As a Vietnamese myself, I can’t help but also feel extremely excited for Christmas. More and more people in Vietnam have become aware of this festival as it’s a nice occasion for families and friends to get together. From this time onward to the end of the year, especially in big cities, you can see a lot of colorful decorations, twinkling lights hung out in the streets, or even in small alleys all in the name of the Christmas spirit. Hanoi – the capital of Vietnam – is no exception. In our blog, we have uncovered a lot of topics on this charming old city, such as food and drink, local life, places to visit, and tons of other travel guides. Now that Santa Claus is coming to town, I’ll guide you through places where you can celebrate Christmas with him in Hanoi!
But first, let’s discover what the weather’s like to have the best experience spending this holiday in Hanoi.
Hanoi’s Christmas Weather
Here’s a fun fact for travelers visiting Hanoi for the very first time. It is the only city in Vietnam to have four seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter distinctively. This means during these end-of-year days, it can be very cold in Hanoi with the temperature dropping to around 13 degrees Celsius. The city is also known of having high humidity so the cold is nippier, but it won’t be cold enough for snow.
However, I believe this chilly weather is great for Christmas, especially in a tropical country like Vietnam. Take Ho Chi Minh City as an example. People have an old but gold saying about Ho Chi Minh City weather: there are only two seasons here, which are hot and ridiculously hot.
So do remember to pack your Christmas sweaters and socks because Hanoi will be as cold as you expect for the holiday season!
Where to Have A Christmas Dinner in Hanoi
My recommendations are restaurants in high-star hotels, which are located mostly in the West Lake District. Dining there is more expensive than other restaurants in the city, but it is definitely worth the price!
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi Restaurants
There is more than one fancy restaurant inside one of the most famous five-star hotels in Hanoi and they each have their very own culinary theme. There are in total three restaurants that you can choose from: Le Beaulieu, Spices Garden, and angelina. Their kitchens are firing up for the festive season with a set of Christmas special dinners including buffets, main courses, and wine pairings.
Needless to say, Le Beaulieu is a French restaurant serving exquisite cuisine elegantly flavored and presented. The chef is formerly trained in a Michelin-star restaurant in France, so rest assured that you will have some fine Christmas delights right on your table. Le Beaulieu also features a wine collection selected only by professionals. The architecture is another plus of the restaurant. Embracing a Paris-influenced design, Le Beaulieu has wooden parquet floors, beautiful lighting, and many other touches to add to the overall ambiance.
If you want to enjoy Vietnamese cuisine, book a table at Spices Garden. This restaurant is even more special as it’s brilliantly blended with French style. They serve many traditional foods from across Vietnam such as pho, fried pork sausages (nem chua ran), grilled sausages (nem nuong), and other types of meat rolls from the north to south. Just as the name suggests, their food is infused with fresh garden spices and herbs. Having dinner here can be a different yet interesting experience for your Christmas this year.
angelina is a bar and restaurant featuring many cocktails with an impressive collection of whisky. Their menu is a combination of fine European cuisine like the very iconic dish ratatouille to an exotic plate presented by the creativity of Metropole’s chefs. This is also a bar and whisky lounge so you can easily switch to enjoy some explosive cocktails as Christmas winds down. angelina’s design is highly impressive with its lavish furniture and decoration, which I’m sure will please the eyes of any diners here.
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi has several other bars, each of which has a different vibe and architecture; not to mention a classy store featuring delicious pastries and chocolates in an extreme French style. All of these corners have stunning visuals for this festive season, like the hotel’s General Manager said: “…the spirit of Christmas past will be astonished by this year’s production!”
Address: 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Website: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi
Contact: +84 24 38266 919
Closing hour: around 10:30 PM for restaurants and late night for bars in the hotel
Price range: 1,500,000 VND to 7,300,000 VND (includes buffets, five to seven courses)
Café du Lac
This restaurant is part of InterContinental Hanoi hotel and situated in the expat district of the city. Overlooking West Lake, Café du Lac is a lovely restaurant serving French cuisine in casual yet classy ambiance. Similar to a French brasserie, it has a relaxed setting and friendly atmosphere with open service counters. The dining area is very spacious so it’s also suitable for groups of friends and families. You can choose your meals directly from buffet counters or from printed menus. Café du Lac offers a wide range of food from many countries all over the world. And for the holiday season, the restaurant’s kitchen will prepare a series of traditional Christmas delicacies.
Attentive staff, professional service, massive choices of food, that’s what Café du Lac has to offer! Pay this restaurant a visit and experience a warm Christmas night with your loved ones.
Address: 5 Tu Hoa, West Lake District, Hanoi
Website: Café du Lac Restaurant
Contact: +84 24 6270 8888
Closing hour: 9:30 PM
Price range: 600,000 VND to 1,000,000 VND
Pan Pacific Hanoi Restaurants
The restaurants in this upscale hotel are seemingly the combination of the ones mentioned above. Expect a contemporary French-style brasserie as well as a lounge bar with a chilling ambience.
Pacifica offers an extensive buffet selection featuring Asian and international cuisine. They also have an à la carte menu so it will suit everybody’s preference. The setting is very friendly and casual, which includes group tables for a large number of guests. You can also enjoy a relaxing atmosphere with its airy design and decoration.
If you’re into sipping cocktails and pondering your New Year’s resolutions through Christmas night, Song Hong bar is where you should go. With charming architecture blended with classic Asian style and European flair, this lounge bar serves many types of drinks from cocktails to non-alcoholic mixes.
In this hotel, you can also find a Chinese restaurant, a pastry store, and a rooftop bar. I must say, to expand your dinner experience on Christmas Eve, Pan Pacific Hanoi is a must-visit spot.
Address: 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
Website: Pan Pacific Hanoi Webpage
Contact: +84 24 3823 8888
Closing hour: around 10 PM for restaurants and late night for bars in the hotel
Price range: 1,000,000 VND to 1,500,000 VND
Places to Celebrate Christmas in Hanoi
There are three major churches in Hanoi, which make for the best places to celebrate Christmas. These are St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Cua Bac Church, and Ham Long Church.
St. Joseph’s Cathedral
This is probably the most renowned church in the city as it serves as the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hanoi. It is also the oldest church in Hanoi. Located in the Old Quarter, this majestic church wears a neo-gothic architecture which has lasted for more than 120 years. People often compare it to Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris as it was built by the French colony during their rule in Vietnam. Over a century has passed, but the church remains almost unchanged and now has become a spectacular landmark of Hanoi.
St. Joseph’s Cathedral has mass from 5:30 AM to 6:30 PM on weekdays, 6 PM on Saturday, and several masses throughout the day from early morning to evening on Sunday. On Christmas holiday, they will conduct mass from Christmas Eve to Christmas Day. Note that there will be a lot of people coming here for celebration, so it’s better to arrive early and take care of your belongings.
Address: 40 Nha Chung, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Cua Bac Church
This is a Roman Catholic church which was also built by the French in 1932. It is another significant colonial marvel set in the heart of Hanoi. Beautiful architecture and rich history, it’s the perfect place to celebrate Christmas with your dearest ones.
A German Christmas Market organized in Cua Bac Church with the cooperation of the Goethe Institute is especially alluring. It aims to simulate the traditional Christmas celebration of German people and it gives Hanoians an interesting chance to understand a different culture during this festival. The fair first started in 2017 and received positive attention from many people so the organizers decided to continue this new tradition. It has many lovely stalls with Christmas food, wine, and beautiful handcrafts. The event’s highlight is the Christmas concert conducted and performed by our National Symphony Orchestra and other choirs in the city.
However, these events take place in the middle of December, so take note of these dates. The market is from the 13th to 15th of December, and the concert is on the 19th. There will be a 100,000 VND entrance fee.
Address: 56 Phan Dinh Phung, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
Ham Long Church
Designed by a Vietnamese architect and built under French administration, Ham Long Church is another important church in Hanoi city. However, it’s not as popular to foreign travelers as St. Joseph’s Cathedral. If you want to have a local experience during Christmas, Ham Long Church is much more fitted.
Address: 21 Ham Long, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
This wraps up my list for the best places to celebrate Christmas in the capital city of Vietnam. Don’t miss them for this magnificent time of year! Last but not least, Merry Christmas everyone!
Read more: Where to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s in Ho Chi Minh City
If you enjoyed reading this article and would like some more fun info about what to see, do and eat (and a bunch of interesting cafes!) in Vietnam, follow us at the Christina’s blog!