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Three friends clinking glasses over share platters at a winery.

What’s on in Canberra this summer

Updated 24 Nov 2023

Discover the events, festivals, and exhibitions in Canberra this December, January, and February.

From exhibitions exploring ancient worlds to burn-out competitions, there is something for everyone in Canberra all summer long. You won’t want to miss these world-class exhibitions, major festivals, and delectable events this summer season.

Celebrate one of Australia’s most pre-eminent First Nations artists

Explore the timeless art of Emily Kam Kngwarray at the National Gallery of Australia (until 28 April 2024). A senior Anmatyerre woman, Kngwarray devoted her final years to painting, creating works that encapsulate the experience and authority she gained throughout an extraordinary life. Many never before seen works from tightly held private collections are included in this exhibition, along with new acquisitions of the artist’s seminal works in the national collection.

Emily Kam Kngwarray, Anmatyerr people, Untitled (awely), 1994, National Gallery of Australia, Kamberri/Canberra, purchased 2022 with the assistance of the Foundation Gala Funds 2021 and 2022, in celebration of the National Gallery of Australia's 40th anniversary, 2022 © Emily Kam Kngwarray/Copyright Agency

 

Welcome in the new years!

You can enjoy ringing in 2024 alongside your own picnic with a spectacular fireworks display over Lake Burley Griffin, by spending New Years Eve in Canberra. Then join in on a cultural celebration that last time welcomed 7,000 visitors to Dickson, at Lunar New Year 2024.

See Summernats roar into town

See everything from supped up streetcars to the finals of the National Burnout Master at Summernats 36 (4-7 January), a unique celebration of the modified car community. Don’t miss the competitive events, trade show and exhibition, concerts, burnouts and more, with the festival hosting the finals for the National Burnout Master in 2024.

Be in awe at the wonders of an ancient world

Make sure to see the National Museum of Australia’s latest exhibition, Discovering Ancient Egypt (15 Dec – 8 Sep). Journey to the land of the pyramids to discover the wonders of ancient Egypt in this must-see exhibition featuring over 220 objects from the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities (Rijksmuseum van Oudheden).

Feast at Canberra's hottest new restaurants

There’s always a fresh face in town when it comes to the Canberra dining scene. Try out the quirky design of Such and Such, which was voted Best New Restaurant in the Good Food Guide 2024 Awards. Or indulge in an evening at Koto, a newly reimagined Kyoto-inspired, contemporary venue. Or, if casual eats are more your style, check out these no-fuss restaurants worth travelling for in Canberra. Whether you’re in for a cosy dining experience or looking for lunch or dinner in an outdoor spot, Canberra has got it all during the summer months.

Try some of the best lakeside dining spots

Explore the many cafes, restaurants, and bars along the Kingston Foreshore. Watch the sunset with a side of fish and chips at casual outdoor eatery, Snapper & Co. or sip a wine at Margot Bar while you enjoy the stunning sunset views across Lake Burley Griffin.

Watch films under the stars

Few things say ‘summertime tradition’ more than an outdoor movie. Bask in balmy weather at Sunset Cinema (November - February) nestled in 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.

A group of friends enjoying their time on a GoBoat on the lake.

Explore Lake Burley Griffin

Hire bikes or e-scooters from the Canberra and Region Visitors Centre, and enjoy a lap around the iconic water. Grab picnic food and pilot an electric-powered GoBoat on Lake Burley Griffin from two locations around the lake.  Alternatively, join a leisurely lunch or dinner cruise on the MV Southern Cross Cruises or a sightseeing cruise with Lake Burley Griffin Cruises.

Visit Australia's first carbon-neutral brewery

Capital Brewing Co is famous for its sustainable, community-minded approach to brewing – and they make a delicious craft beer to boot. Try a tasting paddle of brews and feast on a Brodburger for lunch or dinner. Both venues are located in the groovy Dairy Road Precinct, which is an interconnected and diverse neighbourhood where you can explore a gin distillery and a bouldering gym.

See the best of sport

Cheer on Australia's best batters and bowlers during the summer of cricket in Canberra. Don’t miss your chance to catch the Big Bash action in Canberra with Sydney Thunder vs Adelaide Strikers (14 Jan). Come see if Aussies can win again in this 2023 World Cup final rematch, when Australia goes up against South Africa in the Women’s International T20 (27 Jan). Watch Australia take on West Indies when the Men’s One Day International comes to Canberra (6 Feb). There'll be plenty of entertainment on and off the field at Manuka Oval

Immerse yourself in culture

Witness a kaleidoscope of colours, sights, sounds, and tastes, bringing 170 nationalities together. Be wowed by performers in the iconic parade, visit a food stall to grab your favourite festival snack, dance the night away at one of the many musical stages, check out a cooking demonstration, or join a cultural workshop to learn a new skill.

There'll be three days of performances, culture, entertainment, food, and community spirit within the Canberra City Centre at the National Multicultural Festival (16-18 February).

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