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The Hong Kong Winter Festival is coordinated by the Hong Kong Tourism Board to attract overseas visitors and locals alike each Christmas and New Year.
The American CNN television network named the Hong Kong WinterFest as one of the Top 10 places to spend Christmas in the whole world.
Colorful lights decorate the streets and buildings, and Christmas displays are everywhere. Christmas events, the revamped, charged up Symphony of Lights, and the Hong Kong Pulse 3D laser graphics displays wow visitors, and the run up to the New Year countdown ends the year with fireworks over Victoria Bay.
The Winter Festival is filled with stunning beauty, twinkling lights, old world traditions and the sound of carolers, and it culminates in a display of fireworks over the city which is reflected in Victoria Harbour.
The Hong Kong Winter Festival varies in themes from one venue to another. Each mall changes their theme for the year.
Generally, the main things to do are shop, go to the Christmas displays and events, watch the New Year fireworks and countdown, and visit the major attractions of Hong Kong.
Victoria Harbor is a dazzling sight especially when the fireworks burst in the light show on New Years Eve. You can see the Christmas lights on dozens of buildings along Victoria Harbor choreographed in a light show with Christmas and New Year's decorations.
During WinterFest, most of the the city is aglow with festive lighting and laser and graphics imagery.
The Nutcracker is a world-renowned operatic ballet and a special Yuletide tradition enjoyed by audiences of all ages. Live accompaniment is by the Hong Kong Sinfonietta.
The Hong Kong Philharmonic presents a special A Harry Little Christmas with Harry Wong. The Hong Kong Philharmonic orchestra is a professional orchestra sponsored by the HK government.
As part of the WinterFest, this high tech laser audiovisual display dazzles the crowds annually in and around the plaza of the clock tower near the Star Ferry in Tsim Sha Tsui. The Winterfest 2018 times haven't been announced yet.
Every night during the season, you can head to Victoria Harbor and watch the free holiday light show of the Symphony of Lights. For Christmas, 2018, the entire show has been revamped and modernized. Many more lasers and LED screens make a bigger spectacle than ever before.
The best view is along the pedestrian light show called Avenue of Stars where you can see the 3-D Pulse show too and hear the narrative and music from the Hong Kong Philharmonic.
This is a new feature of WinterFest. It is a government sponsored luminescent art exhibit of lighted artworks of artists from many countries. It is on the Central Harbourfront and free to see.
Every shopping mall dons Christmas decorations, and the ritziest malls put up spectacular and expensive displays.
1881 Heritage Royal Ice Palace: the ritzy hotel on Victoria Harbor builds grand themed decorations in its front plaza each year.
Statue Square Christmas display: Every year, the best display is hosted at Statue Square on Hong Kong Island by the Hong Kong Tourism Board.
In the days before Christmas and on Christmas Eve, groups of carolers from churches and schools go around and sing in the parks and malls. You might spot groups of children, teenagers, and adults walking in Central, Kowloon Park or elsewhere, joyously singing! Music groups and orchestras also put on free concerts.
Hong Kong has about 74 Michelin-starred restaurants in 2018. Some have Christmas dinners, and many are quite affordable for the average tourist although they might not have special Christmas food. Check our list of recommended restaurants on our restaurant guide updated for 2018.
Hong Kongers like to celebrate both the Western New Year and the Chinese New Year in a big way. Near midnight on December 31, 2018, there is a big fireworks spectacular in the New Year's countdown. Some of the same buildings involved in the Symphony of Lights take part in this spectacle.
This year in 2018, there is accompanying music and laser lights lighting up the atmosphere. On December 31, 2017, about 36,000 people lined both sides of the harbor.
Read more about the New Year Fireworks and Countdown 2018.
The major venues for Hong Kong Winter Festival in 2018 include Hong Kong Disneyland, Hong Kong Ocean Park, Madame Tussauds Wax Figure Gallery, Hong Kong Wetland Park, Ngong Ping 360, and the Sky 100 Hong Kong Observation Deck.
Disneyland presents amusement and entertainment starting November to New Year's Day.
In 2018, as dusk falls, the theme park features “A Magical Twilight Snowfall” and the signature “A Holiday Wish-Come-True” Tree Lighting Ceremony. New in the park is a kiddies market called "Fantasy Gardens Wintertime Market" for buying gifts and treats.
On December 15, 2018, Ocean Park officially kicks off the Ocean Park Christmas Sensation. The entire park is decked out with festive decorations such as a giant Christmas tree, artificial snow, and Santa's Cottage.
In the 2017 season, the park featured Hong Kong's only virtual reality (VR) roller coaster. The Christmas Market transformed Waterfront Plaza into a Christmas village for food and gifts.
Unfortunately, there aren't pre-Christmas sales with lower prices to attract shoppers. Instead, during the Christmas to Chinese New Year winter shopping season, prices actually go up. However, the malls try to to attract customers through special Christmas displays and entertainment.
Christmas gifts of electronics, clothing, and other common items might be bought at the street markets such as Ladies Market in Mongkok (clothing, electronics, souvenirs, pets, jewelry, etc.).
Temple Street near the harbor is where you'll find a variety of products for tourists plus many open-air restaurants for Chinese food. See Christmas Shopping in Hong Kong in 2018.
December is an excellent time for touring in Hong Kong. The busy crowds of Chinese tourists don't arrive until Chinese New Year, and many foreigners visit during their Christmas and New Year holidays.
The weather in December in Hong Kong is generally mild and dry and often sunny. It is good for those wishing to avoid freezing weather elsewhere.
For your winter holidays, we can arrange a fine winter tour for you.
Or we can create a personalized Hong Kong tour.