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Must Attend Canberra Events in 2019

Canberra’s event calendar is jam-packed with an eclectic line up of different events to entertain the whole family all year round. From music festivals to sports events, cultural celebrations and Canberra-only festivities, you are sure to be swept up in one of the city's fantastic events no matter the time of year!

Check out our list of the must-attend Canberra events in 2019.

Cricket at Manuka Oval

Images via Manuka Oval | ABC

The iconic Manuka Oval is hosting its first ever International Domain Test Match!

Get behind the Aussies as they go head to head with Sri Lanka from the 1st to the 5th of February in contest for the sought-after  Warne-Muralitharan trophy.

If you’re more of a white ball cricket fan, you can also catch KFC’s Big Bash League, boasting non-stop entertainment from fast-paced cricket on-field, great music and fireworks displays.

When: Test match 01 to 05 February, BBL 09 February 2019.
Located at Manuka Oval, Manuka Cir, Griffith ACT
Cost: Ticket prices vary. More information here.

Royal Canberra Show

Images via ActewAGL Royal Canberra Show

For some wholesome family fun, the Royal Canberra Show is an absolute must! The classic and family-friendly rides, show bags and shopping will all be available, along with the mouth-watering, multicultural food stalls.

Catch the animal and agricultural competitions, see live motocross stunts and watch the colourful fireworks light up the night sky.

When: 22 to 24 February 2019.
Located at Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC), Flemington Road, Mitchell, ACT
Cost: $9.60 for children, $16 for adults. Family passes available from $40
More information here.

National Multicultural Festival

Images via The National Multicultural Festival | Canberra Times

The National Multicultural Festival is a wonderful celebration of Canberra’s dynamic and vibrant multicultural city. Now in its 23rd successful year of championing diversity and inclusivity, attendees can expect a myriad of performances, activities and amazing international cuisines.

Highlights include musical performances from celebrated entertainer Christine Anu and X Factor winner Isaiah Firebrace. While renowned indigenous celebrity chef Mark Olive will wow the crowds with his lively cooking demonstrations.

When: 15 to 17 February 2019
Located at various venues, Garema Place ACT
Cost: Free to attend! More info here.

Enlighten Festival 2019

Images via The National Multicultural Festival | Canberra Times

Back for its ninth year, Enlighten Festival transforms Canberra into a stunning spectacle of lights and a bustling hive of arts and culture. This year’s festival is bigger, better and brighter than ever, with an extended program of free and ticketed events from art installations, after dark tours, fireworks, and of course the Illuminations - vibrant large-scale architectural projects over Canberra’s iconic landmarks.

Foodies will also love the bustling Enlighten Night Noodle Markets, featuring local faves and international delights. From succulent gourmet burgers to Malaysian Hawker eats, and flying noodles (yes you read that right), there’s something to satisfy anyone’s cravings.

When: 1 to 17 March 2019
Takes place at various venues. Illuminations located in the Parliamentary Triangle.
Cost: Free to attend with some ticketed events. 

Canberra Balloon Spectacular 2019

Images via Balloon Aloft Canberra | Weekend Notes

Wake up to a kaleidoscope of colourful hot air balloons high above Canberra’s early morning sky at the Canberra Balloon Spectacular. Taking place as part of the Enlighten Festival, balloons of all shapes and sizes from across the globe take off at sunrise, while spectators are entertained by live performances, a delicious hot breakfast, and the picture-perfect views of the vibrant hot air balloons up above.

If you prefer to be part of the action, you can book a hot air balloon flight from event partners Balloon Aloft and Dawn Drifters.

When: 9 to 17 March 2019
Located at Lawns of Old Parliament House, King Edward Terrace, Parkes ACT
Cost: Spectators free to attend.

Love and Desire at NGA

Image credits: John William Waterhouse, The Lady of Shalott 1888, and John Everett Millais, Ophelia, 1851-52 © Tate. All rights reserved.

A mesmerising and awe-inspiring collection Pre-Raphaelite paintings never before seen in Australia has landed at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.

Love and Desire feature 40 of the Tate’s most famous and best-loved works, with highlights such as John Everett Millais’ Ophelia 1851–52 and John William Waterhouse, The Lady of Shalott 1888. This Canberra-only event is the first time that Ophelia and The Lady of Shalott have left the Tate together!

When: Exhibition until 28 April 2019. Open daily from 10 am to 5 pm
Located at The National Gallery of Australia, Parkes Place West, Parkes ACT
Cost: Tickets from $25. More info here.

Handmade Markets

Images via Handmade Markets Canberra

As purveyors of supporting local, the Handmade Market brings together over 260 Australian designers, artists, and producers to showcase their unique handmade creations under one roof.

It’s the perfect place to shop for something truly one-of-a-kind where you can even meet the maker and learn the story behind each piece! From furniture to fashion, ceramics, children’s toys, homewares, and even gourmet food and wine, this award-winning market is sure to delight.

Market Dates for 2019: 23 to 24 March, 29 to 30 June, 7 to 8 September, 6 to 8 December.
Located at Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC), Flemington Rd, Mitchell ACT 2602
Cost: Free entry! More info here.

Canberra Comedy Festival

Images via Canberra Comedy Festival - Facebook

Prepare yourself for a barrel of laughs at the Canberra Comedy Festival with over 70 shows featuring Australia’s funniest comics. The shows are held throughout Canberra in a variety of venues including The Canberra Theatre Centre, The Whiskey Room, and The Street Theatre. Grab your tickets, sit back and be entertained by the dazzling line-up of class acts such as comedy legends Jimeoin and Dave Hughes, and Crazy Rich Asian star Ronny Chieng.

When: 18 to 24 March 2019
Located at Canberra Theatre Centre and various venues. More information here.
Cost: Tickets from $25 to $46.90. Prices vary for each show.

Black Opal Stakes - Canberra Cup Race Day

Images via Visit Canberra | Thoroughbred Park

The John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes is Canberra’s premier race day, bringing in plenty of excitement both on and off track. Enter the Fashions on the Field competition, reigning the most sartorial ladies and gents, or enjoy the famous carvery luncheon in the Black Opal Room.

They also have a free jumping castle and face painting station to keep the little ones entertained.

When: 10 March 2019
Located at Thoroughbred Park, Randwick Road, Lyneham ACT
Cost: $5 for concession and $25 for Adults More info here.

The Forage

Images via The Forage - 5 Foot Photography

This crowd favourite foodie event kicks off this April in a new venue to tantalise everyone’s taste buds with scrumptious bites from some of Canberra’s local gems. You’ll find endless options from juicy fried chicken burgers, scrumptious spinach and cheese gozlemes, to mouth-watering cannolis. You can also sample the region’s most delicious local brews and wines.

A true feast for the senses, the event also features musical acts, boutique market stalls, family-friendly entertainment, and chilled out, street party vibes.

When: 6 April 2019. Occurs three times a year. Check back for future event dates and street food line up here.
Located at Dairy Road, Fyshwick
Cost: Free entry!

National Folk Festival

Images via National Folk Festival

Championing folk art and traditions, the National Folk Festival has been a Canberran institution for more than 50 years. Held at the Exhibition Park across five days, the festival features over 200 Australian and international acts across 18 venues. In addition, you’ll also find circus performers, food stalls, and a dedicated kid-friendly program - KidzFest. So whether you’re a fan of the bluegrass or contemporary folk, you’re sure to find something to groove to.

When: 18 to 22 April 2019
Located at Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC), Flemington Rd, Mitchell ACT 
Cost: Tickets from $48 for children to $323 for adults. Children under 7 years enter for free. More info here.

Groovin the Moo

Images via Groovin the Moo | Purple Sneakers

Purveyors of good times, good vibes, kindness and wholesome fun, Groovin the Moo is back in Canberra with a raft of homegrown and international acts set to play at Exhibition Park. Headliners include Billie Eilish, Thelma Plum, Coolio, TokiMonsta, Hilltop Hoods, and Aussie legends Regurgitator.

With beats, eats, chilled vibes and good old country hospitality, Groovin the Moo is one not to be missed!

When: 28 April 2019
Located at Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC), Flemington Rd, Mitchell ACT 2602
Cost: From Between $129.95 and $179.95. More info here.

Floriade 2019

Images via Canberra Times| Visit Canberra

This quintessentially Canberran event features over one million blooming bulbs, and an eclectic program full of family-friendly activities. With a jam-packed program full of spectacular live performances, amazing eats and a dedicated KidzKlub, this year’s spring festival is nothing short of blooming wonderful! Floriade’s ticketed after-dark experience, Nightfest, will once again entertain with a line-up of food and drink stalls, nightly entertainment and dazzling light installations

When: 14 September to 13 October 2019. Check back for Nightfest event dates here.
Located at Commonwealth Park, Regatta Place Parkes, ACT
Cost: Free to attend!

Murrumbateman Moving Feast

Images viaMurrumbateman Moving Feast | Her Canberra 

The Murrumbateman Moving Feast is not your typical food and wine tour - it’s an indulgent gastronomic journey that’s sure to delight the senses! Make your way through the region’s most outstanding wineries, while indulging in tantalising food and taking in the beautiful countryside along the way.

Participating wineries will present a signature dish, expertly paired with one of their wines. Wines are presented in a complimentary Riedel wine glass yours to keep!

When: 05 to 06 October 2019
Located at various venues in Murrumbateman
Cost: $25 for savoury fare and $20 for desserts at each winery. All fares are accompanied by a glass of wine.
More info here.

Oktoberfest Parklands

Images via Oktoberfest Parklands

Raise your stein, put on your dirndl or lederhosen and welcome back one of Australia’s most loved German festivals, Oktoberfest Parklands. Each year, the Parklands is transformed into a Bavarian Village to bring together all lovers of German fun, food and culture!

Feeling peckish? The Bavarian Food Truck Village is stockful of bratwurst, strudels, schnitzels and everything that goes with beer. Patrons will also be entertained by roving performers, competitions, and the lively Oompah bands.

When: 13 October 2019
Located at Patrick White Parklands, Parliamentary Triangle, Canberra ACT
Cost: $49.95, group tickets from $39.95. More info here.

Canberra Nara Candle Festival 2019

Images via  ACT Government | Time Out

Watch the city light up with a spectacular parade of candles and lanterns in celebration of Canberra’s sister city Nara in Japan! Held at the Canberra Nara Peace Park, the festival honours the goodwill between the sister cities through an eclectic line up of family-fun entertainment featuring Japanese cultural activities such as calligraphy, origami, lantern making, ikebana, kite flying, and martial arts demonstrations. Patrons can also tuck into tasty Japanese eats while strolling through the market stalls.

When: 26 October 2019, 4pm to 9pm
Located at Canberra Nara Peace Park and Lennox Gardens, Yarralumla
Cost: Free to attend! More info here.

Oktoberfest Parklands 

Images via CIFF

Calling all cinephiles and film fanatics! The annual Canberra International Film Festival showcases award-winning films and innovative screen experiences held across 10 days. Laugh, cry, and be inspired by the art of exceptional filmography by local and international talent. This Canberra-only event is an immersive, transformative, thought-provoking experience celebrating cinematography at its finest.

When: October 2019. Check back for dates here.
Located at National Film and Sound Archives, McCoy Circuit, Acton ACT
Cost: Ticket prices TBA.

Spilt Milk Festival

Images via Spilt Milk

Round up the squad and head to the leafy Commonwealth Park this November to realise the weekend festival adventure of your dreams. Split Milk draws crowds from all over Australia with it’s amazing lineup of local and international musicians and artists, super chill festival vibes, and lively celebration of all things creative and fun!

Previous headliners include Angus & Julia Stone, Thundamentals, RL Grimes, Hayden James and more. Between acts, grab some nibbles from the eclectic mix of food offerings to keep you fueled up until the wee hours.

When: November 2019. Check back for dates and ticket release here.
Located at Commonwealth Park, Parkes, Canberra City, ACT
Cost: 2019 ticket prices TBA

Other must-see Canberra events:

Featured Image: The Forage - 5 Foot Photography