australia’s premier design market fills the Cutaway in Barangaroo with 200 uber-cool independent art and design stalls this December.
  • The Rocks Markets, every Saturday and Sunday: With so many artworks, hand-crafted pieces of jewellery, gourmet food stalls and designer knick-knacks, your eyes must be painted on if you can’t spot a great Chrissy present at the Rocks’ weekend markets.
  • Glebe Markets, every Saturday: Sydney’s best weekend market has an extra spring in its step around Christmas, brimming with bargain-hunters picking up local products and second-hand clothes.
  • Carriageworks Christmas Market, Saturday 23 December: Carriageworks’ regular fresh produce market will take on a Christmassy flavour just before the big day, making it the perfect place to pick up some fresh ham, seafood, fruit, veggies and even plum pudding.
  • Central Night Market, every Thursday night: Add some finger-licking European food and live music to your late-night shopping with this market in Belmore Park at Central Station.

Finders Keepers


Carols, events and fireworks

Christmas festivities kick off with an entertainment extravaganza in Sydney city on Saturday 25 November. Lord Mayor Clover Moore and an even more important guest – Father Christmas himself – switch on the giant tree in Martin Place before a bumper family concert and a sparkling fireworks show, while a few blocks away at Hyde Park, Christmas on the Green will keep the little ones entertained with kids performers, fireworks and Santa stockings raising money for charity.

Keen to belt out ‘Jingle Bells’ or ‘Deck the Halls’? Sydney has stacks of events to satisfy your craving for carols. Carols in the Domain – Australia’s largest free annual concert – will fill the Royal Botanic Garden with festival cheer on Sunday 17 December, choirs perform under the tree in Martin Place every night between Sunday 26 November and Christmas Eve, Darling Harbour is lit up by carols and fireworks for the 12 nights before Christmas Eve, and Carols by the Sea at Bondi Beach on Wednesday 13 December presents a quintessentially Aussie take on Christmas.




Checking out the display in the windows of David Jones’ Elizabeth St store is a Christmas tradition in Sydney, where kids squish their noses up against the glass to marvel at the wonders inside. Nearby Pitt St Mall is decorated by a canopy of LED lights, with carols on Thursday and weekend evenings to provide a festive soundtrack for late-night present shopping in Sydney’s premier retail precinct. If you’re looking for even more bling, head to the Queen Victoria Building to admire the 24-metre QVB Swarovski Christmas Tree, which weighs in at 6.5 tonnes thanks to 82,000 Swarovski crystals and 65,150 lights.




Every evening at dusk, Sydney Town Hall glows red and green to celebrate the Christmas season, while St Mary’s Cathedral on the other side of Hyde Park is also lit up Vivid-style every night between Wednesday 6 December and the big one on December 25. In fact, the entire city twinkles with fairy lights throughout the month of December – but certain suburban streets take things a little more seriously than others.

Town Hall


Hostels deals

Book your pre-Christmas stay with YHA – we’re offering up to 30% off* our Sydney hostels. Simply enter promo code XMAS30 when you book Sydney Harbour YHA, Sydney Central YHA and Railway Square YHA between 15 and 26 December to save some extra dosh for some more stocking-stuffers!

*Maximum 5 nights stay. Valid on all rooms except family rooms. Offers non-refundable and subject to availability. Not available to existing bookings and groups of 10 people or more. Some hostels have additional restrictions.

Nearby Hostels

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    Sydney Harbour YHA - The Rocks
    Stay at Sydney's only backpacker hostel in the city's historic harbourside precinct - The Rocks - and enjoy stunning views.
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    Sydney Central YHA
    Our heritage-listed building, opposite Central Station, in the hub of the backpacker precinct, offers backpacker accommodation at its finest.
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    Sydney Railway Square YHA
    Sydney's most laid back hostel, Railway Square YHA adjoins Central Station and offers railway carriage rooms in the heart of the city.
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