Entertainment in China

  • Top ChoiceEntertainment in Wan Chai & Northeast Hong Kong Island

    Happy Valley Racecourse

    An outing at the races is one of the quintessential Hong Kong things to do, especially if you're around during the weekly Wednesday-evening races. Punters pack into the stands and trackside, with branded beer stalls, silly wigs and live music setting up an electric party atmosphere.

  • Top ChoiceEntertainment in The Bund & People's Square

    Shanghai Grand Theatre

    Shanghai’s state-of-the-art concert venue hosts everything from Broadway musicals to symphonies, ballets, operas and performances by internationally acclaimed classical soloists. There are also traditional Chinese-music performances. Pick up a schedule at the ticket office.

  • Top ChoiceEntertainment in Kowloon

    This Town Needs

    This Town Needs…more underground music venues like this, staging 10 to 15 gigs monthly in a hip warehouse space in the coastal Kowloon burb of Yau Tong. Formerly known as Hidden Agenda, TTN is a much expanded rebranding, now offering an exhibition space and movie screenings (1pm to 8pm; days vary) as well as a bar during live shows.

  • Entertainment in Cotai

    City of Dreams

    In addition to a sprawling gaming floor, this colossal hotel-casino-mall complex is home to four sleek hotels, several restaurants (that include award-winning kitchens), kilometres of malls, and theatres large enough to host regional video game competitions. The 1600-sq-metre Kids’ City is a sophisticated indoor climbing facility that evokes an enlarged futuristic Lego set.

  • Entertainment in Cotai

    Venetian

    Said to be one of the 10 largest buildings in the world, the Venetian is 980,000 sq metres of what might be described as Casino Gothic architecture, packed to the gills with busloads of goggle-eyed tourists. Features include some 3000 hotel suites, a full-sized arena, an on-site medical and plastic surgery clinic and more than 46,000 sq metres of gaming floor.

  • Top ChoiceEntertainment in Kowloon

    Canton Singing House

    The oldest and most atmospheric of Temple St's singalong parlours, Canton resembles a film set with mirror balls and glowing shrines. Singers take to the stage one after another to belt out the oldies; some customers applaud between glugs of beer, while others are too busy with card games. Every character in here looks like they have a story to tell.

  • Entertainment in The Bund & People's Square

    Fairmont Peace Hotel Jazz Bar

    Shanghai’s most famous hotel features Shanghai’s most famous jazz band (starts at 7pm), a septuagenarian sextet that’s been churning out nostalgic covers such as ‘Moon River’ and ‘Summertime’ since the dawn of time. There’s no admission fee, but you'll need to sink a drink from the bar (draught beer starts at ¥70; a White Lady is ¥100).

  • Top ChoiceEntertainment in Central District

    Peel Fresco

    Charming Peel Fresco has live jazz every day of the week, with local and overseas acts on an intimate stage close enough for listeners to chink glasses with musicians. It's small, relaxed and friendly, and there's no better place in Soho than here curled up with a drink when the action starts (around 7pm weekdays and 9pm weekends); come a little early to secure a seat.

  • Entertainment in The Bund & People's Square

    House of Blues & Jazz

    Fittingly dark and divey, this vintage jazz and blues bar exudes plenty of class with its polished heavy wood decor. The house band delivers live jazz or blues from 9.30pm (10pm on Friday and Saturday) to 1am. Sunday night is a free-for-all jam. Entry is free if you're here to eat or drink; happy hour runs to 8pm.

  • Top ChoiceEntertainment in Chengdu

    Shǔfēng Yǎyùn

    This famous century-old theatre and teahouse puts on excellent 1½-hour shows that include music, puppetry and Sichuan opera's famed fire breathing and face changing. Come at around 7.15pm to watch performers putting on their elaborate make-up and costumes. For ¥50 to ¥100, kids (and adults) can try on garb and have a costume artist paint their face.

  • Top ChoiceEntertainment in Chengdu

    NU Space

    This combination cafe, bookshop, gallery and performance space at the head of delightfully hip Kuixinglou Jie makes a nice stop to unwind after the overenthusiastic crowds of Wide and Narrow Alley, or to get pumped up by touring domestic and foreign artists from a wide range of genres. Check its Facebook page for show dates and timing.

  • Top ChoiceEntertainment in Cotai

    House of Dancing Water

    The House of Dancing Water, Macau’s most expensively made show, is a breathtaking melange of stunts, acrobatics and theatre designed by Franco Dragone, the former director of Cirque du Soleil. The magic revolves around a cobalt pool the size of several Olympic-sized swimming pools. Over, around, into and under this pool a cast of 80, dressed in glorious costumes, performs hair-raising stunts.

  • Top ChoiceEntertainment in West Shanghai

    Yùyīntáng

    Small enough to feel intimate, but big enough for a sometimes pulsating atmosphere, Yùyīntáng has long been one of the top places in the city to see live music. Any Shanghai rock band worth its amps plays here, but you can also catch groups on tour from other cities in China, as well as international acts. Rock is the staple diet, but anything goes, from hard punk to jazz.

  • Top ChoiceEntertainment in French Concession

    JZ Club

    The JZ brand has been in Shanghai for decades, and its newest spot hosts live music every day of the week in an old Shanghai–style jazz club. It's always atmospheric, with velvet red drapes and art deco lighting softly illuminating the space. Look out for the annual JZ Festival Shanghai in Expo Park, bringing big-name international jazz artists to Shanghai.

  • Top ChoiceEntertainment in Tianjin

    Guandong Guild Hall Peking Opera

    Popular Peking opera performances are held every Saturday and Sunday afternoon at this fabulous 100-year-old wooden tea house-theatre inside the Guangdong Guild Hall. Performances last for 90 minutes. Tea (from ¥30 per pot) is served throughout the show, but you'll need to bring your own snacks. Buy tickets on the door.

  • Entertainment in Hongkou & North Shanghai

    Modern Sky Lab

    Mid-sized live venue with excellent sound quality, run by the Modern Sky record label. It's a top place to catch touring bands: previous acts include Foster the People, The Cribs, Wolf Alice, The Fratellis and Carl Barât from The Libertines. Find all its upcoming gigs on WeChat by searching 'ModernSkyLAB'. Tickets are also available via www.smartticket.cn.

  • Top ChoiceEntertainment in French Concession

    Heyday

    An intimate jazz bar with an art deco feel and a drinks menu to match Shanghai's decadent era. Cocktails are top notch, with plenty of vintage flavours on the list – orange bitters, cognac and the like. Midweek catch an acoustic set. At the weekends there's a full band, with local acts like Jade Lee and Coco Zhao on the bill.

  • Top ChoiceEntertainment in Jing'an

    Wooden Box

    Down a quiet street, this leafy cabin surrounded by trees is an intimate live venue run by the JZ family with live jazz, and regular acoustic folk and bluegrass sets. The happy hour is excellent and runs from 2pm to 8pm daily.

  • Top ChoiceEntertainment in Forbidden City & Dongcheng Central

    National Centre for the Performing Arts

    Plonked in the middle of an artificial lake like an alien spaceship, the Paul Andreu–designed NCPA (aka 'The Egg') is a surreal yet spectacular venue at which to catch a performance of opera (Western and Chinese), ballet and classical music. Online booking is in Chinese only, but local agent www.theatrebeijing.com can deliver tickets to your hotel for a small commission.

  • Entertainment in Dashilar & Xicheng South

    Huguang Guild Hall

    The most atmospheric Peking opera house in town (it was undergoing refurbishment at time of research, so fingers crossed it stays that way...), Huguang Guild Hall was founded in 1807 and converted to a theatre a few decades later. Operas play out on an elaborate canopied stage enclosed by balconies. Local agent www.theatrebeijing.com can arrange tickets.