Montevideans take their public holidays seriously. Between Christmas and the New Year, almost everything is closed.
January, especially the first two weeks, is also very quiet. Enjoy the peace. Generally the city starts to get back to normal mid January, and carnival starts this year on January 19!
In the meantime, if you happen to be in Montevideo over New Year, what’s there to do?
Fireworks – December 24 and 31
On both eves, the locals will be letting off fireworks. Particularly spectacular if you are are in a high-rise building or anywhere near the rambla.
Cider fight in the Port Market – December 24 and 31
On Christmas and New Year’s Eves, thousands of office workers from the Old City (Ciudad Vieja) and anyone else frantic to party, take over the Port Market and start drenching each other in beer and cider.
If you like gigantic wet t-shirt events this is for YOU.
Paper and water wars in the Old City and Centro – December 31
And offices close for the holidays. Virtually as part of a tradition, office workers in the Centro and Ciudad Vieja neighbourhoods rip up their agendas and throw them out of office windows. And if they can get their hands on a bucket, they’ll soak you into the bargain!
New Year’s Day tango – January 1
There’s usually open-air tango dancing in the Plaza Liber Seregni from 8pm until midnight. There may be a similar plan this year (I’ll post an update as soon as I have info). Remember things start later especially if it’s been hot, so don’t expect things to really get going until 9-ish.
Beach and rambla–any time
Plan to go the beach (there are lots in the city and they are all open to the public), walk or cycle the wonderful 25 kilometres of unbroken rambla (promenade) and make day trips.
Reduced taxis and Uber
On Christmas Eve, taxis stop operating from about 5pm until the early hours of the next day.
On New Years Eve it will start to be difficult to get a cab from about 4pm. And don’t expect to get a cab on January 1 until 4am at the earliest.
Uber is also less ubiquitous during those times, so expect longer wait times. But my experience is that it’s been possible to uber during the holidays.
Few restaurants open
Traditionally most restaurants are closed for the holidays. However some of our favourite restaurants would love to receive you. We’ll post a list of who’s open and when in the comments below for 2022-23.
Have a wonderful time! And happy holidays!
Photo: Marcelo Fernandez via Flickr
This article first published on December 13 2013 and last updated at the date above.