If you care to travel to China over Christmas and New Years, keep in mind that as a pagan nation, and an Eastern one, you won’t be inundated with Christmas cheer, or New Year’s countdowns on the square. Essentially, you’ll be a tourist in a big, cold city without much holiday cheer. Still, Beijing is a great destination over the holidays if you are a scrooge, grouch or otherwise dislikes happiness.
Beijing’s famous Tiananmen Square is not only disserted on New Year’s Eve, but dangerously guarded. In order to reach the square (and it may even be closed on this special night) you’ll have to go through pretty rough security. At midnight some foreigners gather at the gate of the Forbidden City, but it’s a small group. From experience I’ve learned that most foreigners in the city just wait for Chinese New Year to celebrate, and thus spend western New Years in the bar or with friends. There are no fireworks, no big bangs, no major parties of note and no real countdown. If these are the things you want for New Years, please consider Monte Carlo.
Some of the prime locations that may have holiday parties (though not on Christmas or New Years eve actually) include Mix, Vics, Chocolate, Latte, Paddy O’Shea’s and The Stumble Inn. You’ll find small, cute parties at place like Beijing’s coziest bar 12sqm, or at fancy places like Maison Boulud.