What to Do in Lisbon During the 2023 Holidays

Our somewhat alternative take on celebrating the holidays (but we got you covered if you want to go to a church, too!)

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and we’re here to help you do just that. From family events and traditional Christmas concerts, to help you remember the holidays, to open mics and all-night DJ parties to help you forget them, Lisbon’s got a lot on to help you celebrate the season.

December 15: 21h30 Christmas Concert at Igreja São Pedro da Alcântara – FREE 

The Traditional Irish Metropolitan Junior Orchestra, the Metropolitan Classical Orchestra, and the Metropolitana Wind Orchestra are pulling out all the stops with their Christmas program at the Igreja São Pedro in Alcantara. Start with an Irish carol, move on to Tchaikovsky’s suite from The Nutcracker, and finish up with music from The Orient Express and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Good family fun in a cool setting, and the best part is — it’s free. 

December 16: Guided Visits to the Lisbon Ismaili Center – FREE

Celebrate the anniversary of the day the first stone of the Ismaili Center was laid and find out more about this architectural and cultural marvel. This is a great chance to learn about the rich heritage of the Portuguese Ismaili Community, and what better time of year to do it? Contact EGEAC to find out time slots and to book a spot. They’re also organizing them on the 17th if there’s enough interest.

December 17: 17h Naked City by the Lisbon Poetry Orchestra at Capitólio FREE

Who likes poetry? Who likes the orchestra? Who likes nudity? Now you can have them all — kind of. The show Cidade Nua by the Lisbon Poetry Orchestra promises to pave the way for imaginary cartography of future cities through music and spoken word. Pick up your free tickets on-site starting at 15h30. First come, first serve. 

December 18: 20h Soloist Performers Show at the Gulbenkian FREE

The Gulbenkian Orchestra’s professional instrumentalists are known for their incredible musical prowess, so listening to the soloists is sure to leave you slackjawed, and doing it for free sweetens the deal. Head over to the Gulbenkian auditorium to hear them perform works by Castello, Buonamente, Schmelzer, and Fontana on the trombone, cello, violin, double bass, and organ. Since admission is free, you can only snag two tickets per person two days before the show online, and two hours before the show on-site. However, if you have the Cartão Gulbenkian Mais, you might have a bit of wiggle room.

December 20: 19h30 – 23h Open Mic Night at Má Lingua FREE

Break out your Santa suit and jingle bells and join in some open mic fun at one of Atlas’ favorite haunts. Christmas carols are not required, but it never hurts to be festive. Sign up with @johnriverartist on Instagram to secure your spot on the stage.

December 21: 19h The Nightmare Before Christmas at Fábrica Braço de Prata 13,90€

Get ready to celebrate a spooktacular Christmas with a whimsical screening of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. Experience a different kind of holiday insanity as Jack Skellington discovers the magic of Christmas in Halloween Town. Drinks and popcorn are not included, but available!

December 22: 22h Great Gatsby-themed Christmas Party at NINHO Lisboa FREE (but there are rules.)

Step back in time to the roaring ’20s at this Great Gatsby-themed party. Dress in your finest flapper attire and dapper tailored suits and enjoy a night of music, classic cocktails, and dancing in a glamorous speakeasy setting. Women must wear high heels, according to the organizer, but there are several options for entry if you want to find a work-around.

December 23: 15h and 17h Roller Disco at Rainha Dona Leonor Highschool 4€ entry, 4€ rentals

The Roller Disco Club and the Monsanto Ping Pong Club invite you to mingle with other rollers and dancers of all ages, levels, and proportions. Skates from sizes 26 to 48 are available for rent, but you’re welcome to bring your own along with whatever Barbie-inspired spandex getup you have hidden away. Tickets are valid for a two-hour skate set to ‘80s and ’90s music. Why not? It beats waiting hours in line at Wonderland Lisboa’s “ice rink.”

December 24: 7h20 – 9h Sunrise Yoga in Expo under the Vasco da Gama Bridge FREE (with advance registration)

This outdoor yoga session might be your ticket to preemptively strike on your New Year’s resolutions. Bring your yoga mat and whatever level of skill you’ve got and get down dogging. To reserve your spot, send a message to +351 937 711 449 the day before. Location: Parque das Nações, close to Vasco da Gama bridge in front of the Tejo. (38.785860, -9.091843).

December 25: 12h – 20h All You Can Eat Nepalese Christmas Lunch/Dinner at Rex Gastropub 40€ (reservation required)

You don’t have to travel to Nepal to gorge yourself on momos this year… you just have to travel to Óbidos, which is well worth the trip for a fairytale Christmas Day anyway. The “Nepalese Natal” menu is varied, with plenty of vegetarian options, so take this opportunity to avoid the hassle of cooking something memorable and go make memories of your own!

December 27: 18h30 – 20h Adult Art Lessons and Open Drawing at Safe Place Creative Center 17€ (advance registration required)

The website mentions artistic guidance and the availability of cocktails, so this might be a good way to decompress after the Christmas mayhem. Bring your materials (if you’ve got any) and sketch, paint, sculpt, or interpretive dance in the presence of like-minded creatives. Aside from an art instructor who can guide you toward new mediums and through new techniques, Safe Space provides basic pencils, brushes, paints, and paper.

December 30: 23h Química Dance Party at Arroz Estúdios 5 – 7€ (plus 3€ Arroz membership fee)

Guest DJs Anastasia Zems, Maki, and Resident DJs João Malgueira and Paixão will show their stuff at this club night at Arroz. Dance the night away to tribal rhythms, haunting vocals, Brazilian electro, ghetto house, and more.

December 31: 22h Expat New Year’s Party at O Bom, o Mau e o Vilão 25€

Anjo Lisboa is organizing a two-set DJ party in Cais do Sodré with a glitter/sequin recommended dress code, two free glasses of champagne, and an electronica, soul, funk, Afrobeat, and jazz soundtrack. The party starts at 22h, and you’re invited to stay for “however long you can hold on.” Atlas recommends popping outside at midnight to catch a glimpse of the fireworks over the Tejo. Just make sure you talk to the right door people to get back inside afterward.

January 1: 11h and 17h Metropolitana New Year’s Concert at CCB 17,50€ – 35,00€

The Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra is putting on their New Year’s Concert twice in one day at the Grand Auditorium at the CCB featuring music by Moniuszko, Strauss, and Santos. You can expect to waltz, march, and polka your way through their 12-song program, led by guest conductor Sebastian Perłowski. The organizers claim that it’ll be the “perfect soundtrack for every situation” in 2024, and we’re almost certain they can deliver!

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