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Beibu Gulf Square in Beihai, China

Best Places to Visit in China for Christmas Cheer

By Joshua Wood, LPC

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Summary: Plan a day trip or weekend getaway to get some holiday cheer. This article highlights the best places to visit in China for Christmas cheer.

As the holiday season approaches, expats and digital nomads in China may be looking for places to soak up the festive atmosphere. While Christmas isn't traditionally celebrated across the country, certain cities and neighborhoods have embraced the holiday spirit, offering markets, decorations, and events that provide a slice of yuletide cheer. Here are some of the best places to visit in December for those wanting to experience Christmas in China.

Shanghai's Xintiandi

Shanghai's Xintiandi district transforms into a winter wonderland during the holiday season. This upscale, pedestrian-only area is adorned with festive lights and decorations, making it a picturesque spot for an evening stroll. The Xintiandi Christmas Market is a highlight, featuring a variety of international and local vendors selling handcrafted gifts, ornaments, and seasonal treats. The market usually runs throughout December, offering a perfect opportunity to find unique gifts and indulge in festive foods.

We Recommend: Don't miss the chance to try the hot chocolate sold at the market. It's a rich, comforting treat that's become a favorite among visitors looking to warm up on a chilly December evening.

Beijing's Solana Lifestyle Shopping Park

Beijing's Solana Lifestyle Shopping Park is known for its grand Christmas celebrations. The area is beautifully lit with fairy lights and Christmas decorations, creating a magical atmosphere. Solana hosts a Christmas parade featuring Santa Claus, reindeer, and other festive characters, typically held in mid-December. The parade is a fun event for families and friends, with live music and dance performances adding to the holiday cheer.

We Recommend: Make sure to catch the light show that takes place every evening during the holiday season. The combination of lights, music, and performances is a must-see at Solana.

Guangzhou's Flower City Square

In Guangzhou, the Flower City Square becomes a focal point for Christmas festivities. The square is home to a massive Christmas tree and hosts a variety of events, including live concerts and dance shows. The nearby malls and streets are also festooned with decorations, and you can find pop-up Christmas markets selling everything from festive foods to artisanal crafts. The holiday spirit is palpable, with carolers and performers adding to the festive ambiance.

We Recommend: Try the gingerbread cookies available at the market stalls. These sweet treats are a holiday staple and are often freshly baked, filling the air with their spicy aroma.

Shenzhen's Overseas Chinese Town (OCT)

Shenzhen's Overseas Chinese Town (OCT) area is a hub for Christmas activities. The OCT Loft Creative Culture Park hosts an annual Christmas fair, where you can find handmade gifts, Christmas decorations, and a variety of international foods. The fair usually takes place in early December and is a great spot for expats and locals alike to mingle and celebrate the season.

We Recommend: Be sure to sample the mulled wine on offer at the fair. It's a traditional Christmas beverage that's both warming and festive, perfect for sipping as you explore the stalls.

Chengdu's Taikoo Li

Chengdu's Taikoo Li shopping district goes all out for Christmas, with elaborate decorations and a large Christmas tree that becomes a popular backdrop for photos. The open-air shopping area hosts a Christmas market where you can find a mix of international and Sichuanese holiday goods. The market is a great place to experience a blend of cultures and to pick up unique gifts that combine local flavors with traditional Christmas cheer.

We Recommend: Don't leave without trying the spiced Sichuan peppercorn chocolates. These chocolates offer a unique twist on a classic treat, incorporating the famous local spice.

Hangzhou's Hubin Pedestrian Street

Hangzhou's Hubin Pedestrian Street is another destination for Christmas festivities. The street and surrounding area are beautifully decorated with lights and Christmas displays. Seasonal activities and performances are organized for visitors, and the nearby shopping malls join in with their own festive decorations and promotions. The atmosphere is joyous, with the spirit of the holidays felt throughout the area.

We Recommend: Enjoy the roasted chestnuts sold by street vendors. They're a traditional winter snack in China and pair wonderfully with the holiday atmosphere of Hubin Street.

Harbin's Ice and Snow World

While not specifically a Christmas event, Harbin's Ice and Snow World offers a winter experience that aligns perfectly with the holiday season. This world-renowned festival kicks off in late December and features spectacular ice and snow sculptures, illuminated at night to create a truly enchanting scene. The festival includes ice slides, mazes, and replicas of famous buildings made entirely of ice.

We Recommend: Dress warmly and spend time exploring the ice sculptures at night when they're lit up in vibrant colors. The visual spectacle is something you won't want to miss.

Suzhou's Ligongdi

Suzhou's Ligongdi area is known for its European-style architecture, which lends itself beautifully to Christmas decorations. During December, the area is adorned with festive lights and Christmas trees, and the restaurants and bars often host holiday-themed events. The combination of the scenic canals, the festive lights, and the holiday events make Ligongdi a charming place to celebrate Christmas in Suzhou.

We Recommend: Indulge in the seasonal pastries offered by the local cafes. Many create special Christmas-themed desserts that are both delicious and Instagram-worthy.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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Beibu Gulf Square in Beihai, China

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