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The best things to do in Beijing this week

Featuring comedy, Christmas, concerts and more

School's out, Christmas is nearly here, the weather is slightly better than last week – what more could we want? A whole lot of great events this week, that's what. Check out some amazing musicians, including Jesse Harris, Breathe Carolina and Chen Sa, as well as some great animated films and more (and more) Christmas stuff.

As well as these highlights, there are many more things to do in Beijing this week: explore, enjoy and don't forget to Instagram us your snaps with #timeoutbeijing or let us know on Facebook what you really enjoyed.

The Lord of the Rings in Concert

Critics' pick

The Lord of the Rings comes to Beijing in concert with The Fellowship of the Ring performed first. Howard Shore's majestic scores are brought to life by China's National Opera House Symphony Orchestra, creating the soaring, thrilling vistas of Middle Earth through music while scenes from Peter Jackson's award-winning film play behind. Experience the fellowship's quest in person, with all the sweeping, operatic greatness it deserves.

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Beijing Exhibition Center , 135 Xizhimenwai Dajie 18-19 Dec Buy tickets

Jesse Harris

Critics' pick

The Grammy-award winning singer and songwriter plays the stage of Blue Note this week. Jesse Harris is well-known for his songwriting and guitar ability, collaborating with the greats from Norah Jones to Bright Eyes. He won the Grammy for Song of the Year back in 2003 for 'Don't Know Why', performed by Norah Jones, with Harris on the guitar.

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Blue Note , 23 Qianmen Dong Dajie 20-21 Dec Buy tickets

Chen Sa

Critics' pick

Over the past decade, Chen Sa has established herself as one of the most charismatic pianists of her generation. She earned critical acclaim at the International Chopin Piano Competition in 2000 and the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2005, which began her professional performing career, bringing her evocative performances to audiences around the world.

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NCPA , 2 Xi Chang'an Jie 20 Dec Buy tickets

Breathe Carolina

Critics' pick

Made up of Tommy Cooperman and David Schmitt, Breathe Carolina is an EDM duo born out of Denver. The electropop duo have remixed and mashed a whole host of well-known tunes, including 'Rhythm is a Dancer' and 'Sweet Dreams'.

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One Third , 6 Workers’ Stadium West Road 21 Dec

Camera Stylo Xmas Party

Critics' pick

Join the Christmas cheer at Camera Stylo this week for an evening of gift exchanges, holiday improv comedy, an ugly sweater contest and the best of the worst party tricks. With festive decorations, food and drinks to get you ready for the holidays, it'll be a festively fun bash. Wear your ugliest holiday sweater, bring your best/worst party trick to show off and a fun gift to exchange (75-100RMB).

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Camera Stylo , 64 Dongsishiyitiao 21 Dec Free

White Snake

Critics' pick

Warner Bros has teamed up with Beijing-based Light Chaser Animation to create the first Sino-US animated co-production. The story is adapted from an old Chinese folktale, Legend of the White Snake, where a spirit transforms into a human woman and falls in love. The legend's lovers are made younger in this version, though teasers from the upcoming film suggest it's aimed at a more mature audience than other Chinese animations.

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Cinemas around Beijing 21 Dec - 25 Jan

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Critics' pick

This family-friendly, much-anticipated remake of the Spider-Man comics is set in an animated style that reflects the original comic book panels. In a word of parallel universes, Spidey must team up with Spider-Men in other dimensions to help stop an enemy that threatens them all. Voices include Nicholas Cage, John Mulaney, Hailee Steinfeld and Jake Johnson.

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Cinemas around Beijing 21 Dec - 01 Feb

Revel's World of Shakespeare

Critics' pick

A perfect one-man show that chronicles American writer/actor/director Joseph Graves’ own experiences at London’s Chelsea School for Boys under the tutelage of Clive T Revel, a tyrannical, alcoholic professor who saw Shakespeare as a religion (if not a cult), pressing his young charges into terrified service.

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Long Fu Theatre 21-22 Dec

Treasure Trove Last-Minute Market

Critics' pick

Always leave your Christmas shopping to the last minute? Not a problem! Get your last-minute gifts at the Treasure Trove Christmas Market. Hosted at Yoolee Plaza and sponsored by Cultural Keys, the market stays open late for you to get in and get some shopping done. You'll be able to shop for a huge range of gift items including jewellery, bags, art, scarves, handmade beauty products, toys, preserves and more – not to mention mulled wine, mince pies and other delicious baked goods.

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Yoolee Plaza , 21 Gongti Bei Lu 22-23 Dec Free

Lol Actually

Critics' pick

Comedy Club China hosts their Christmassy chuckle session this Sunday at The Great Outdoors. Hosted by the funny, and oh-so-woke, Alex Wilson, he's joined by Eric Selley, Isaac Keane, Nigel Tu, D2 and Lincoln van der Westhuizen. If the sound of Love Actually turned into a Beijing comedy show sounds like the thing for you, then get your tickets now.

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The Great Outdoors , 12 Fangjia Hutong 23 Dec
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