Festivals & Events

Jinji Lake Dragon Boat Festival

Dragon Boat Festival - Suzhou hosts one of the country’s largest Dragon Boat Festivals on Lake Jinji.

Year-round, Suzhou festivals showcase the ancient city’s unrivaled beauty, diverse culture and rich traditions. From brilliant blooms to dramatic dragon boats, get a taste of authentic Suzhou. Be sure to plan your trip around one (or many) of these exciting celebrations.

Travel Tips:
  • Dates vary annually according to the Chinese lunar calendar.
  • Due to popularity, it's recommended to book your tour 60 days in advance.

JANUARY & FEBRUARY

Spring Festival
Spring Festival marks the start of the Chinese New Year and the advent of the spring season. Thousands flock to see extravagant fireworks displays, lavish parades, temple fairs and Hanshan Temple’s annual bell ringing ceremony.
When: Last day of the lunar year through the 15th day of the first lunar month
Where: Various locations throughout Suzhou

God of Wealth Festival
This annual celebration welcomes the God of Wealth as he returns to Earth after an extended stay in Heaven. Festivities include the City Gate Opening Ceremony, the God of Wealth Cruise, folk performances, music and more.
When: Fifth day of the first lunar month
Where: Panmen Gate, Suzhou

Lantern Festival
From guessing riddles (a traditional Chinese game) and sampling dumplings to visiting exhibits and viewing lightshows, it’s a celebration of all things lantern.
When: 15th day of the first lunar month
Where: Various locations throughout Suzhou

Taihu Lake Plum Blossom Festival
Fragrant, bright pink plum blossoms blanket trees, transform hills and reflect off the water. This picturesque oasis is one of Suzhou’s most popular attractions, so it’s wise to book your tour at least 60 days out.
When: Early spring (generally February – March)
Where: Taihu Lake

MARCH & APRIL

Biluochun Tea Culture and Tourism Festival
Celebrated annually, visitors are invited to pick and fry tea leaves from thousand-year-old tea shrubs (grown exclusively in the area), watch folk art performances and munch on traditional treats.
When: March – April
Where: East Hill, Suzhou

Tiger Hill Art and Flower Festival
Stroll through the grounds at historic Tiger Hill to see thousands of blooming flowers, architectural relics and the famed sword-filled pool.
When: March – May
Where: Tiger Hill, Suzhou

Changshu Shanghu Lake Peony Show
See and smell more than 50,000 peonies amongst 24 acres of lush gardens. Inspired by the surrounding flora, fine art and performance art can also be enjoyed.
When: March – April
Where: Shanghu Lake Scenic Zone, Changshu

Gourmet Festival, Taicang
Challenge yourself to a cooking contest, admire vibrant peonies and end your day watching a themed performance.
When: March – May
Where: People Square in Taicang

Azalea Tourism Festival
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to the largest and most celebrated classical garden, as well as a collection of more than 70,000 blooming azaleas.
When: March – May
Where: Humble Administrator's Garden, Suzhou

China International Tourism Festival
This annual festival celebrates the pride and culture of the “oriental water city.” Festivities include dragon boat contests, traditional Suzhou fare, colorful light shows, dazzling fireworks displays and so much more.
When: April – May
Where: Various locations throughout Suzhou

Spring in Tongli Tourism and Culture Festival
The ancient city of Tongli, a neighboring town not far from Suzhou, showcases folk customs and plays host to hundreds of visitors, including local Chinese film and television celebrities.
When: March – May
Where: Tongli, Wujiang

International Tourism Festival in Zhouzhuang
Find a rich exhibition of arts and crafts, photography, calligraphy, literature and performance art in the nearby river village of Zhouzhuang. Be sure to include a stop by the Shuangqiao and Fuanqiao bridges while you’re there.
When: April
Where: Zhouzhuang, Jiangsu Province

Festival of Wu Culture
This six-month-long festival takes place at one of China’s most celebrated gardens. Don’t miss the many parades, kūnqǔ opera, píngtán (storytelling and ballad singing), traditional instrument performances and more.
When: April – October
Where: Lingering Garden

MAY & JUNE

Crushing Gods Temple Fair
According to Chinese folklore, Lu Dongbing (one of the Eight Immortals in Chinese legend) is believed to return to Earth and walk amongst mortals, disguising himself as a beggar. Anyone who walks past him is said to have good luck the following year. Now an annual temple fair, you can find traditional food and fish stands, as well as handicrafts and more.
When: 14th day of the fourth lunar month
Where: Immortal Temple, Suzhou

Taihu Lake Dragon Boat Culture Festival
A trip to China would not be complete without taking part in dragon boat festivities. Admire colorfully decorated boats and sample tasty traditional treats, like zòngzi (sticky rice dumplings delicately wrapped in reed leaves).
When: May or June
Where: Taihu Lake

China Lotus Flower Show
Explore the waters of Suzhou’s largest lotus theme park, boasting more than 500 lotus plants floating quietly atop the surface of the ponds. Water lily tours, boat shows, a lotus pond maze and access to the children's amusement park are also offered during the show.
When: June – September
Where: Hetang Wetland Park, Xiangcheng, Suzhou

JULY & AUGUST

Baimajian Watermelon Festival
This foodie festival is dedicated to watermelon and includes watermelon carving demonstrations and eating and castle building contests each weekend. 
When: Every weekend in July and August
Where: Baimajian Ecologial Park

Suzhou Amusement Land Beer Festival
This after-dark extravaganza entertains many with a cartoon parade, live music, festival fare, kids’ races, and of course, beer.
When: July – August
Where: Suzhou Amusement Land, Suzhou

Taihu Lake Fishing Festival
Hoards of fishing boats wet their lines in hopes of a bountiful fresh catch. Known by locals as “kaibu” or “begin to fish,” this festival showcases local fishing customs, sailing contests, bicycle tours and more.
When: August
Where: Taihu Lake

China Lotus Flower Show
Explore the waters of Suzhou’s largest lotus theme park, boasting more than 500 lotus plants floating quietly atop the surface of the ponds. Water lily tours, boat shows, a lotus pond maze and access to the children's amusement park are also offered during the show.
When: June – September
Where: Hetang Wetland Park, Xiangcheng, Suzhou

SEPTEMBER & OCTOBER

Taihu Lake Osmanthus Flower Festival
The brightly colored and powerfully fragrant osmanthus flower reaches full bloom in the fall. The city flower of Suzhou is typically used in many traditional dishes.
When: September
Where: Taihu Lake

Mid-Autumn Lightening Festival for Blessing in Chongyuan Temple
Surrounded by lit candles and burning joss sticks, this gluttonous affair honoring the Moon Goddess brims with Suzhou-style moon cakes, red water chestnuts, white lotus roots, pomegranates, Chinese chestnuts and more. Gaze at the glowing moon from two popular viewing spots — Stone Lake or the Baodai Bridge.
When: September
Where: Chongyuan Temple, Suzhou

Shajiabang Tourism Festival
Located one hour northeast of Suzhou in the city of Changshu, hundreds participate in fun folk traditions, such as bird watching in the wetlands, tours of reed marshes, kite flying, tree planting, carnivals and more.
When: September – October
Where: Shajiabang Scenic Zone, Changshu

NOVEMBER & DECEMBER

Folk Art and Craft Festival
More than 70 Chinese artists from all over the country present their work at this epic arts and crafts showcase.
When: November
Where: Guanqian Street, Suzhou

Hanshan Temple Bell Ringing Festival
Every year on December 31st, thousands flock to the 1,500-year-old temple to listen as monks strike 108 bell tolls, praying for good luck and happiness in the coming year.
When: December 31st
Where: Hanshan Temple, Suzhou

expert tips:

In Suzhou, the regional Chinese language is called Wu, the subgroup is called Taihu, and the local dialect, one of nine, is known as Suzhounese, considered one of the most elegant, flowing in all of China. Most people are bilingual in Mandarin used in schools, because Suzhounese is not mutually intelligible with either Mandarin or Cantonese.