Hangzhou overview

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At night West Lake transforms from placid to flashy, with waterside light shows and musical fountains. Despite the kitsch and fanfare, there are still plenty of secluded spots for contemplative or romantic interludes. In general, Hangzhou's nightlife is a far cry from that of nearby Shanghai, but you can easily find places for a drink, a dance and some music—and it's always pleasant to relax in a Hangzhou teahouse.

Bars & Clubs

Try tea and snacks at Chenghaung Teahouse or the lakeside Hu Pan Ju Teahouse. If you're looking for a drink and a little excitement, check out Paradise Rock, Lake of the Dream or a grab a beer at Irish pub, the Shamrock. Cocktails are decent and often accompanied by live music at Kana Pub and Hangzhou's JZ Club is a good bet for live jazz. The Traveler's Pub lives up to its name, drawing backpackers as well as students from the nearby Hangzhou Academy of Art and staging music—generally folk or jazz—on weekends. Nanshan Lu and Shuguang Lu are both prominent bar strips, packed with neon lit, bass thumping affairs and few other more discreet and pleasant surprises.

Museums & Galleries

China's active contemporary art scene is represented in Hangzhou by Loft 49—a converted industrial space with galleries, studios and a café. Other galleries, including the 411 Gallery and Contrasts regularly exhibit the latest in Chinese contemporary art. The region's local opera style—Yue opera—can be experienced at the Yuanyuan Minsu Theater daily. Museums showcase art and other aspects of local culture—visit the Zhejiang Provincial Museum on Gu Shan in the middle of West Lake for their fine collection of relics and artifacts from the region's history.

Festivals & Events

Hangzhou is also a great place for festivals. Check out the spring Longjing Spring Tea Festival, the summer West Lake Lotus Festival or autumn Sweet-Scented Osmanthus Festivals among others.

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