Pärnu’s winter is full of events
Text Mikko Virta Photos Elen Juurma, Visit Pärnu, Pärnu Museum of Contemporary Art
In recent years, Pärnu has been awash with beautiful Christmas lights, which bring cheer and a festive mood to dark times. In addition to the main streets, there are colourful lights in, for example, Koidula park and its surroundings.
In the children’s park, illuminated polar bears delight the little ones and in Pärnu Beach Park, green elephants evoke memories of the summer.
The traditional light event is organised in the courtyard of the Pernova Nature House, where you can marvel at various light figures, from animals to ships. On the same visit, it’s worth going inside Pernova’s Nature House as well. There are interesting exhibits related to nature and a fascinating dome cinema and planetarium.
There are traditionally two Christmas trees in Pärnu. One has been set up next to the Endla Theatre and the other in the city centre at Freedom Square in front of the Pärnu Hotel.
Freedom Square will be populated with reindeer, elves and other colourful lights making the central square very Christmassy. The traditional Christmas market will be held in Freedom Square on December 17-18.
Music and art
Pärnu’s eventful winter will be diverse in December. Until January 8, 2023, the Pärnu Museum of New Art is exhibiting a recycled art exhibition entitled “Anna Uus Elu”. The creations of dozens of Estonian artists are on display.
Waste pieces from clothing factories, washing machines and ceramics have been used in the works, among other things. One of the most amazing works is a carpet woven from corona masks. You really have to see the inventive works with your own eyes.
On December 8 a Christmas concert will take place at Pärnu Concert Hall, where the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra will perform well-known Christmas carols as well as Antonio Vivaldi’s Dixit Dominus. The soloists include Yena Choi, Laura Štoma and Danila Frantou. The conductor will be Tõnu Kaljuste.
Christmas music is also on the program when the pop stars Stefan and Liis Lemsalu will perform in the concert hall on December 19. Stefan represented Estonia at Eurovision earlier this year.
The traditional New Year’s concert will take place on December 30. The Estonian National Symphony Orchestra will be conducted by Paavo Järvi, and the soloists will include Ain Anger and Latvian Ksenija Sidorova.
The Lottemaa theme park will transform into a Christmasland on the weekend of December 17-18. and 26.-30.12. In the theme park, a variety of activities await the little ones. The program also includes a Christmas concert. Lottemaa is located about ten kilometres south of Pärnu. Lotte and her friends are well-known from the popular cartoon.
Pärnu’s popular skating rink is located right in the centre of the city, a stone’s throw away from St. Elizabeth’s Church. The artificial ice rink is traditionally opened in December at the latest. You can rent skates on-site or bring your own with you.
Munamägi, near the skating rink, is the best sledging hill in the city centre. If there is enough snow, it is a great destination for children of all ages. If you want bigger hills, you should go to the Jõulumägi sports centre, which is about half an hour’s drive from Pärnu. Jõulumägi has first-class ski slopes, some of which are also illuminated in the evening. There are also the fastest sledging hills in the Pärnu region. Skis and other equipment can be rented on-site.
Pärnu is a wonderful setting for outdoor activities in the winter. In addition to the parks, a popular outdoor destination is the beach area, which has nature trails. One of them runs in front of the Tervise Paradiis hotel over the riverbank, and the other route goes past the Estonia monument towards the sea.