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Young couple dances in the coloured lights of a live music performance at Smith's Alternative.

2024 events not to miss

Updated 15 Dec 2023

What's on in Canberra

Canberra is putting on a show in 2024 with blockbuster exhibitions, festivals, weekend markets, and sport all year long.

All your favourite events are returning including Enlighten Festival in autumn, truffle festivities in winter, Floriade in spring, Summernats in summer, plus live music and celebrations covering the calendar year.

JANUARY

See everything from supped up streetcars to the finals of the National Burnout Master for the year at Summernats 36 (4 - 7 January), a unique celebration of the modified car community. As evening falls, watch the hot rods roll along Braddon’s glittering streets.

Immerse yourself in the past as Discovering Ancient Egypt graces the halls of the National Museum of Australia (15 December 2023—8 September 2024) with over 220 historical artefacts. And continue your tour of captivating galleries with the Emily Kam Kngwarray exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia (2 December 2023—28 April 2024). And if those worldclass artworks aren’t enough to knock your socks off, spend more time at the NGA in awe over Jordan Wolfson: Body Sculpture (9 Dec 2023—28 Apr 2024) for a show you’re not likely to forget.

Across the Australia Day public holiday (26 Jan), you can enjoy the exciting, new, and one-of-a-kind event, FLIGHT: Drone SkyShow and Night Market. This free community event will take place over three nights (25 - 27 Jan) and bring together a SkyShow consisting of 600 drones, night markets, food and drink vendors, and roving live performers to the National Triangle.

Cheer on Australia’s best batters and bowlers during the summer of cricket in Canberra. Start off with the Big Bash League: Sydney Thunder v Adelaide Strikers (14 January) or see if the Aussie’s can win again in this 2023 World Cup Final rematch, as the Women’s International T20: Australia v South Africa kicks off at Manuka Oval (27 - 28 January). 

Three boys wearing a cultural costume

FEBRUARY

Celebrate the Lunar New Year 2024 in Dickson, as this lively, eclectic neighbourhood rings in the Year of the Dragon with a festival of sight, sound, and flavours (10 February).

And coming back to enliven the City Centre in 2024, the National Multicultural Festival (16 - 18 February) brings together more than 170 unique nationalities from the Canberra community. Beloved by locals for the food stalls offering flavours from around the world, the festival stages will be filled with cultural performances so you can enjoy dinner and a show.

 

Boat moving across lake with hot air balloons above

MARCH

Canberra’s galleries and museums will host an array of events during the day and become canvases for digital art at night during the Enlighten Illuminations (1 - 11 March). Feast on tasty treats, enjoy live music, and exclusive experiences as you explore the National Triangle, transformed by thought provoking architectural projections and artistic installations.

Wake up to surreal scenes as dozens of hot air balloons float across the capital each morning during the Canberra Balloon Spectacular (9 - 17 March). Grab breakfast from a local food truck or take to the lake to watch the balloons inflate and float into the sky.

Delight in the subversive, satirical art by the Western Aranda portraitist Vincent Namatijira: Australia in Colour (2 March—21 July) at the National Gallery of Australia or be inspired at the Ralph Heimans: Portraiture. Power. Influence exhibition (15 March—27 May) at the National Portrait Gallery.

Swoon over the fluffy cuteness and athleticism of some furry friends at the National Sheepdog Trials (11 - 17 March) at the Hall Showground. Or admire the sky across Lake Burley Griffin lit up by a spectacular fireworks display, at the return of Skyfire (16 March).

Spend an evening rolling in laughter at the Canberra Comedy Festival (13 - 24 March). You’ll be able to enjoy the comedic stylings of Jimeoin, Wil Anderson, Melanie Bracewell, Daniel Connell, Lizzy Hoo, and many more (not that we're name dropping).

For four days of music, folk dance, and community, head to the National Folk Festival (28 March—1 April). With multiple stages, workshops, dance spaces, markets, food stalls, and even on-site camping, this festival has your long weekend sorted. Be warned though, the saying goes that once you’ve gone to the festival just once, you’ll want to come back year after year.

APRIL & MAY

Kick off April with a sweat at the Canberra Times Marathon Festival (5 - 7 April), with runs for all levels around the scenic National Triangle. And in 2024 the 41st year of the Canberra and Region Heritage Festival (13 - 28 April) will explore more than 200 events that highlights the region's history from food and dance, to First Nations walking tours and bike orienteering.

Spend your Anzac Day paying your respects to those who have served, at the Australian War MemorialAnzac Day Dawn Service (25 April) or by attending a daily Last Post Ceremony.

Music lovers flock to the Canberra International Music Festival (1 - 5 May). Featuring word-class musical performances in various iconic Canberra locations, you can choose between hearing Debussy in a heritage fitters' workshop, Yuin women of Djilama Yilaga on top of Australian Parliament House, or Radiohead at a gastronomic food hall.

JUNE, JULY, & AUGUST

The winter in Canberra does not mean hibernation for most, with a wide array of things to do across the cooler months. Sample the delights of the Canberra region’s truffle growers from June through August. The prized black Perigord truffle is on the menu at restaurants, cafes, and wineries across the capital thanks to the region’s cool climate growing conditions. Enjoy a paddock to plate experience or join a truffle hunt at one of the newest jewels in Canberra’s culinary-experience crown, Beltana Farm.

Travel back more than 20,000 years with Magnificent MEGAfauna: Family trail (1 - 31 July) at the Australian National Botanic Gardens to learn about wombats the size of a car and the “demon duck of doom.” Or stay cosy at Winter in the City (5 - 21 July) with mulled wine, festive finds, and even snow!

Deep dive into creative histories with the Gauguin’s World: Tona Iho, Tona Ao exhibition (29 June—7 October) at the National Gallery of Australia and the National Photographic Portrait Prize and Darling Portrait Prize (22 June—13 October) at the National Portrait Gallery.

SEPTEMBER & OCTOBER

Australia’s biggest celebration of spring, Floriade (14 September—13 October), returns to Commonwealth Park. Featuring more than one million blooms, this flower festival is also renowned for its marketplace, food stalls, live music, and workshops. And when the sun goes down, NightFest (3 - 6 October) transforms the floral displays with artistic illuminations, and hosts evenings filled with entertainers, fantastic food, and Insta-worthy photo opportunities.

Meet the makers at over 250 stalls within the Handmade Canberra food and design market (21 - 22 September) to grab the next gift on the wish list for yourself or someone special.

Be in awe of Lindy Lee’s immersive sculpture, Ouroboros, set to be unveiled at the National Gallery of Australia on 25 October, 2024. Celebrate peace, goodwill, and the sister city relationship between Canberra and Nara at the Nara Candle Festival (26 October). This popular festival features thousands of shimmering candles, delicious street food, and cultural performances.

NOVEMBER & DECEMBER

Commemorate Remembrance Day (11 November) at the Australian War Memorial by paying your respects during the National Ceremony or placing a poppy on the Roll of Honour.

Be inspired at the Craft + Design Canberra Festival (1 - 10 November), where regeneration-themed events will imagine a sustainable future at various venues across Canberra. Sing along to your favourite hits at Australia’s fastest-selling music and arts festival, Spilt Milk (dates TBC). And continue the celebration with the SpringOUT festival (2 - 30 November) which will be celebrating it’s 25th anniversary in 2024, filling the streets with pride flags, love, and joy, alongside the LGBTQIA+ community.

Bask in balmy weather at the Sunset Cinema (November - February) nestled within the Australian National Botanic Gardens. Set amongst iconic scenery, make sure to gather your friends, family, drinks, and snacks to make a night of it.

All year long

Be sure to check out the performance calendar at the Canberra Theatre CentreThe Street Theatre, and music venues around Canberra. During your stay, why not explore the myriad of markets and foodie festivals, including everything from weekly farmers markets to speciality wine festivals?

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