Prague in December
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Handling the Weather and What to Wear
I know, it’s not the same-old “Christmas” pic. Prague in December can often be clear and sunny as I caught it down by the riverside in December 2016. November to March sees roughly the same amount of precipitation and it’s dependent only on the temperature if it falls as rain or snow. There’s always a chance of a white Christmas in Prague but the main weather factor will be wind-chill. Average temperature will be 4 degrees c but windchill can easily make it feel like minus 5 so it is the time for a proper winter jacket or Ski jacket, thick soled boots and thermal socks will help you stop freezing from the ground up. Freezing slippery cobbles can be a problem if they are not flat so take small steps to avoid falling. If you feel the cold then seriously consider thermal leggings.
Eating and Drinking
You’ll appreciate the heavy but warming Czech food options at lunch and if you want to try the classic stuff then take a look at my top six Czech food picks. The difference with Prague in December is the Christmas Markets. Check the Prague Markets and Hot Street Food post for what to expect and tips. Take a look at the Pay by Weight post to understand how that works here. There’s my Six Hot Alcoholic Drinks post to keep you warm and there’s also my Why we don’t eat Zebra post.
December 24th-25th State Holiday for Christmas. NOTE: the main holiday is the 24th.
December 26th State Holiday for ST Stephens Day
Festivals and Things to Do
On December 16th and 17th be on the Old Town Square after 3pm to hear Christmas Carols being sung from the Old Town Hall tower gallery.
Christmas Markets are all open now so you can learn about them on the Christmas Markets page or more practically take a look at the 8 Things to Know which will give you an idea of what to expect with respect to the food and drink.
From the first day of the market there’s a Christmas Tree sound and light show on the Old Town Square at 4-30pm, 5-30pm, 6-30pm, 7-30pm, 8-30pm and 9-30pm. Check the video from this year for what to expect.
On December 24th between 11am and 1pm on the Old Town Square there’ll be 2000 portions of fish soup given out fist-come-first-served (tradition not to eat meat at lunchtime on the 24th).
On December 24th at 9pm on the Old Town Square stage will be a Christmas Mass and classical music.
Dyzajn craft market will be at the National Theatre concourse on the weekend of 9th December and 16th December (Saturday and Sunday). Homemade craft items, music, food and drink.
The ice rink behind the Estates Theatre opens on December 5th and closes on New Years Eve. 400 square metres rink free to use if you have skates or you can hire at the venue.
Czech Press Photo is running it’s annual exhibition at the Old Town Hall. Professional photography by Czech and Slovak photographers and photo journalists. Entry is CZK150 for adults.
On December 4th we celebrate St Barbara. The tradition is to cut a few small branches of a cherry tree and give them to your true love who will put them in water and keep them inside. If they flower before December 24th then they really are your true love. If they flower late then that’s ok as well. If they don’t flower then try again next year!!!
On December 5th we have a festival called “Mikuláš”. In the evening you’ll find men dressed as a bishop accompanied by an angel and a devil handing out sweets and pieces of coal. Read more about this on the Mikuláš page.
December in Prague looks like the last time you’ll get a chance to view the making of Gulliver’s Airship which is a permanent structure at the DOX Exhibition Centre.
During the whole of December you can see the powerful Ai Wei Wei project called “Law of the Journey” which is an artistic venture into displaying the hazzards faced by migrants attempting to get to Europe. Read the National Gallery post and you’ll want the Veletržni Palace in Prague 7.
From December 7th to 10th there is an International choir and advent musical festival again held mostly on the Old Town Square. www.praguechristmas.cz.
On the evening of December 8th people normally drift towards the John Lennon Wall to commemorate the anniversary of his death.
December is the last chance to catch the Jaroslav Róna exhibition hosted by the House at the Stone Bell on the Old Town Square. Modern art, sculpture and paintings. Nice cold weather option.
The National Technical Museum in Letna Park is hosting a great “Optical Illusions” exhibition until December 31st. Five rooms with more than 30 examples of how we can be deceived. Some interactive, all fun. Check the Klamarium webpage.
If it’s a little chilly and you’d like to experience some Prague history in some warmth then the Prague City Museum may be an option. This is NOT the National Museum. Take a look at the Langweils Model post for one of their exhibits, the museum webpage and directions.
Imagine that you go blind. The guys at the New Town Hall have an exhibition which scarily puts you in that position. www.neviditelna.cz/en/
If you’d like a look around the markets then check the Christmas Markets Walking Tour. Its a 2.5 hour tour including the New Town, Old Town, Jewish Quarter, the 3 central Christmas markets plus food and drink.
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Prague in December