Cabaret, Christmas markets and seafood – what’s on in Brisbane this weekend

As the chocolates in your advent calendar dwindle – it’s safe to say Christmas is well and truly on its way. This weekend, it’s time for plenty of festive fun as we settle into silly season. From family-friendly Christmas events to last-minute gift shopping and end-of-year indulgences, there’s plenty in store from Thursday December 14 to Sunday December 17.

Christmas in Brisbane
It’s the final few weeks of Christmas in Brisbane, with a program of free and festive events rolling out across December. On Friday night, the magical all-ages Christmas show A Whimsical, Wonderful Christmas will be once again taking over Queen Street Mall’s Main Stage, outside Uptown. This beloved feature show will be happening at 5:00 pm, 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm this Friday, with the last performances on Friday December 22. For more fun-filled live events, Christmas on Queen has a stacked line-up of performances, roaming entertainment from 11:00 am to 2:30 pm every day and from 4:30 pm to 8:00 pm for your Friday late-night shopping. Don’t forget to experience the Christmas windows at Uptown whilst in the area as well.

Once the sun dips, flock to King George Square this weekend and revel in the captivating visuals and sounds at The Lott by Golden Casket City Hall Lights and Brisbane’s famous 22-m illuminated Christmas Tree. This free light-and-sound show is perfect for an after-work treat or weekend adventure and is running nightly from 7:30 pm to midnight until December 24.

David Jones at QueensPlaza is your source of Christmas spirit this season, with another weekend of festive fun for the whole family! Santa Claus is back in town and ready and waiting for your 2023 Christmas portrait. Families and fur-babies can get a photo with the man in red this weekend at David Jones – the only place you can in The City! Plus, kids will receive a special gift from Santa himself.

Speaking of Christmas portraits, if a seat on Santa’s lap isn’t for you, try the Wintergarden Portrait Office, complete with two themed backdrops. Located outside Wintergarden in Queen Street Mall, this decked out photo suite offers props, lighting and two backdrops – including a retro office and Santa’s delivery depot. It’s your last weekend to score shots with colleagues, friends and family, so BYO phone and strike a pose in front of this Christmas-themed and candy-cane-striped backdrop.

For the first time this season, you can light up your evening with the Starz Christmas Show from 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm at Queen Street Mall’s Main Stage. Every night from December 16 until Christmas Eve, the bustling precinct transforms into a Christmas wonderland with sensational local singers and dancers for an unforgettable night of Christmas spirit.

Live shows, theatre and dance
Unwind this weekend with the sweet tunes of blues band The Teskey Brothers at Riverstage this Saturday and experience their Motown-inspired sound. But if your playlist is strictly Christmas carols only this time of year, Merry Mixology is taking over The Mix Bar in Woolloongabba until December 22 for a very boozy Christmas cabaret. Expect all of your favourite Christmas tunes, paired with a retro cocktail for your tasting. Keep the Christmas spirt alive and experience the music from Love Actually in theatre. Off the back of its success this festive season in Adelaide and Sydney, Christmas, Actually has finally reached Brisbane. Discover all your favourite music from the iconic movie performed by cabaret darlings Naomi Price and Libby O’Donovan OAM at Brisbane Powerhouse this weekend for its final shows.

Brisbane’s latest cabaret club Pink Flamingo Spiegeland is a must-do this weekend with electric array of theatre and shows. This Hamilton venue is your host for an evening of escape with the tantalising thrill of male revuesensual performances and boundary-bending burlesque. Kick off your silly season with a bang and be awed by the glitz and glamour of Pink Flamingo Spiegeland’s show-stopping performances.

At QPAC, catch Queensland Ballet’s final performances of The Nutcracker that will be dazzling audiences with its Christmas magic until December 20. This weekend also sees the final performances of Leah Purcell’s latest work, Is That You, Ruthie? This play explores the complex relationship between mother and daughter in the wake of the government removal policy with its final show Saturday December 16.

Food and drink
Brisbane institution Fat Noodle is celebrating its 11th birthday this weekend with a limited-edition birthday menu that’s available up until this Sunday. Sample new dishes created by sous chef Sarah Ghim and toast to this milestone with delicious Asian flavours.

If you’re feeling festive, Newstead haunt Range Brewery is getting out the Christmas sweaters and turning up the Mariah for its Christmas Party this Saturday night. Expect Christmas-spiked cocktails, raffle prizes, DJs until late and even an in-house Santa along with classic Range brews and delicious Jacopo’s Pizza.

Consider your end-of-year catch-ups sorted with Portside Wharf’s newest seafood-centric restaurant Fosh and its new seafood banquet – perfect for lazy long lunches. Fosh is elevating your classic Chrissy seafood lunch all December with the likes of kingfish with aged ponzu and chives and Mooloolaba king prawn ravioli. Book your table now to round out the year with a feast of fresh flavours.

Since Christmas is all about coming together, Agnes Bakery has teamed up with Single O to create the ultimate foodie lovechild – Sugar Plum Tiramisu. It’s cloud-like sponge cake from Agnes soaked with Single O’s Sugarplum coffee and then layered with silky amaro mousse and balancing vanilla mascarpone cream – all encased by a croissant tart shell under a dusting of cocoa. Taste this seasonal snack this weekend at Agnes Bakery until they’re all gone.

Experience a Maldives getaway in Brisbane’s CBD with the reopening of Nautilus Beach Club. Back for its second season, this year The Westin resort pool has teamed up with sister resort The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort & Spa and Singapore Airlines to bring a slice of paradise to Brisbane. Soak off summer at the swim-up pool and feast on Brisbane’s first floating breakfast under swaying palms. With live entertainment, poolside cabana service and new Maldivian-inspired menu, Nautilus Beach Club turns a day out into a well-deserved holiday.

Nothing screams a summer weekend than strolling through some stalls of your local market. Find Brisbane’s usual suspects on this weekend: Northshore Produce Markets, Riverside Markets, Kelvin Grove Village Market, Jan Powers Farmers Markets, Davies Park Market, Carseldine Markets, Nundah Farmers Markets and the Redcliffe Markets. For delicious dinner time eats, Eat Street Northshore is open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights and serving up an array of flavours of delicious street food vendors.

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Looking to gift mindfully this season? Hit up one of Brisbane’s several second-hand and vintage fashion markets. Love Me Again Market is once again taking over Milton with its curated bounty of stallholders offering designs from a selection of much-loved brands. Strike vintage gold with the Brisbane Vintage Exchange at Albion Peace Centre with plenty of retro picks looking for a new home.

This Friday, knock off early for a wander through BrisStyle Twilight Markets and its curated selection of more than 60 local designers as well as fabulous food stalls. From 4:00 pm atKing George Square, you can live your cosy Euro Christmas market fantasy with a stroll and shop under the glow of The City’s Christmas tree and lights. If you’re still in need of gifts, the Market Folk is hosting the Fish Lane Christmas Markets – jam-packed with stalls from Brisbane makers and artisans. Tick off your gift list at Saturday’s market with one-of-a-kind gifts that celebrate the city’s best creatives.

Entertainment and exhibitions
As the school holidays begin, we’ve got your little one’s covered this weekend with fun-filled festivities they’ll love. Moonlight Cinemas is screening for its 28th season this summer with a program of comforting Christmas movies. From December 14–17, Moonlight Cinemas Roma Street is hosting a Christmas movie marathon with favourites like ElfLove, ActuallyHome Alone and The Grinch. Check the timetable and secure tickets for some open-air Christmas spirit with friends and family.

For all of the LEGO lovers out there, Jurassic World by Brickman at Queensland Museum is finally open with its larger-than-life exhibition. Discover mind-boggling dinosaurs, props, scenes and activities made from more than six million LEGO bricks and built over 10,000 hours. Jurassic World by Brickman runs until July 14, 2024. Across the river, Museum of Brisbane’s latest exhibition, Rearranged: Art of the Flower, is blooming with a lush collection of paintings, textiles, sculptures, ceramics and new media. The perfect stop off on your way to some of the festivities on Queen Street, this exhibition offers a grounding and engaging adventure with art for all ages.

See the stories that shaped your childhood come to life at QAGOMA’s latest exhibition Fairy Tales. Exclusive to Brisbane, the unmissable exhibition brings together artists, film makers and designers to explore centuries-old folk stories and fairy tales through immersive installations, stunning costumes, contemporary artworks, cinema and artefacts. This weekend, the GOMA cinema is also hosting a screening of Beauty and the Beast (2017) for the ultimate fantastical Sunday afternoon.

Craving more art? Experience sis, QAGOMA’s exhibition featuring three decades of art-making from a sisterhood of Pacific artists. With everything from large sculptural installations to compelling video, this exhibition is a medley of mediums and meanings. In the same precinct you’ll find Queensland Art Gallery’s latest exhibition, Living Patterns, which considers artistic elements such as colour, shape and form. With works from leading Australian artists, this exhibition has been curated so it engages and challenges your perception and experience with art.

Whilst there, nip across to The State Library of Queensland for its ongoing collection, Working Country, which considers the relationship between First Nations people, the pastoral industry and survival since colonial invasion. This free exhibition offers a unique entry point into Australian history and is available until January 2024.

Events may be subject to be postponed or cancelled at the last minute. We do our best to remove cancelled events but be sure to check the organiser’s own event page for the most current updates.

Want more? Head to our comprehensive Event Guide for all of the fun around town where you can search by category, date, location and more!

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