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An Alternative Way to Celebrate Christmas in Vilnius

Are you a true Grinch? Or are you just tired of all the traditions surrounding Christmas? Vilnius has something to offer, even if Christmas isn’t your favourite time of year. Check out the alternative Christmas guide to Vilnius and avoid everything traditional about the season.

Ditch the mulled wine for beer

Vilnius is known for its beer culture – you can try dozens of craft beers and see some microbreweries right in the Old Town. But winter has a special treat for all beer lovers. For example, you can try a chocolate beer at a food truck area right next to the train station. Comfort street food will keep you warm and toasty. Another thing worth trying is hot beer! Look for it at the stalls popping up at the Christmas fairs. It’s like Marmite – either you love it or hate it, but at least you’ll know.

Independent Alternative Christmas Town, Train Station, Geležinkelio St. 16

Forget the Christmas carols

Check out the electronic music performances at Vilnius Train Station’s independent alternative Christmas town. The rhythms go well with the sounds of the trains passing by and the party is definitely on track! If you’re a fan of Queen, don’t miss your chance to hear some of their famous songs interpreted by the Lithuanian State Symphonic Orchestra. Looking for something tougher? Attend a Metallica tribute show being put on by the symphonic orchestra.

Metallica Tribute Show with symphonic orchestra, Compensa Arena, Kernavės St. 84, 19 December at 7 p.m., price: EUR 22-64

The Queen Symphony, Vilnius Congress Hall, Vilniaus St. 6, 30 December at 7 p.m., price: EUR 19-39

Ignore traditional Christmas trees

See the tallest Christmas tree in Lithuania – and no one has to cut down an actual tree, because the TV tower shines brighter and stands taller than any Christmas tree. The fun part? You can also go up to the 165-metre high restaurant, sit on the rotating platform and sip a cocktail while watching the decorated city beneath. Or if you’re in another part of town, near the train station, check out a contemporary upcycled Christmas tree installation that’s like no other at the Independent Alternative Christmas Town.

TV tower, Sausio 13-osios St. 10, working hours: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m., price: EUR 8-11

Skip the fancy restaurants

You don’t need to spend a fortune and be afraid to move in a fancy restaurant to have an unforgettable meal. The Independent Alternative Christmas Town at the train station will serve you the best street food in authentic train cars. No frills, just great food and a fun crowd of new friends. If you want to cram as much as possible into your visit, get your food at the Downtown Food Hall and bring it to the Kino Deli Cinema for a film screening.

Downtown Food Hall, A. Smetonos St. 5, working hours: Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m., no cash

Scorn the traditional gifts

Who needs a dozen pairs of wool socks or a gift card this Christmas? If you feel compelled to buy some gifts, do it in style and choose something unconventional. Head to the Independent Alternative Christmas Market at the train station to see the designs of some fresh talents as well as some thrift goodies. Then make your way to the Uptown Christmas Market to check out the works of young designers and hip Lithuanian labels. Or simply visit the oldest food market in the city, Hales Turgus, and get an assortment of cheese, smoked eel, or herbal teas for gifts.

Uptown Christmas Market, Loftas, Švitrigailos St. 29, TBA

Hales Turgus, Pylimo St. 58, Tuesday-Saturday 7 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sunday 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.