Christmas in Hanoi is a magical period for everyone in Vietnam’s capital city. As a place where many people from all over the world reside, Hanoi really comes to life on major holidays and Christmas is no exception. In this article, you will get to see the best suggestions on how to spend the holidays in Hanoi.
1. How is the weather in Hanoi at Christmas?
In order to enjoy Christmas in Hanoi to the fullest, you need to pay attention to Hanoi weather in December. The last month of the year sees the capital city turn cool and dry with little to no rainfall. The temperature typically ranges from 14°C to 19°C during daytime and dropping as low as 11°C at night. Hanoi weather at Christmas sets the stage for a delightful celebration throughout the day, perfect for outdoor activities, sightseeing, and enjoying the festive ambiance.
To make the most of your Christmas in Hanoi, it is crucial to pack appropriately. Layered clothing like sweaters or jackets paired with comfortable shoes and some Christmas accessories should make the perfect look. For those planning to attend mass, formal outfits will be more appropriate.
2. How do people celebrate Christmas in Hanoi?
Christmas in Vietnam is all about spirituality, community values, and uplifting festivities. These characteristics are amplified in Vietnam’s capital thanks to its growth into a cultural melting pot in recent years. Here are some of the activities that you can participate in during this special occasion:
- Midnight mass: Christmas Eve in Hanoi is a significant occasion. Many locals attend midnight masses at beautifully adorned churches like St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Ham Long Church, and Cua Bac Church. The services are filled with hymns and prayers, creating a serene atmosphere.
- Putting up decorations: Hanoi already has a distinctive look thanks to the mix of skyscrapers and traditional buildings. Imagine the entire city illuminated with colorful lights, Christmas trees, and other decorations. These enchanting displays transform the city into a mesmerizing winter wonderland.
- Gift exchanging: This is one of the most anticipated activities in Christmas, especially for children. Giving and receiving gifts is a popular tradition that highlights the close-knit bonds between people.
- Charity work: Doing charity work means sharing the festive spirit with people in need. Many organizations and individuals engage in acts of kindness like distributing gifts and food for the homeless, orphanages, hospitals, etc. to bring Christmas to them.
- Community events: It is not hard to encounter multiple Santas, his reindeer, elves, and other characters hanging out during Christmas in Hanoi. You can take a picture with them, all while listening to street performers singing joyful Christmas classics.
3. Best places to spend Christmas in Hanoi
Now that you know what to do, it is time to see where to go during Christmas in Hanoi. Check out these 7 destinations and then some for an enjoyable holiday in Vietnam’s capital city:
3.1. St. Joseph’s Cathedral
- Address: No. 40, Nha Chung street, Hang Trong ward, Hoan Kiem district
St. Joseph’s Cathedral, located in Hanoi Old Quarter, is a captivating architectural gem with a rich history. Built in the late 19th century, it stands as one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, sporting elements of French Gothic architecture. The cathedral’s twin spires rise majestically into the sky, creating a visually striking presence in the heart of Hanoi.
The interior of St. Joseph’s Cathedral is equally impressive, adorned with intricate stained glass windows, religious statues, and ornate decorations. During Christmas, the cathedral’s exterior is decorated with thousands of twinkling lights and festive decorations, creating a truly enchanting atmosphere. Inside, the cathedral will host the midnight mass.
3.2. Ham Long Church
- Address: No. 21, Ham Long street, Phan Chu Trinh ward, Hoan Kiem district
Ham Long Church is another significant religious destination in the capital district. Constructed in the late 19th century, the church showcases an elegant blend of French Gothic and Vietnamese architectural traits. The church’s interior is equally impressive, with stunning stained glass windows and ornate decorations that create a serene atmosphere.
During Christmas, Ham Long Church comes alive with festivities, adorned with a magnificent display of lights and decorations. Inside, midnight mass services are held, filling the church with the sounds of hymns and prayers, creating a tranquil ambiance. Visitors can also explore the surrounding area, where various Christmas-themed activities take place.
3.3. Cua Bac Church
- Address: No. 56, Phan Dinh Phung street, Quan Thanh ward, Ba Dinh district
Cua Bac Church is one of the three prominent churches in Hanoi alongside St. Joseph’s Cathedral and Ham Long Church. Located in the heart of the city, this majestic church has a rich history dating back to the early 20th century. It showcases exquisite neo-Gothic architectural elements reminiscent of European cathedrals. During Christmas, Cua Bac Church takes on an enchanting ambiance, with dazzling lights and ornate decorations outside and nativity scenes with Christmas trees inside.
3.4. Hanoi Old Quarter – An ideal spot to enjoy the Christmas atmosphere in Hanoi
Hanoi Old Quarter is the center of all activities in the capital. It is known for its narrow streets, charming architecture, and bustling atmosphere that reflects the ongoing occasion in the city. The neighborhood houses a captivating blend of the past and the present, where traditional Vietnamese culture meets modernity.
To enjoy Christmas in Hanoi Vietnam, Hang Ma Street is an unmissable destination. This part of the Old Quarter is where people sell decorations, so you can easily imagine the festive atmosphere in the street during Christmas. It is the go-to place for anyone seeking Christmas decorations, ornaments, gifts, or some pictures for their Instagram feed.
As the holiday draws near, Hang Ma Street comes alive with dazzling lights, creating a mesmerizing ambiance. The street’s shops and stalls are filled with glittering baubles and festive wreaths, immersing visitors in the Christmas spirit.
3.5. Hoan Kiem Lake
Hoan Kiem Lake offers a different experience of Christmas in Hanoi compared to other destinations. Surrounded by historical landmarks and lush greenery, Hoan Kiem Lake offers a tranquil escape amidst the bustling city. Usually, it is a place where people engage in morning exercises, take leisurely strolls, and admire the scenic beauty.
During Christmas, Hoan Kiem Lake undergoes a magical transformation. Colorful lights, sparkling decorations, and festive displays light up the area, where families and friends gather to soak in the holiday atmosphere. Christmas activities at Hoan Kiem Lake also include live music performances, open-air markets, and many people dressing up as Santa to hand out candies.
3.6. Shopping malls in Hanoi
Shopping malls often come alive during Christmas in Hanoi. These modern entertainment centers are adorned with dazzling Christmas lights, towering trees, and festive decorations at every corner. Here, visitors can take the opportunity to find gifts from local and international brands.
Apart from shopping, these malls often host various Christmas-themed activities. Santa Claus will definitely make an appearance. Shoppers can enjoy live music performances, choir recitals, and captivating light shows. Food courts are decked out with seasonal delicacies. Some malls even offer special promotions and discounts during the Christmas season.
To experience all this, swing by these shopping malls in Hanoi: Trang Tien Plaza, Vincom Center Ba Trieu, Aeon Mall Long Bien, Lotte Mall West Lake, Vincom Center Metropolis, etc.
3.7. VinKE & Vinpearl Aquarium Times City and VinWonders Hanoi
At VinKE & Vinpearl Aquarium Times City, you will be captivated by a mesmerizing underwater world. You can either explore the expansive aquarium teeming with marine life or have fun with your children in a family-friendly playground. VinWonders Hanoi, on the other hand, is a set of two exhilarating water parks where the spirit of Christmas comes alive. With thrilling games and engaging shows, they are ideal spots for a fun-filled holiday adventure.
Both locations have enchanting Christmas decorations, including ornaments, lights, and Christmas trees, creating a whimsical atmosphere that is perfect for capturing memorable moments. During the holiday season, various events take place at VinKE & Vinpearl Aquarium Times City and VinWonders Hanoi, making them ideal destinations for families and friends looking to celebrate Christmas with joy and excitement.
4. Where to have a Christmas dinner in Hanoi?
The Christmas dinner is an indispensable part of the celebration. If you choose to spend Christmas in Hanoi Vietnam, you will have a ton of options at your disposal for a cozy meal with your family.
If you are craving a good old steak dinner, Jacksons Steakhouse Hanoi or Moo Beef Steak can be just the ones you need. For the elegant European flair, experience the beautiful dishes at The Gourmet Corner. In case you are in the mood for fine dining, check out the biggest hotels in the city, namely Metropole with its buffet restaurant and rooftop bar.
With these diverse options, you can choose the restaurant that best suits your preferences and enjoy the delicious Christmas in Hanoi food during your Vietnam travel.
Christmas in Hanoi is a delightful blend of tradition, spirituality, and festive cheer. The city’s charming weather, vibrant decorations, and heartfelt celebrations create a magical atmosphere that captivates both locals and visitors. Hanoi offers a heart-warming holiday experience for both foreigners and locals, ensuring everyone a merry time.