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Tai Kwun Christmas 2023
Photograph: Joshua Lin

The best things to do in Hong Kong during Christmas 2023

Bid adieu to 2023 with these festive events around the city

Jenny Leung
Edited by
Jenny Leung
Written by
Time Out Hong Kong
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The last month of the year has finally arrived, which means it's time for festive feasts, Christmas lights and displays, gift shopping, Christmas markets, and a whole lot more. Read on to enjoy the best of the Yuletide season, along with all the best things to eat, drink, and do in Hong Kong this month. 

RECOMMENDED: Get into the festive mood and deck the halls at home with all sorts of shimmery Christmas decorations

Best events in Hong Kong this month

  • Things to do

Hong Kong's biggest annual fun fest is back! From December 21, 2023, to February 25, 2024, the AIA Carnival will once again transform the Central Harbourfront Event Space into a vibrant wonderland, immersing you in the exciting traditions of a European carnival. This year, the carnival brings over 25 thrilling rides, 30 game stalls, 40 interactive installations, and more than one million adorable stuffed toys for lucky winners to take home. 

As an added highlight, the internationally renowned Gandeys Circus will be in town to bring audiences to the edge of their seats with a mesmerising show under the Big Top. Showcasing the best of circus entertainment from around the world, the 65-minute performance features motorbike riders from Kazakstan, clowns from Costa Rica, Acrobats from Kenya and Columbia, London showgirls, and more.

Tickets for the AIA Carnival are now available for purchase starting from $140 for adults (inclusive of 10 tokens) and $95 for concession (inclusive of seven tokens). Buy your tickets online before December 20 and enter the promo code 'Countdown' to enjoy a $10 discount. Circus tickets range from $150 to $500, with up to four shows per day and no intermissions during each show.

 

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  • Things to do

Looking for an Instagrammable festive dining experience? Look no further than Café 100 by The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong. You can enjoy a winter feast high above it all at this stunning location. Their limited-time Café 100 Christmas afternoon tea is priced at $598 for two people on weekdays and $668 for two people on weekends, public holidays, and festive days.  The package, available until January 1, 2024, includes two standard admission tickets for sky100, as well as an afternoon tea set for two with two cups of coffee or tea. Indulge in a variety of festive treats, including colourful desserts and savoury items. Highlights from the menu include the chestnut Italian cheese tart, chestnut turkey pancakes infused with winter warmth, and the sweet red beetroot-cured salmon mini sandwich with salmon roe and lemon sauce.

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  • Art
  • Contemporary art
  • Central

Award-winning animation director and artist Kongkee returns to his home city of Hong Kong with a fantastical exhibition that audiences can fully immerse themselves into. ‘Warring States Cyberpunk’ centres on the legendary poet and statesman Qu Yuan from ancient China’s warring states era – yes, the very man whom the Dragon Boat Festival celebrates every year. Qu Yuan committed suicide by throwing himself into the Miluo River to mourn his homeland being defeated by the State of Qin, as well as his deteriorating friendship with the King of Qin. This story led Kongkee to ask the question: if Qu Yuan was given a second chance, would he still make the same choice?

Imagining a universe where the King of Qin achieves his quest for immortality and creates a tyrannical rule with a blend of humans and androids, Kongkee resurrects Qu Yuan as an android thousands of years after his death. This exhibition includes site-specific neon works and a large-scale LED installation, combining an arresting mix of animation and sound. The centrepiece is definitely the Dragon’s Delusion series, three short animated films that Kongkee has been releasing in acts since 2017, which are part of a feature-length animation film that’s currently in production. Don’t leave without also visiting the recreation of Kongkee’s studio, featuring his original manuscripts, sketches, and books from his personal bookshelves.

Note that this exhibition will be closed on Mondays. Tai Kwun will also organise curator-led tours on December 23 and January 6.

  • Art
  • Masterpiece
  • West Kowloon

The Hong Kong Palace Museum (HKPM) will soon showcase 52 pieces from the National Gallery, London – the first time these prestigious paintings will be exhibited in our city. Spanning more than 400 years of Western art from the 15th to the early 20th century, there’ll be artworks by some of the most beloved artists and masters, including Botticelli, Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Goya, Turner, Constable, Monet, and Van Gogh. The exhibition will be divided into six thematic sections: sacred images, mythological stories, everyday scenes, portraiture, landscapes, and paintings of modern life.

Tickets to this exhibition are priced at $150, and will grant you access to the thematic exhibitions in Galleries 1 to 7 of HKPM. A special discount bundle is also available for visitors who wish to view the ‘Gazing at Sanxingdui: New Archaeological Discoveries in Sichuan’ exhibition on the same day – these bundle tickets are $240.

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  • Things to do

Hong Kong's biggest annual fun fest is back! From December 21, 2023, to February 25, 2024, the AIA Carnival will once again transform the Central Harbourfront Event Space into a vibrant wonderland, immersing you in the exciting traditions of a European carnival. This year, the carnival brings over 25 thrilling rides, 30 game stalls, 40 interactive installations, and more than one million adorable stuffed toys for lucky winners to take home. 

As an added highlight, the internationally renowned Gandeys Circus will be in town to bring audiences to the edge of their seats with a mesmerising show under the Big Top. Showcasing the best of circus entertainment from around the world, the 65-minute performance features motorbike riders from Kazakstan, clowns from Costa Rica, Acrobats from Kenya and Columbia, London showgirls, and more.

Tickets for the AIA Carnival are now available for purchase starting from $140 for adults (inclusive of 10 tokens) and $95 for concession (inclusive of seven tokens). Buy your tickets online before December 20 and enter the promo code 'Countdown' to enjoy a $10 discount. Circus tickets range from $150 to $500, with up to four shows per day and no intermissions during each show.

 

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  • Attractions
  • Theme parks
  • Macau

The Harry Potter touring exhibition has finally reached our part of the world, so grab your Floo powder or get ready to Apparate to The Londoner in Macau. As you choose your Hogwarts house and make your way through the immersive exhibition, you’ll get to relive iconic moments, characters, settings, and creatures from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts movie series.

Potterheads will be delighted at the chance to see authentic props and original costumes used by the Harry Potter cast during filming – items from the Fantastic Beasts movies as well as the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play are also on display. The best part of the whole experience is the classes, where you’ll get to cast spells, make potions, divine your fortune, and repot a mandrake. This is your chance to crawl into Harry’s old cupboard under the stairs, play as Chaser in a game of Quidditch, and step into Dolores Umbridge’s glaringly pink office – all in one exhibition that will probably heal your inner child if you’re still smarting from not getting that Hogwarts letter.

This marks the Wizarding World tour’s first time exhibiting in the Asia-Pacific region. Tickets cost $218 or $268 for adults depending on which time slot you choose, while VIP tickets are also available for $698, which includes admission at any time on the selected date, a Harry Potter tote bag, a show catalogue, an audio guide, a glass of Butterbeer, a MOP80 voucher for the gift store, and more.

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  • Art
  • Tsim Sha Tsui

If you've been around the harbourfront area at Tsim Sha Tsui lately, you might have noticed the huge swimming pool installation located outside the Hong Kong Museum of Art (HKMOA). Created by Hong Kong artist Chan Wai-lap, the installation – titled, Some of Us are Looking at the Stars – is part of HKMOA's Harbour Wonder exhibition, which also features a set of six art installations by local artist Tsoi Wai-kuen. Standing four-metre-tall and 11-metre-long, Chan's installation invites audiences to step into a fantasy world that draws on his personal memories and experiences of swimming pools, while exploring themes of public and private spaces. The installation plays with light, sound, and even the weather to create an ever-changing scene for those who step inside. 

Meanwhile, Tsoi's set of six art installations – titled, A symphony of delights – takes inspiration from iconic buildings and their exterior designs on both sides of Victoria Harbour, including the Cultural Centre, HKCEC, and IFC. Sitting at Art Square in the forecourt of HKMoA, the installations come in both dynamic and static form, acting as playful 'landmarks' for people to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery amidst the hustle and bustle of the city. 

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