With Christmas soon upon us, Hanoi is simply awash with events imbued with festive spirit. Whether you want to take in a play, see a concert, shop til you drop or simply get smashed on mulled wine, the capital seemingly has something for everyone–events yule love. But where to go? Here are Chào’s top pics for a very merry festive season. Goodwill to all men!
1. For the foodies: “Christmas Food Festival”
Melting Pot has long been famed for their outstanding food festivals and this is set to be their last event of the year. A 10-hour event filled with some of the city’s finest dishes by talented home cooks and professional chefs, all alongside some awesome live music & performances, not to mention lashings of mulled wine! Vendors to include, but not limited to Gon Veggie and Bites, La Veranda, Chinese Chopstick and La Grace. Truly an international feast.
11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 12
The 100 – perfect garden – perfect beer
68/238 Au Co, Tay Ho
2. For the kids: “Intercontinental Wreath-making x Gingerbread House Workshop”
How about a little homemade something for this year’s Christmas? The Intercontinental Hotel offers two perfect classes for both parents and children who wish to get a little crafty! Exclusively taught by Liti Florist, mothers (or fathers!) will have a chance to immerse themselves in the calming, joyful process of designing and making their very own special Christmas wreath. At the same time, children will learn how to bake, build and decorate their own gingerbread house! Light meal and beverages by Intercontinental’s stellar chefs are included.
10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 12
InterContinental Hanoi Westlake
05 Tu Hoa, Tay Ho
3. Escape Hanoi city center altogether: “AMAYA HOME Sóc Sơn Resort, Spa & Restaurant”
It’s clear downtown Hanoi has no shortage of events for going on to eat, shop, drink to your heart is content. But what about if you just want to get away from it all, drink hot chocolate in front of a roaring log fire and go for a relaxing sauna and massage in ambient surroundings? Well, a 45-minute trip from Hanoi and you can do exactly that in the beautiful hills of Soc Son. Chào has a few special spots throughout the country where we just like to get away from it all, but out favorite locally is easily Amaya Home. With superb food, gorgeous rooms and wonderful surroundings, just perfect for hiking, what better way to get away from the hustle and the bustle of the city this Christmas? These upscale rooms are a steal, starting from just 1.6 million VND a night (including breakfast, and full use of the sauna, steam room, hot tub, outdoor swimming pool and campfire).
Xã Minh Phú, H. Sóc Sơn, Thành Phố Hà Nội, Vietnam
4. For the carol singers: “The Hope Choir annual Christmas recital”
At its core, Christmas is about celebration, gratitude and generosity. These qualities will be found in abundance at The Hope Choir annual Christmas recital. Hosted by Friends of Vietnam Heritage, a wonderful organization comprised of expatriates and locals seeking to celebrate and preserve the country’s culture, this special choir is comprised of blind musicians and singers. Yet, their disabilities have never taken away their talents as artists in their own right. The event aims to raise much needed funds for the Hope Choir. Experience your most diverse Xmas recitals yet with music from around the world, from folk instruments, an orchestra, as well as everything from French, Spanish and German jingles, to your carol classics such as “Jingle Bells” and “Deck the Halls.”
3 p.m. – 5.p.m
Saturday, Dec. 12
21b Lac Trung, Hai Ba Trung
5. For theater goers: “The Exception and the Rule” by Bertolt Brecht
There’s nothing that quite says Christmas like experimental Epic Theatre. Produced by ATH, a drama and arts space offering artistic education courses and programming cultural events fueled by its diversity of arts, languages, and ages, this Brecht pla–to be directed by Quentin Delorm–sees a rich merchant, a coolie, and a guide cross the Jahi desert. This strange troupe bringing us into a strange world where you will not quite if know you are attending a play, an improvisation show, or a chaotic rehearsal.
8 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 16
ATH Tây Hồ – Số 21 | Hẻm 12/2/5 | Đặng Thai Mai – Tây Hồ – Hà Nội
6. For the rock lovers: “A Decade of Dreams”
Dreamt up by four students a decade ago, Hanoi Rock City has soldiered on through love, blood, sweat and tears, and of course, alcohol—it is still going strong where so many other music venues have blossomed and faded. These live music jamborees will see performances from many HRC luminaries from over the years, including Natasha Kovalenko, Mukang Fields, Red Eyed Rabbit, Dan and the Vices, and the Hanoing Jazz Band on Dec. 11; and Ayush Shrestha, Flaming Stallions, Sirens of Halong, Zamina, and La Belle et la Bete on Dec. 18. If you are even remotely in to the Hanoi music scene, then this is the place to be.
8:30 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 11 and Dec. 18
27/52 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho
100,000 VND at door per event.
7. For classical music lovers: “Beethoven 9 | 250th Birth Grand Finale”
It is a truth universally acknowledged that outside The Pogues there is nothing better to listen to at Christmas than Beethoven. It’s just one of those simple facts of life. And if you are going to listen to Beethoven it might as well be Beethoven Symphony No. 9 in D-minor, right?
Held at the elegant Hanoi Opera House in conjunction with the Goethe-Institut Hanoi, and conducted by Honna Tetsuji, the concert will see collaboration with Vietnam National Opera and Ballet, the Hanoi Korean Women’s Choir, the Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra Hanoi Voices, the Hanoi Korean Church Zion Choir and the Hanoi Frede Choir. A truly wonderful event to celebrate the 250th birthday of the genius German composer.
8 p.m. – 10.p.m.
1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem
Tickets from 500,000 VND
8. For a good old fashioned sing-song: “It’s a Karaoke Christmas”
Despite being less than a year-old Northern Soul Rooftop bar has rapidly developed into one of the hippest bars in Hanoi, with its effortlessly cool music, and now the addition of a retro arcade machine (StreetFighter anyone?). It’s a must to visit if you haven’t already. It’s unclear quite how cheesy this karaoke session will be, but we expect you are gonna be just as likely to hear “Oi to the World” by The Vandals, as you are “All I Want for Christmas is You.” But who knows? If you want a craft beer and strong-cocktail fueled bout of questionable Christmas singing, here it is.
8 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 17
31 Ta Hien (5th Floor), Old Quarter
9. For those who love to shop: “Weekend Market: A Christmas Dream”
For those that need to get in that cheeky last bit of Christmas shopping, then Dreamers just might be the place to do it. Some of Hanoi and the surrounding area’s finest local artisanal brands, featuring a fantastic range of products from superb vendors, artists, and artisans from the capital and beyond, including an array of handicrafts, goods, food and drinks. A great way to support a variety of local brands and makers.
9 a.m – 9 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday, Dec. 19-20
92 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho
10. For the comedy lovers: “Special Comedy Night – Comedy Oi!”
The showcase of this month’s citywide Comedy Oi! Festival will see over two hours of laughs from the best comedy improvisers and stand-up comics from Hanoi, Danang and HCMC, who aim to bring the nations comeidans together to create a night you have never experienced in the city before. Set in 250-seat theater at the center of Hanoi is the perfect place to enjoy quality comedy on a Saturday night, especially with Christmas and New Year coming close. Who could say no to a such a rib-tickling special treat? A guaranteed night of good cheer.
7:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. [door 7 p.m]
Saturday, Dec. 19
L’Espace Auditorium | 24 Trang Tien, Hanoi
11. For a proper Christmas market: “The Spot Christmas Fest”
The Spot has high hopes for its first ever annual Christmas market, and so do we. Aiming to recreate the atmosphere of a ‘Traditional’ Yuletide Market, this winter shindig will see arts and crafts, festive entertainment, and food and drink from around the word. There is even rumor a bearded bloke with a fetish for red suits might turn up. Vendors are included but not limited to HopeBox, Socksy, Bloom, Hanoi Pet Adoption, Bio Grocery, Tente De Liberte, Better World and Clarté by Linh Nguyen, alongside a Christmas card workshop and cookie decoration. Entertainment will be provided by Gabriel Alexander, Only Hans, Sebastian Berruz, not to mention food by HotBox.
11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 20
238 Au Co
12. For the art enthusiasts: “Vietnam Reimagined”
Brought to you by Goethe Institut and Tired City, a local art and fashion company that prides itself on supporting the communities emerging art scene, “Vietnam Reimagined” brings forth to the public eye a superb selection of debut illustrations in Hanoi, through fresh, youthful takes capturing the spirit of Vietnam. The 30 top-tier artworks created from both paper sketches and digital media were chosen from a whooping 300 artworks submitted by artists living in Vietnam and abroad. Check out Vietnam through the lens of its youth!
Dec. 21 – 30
Goethe – Institut Hanoi,
56-58-60 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh.
*Keep a look out for Chào’s upcoming article on the best places in Hanoi for a Christmas dinner, both the traditional and those with a twist.