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The best places to get a dose of the city's holiday spirit.

Venus Wong
December 02, 2015

Between the mild temperatures and overflowing ads for end-of-year sales, Hong Kong may not be your first destination of choice for getting into the festive spirit. However, experiencing the city's unique Yuletide celebrations can be a memorable and rewarding experience, provided you know where the locals go for fun. Follow our action plan for a picture-perfect Christmas in Hong Kong—even if the snowflakes aren't making an appearance this year.

Symphony of Lights

This 15-minute light show is a recommended stop in any season, but especially around Christmas, when the skyscrapers on both sides of Victoria Harbour are decked out in holiday-themed LED displays. Catch it from the Tsim Sha Tsui side, near the Avenue of Stars, to take in the iconic Central skyline on Hong Kong Island. Once the show finishes, walk to the nearby Hong Kong Cultural Centre and the Clock Tower for the seasonal Pulse 3D light show—a vivid outdoor projection experience that will delight the younger travelers among the group.

Visit A Christmas Market

Stanley Market is your go-to for trinkets that make great souvenirs, but it will gain an uncanny resemblance to a German village during the latter half of December: With support from the German Consulate in Hong Kong, the plaza area will transform into an outdoor holiday market featuring 80 vendors selling nutcrackers, bratwurst, and gifts under festive lights. The best part? Visitors above the age of 18 will receive a cup of complimentary mulled wine.

Stroll Around A Mall

Shopping arcades are the nerve center of Hong Kong's retail scene, which explains the breathtaking decorations that are on display at every mall come Christmas time. Whether it's the aerial Christmas trees at IFC Mall, the teddy bear wonderland at the LANDMARK, or Harbour City's Disney character takeover, these thoughtful spaces are well worth an afternoon stroll—and a few photo ops.

Have A Non-Traditional Holiday Feast

With such a diverse culinary offerings in town, having a carved turkey for Christmas dinner almost seems passé. The festive menu at the recently opened Issaya Siamese Club will tickle your senses through Thai dishes reimagined with French gastronomical standards: The Khao Soy Moo, a grilled Iberico pork dish on which diners pour rich khao soy curry sauce from a teapot, is a notable highlight. For lunch, fine dining hotspot VASCO offers a sophisticated four-course meal—featuring Chargrilled Rhug Estate venison, sans turkey—for $100. Just make sure to book a table ASAP.

Enjoy A British Afternoon Tea

Hong Kong's appreciation for everything British is deeply rooted in its colonial past, so naturally afternoon tea plays a big part in local's leisure activities. Working in tandem with Burberry, the Landmark Mandarin Oriental's MO Bar is offering the Simply British Afternoon Tea for a limited time. Guests will enjoy traditional three-tiered delicacies paired with a complimentary beauty consultation at the Burberry Beauty Box at Times Square.

Venus Wong lives in Hong Kong and covers the city for Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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