The festive season is well and truly here – and our diaries are getting action-packed already! To help you plan those Christmas calendars, here’s our ultimate round-up of what’s on in Hong Kong this December, including all the best concerts, shows, plays and events to get you in the holiday spirit!
Oh yes it is!
The Hong Kong Players are back with their ever-popular annual Christmas panto, featuring music, dancing, laughs, audience interaction and oodles of fun for all the family. In this hilarious, new, locally produced script, Sleeping Beauty faces the wrath of the Evil Fairy, and only True Love’s Kiss can save her from eternal sleep. Will the Prince be able to rescue her in time? You can’t be without a panto for the Christmas season, and this one’s always a sell-out!
Take a quick detour!
Come celebrate Hong Kong’s many home-grown talented designers and artists at DETOUR. There will be tonnes of unique exhibitions, installations, fairs, talks and workshops featuring some of Hong Kong’s finest creative minds – be sure to check the various exhibitions and cool concepts all around town!
When: 29 November-8 December
Where: Various locations around Hong Kong, see more details here
How much: Free!
Yep, it’s that time of the year again – Hong Kong’s WinterFest is here! We might not have access to a snow-covered winter wonderland in the ‘Kong, but what we do have are some pretty cool Christmas lights decking out our massive skyscrapers! If you want to enjoy the festive city lights, how about a tour on an Open-Top Bus Starry Night, A Symphony of Lights Dinner Cruise or a night trip on the good old Star Ferry? Don’t forget to check out the Christmas centrepiece in Statue Square; this year, the theme is WISH, and in a departure from a traditional Christmas tree, there will be a contemporary sculpture (over 15m high!) of three dandelions losing their seeds, which changes colour along to music… not exactly ‘Christmassy’, but it should still be quite a spectacle! Oh, and did we mention Santa will be there too?
When: 29 November-1 January
Where: All over Hong Kong, with the Christmas centrepiece at Statue Square in Central, Hong Kong
How much: Free!
If you haven’t heard of Very Hong Kong – you’re missing out! This fab new independent program celebrates Hong Kong’s unique mix of culture and diversity. By promoting creativity and redefining Hong Kong’s ‘forgotten spaces’ with innovative events, Very Hong Kong has got our December filled up! Don’t miss out on some of their ‘very’ cool happenings, such as the Very Big Screen On the Green (an open-air cinema screening at Central’s new harbour-front), the Very Street Wan Chai festival with performances and fashion shows and the Very Involved day at Kwun Tong waterfront with boat races and food master-classes… just to name a few! Phew!
When: Throughout December
Where: All around HK!
How much: Check the website for costs – many of the events are free!
How would you like to snuggle up at an outdoor Rooftop Cinema to watch your favourite Christmas movies? Well, cool and creative events company, Hushup, have organised just that! Being able to re-watch all those cheesy, heart-warming Christmas films we love without feeling guilty is definitely one of the highlights of our festive season – and the three films of choice here are the hilarious Cool Runnings, the charming Amelie, and our favourite British Christmas rom-com, Love Actually. Don’t miss out on this unique cinema setting with some extra festive vibes.
When: Cool Runnings 1 December, Amelie 8 December, Love Actually 15 December
Where: Rooftop, L Place, Central, Hong Kong
How much: $160, tickets available here
Things that go bump…
If you haven’t seen The Woman In Black, book your tickets now! This hauntingly good drama has celebrated 24 years in the West End and is one of the most exciting, gripping and successful theatre productions ever staged. Starring only two actors (and the woman in black herself!), be prepared for a few jumps and bumps along the way!
When: 3-8 December, see full schedule here
Where: Lyric Theatre, Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, 1 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
How much: $395-$795, available via www.hkticketing.com, 3128 8288
Shine a light
The annual “Light Up A Life” Christmas Concert is one of the most worthwhile and beautiful concerts around town, held in the gorgeous St John’s Cathedral (there will be mulled wine and mince pies served in the cathedral garden too!). All money raised goes to hospice care.
When: 3 December, 7.30-9.30pm
Where: St John’s Cathedral, 4-8 Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong
How much: $200 (tickets available in the Cathedral bookstore), call 2230 9118 for enquiries
Carols by candlelight
It’s time to get merry and celebrate the Christmas season at the Matilda Children’s Foundation’s Carols by Candle Light charity event! Not only will there be some beautiful carolling, but there will also be plenty of other entertainment on the night, including a Christmas bazaar, festive food and drinks, and appearances from Santa himself! This event also raises money for the Matilda Children’s Foundation, which funds life-changing surgeries for disabled children.
When: 5 December, 6-8pm
Where: Matilda International Hospital, 41 Mount Kellett Road, The Peak, Hong Kong (free shuttle from The Peak bus terminus)
How much: Free entry
Mulled wine and then some!
Christmas is a time of merriment – and what better way to get a bit merry than at the 12 Pubs of Christmas Bar Crawl! Complete with a comedy Christmas jumper to wear, you’ll be able to sample various tipples from some of our favourite bars in Central, including 6 Degrees, Rula Bula and Solas, just to name a few. Come for some guaranteed festive fun and a fab opportunity to meet new people – and to top it off, all proceeds go towards the amazing Christina Noble Children’s Foundation. Grab your cheesy Christmas jumpers and go!
When: 6 December, 7.30pm ‘til late
Where: Bars and pubs around Central; see full list here
How much: $200, including Christmas jumper; email firstname.lastname@example.org to buy your ticket. The participating bars will have special drinks promotions for those taking part!
When you wish upon a star…
Who doesn’t love Disney?! If you fancy getting in touch with your inner child, then you can’t miss this spectacular Disney On Ice: Treasure Trove show! Featuring beautiful Disney princesses, you’ll be taken down the rabbit hole with Alice in Wonderland, to Africa with Simba from the Lion King, and to Never Land with Peter Pan. This medley of your favourite animated Disney movies will get any kids (big and small!) super excited.
When: 6-8 December, 4 & 8pm
Where: Cotai Arena, The Venetian, Estrada Da Baia De N., Senhora Da Esperancea S/N, Taipa Macau
How much: $280-380, tickets available via Cotai Ticketing, 6333 6660
Meet and greet the big S
That’s right – bring back those childhood memories of extreme excitement and the magic of Christmas by checking out Pacific Place and its Santa’s Place. You’ll get to meet a very ‘authentic’ Father Christmas and have a photo with him… great for any little ones you might know! Even better, all the proceeds will go towards Operation Santa Claus. Don’t forget to check out some of the other Christmassy performances happening at Pacific Place too, from a Piano Battle to a ‘Robotik’ Dance… it’s all going off this December!
When: 6-25 December
Where: Santa’s Place, Pacific Place,
How much: $100 for a photo with the big guy himself and you get a box of chocolates too!
X marks the spot
If you fancy something a bit different and want to get in touch with your inner adventurer while raising money for local charities – this is the event for you! The Hong Kong Treasure Hunt is a great way to get active and involved with the community in a fun-filled adventure race around urban districts of Hong Kong. A combination of speed, style and knowledge make this treasure hunt suitable for all… and it’s for a great cause too, with proceeds going to the KELY Support Group and Kids 4 Kids.
When: 7 December, 12pm
Where: Pier 3 Rooftop, Central, Hong Kong
How much: Registration fee $100 per adult, $50 for children under 16 or $200 per family
She wants to move
If you didn’t manage to make it to Clockenflap or you just can’t get enough of the music festival vibe, check out this brand new music event – Blohk Party, which Pharrell Williams will not only be performing at, but has also curated! Inspired by New York’s street block parties, this party promises a unique line-up that’s sure to lure out Hong Kong’s hipster community. With performances by Pusha T, Edison Chen and of course, Pharrell himself (with plenty more to be announced), this festival promises a day of very cool music, food and fashion.
When: 7 December, 12-10pm
Where: West Kowloon Cultural District
How much: $788 in advance or $888 at the door (student and VIP tickets also available), available via www.hkticketing.com, 3128 8288
…And they’re off!
If you’re hoping to win some extra cash to spend on Christmas gifts, then you can try your luck at one of Hong Kong’s biggest racing events, the Longines Hong Kong International Races 2013. You might not win as much as the jockeys will (a staggering $12.5 million for first place!), but it’s sure to be another fun day out – Hong Kong certainly knows how to do the races in style!
When: 8 December, 12-6pm
Where: Sha Tin Racecourse, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Sha Tin Racecourse Stand, Sha Tin, Hong Kong
How much: $10 for the public enclosure
Christmas for all ages
Christmas marks a time when even us fully-grown adults start getting giddy like little kids – so why not join in the 12th Classics for Kids Christmas Concert? Expect lots of fun, surprises and iconic Christmas tunes at this much-loved classical music concert.
When: 9 & 16 December, 2.15pm & 5pm
Where: Hong Kong Jockey Club Amphitheatre, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, 1 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai
How much: $200; tickets available via HKTicketing, 3128 8288
Poet and you didn’t even know it
Lah Lah Blah Blah: A Night of Performance Poetry promises interesting and amusing rhymes and rhythms from some of Hong Kong’s loudest, chattiest and quirkiest poets. If you love literature, poetry or all things wordy – this is the night for you. It’s always great to support the local art scene, especially when it’s such a unique event, so try it out and get wordy!
When: 9 December, 8pm
Where: The Fringe Club, 2 Lower Albert Road, Central, Hong Kong
How much: $100 per ticket on the door, half of ticket proceeds will go to Operation Santa Claus
The Cecilian Singers Christmas Concert promises a superbly traditional night of music (plus mince pies and mulled wine!), sung by some of the best voices in HK. They’ll be performing the likes of Vivaldi’s Gloria, Bach’s O Little One Sweet and John Rutter’s Christmas Lullaby, plus unique arrangements of carols from Europe and the West Indies, and some well-known audience sing-alongs too! Proceeds go towards St Barnabas’ Home and Society, and Hong Kong Generation Next Arts.
When: 11 December, 8pm
Where: St John’s Cathedral, Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong
How much: $200, available here
The 42nd Hong Kong French Film Festival is not only one of the oldest and largest film festivals in the ‘Kong, but it also guarantees to reflect the diversity of French cinema with a wide array of films. If you fancy watching some thought-provoking, beautifully shot cinema, this is the place to go. There’s sure to be something for everyone with short films, animation, documentaries and other French classics all being screened, so get up to scratch on your francais!
Step inside the wardrobe…
Faust Hong Kong is staging one of our favourite classic children’s tales for the festive season, C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe! The world of Narnia awaits, and you’d better watch out for the evil white witch (whatever you do, don’t eat that Turkish Delight)! Don’t miss this magical show performed by some ultra-talented Hong Kong kids.
I’m your Venus
Venus In Fur, the award-winning play by David Ives that was a massive hit on Broadway, is a saucy production that explores themes of domination, intellectual adventure and sexual attraction – and now it’s playing in Hong Kong! This fast-moving play tells the story of a playwright and an actress who’s set to give the audition of a lifetime, so if you fancy a night of naughty laughs, get your tickets now (you never know… Christian Grey might even be there!).
When: 12-14 December, 8pm (plus 3pm showing on 14 December)
Where: Fringe Club Underground Theatre, Lower Albert Road, Central, Hong Kong
How much: $190-240, available via www.hkticketing.com, 3128 8288
Dance ten, looks three
ONE… singular sensation! Tony Award-winning musical A Chorus Line is being staged in Hong Kong by 40 of our city’s finest young performers, plus former Hong Kong Ballet Senior Soloist. Get ready for a night of singing, dancing, high drama and even higher kicks, in celebration of the Hong Kong Youth Art Foundation’s 40th anniversary.
When: 12-14 December, 7.30pm (plus additional 2.30pm show on 14 December)
Where: Shouson Theatre, Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
How much: $200-280, available via URBTIX, 2111 5999
For a little crazy this holiday season, join in the fun of SantaCon! This annual nonsensical Santa Claus convention is simply an excuse to dress up as Santa and march merrily (and possibly drunkenly…) through the streets of Central – who’s in?
When: 14 December, 12pm-midnight
Where: Starts at IFC Rooftop and then all over the city; check here for updates
How much: Free!
A very merry Christmas
Festive cheer in the open air? If that sounds good to you, then come sit under the stars at the Very Christmas Concert for a wonderful night of festive entertainment, great bands and musical performances. Grab a cosy picnic blanket, sit back and enjoy this enchanting evening in front of the HK skyline… how romantic!
When: 14 December, 7-9pm
Where: New Central Harbour-front (near Central pier no. 10), Central, Hong Kong
How much: Free entry!
If you fancy a night of Spanish-style flamenco, dinner and theatre, then you’re in for a treat! Spanish flamenco band Esencia will be performing some original pieces, complete with traditional flamenco singing, dance, guitar and percussion. The international cast of artists, all trained in Spain by the most respected flamenco maestros, will showcase real traditional flamenco that’s sure to get your heart racing…
When: 14 December, 8pm
Where: Backstage Live Restaurant, 52-54 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong
How much: $380 including Spanish tapas & dinner ($350 for early bookings), call 2167 8985 to book
All together now!
Seven Hong Kong choirs are joining forces for a very special Choir Aid: Songs In The Key Of Christmas, set to benefit the HK Red Cross South East Asia Relief Fund for the Philippines. There will be almost 200 singers gracing the stage for this important cause, so dig deep!
When: 15 December, 3.30pm
Where: St John’s Cathedral, Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong
How much: Minimum donation $200, tickets available at Cathedral bookshop or on the door
The Katterwall Christmas Choir, featuring both the Kassia Women’s Choir and Kassia Men’s Chorus, have become firm HK favourites with their crowd-pleasing choir performances. Their latest show Rock N Roll Christmas will be packed full of our favourite Christmas tunes – Winter Wonderland, Little Drummer Boy, Santa Claus is Coming to Town… we’re singing along already!
When: 16-17 December, 8pm
Where: Theatre, Sheung Wan Civic Centre, 345 Queen’s Road Central, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
How much: $180-220, available via URBTIX, 2111 5999
Sugar plum fairies
The quintessential Christmas ballet, The Nutcracker, is back this year thanks to The Hong Kong Ballet. This classic tale has been a long-time Hong Kong favourite, and if you haven’t booked tickets yet, do it ASAP before they sell out! Come see this charming story with a fresh new 21st century twist, accompanied by Tchaikovsky’s magical score performed live by the Hong Kong Sinfonietta.
A little night music
Take a sleigh ride for Christmas Around The World with Hong Kong Philharmonic’s concert celebrating all things Yuletide! This show will include all your favourite festive carols, plus a few surprises here and there too, so get ready to sing along and get into the holiday spirit.
When: 23-24 December, 8pm
Where: Hong Kong Cultural Centre,
How much: $140-$400, tickets available via URBTIX, 2111 5999
Foodies – this one’s for you! Of course Hong Kong can’t go this festive season without some sort of food and beverage festival! With over a thousand exhibitors, the 11th Hong Kong Food Festival offers exclusive deals and samples from a number of different international cuisines, including a local food garden, a Korean Food Hall, Dessert Heaven & Earth and an International Wine Festival, plus plenty more. Yum!
When: 25-28 December, 10am-9pm
Where: Hall 3, Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre, 26 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
How much: $10, tickets available at the venue
Teddy bear, teddy bear, turn around
Get into the festive season with children’s fashion brand Nicholas & Bears and The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong’s Guinness World Records attempt… to make the longest line of teddy bears! Not only is this very cute, but it really does celebrate the spirit of Christmas, as proceeds will be donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. In addition to the record-making spectacle, you’ll aso get to enjoy a quintessential teddy bear afternoon tea experience – think lots of sweet and savoury (bear-shaped!) delights. A limited edition Nicholas & Bears stuffed bear will also be on sale, with proceeds going directly to Make-A-Wish. What’s more, all this will be held on the 102nd floor – so fabulous views await too! Join in the fun for a super cause and feel the festive love!
When: 30 December, 3-6pm
Where: The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road, West Kowloon, Hong Kong
How Much: $498 (plus 10% service charge), including one mini-sized limited edition stuffed bear designed by Nicholas & Bears; call 2263 2270 to book
Music to your ears
Ring in the new year with some beautiful sounds and classical pieces from A Viennese New Year by the Hong Kong Philharmonic. Give your ears a treat with a selection of waltzes and polkas… then catch the harbour-side fireworks after the concert has finished! Sounds like a great new year celebration to us!
When: 30-31 December, 8pm
Where: Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall, 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
How much: $160-$420; tickets available from URBTIX, 2111 5999
Starlight, star bright
Not a fan of the more cheesy mall displays? Then New Town Plaza’s Starlight Romance might be the one for you! Italian artists Cesario de Cagna and his son Guiseppe de Cagna have designed an absolutely spectacular lighting architecture scene that uses over 100,000 LED light bulbs – including a 108 foot tall cathedral, a recreation of the Tiber river and much more. Every 30 minutes each night, there will also be a dazzling 3D light and snow show, plus singing and dancing performances too. Perfect for some pretty photo opps this festive season!
When: Until 1 January, 6-10pm
Where: Starlight Garden, L7 Phase 1, New Town Plaza, 18-19 Sha Tin Centre Street, Sha Tin, Hong Kong
How much: Free entry
Light it up
Hong Kong goes all out on the decorations for most events, but Christmas takes it to a whole other level! You can’t miss out on the insane decorations over at Harbour City this year – their spectacular Let’s Celebrate display includes 30 trees of different sizes, heap-loads of ornaments and ribbons, giant Disney characters, magical chandeliers, and tonnes of lights. If you want a fairy-tale Christmas, don’t miss this Christmas lighting show spectacular, which is guaranteed to make you feel like a big kid.
When: Now until 1 January, lighting show from 6.15-10.45pm daily (every 30 minutes)
Where: Harbour City, 3-27 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
How much: Free!
Winter in Macau
The largest winter festival in Asia is back! Winter at Cotai Strip Macao has created a veritable winter wonderland for you to explore, including a giant Christmas tree, an ice-skating rink, winter markets, ice sculptures, festive entertainment, and a nightly dazzling 3D light and sound spectacular called “Seasons of Wonder”. They’ve even managed to make it snow!
When: Until 5 January
Where: The Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel, Estrada da Baía de N. Senhora da Esperança, S/N, Taipa, Macao
How much: Free entry, see more info here
Most churches will offer a number of Christmas services throughout the festive period, including carol concerts, the nativity play, lessons and carols by candlelight, a Christmas Eve crib service and Midnight Mass. Contact your local church to find out what’s on and when: