Christmas in Cape Town

V&A Waterfront, Cape Town

Cape Town may be some distance from Santa’s workshop in the North Pole, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate the Christmas holidays here. Sure, you’ll have to trade in the snow for some soft white beach sand, but a sunny Christmas can be magical too!

There is plenty to do over the festive season in the Mother City. Here are just some of the activities to keep you busy.

Christmas Markets

Christmas shopping can be tiresome, especially when you could be lying on Clifton beach or hiking up Table Mountain. Cape Town’s markets are downright delightful and social way to get your shopping done.

If you’re the organised type (who doesn’t leave shopping for the last minute), you might want to check out the events happening in early December. Cape Gift Market is held at the Sea Point City Hall and has been running for over a decade, and the Stellenbosch Kersmark features crafts and baked goods from over 180 artists and crafters.

Mid-December offers up the Fab Ideas Christmas Market in Kommetjie, and the Lourensford Christmas Market, where you can sip on a glass of wine between browsing through gifts and stocking your pantry with yummy festive foods.

If you’ve left gift-buying to the last minute, the Pinelands Craft and Gift Fair runs until 22 December 2018. There, you’ll find handcrafted cards and decorations, treats, woodwork, jewellery, plants, clothing and even vintage furniture.


Festival of Lights

Every December, festive lights illuminate Adderley Street in Cape Town. You can check out the lights any night during the festive season, but it’s worth going to the official turning-on of the lights. The switch-on ceremony usually happens on the first Sunday of December, when Adderley Street plays host to a huge free street party.

There are stalls lining the street selling everything from food to Christmas gifts, and a live concert kicks off mid-afternoon. When the sun sets, the mayor officially turns on the lights and the colourful Christmas-themed lights depicting some of the city’s history brightens up Adderley Street.

adderley st lights

Carols by Candlelight

Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden is the most obvious choice if you are looking to unleash your inner chorister. Held over four nights in the middle of December, the Carols at Kirstenbosch are a fundraising initiative of the Rotary Club of Kirstenbosch. The 30-year-long tradition sees families picnicking on the beautiful lawns whilst various popular musicians take to the stage. When the sun sets, glow sticks (not candles) are handed out, and the carols begin. Over the four days, this event attracts 20,000 visitors, so be sure to buy your tickets early!

The V&A Waterfront Amphitheatre usually hosts a choir around Christmas time too, and a number of wine farms also host carol events.

Kirstenbosch Carols

Santa’s Village at the V&A Waterfront

Join Santa’s workers in the North Pole where they will set up Santa’s Village at the V&A Waterfront’s Victoria Wharf. Santa will with children to find out what they would like for Christmas. The Village opens on Saturday 8 December and runs until Monday 24 December. It will be open all day and is free to enter.

Christmas at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town

Galileo Open Air Cinema, Kirstenbosch

The Galileo Open Air Cinema will be screening the classic, Home Alone, at Meerendal Wine Estate. Tickets get you a backrest, picnic blanket, something sweet to eat, and a Christmas hat. You can pack your own picnic, or buy food at the venue. There are halaal and vegetarian options, and you’ll find a huge selection including popcorn, craft beers and ciders, nachos and burritos, pizza, burgers, and boerewors rolls. Rumour has it that Santa and his helpers will be paying The Galileo a friendly visit. This is a great option for families with kids, and what better way to spend a Cape Town Christmas than lounging on the grass with a picnic and ice cold drinks.

Get your tickets now through Webtickets

Christmas Feasts

Spending Christmas away from home? Luckily there are plenty of places in Cape Town where you can sit down with your friends or family and tuck into a delicious feast. Check out our top choices for festive feasting in Cape Town, 2018.


For more information on what’s happening in Cape Town over the festive season visit our events section.

Planning a trip to Cape Town? Book flights, browse accommodation, and rent a car now to get the best rates. The Cape Town City Pass gives you access to over 70 of the top Cape Town attractions, tours, and things to see and do, including the popular hop on hop off City Sightseeing bus.

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Cape Town Tourism is the city of Cape Town's official Regional Tourism Organisation, responsible for tourism marketing, visitor and industry services.

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