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[The Curated List:] Christmas Markets This Weekend

Where to eat your weight in pretzels and drown yourself in mulled wine
2023-12-01 12:00:00

Christmas markets in Shanghai have turned from a relatively niche thing (who remembers the Paulaner Christmas market on Fenyang Lu back in the days) to a big deal, and now every shopping mall hosts its own market. Most of them are pretty average, just a few booths of Taobao shops with "Jingle Bells" on repeat, but there are some nice ones out there that are worth getting into a Didi to check out.

Here's our rundown of Christmas markets happening around town this weekend and running up to Christmas.

Independent Markets

This is the big one that everyone is talking about. And for a good reason. It's a well-done market in a beautiful location, with the backdrop of the Pudong skyline on one side and some heritage buildings on the other side. It's pretty close to how a market in Europe would feel, with vendors selling stuff you'd find at markets in Germany, which sets it apart from many other local markets. It's good for bringing kids too; they've got a merry-go-round, a Santa hut to take a picture with Santa Claus, and, of course, lots of Instagram-friendly motives.

The team behind it - German Events and some members of German/Austrian restaurant Zeitgeist - originally started out with a smaller market at Tonglefang (that one also returns this year, more on that further down) and then moved it to its current location next to the Rockbund and the Peninsula Hotel. This is the 3rd time they are doing it, with a short COVID-related sting at another mall last year.

Naturally, an event of this scale in the city gets very busy, but they are managing the crowds quite well this year, so they aren't seeing very long lines like they did in the last few years. But it's highly recommended to buy tickets before you get there; last weekend, both Saturday and Sunday were sold out with no more door tickets available. For this weekend, most slots on Saturday are sold out. Tickets available through the SmartShanghai app and our WeChat MiniProgram.


[Editor's Note:] In a previous version of this article, we featured a write-up about a Medieval Christmas market. The images provided by the organizer initially led us to believe that it could be an excellently executed and intriguing new concept. Regrettably, the actual experience turned out to be quite different, and the market has been canceled on most of its scheduled dates since then.


Every Wed-Sun until Dec 24

Zeitgeist Christmas Market

Starting this weekend, the Zeitgeist Christmas Market will take place in the courtyard behind Zeitgeist in Tonglefang. This is where the organizers of the big Christmas market on the Bund began, and they are returning to their original location, hosting two markets simultaneously. This makes the main organizer, David Lazarowicz, likely the busiest person in town this weekend.

This market is smaller and might receive less hype on social media, but it will probably be more cherished by the German community, which has a huge following at Zeitgeist. The market runs from Fridays to Sundays all the way until Christmas. It's hard to predict how busy this one will get, but it's still recommended to get your pre-sale tickets before going. Click on the red button to do so.

This one isn't actually happening this weekend; the Paulaner market only opens on Thursday the 14th. The Paulaner group has had a challenging time in the last few years, and their market has moved several times after some of their locations had to shut down. It started as the best (and possibly the only) Christmas market on Fenyang Lu (RIP to that gorgeous location), then moved to the Paulaner on the Expo (now closed), then to the Paulaner in Hongqiao (now closed), and now this year, it has moved to the Paulaner on the North Bund. From what we hear, it's a mix of indoor and outdoor markets, including the space on the rooftop of their building, which sounds pretty amazinga rooftop Christmas market with Pudong Skyline views.

Markets at Shopping Malls

Commune Market has been hosting designer community markets since 2015. This weekend, they have a Christmas market at the Weave, that new-ish food and beverage hub on Wuxing Lu. It offers free entry and is pet-friendly. It's probably a good place to find designer crafts, accessories, jewelry, gifts, toys, and more.

The Christmas-themed market at the Bund Finance Center, located at the South Bund, is getting quite a lot of attention on social media, but for very little obvious reason. And as of today, their ice rink that they had last year isn't open yet.

Jing'an Kerry Center usually goes all in on Christmas, and they always have some sort of market going on.

The Place in Hongqiao, a mall dedicated to kids and families with numerous children's entertainment options, also hosts a small market in their courtyard. It's suitable for enjoying a glass of mulled wine and doing a bit of Christmas shopping. The market is open until January 1st, every Friday to Sunday, from 11 am to 9 pm. Entrance is free.

Another mall promoting a Christmas market is The Hub in Hongqiao. It's open from November 25th to January 1st, every Thursday to Sunday, and on holidays, from 11 am to 9:30 pm. Entrance is free.

Did we miss any? Reach out to us and share your insights.

School Markets

Dulwich College Shanghai Puxi invites families from across Shanghai to join them at their Winter Fair for an afternoon of delicious food, warm beverages, and gifts galore in the true festive spirit. Join them for live music performances, to witness the magical tree lighting ceremony, and indulge in unique holiday gifts and delightful treats from their vendors. Children can savour hot cocoa, while parents can enjoy mulled wine in our winter wonderland atmosphere.

This red and white themed Winter Wonderland will be a great opportunity for the entire community to come together and celebrate the start of the holiday season. There will be food and drink vendors, holiday shopping, entertainment, student performances, activities for children, and, of course, a chance to take a photo with Santa in Santa's Grotto. There will also be a prize raffle with amazing prizes, with the proceeds going to support student-led service projects. The Dulwich Winter Fair is open to all families in Shanghai. Please register your intention to attend; scan the QR code on the poster above.

Please join 2023 YCIS Pudong Christmas Tree Lighting and Christmas Market at our CP Campus on Friday, November 24 4:00-8:30pm to celebrate this season of hope and joy. The highlight of the evening will be the grand Christmas tree-lighting ceremony, symbolizing the start of the festiveseason. Join us as we light up the tree, spreading warmth and cheer throughout the campus. We hope you and your families and friends will join us to celebrate this joyful occasion and also enjoy the numerous Christmas delights on offer.

On Saturday, 25th November, YCIS Shanghai Lingang will join hands with YWIES Lingang to host an unprecedented YCYW Lingang Winter Carnival & Christmas Fayre! This event is open to the public, and all YCYW students and their family members are welcome to register by scanning the QR code on the poster. The Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony will be the climax of the carnival! As night falls and the lights gradually brighten, the whole venue becomes illuminated and cosy. Everyone can sing and dance around the Christmas tree, or simply enjoy this wonderful sight, basking in the special atmosphere of Christmas!

Mark your calendars for an extraordinary day of celebration and joy as Shanghai Community International School (SCIS) hosts its highly anticipated Winter Carnival on November 25 at its Hongqiao Main campus. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., families and friends are invited to immerse themselves in a world of fun and entertainment. The last Winter Carnival in 2019 was an incredible success, and we are excited to bring back this cherished tradition. You can expect an array of attractions, including delightful food and drinks, shopping stalls, thrilling entertainment, engaging games, and activities designed for the entire family. But that's not all! There will be a few surprises in store that are guaranteed to make this Winter Carnival an event to remember.

NAIS Pudong welcomes the Shanghai community to their annual Christmas Fair. There’ll be a wide range of festive-themed vendors, food & drinks sellers, a raffle with some incredible prizes, and plenty of fun activities for the children, including a special visit from Santa himself! The event is free and open to the entire Shanghai community. Although tickets are not required, you are requested to register interest using the QR code in the poster. Don’t miss out on this holiday event as part of your Christmas build-up! All inquiries can be directed to

If you listen carefully, you can almost hear the first jingling bell and the laughter of children. You can almost smell the sweet aroma of hot spiced mulled wine and velvety hot chocolate with marshmallows… The BISS Puxi Christmas Fair is nearly here! Head and join their festive community event and have an early Merry Christmas! It promises to be BISS' biggest event in years, and there will be lots for the whole family, including a special visit from Santa!

The Concordia PSO Christmas Bazaar is back this December 2, offering a full day of festive activities from 10am to 6pm. Browse more than 100 stalls where you can enjoy a variety of foods and winter drinks, connect with non-profits and charities supported by the community, and don't miss the chance for a photo with Santa. Experience the joy of Christmas carols and performances from Concordia community members. Visit the Christmas Story Corner for storytelling, participate in games, and don't forget to enter the raffle for a chance to win exciting prizes. The day will conclude with the traditional Christmas Tree Lighting, accompanied by hot cocoa and holiday cookies. A day of community and celebration awaits at Concordia International School Shanghai!

The 2nd weekend of the Commune Market is happening at the Weave - that new F&B hub on Wuxing Lu. Saturday from noon to 9pm, and Sunday from noon to 8pm, head along for nostalgic Christmas music, delicious food, specialty cocktails and hot mulled wine. They promise an array of original designer crafts, accessories, jewelry, gifts, toys, live artists and so much more – all the sparkling festivities to help you celebrate this holiday season! Commune Market is Shanghai's original designer market since 2015! Their events are free entry and pet-friendly.