Christmas in Ipswich – the ultimate guide

Looking for an easy and affordable night away with the kids? Head over to Ipswich this November and December for Christmas in Ipswich! There are heaps of free and low-cost festivities that the whole family will love. Here’s our recommended itinerary for the perfect 48 hours in Ipswich.


Christmas in Ipswich


Saturday morning, pack the car and head to the heritage city, only 30 minutes from Brisbane. Your first stop is brunch at Dancing Bean Espresso Bar. Let the kids play in the children’s nook. Tuck into French toast, eggs Benny, nachos, milkshakes and croissants. Enjoy the locally roasted coffee beans, and don’t forget to grab a take-home pack.

After breakfast, walk along Brisbane Street to explore boutique stores like Embers & Twine, which stocks handmade goodies, Arttime Gallery and Fine Art Supplies for art and artisan gifts and Oh! JoJo Boutique for some Christmas gifts. Wander to the Old Flour Mill for The Soul Cauldron, an eclectic store with everything from sage to potions and books.

Take the kids to The Workshops Rail Museum for the afternoon to explore the birthplace of Queensland Rail. Let the kids explore the train simulators, little nippers area and the Sciencentre.

Exploring the Trains at Workshops Rail Museum

Exploring the trains at The Workshops Rail Museum.


Family-friendly places to stay in Ipswich

When you’re ready, check into your accommodation for the night. Stay in the middle of town at Oaks Ipswich Aspire Suites, conveniently located next door to one of Ipswich’s best restaurants, Bakehouse Steakhouse or stay at Quest Ipswich for excellent service and amenities. If you have a bigger family, staying at Urban Getaway is an excellent option, as there are five large bedrooms, each with an ensuite.

Around 6.30 pm, either walk or drive to Tulmur Place to see the Nicholas Street Precinct. The city’s centre will be covered in a beautiful light installation. Don’t forget your camera; there are many great spots to take a family photo. Designed by acclaimed event and lighting specialist Sharon Penny, almost 250m of wondrous lights create an impressive walk-through experience that welcomes visitors to the precinct. Enjoy the music and stay for a while.

Christmas in Ipswich 2023 Lights

Nicholas Street Precinct is transformed into a festive wonderland. Credit: Discover Ipswich


If you haven’t eaten yet, you can grab food at one of the restaurants in the precinct or head up towards the magnificent 9m tall City Christmas Tree (you won’t miss it) to dine at Indian Mehfil.

If you love burgers, stop at UB’s Milk Bar; they have an epic fried chicken burger. After dinner, grab a takeaway ice cream from UB’s Milk Bar and stroll back through the lights one last time. Then, drive to explore some of the city’s winning residential lights displays; maps are available online from the end of November.

Incredible Ice Cream at Ub's Ipswich

Incredible ice cream at UB’s Milk Bar.



Wake up from your night exploring the city’s beautiful light displays and press snooze to enjoy more sleep; it is Sunday after all! Before you head home, stop into Queens Park in Ipswich. Enjoy breakfast on the wide veranda at the Queens Park Café, then stroll through the Ipswich Nature Centre. The centre is free entry and features a range of Australian animals, including quolls, a wombat, wallabies, bilbies and dingoes.

Visit the Animals at Ipswich Nature Centre

Visit the animals at Ipswich Nature Centre.


If you have some time up your sleeve, head back to Tulmur Place and drop in a letter to Santa at the award-winning Ipswich Children’s Library. The Ipswich Central Library features a Makerspace with 3D printers, virtual reality and more!

Round out your morning with a walk up to the Ipswich Art Gallery. The Junior Curator Collection is featured in November and December, with displays curated by children aged 8 to 13. A must-see for budding art enthusiasts!


Key dates

  • St Nicholas Precinct: Friday, 8 December to Sunday, 17 December
    Sees the city centre transformed into an experiential atmosphere of lights, colour and magical moments. Entry is free.
  • Post your Letters to Santa at Ipswich Libraries locations:  Tuesday 21 November to Wednesday 13 December
    Santa’s reply will be sent directly to your address.
  • Aladdin Jr. Performances at 11.00 am and 6.00 pm daily on 14 and 15 December.
    Presented by The Ipswich Musical Theatre Company Juniors and Ipswich Civic Centre, this is a great theatrical musical performance designed for kids.

Check the Christmas in Ipswich website for Christmas markets and carols events before you come to make the most of your trip.


Christmas in Ipswich highlights

  • The Tivoli Christmas Under the Stars is an annual event that features an amazing lineup of talent and ends with fireworks.
  • Brassall Christmas in the Park sees local performers take the stage, a live orchestra, Santa and an amazing fireworks finale.
  • Springfield’s Carols event, held in the Robelle Domain Parklands, will have a fantastic line-up of entertainment, food trucks and more.
  • Redbank Plains Community Christmas Carols will also have a guest appearance by Santa, traditional carols, food trucks and fireworks.
  • Christmas Lights Tours will run once again, offering the best displays from the comfort of an air-conditioned bus. The tours include supper and the chance to walk around some displays.


Keep Reading…

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5 Family friendly restaurants in Ipswich
5 Epic parks in Ipswich you must visit


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By Angela Sutherland
After spending many years hustling stories on busy editorial desks around the world, Angela is now mum of two little ones and owner/editor at Kids on the Coast / Kids in the City. She is an atrocious cook and loves cutting shapes to 90s dance music. Angela is the editor of Kids on the Coast - a free family magazine whats on guide for Kids: things to do, school holiday fun and free activities for kids... Fun attractions, family food & travel, kids health & wellbeing, kids parties venues, parenting, pregnancy & babies, guide for parents. Servicing Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and beyond, Kids on the Coast is an online guide for parents with kids things to do with kids, schools and education and lifestyle news located on Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast & Brisbane, QLD.

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