While there may not be big parties and pyrotechnics over Victoria Harbour to ring in 2021, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day still offer opportunities for safe fun celebrations in the city. From daytime and early-evening activities, takeout food and drinks, here's our guide on how to say goodbye to 2020 and welcome 2021.
Ring in 2021
Celebrating small moments of hope that made 2020 in Hong Kong a little bit better
There are a lot of pivotal dates in history that forever changed the world and 2020 is undoubtedly one of these years. We're pretty confident that we're not alone when we say we're glad the year is almost over. In just a few days, 2020 will start being history, but before we bid adieu to this unforgettable year, we'd like to salute and celebrate those small moments of hope and the best of humanity that despite all the challenges of the year, gave us all reasons to be cheerful, stay inspired, and keep on going. Pink dolphins return to Hong Kong thanks to travel restrictions. The outbreak may have saved the endangered animals from extinction. If there was ever a year when we all needed some inspiration, 2020 would be it. The year claimed many lives, cost thousands of jobs, affected many industries that caused numerous Hong Kong event cancellations and time-honoured establishments to close. 2020 was a year when face masks became a part of our daily lives, Dalgona Coffee went viral, and Hongkongers unleashed a frenzy of grocery hoarding all across the city, making toilet paper the number one commodity that even pastry chefs made it the trending cake design. #ToiletPaperCake picked up as yet another crazy food trend Amidst the crazy things that happened, and all the challenges everyone faced, we salute the people that became bright spots during these dark moments. We thank the frontline workers, advocates, and inspiring personalities that went above and beyond to help those in need. We salute ImpactHK who helped HK's homeless to find shelter in these difficult times; #SaveHKFnB who launched various F&B programmes to support Hong Kong's bars and restaurants; the small and independent businesses who strived to stay open despite market difficulties; the city's new restaurants and bars who still managed to open during the most challenging time; the numerous F&B venues who collaborated to keep each other's businesses afloat; Canto-pop legends like Aaron Kwok and Sam Hui who entertained and serenaded millions of Hongkongers and helped raise fund for those in need; and all the artists, illustrators, photographers, Instagrammers, and local tradesmen who made us laugh, cry, and inspired us to get through the social distancing blues. Thank you. We won't have been able to survive the year without you. Aaron Kwok's free online concerts held at Ocean Terminal Deck in Harbour City Canto-pop legend Sam Hui's livestream concert at Harbour City With the current social distancing restrictions, we are celebrating New Year a little differently this year, but with the year that was, we definitely all earned a celebration, even if it has to be small one. Some of us will be avoiding the crowd and staying home to celebrate with our loved ones, and others will be catching the last sunset of 2020 and welcoming the sunrise at the most scenic escapes in town. However you are celebrating in the city, we can say that at least we're all (stuck) in this together. At Time Out, we're ready to close 2020 and look forward to a new year full of energy and optimism. We toast to the year that no one wants to remember, but will definitely never forget. Happy New Year everyone!
Alternative ways to celebrate the New Year
We might have no luck with fireworks and counting down with the crazy crowds at Lan Kwai Fong this year, but we’ve certainly waited too long to say ‘thank u, next’ to 2020 without some sort of celebration. Socially distanced we may be, there are still a lot of great things to do around Hong Kong, or in the comfort of your home. So if house parties and window shopping are getting a little too banal for you, try these alternative ways to end your 2020 with a bang. By Elaine Wong RECOMMENDED: For those preferring something a little more mainstream – but nonetheless fantastic – check out the brand new restaurants and the best things to do in Hong Kong this month. If you're looking for more off the beaten path experiences? Venture out to some of Hong Kong’s secret islands, or add these unexpected activities to your bucket list. Please note that some venues may temporarily close because of the latest social distancing regulations. Be sure to check ahead before visiting and heed the social distancing guidelines, particularly when heading out in groups.
Cheers to the New Year
This year may not be a conventional New Year’s Eve, but there’s still plenty to do, see and experience. Jumpstart the new year with an itinerary that takes you from Sai Kung’s great outdoors to the town centre, or welcome 2021 with an enriching day on Hong Kong Island's eastern side.
The best sparkling wines in Hong Kong to toast to New Year's Eve
While we may not be gathering for all-night parties due to the city's current social distancing restrictions, you can still countdown to the New Year at home with some excellent sparklers. Whether you're looking for a great value bubbly or an exceptional bottle to splurge on, here's a roundup of bottles that you can order for delivery. RECOMMENDED: Spice up your sparklers with festive fizzy cocktail recipes to ring in the New Year.
Book your holiday staycations
The best Hong Kong staycation deals to book this season
The temperature is dropping, and the festive season is just around the corner. It's that time of year when many of us start dreaming about finally taking a break from the city and travelling somewhere far. While we wait for the impending travel bubble and further air travel developments, for now, file your excess holiday leave from work and take advantage of the many hotel staycation deals available for the festive season. Whether you're looking for stays that offer the best dining experiences, sweeping city views, family-friendly bonding adventures, or a wellness retreat for the holiday season, here's a roundup of the best staycations to book in 852. RECOMMENDED: Looking for exciting things to do in the city? Brace yourselves for the best events and happenings this month. This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.
The sexiest and most romantic hotels in Hong Kong
Hong Kong may not be known as the city of love in the same way as Paris, but we’ve still got plenty of things to help amorous couples set the mood – just look at the Hong Kong skyline, the countless romantic restaurants you can bring a date to, or the many sexy movies you can pick up. But if you're looking for a city escape to rekindle your love, especially if the current situation in the city has been dampening your spark, here's a roundup of the best hotels in the city to book your next romantic staycation. Whether you’re a new couple planning your first-weekend staycation or long-term partners celebrating the holiday break, there’s something for everyone. RECOMMENDED: Looking for more staycation ideas? Check out the best themed hotels in town or take advantage of the holiday staycation deals at these hotels.
Urban wellness staycations to book in Hong Kong
With the current outbreak still gripping the city, now more than ever, we have to take care of our mental and physical health. A bit of R&R is good for our wellbeing, and sometimes a day or two at a wellness retreat is just what we need. While there are a lot of great hotels and rental properties in Hong Kong that offers great staycation escapes, here are hotel deals that integrate health and wellness into all aspects of your stay. Note: Swimming pools, sauna's, and steam rooms are currently suspended in all hotels to adhere to the government's social distancing restrictions. Since September 4, gyms and spas are already able to operate. To keep updated with the current city regulations, visit our social distancing guide. RECOMMENDED: If you're looking for a vacation that feels more like home, check out these cosy Airbnb properties that offer great weekend escapes.
13 Best boutique hotels in Hong Kong
In need of some R&R that goes beyond just getting some fresh air? Hong Kong has loads of great hotels that aren’t just for overseas visitors. While the garden-variety big hotels and their staycation deals rarely disappoint, it’s so much more invigorating to check into a hotel that pays homage to Hong Kong’s one-of-a-kind culture. In fact, small hotels can provide that personal touch and sense of intimacy that’s often lost on bigger brands. These boutique spots won’t just leave you feeling refreshed – they’ll have you seeing the city in a whole new light. RECOMMENDED: After you've checked in, rest your feet and make use of our ultimate guide to Hong Kong's best cafes and coffee shops.
Still celebrating Christmas?
How to celebrate Christmas in the city according to Hongkongers
As festive decorations pop up around the city and Jingle Bells begin to go on repeat in supermarkets, it’s safe to say that the Christmas season has truly arrived – though it’s certainly unlike any of the Christmases we’ve had before. With all the social distancing guidelines, travelling restrictions, and the general instability of the pandemic situation in Hong Kong, planning for Christmas this year is tougher than ever. But, fear not! We’re here to help. We interviewed Hongkongers and took to Instagram and asked our readers about the sort of things they're going to do this Christmas. Read on and be inspired. By Elaine Wong RECOMMENDED: Running out of things to do at home? See what other Hongkongers have been doing to stay sane this year.
The best Christmas takeaway and catering deals in Hong Kong
With bars closed and most gatherings restricted, many of you may be choosing to stay home this Christmas. But, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the amazing festive feasts that Hong Kong has to offer. So, whether you want to take this chance to try something new and fancy, or simply don’t feel like cooking this year, these ten restaurants are here to save the day by delivering Christmas straight to your door. By Elaine Wong RECOMMENDED: Feeling thirsty? Enjoy a merry Christmas with these cocktails and alcoholic beverages, delivered to your door too!
Local charities to support in Hong Kong this Christmas
Christmas in Hong Kong isn’t just about flashy gifts and festive feasts, especially during a time when the underprivileged in the city need your help the most. The pandemic has made this season colder than usual, and there are many charitable organisations that can do with some loving support. Bathe in the spirit of giving, and extend your joy to others by participating in these festive fundraisers! By Erika Yip RECOMMENDED: For more ideas on how to give back, check out these Hong Kong charities and nonprofits or put your unwanted items to good use by visiting places to donate clothes, books and food in Hong Kong
The best Christmas buffets and brunches in Hong Kong
We’ve given you plenty of ideas for stuffing stockings, but what’s Christmas without stuffing our stomachs as well? And nothing really beats a good brunch or buffet for the ultimate indulgence. Of course, we encourage all to continue to be responsible this season by sticking to the social distancing guidelines. So, here it is, our top picks for the most tempting buffets and brunches to try this season. By Elaine Wong RECOMMENDED: Not sure what to give your food-loving pals? Don't forget to check out our gift guides for foodies and hampers for those who want it all. If you prefer to stay home with your loved ones this year, make sure to grab these Christmas takeaway deals.
Christmas cocktail recipe: Kleber Old Fashioned by Caprice Bar's Lorenzo Antinori
One of our favourite ways – and probably one of the most necessary methods – to unwind over the holidays is to sip on fancy Christmas cocktails to get into the festive spirit. This year, some of our favourite drinking joints are temporarily closed, but a lot of bars with catering permits have prepared festive cocktails to add some cheer to the winter season, so you can still get a taste of boozy yuletide concoctions. If you're at home and would like to enjoy some festive drinks, we've asked Caprice Bar's beverage manager – and Time Out Hong Kong's 2020 bartender of the year – Lorenzo Antinori to share with us one of his Christmas cocktail recipes so you can make it at home. RECOMMENDED: Click here for tips on how to set up your bar at home. Travel is off the books this year, and while we can only imagine Christmas in other parts of the world, the best way to satisfy our travel itch is to use our sense of taste and a bit of imagination. Travel to Europe with Lorenzo's Kleber Old Fashioned, inspired by one of the largest Christmas markets in Europe, the Strasbourg Christmas Market. Taking place in the Place Kléber, the central square of Strasbourg, France, the market has existed since 1570 and runs every year from November to December. "The cocktail is a take on the Old Fashioned cocktail that combines comforting flavours of Christmas such as ginger and mandarin, complemented with unexpected ingredients such as miso and Alsatian Riesling," shares Lorenzo. "It’s a combination of comforting and unusual flavours that triggers curiosity. The ginger, brown butter, and miso give the cocktail an unexpected interesting texture, while the Alsatian Riesling adds bright and aromatic notes and complexity," he adds. To taste the Kleber Old Fashioned, drop by at Caprice Bar and request for it and they'd be happy to whip it up for you. To enjoy at home, follow the recipe below:
Best Christmas displays in Hong Kong
While it might be difficult to get into the festive spirit right now – what with Hong Kong's current social distancing regulations and all – the city's shopping malls are determined to keep spreading Christmas cheer with glimmering lights aplenty and magnificent Christmas trees popping up practically everywhere in the city. Here are just some of our favourites this year. RECOMMENDED: Christmas is never complete without a festive meal, check out these Christmas lunch and dinner menus in Hong Kong.
For your last-minute Christmas gifts
Christmas gift guide: The best Christmas gifts for 2020
Between all the decorating, workload, and preparing for the holidays, you didn't get a head start on your holiday shopping. Don't worry; you still have time to finish off your gift list. But before you shove all those thoughtless gift cards in your shopping cart, check out this roundup of unique Christmas gifts that definitely won't seem like hasty, last-minute picks. Whether you are looking for romantic gifts for your significant other, your favourite drinking buddy, or your family members, we've got you covered. RECOMMENDED: Want to give handmade gifts to make someone feel extra special? Get in touch with your artistic side, and create customised gifts at these DIY gift-making classes and workshops in Hong Kong.
6 DIY gift-making classes and workshops in Hong Kong
If you are looking to give gifts for your special someone or simply gearing up for Christmas gifting season, what better way to show your love and care than a handmade present? Unfortunately, not everyone is blessed with DIY creativity or handiness, but luckily, there are a ton of DIY workshops in our city that offer just that. Instead of racking our brains for inspiration or shopping for hours in a mall to look for the right gift, we can now choose to get in touch with our artistic side, and make customised gifts for our family and friends. Whether you are looking to get your hands on jewellery crafting, candle making, or simply crocheting or knitting artsy ornaments, we’ve got you covered in this roundup of creative DIY workshops available around town. By Elaine Soh RECOMMENDED: Looking for unique presents to buy? Choose from these unique Hong Kong-themed knick-knacks or check out the best gift and subscription boxes in Hong Kong
8 Best zero waste stores in Hong Kong
As the city's environmental issues continue to pile up – especially now that everyone is ordering delivery and takeaways – it’s more important than ever to reduce plastic usage and to do your bit to help the environment. The easiest way to start is by removing plastic from your home – and these awesome zero waste stores are here to help. From bulk groceries and sustainable body care items to silicone storage containers, these shops are your first step towards achieving a zero-waste lifestyle.RECOMMENDED: Check out our favourite sustainable and eco-friendly shops in Hong Kong!
The best alcohol delivery services in Hong Kong
Now that the city's bars, pubs, and clubs are closed pending further developments in the city, thirsty Hongkongers will be turning to their homes to drink their favourite tipples. If you're looking for liquor delivery options to stock up on your supply or to complete your boozy Christmas gift list, this roundup of the best alcohol delivery services will let you kick back and wait for the booze to arrive on your doorstep. RECOMMENDED: If you're wondering what cocktails to make, check out these classic cocktail recipes. Are you missing your favourite Hong Kong bars? Here's a guide to Hong Kong bars currently open as cafes or restaurants.
The best Christmas hampers to buy in Hong Kong
Hampers are a great way to give something impressive for Christmas. Be it for a business partner, mother-in-law, or a friend that is in need of a thoughtful care package. They’ll open up a wicker basket or gift box and find a treasure chest of goodies that range from gourmet foods, wines, accessories, and even wellness products that are sure to please. So, if you’re looking for a gift that gives it all, and then some, we’ve got you covered with the best Christmas gift hampers to buy in Hong Kong right now. RECOMMENDED: If hampers aren’t what you’re looking for, check out the best Christmas workshops to make your own gifts, and maybe indulge in a few Christmas sweet treats yourself while you’re at it.
Best beauty advent calendars for Christmas this year
Forget about the big gift unwrapping on December 25 – Christmas is about opening presents every single day of the month. Or at least that’s what all the swanky retail brands are telling us. Yes, these days, advent calendars are no longer limited to tiny chocolate treats. You can now count down towards the big day with a myriad of glamorous cosmetic goodies from the likes of Charlotte Tilbury, Benefit, Kiehl's, and more. Here are just some of our faves to unwrap this December. RECOMMENDED: For more Christmas shopping, check out these festive markets, or browse around these vintage and second-hand clothing store.