This beautiful palace is located next to the Alameda park. In its interior, one can observe a perfect mix of neoclassical, art nouveau, and art deco styles, together with murals by Rufino Tamayo and Diego Rivera. Besides the spaces dedicated to art exhibits, it has an enormous hall where you can enjoy a Mexican Folkloric Dance show on Wednesday and Sunday nights (35 to 60 euros). Seasonal tip: during Christmas season "The Nutcracker" is performed here. Closed on Mondays. Sundays free entrance (rest of the week: 3 euros).
Av. Hidalgo 1, Col. Centro.
Nearest station: Metro Bellas Artes.
Avoid the rip-off fly boys manning the Arbat souvenir stalls and head to this old-fashioned souvenir shop on the corner of Arbat and Konyushennaya. Great selection of matryoshki and wooden toys, china and glassware and a fair selection of table linens.
Wooden Christmas decorations are especially good value. Even better for the tourist, everything is clearly labelled with its price.
Corner of Arbat and Konyushennaya; nearest metro is Arbat (dark blue line)
In December there are Christmas markets in Place Carnot, with stalls selling art and crafts, gourmet food, soaps and perfumes and wine. It’s all very atmospheric with a giant advent calendar, mulled wine, Christmas trees and carol singers.
Place Carnot, just outside Perrache railway/bus station
The Melbourne Motorcycle Toy Run has become a Christmas institution in Melbourne. Upwards of 10,000 bikers, their bikes decorated with tinsel and baubles, get together across the suburbs and head into the middle of the city, before heading off to Williamstown. Once there, the bikers hand over toys and food they have collected to various charities.
It's a big event with whole blocks of the city cordoned off and accessible only to those on two wheels. Those joining in get dressed up as Santa or elves.
Toy Run is a great day out for bikers helping the needy at Christmas.
The Christmas Lights are well known in London, but don't bother walking down Oxford Street during the festive season, get the 94 bus from Notting Hill or Marble Arch and cruise down the Oxford Street and Regent Street, seeing the Christmas lights and gliding past the crowds.
When the noise, grime and mayhem that otherwise characterises Shanghai gets you down, head for this flower market. It's a refreshing change to wander around the aisles of this huge indoor bazaar that still retains a whiff of old-school charm about it, not to mention the scent of a multitude of exotic blooms shipped in from who knows where. And at festival periods, even Christmas, the upper floor is reborn as an all-singing all-dancing plastic tat wholesaler - just what you need for those last-minute decorations...
225 South Shanxi Rd, near Yongjia Rd. Look for the trail of floral debris and turn into the car park. Nearest metro - Shanxi Nan Lu (Line 1)
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