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Curl your hands around a mug of lightly spiced mulled wine. Hum along to Christmas carols, gaze at decorated trees twinkling their bells and breathe in the sweet scent of gingerbread while scouring the stalls for gifts and seasonal memorabilia. No, you're not at a European Christmas market — you are in Shanghai.
Shanghai has evolved quickly over the last five years when it comes to Western holidays and festivities. This city offers the best there is in Mainland China. Hitting the many Christmas markets is the best way to find original, high quality items and whichever weekend you choose between now and the big day, you're sure to find one of them around town.
Every December sees the famous Paulaner Bräuhaus Christmas market - one of the most popular markets in the city. They used to hold this market each year at French Concession branch, however that has now closed. This year, the market will be held in Pudong.
So how does DeLois ensure that the Paulaner star shines the brightest? "We're selling Christmas wreaths and trees, which always gets people pretty excited about Christmas," assures DeLois. "We're also selling glass Christmas tree ornaments and wooden toys." There will also be an impressive tree and a wooden train set for the kids to toot along to.
With the bite that's now in the air, you'll definitely need energy to keep you shopping and the markets have their share of traditional treats. DeLois promises traditional German pretzels and bratwurst sausages, as well as Stollen, plenty of gluh-wine/ mulled wine and of course, gingerbread. I'm sure you’ll bag a box of mince pies along the way too.
Dust off your Christmas stocking and find your embarrassing chunky-knit-reindeer-clad jumper. Jingle into the festive spirit and experience an authentic Christmas market.
Open: 5-9pm weekdays; 12-9pm weekendsThis is a relatively new addition to the markets and is smaller than Paulaner's but very cosy and very much Christmassy. You will find festive treats, handicraft, baked goods, lots of gluhwein and other drinks. No admission fee on weekdays. This is on from Dec 1 until 17.
Other markets that you should check out include:
This is a special market that is very kid oriented, with activities planned for children.
If you are looking to give to a charity, this market is for you.
Free Mulled Wine for everyone!
Enough about markets. If you are looking for a more immersive Christmas in Shanghai — Christmas meals, festive bars, and church services — we have that covered for you! See our guide to Christmas in Shanghai.
Here are more top China tour ideas, many including Shanghai.
Let us help you plan a personalized China trip for you or you can even tailor-make a trip with us, based on exactly what you want to see and do.
Merry Christmas and happy shopping!
China Highlights has designed some exquisite Christmas e-cards. Check them out and send cards to your family or friends, for free.