Best Time to Visit Hangzhou
March to May and September to November in spring and autumn respectively are the best time to visit Hangzhou. During these periods, tourists may take advantage of the mild climate to tour West Lake, enjoy various flowers, pick tea leaves, wander through wetland parks or water towns, or explore ancient temples or pagodas.
Peak Season: April to October
For tourists who would like to visit Hangzhou during the peak season, they are suggested they book plane tickets or hotels at least a fortnight in advance. Though the fare is somewhat higher than for the low season, the amazing natural landscape, as well as many Hangzhou festivals during this period will make up for it.
Slack Season: November to March
Nov. to Mar., although cold, are the Hangzhou best times for budget travelers to visit Hangzhou because scenic spots, airline companies, hotels and restaurants usually offer discounts to tourists. However, it does not mean that the scenery in this period is less attractive. Quite the opposite, the West Lake, water towns, etc. take a different aspect in winter, and tourists are able to enjoy them peacefully and leisurely.
Times to Avoid Travel
Overseas tourists had better avoid visiting Hangzhou during the Chinese New Year or the National Day holiday from Oct 1st to 7th, for attractions are too crowded to be enjoyed. Qingming Festival, May Day, and the Dragon Boat Festival are also when many Chinese go on a vacation, thus not good times for overseas tourists. By the way, June and July are the plum rain season in Hangzhou, and tourists who are okay with it remember to bring raingears.
See More about Public Holidays in China.
Travel to Hangzhou in Four Seasons
Spring: March to Mid-June
Spring in Hangzhou features mild temperature and intermitten rains.
Average temperature: 14 - 23℃ (57 - 73℉)
Clothes: overcoat, jacket, sweater, hoodie
Spring is the best time to visit Hangzhou, and a West Lake day tour is a must for every tourist. One may visit famous attractions one by one along the lakeside by foot or bike, such as the Leifeng Pagoda, Lingyin Temple, Peak Flown From Afar and the Running Tiger Spring. Then, tourists may visit the Meijiawu Tea Plantation, which is in the southwest of the scenic area, to experience picking and making tea and taste fresh Longjing Tea. Lastly, tourists may go east to the Qinghefang Ancient Street to taste delicious food and buy some souvenirs. Apart from the West Lake, Hangzhou Botanical Garden is also a good place to have a spring tour. Fragrant magnolia, azalea and cherry blossoms are very beautiful.
Summer: Mid-June to September
June and July are hot and humid. With less rainfall from July to August, the weather is scorching, and sun glasses and sun cream are essentials.
Average temperature: 23 - 31℃ (73 - 88℉)
Clothes: T-shirt, dress, short pants, thin jacket
Thousand Islets Lake Scenic Area is the most popular summer resort near Hangzhou downtown. Tourists may not only enjoy the stunning waterscape, but also go swimming, fishing and canoeing. Xitang Water Town and Nanxun Ancient Town are also recommended for their peaceful water view, quaint alleys and residences, and a slow-paced life. Speaking of summer resort in downtown, Hangzhou, Xixi National Wetland Park should not be forgotten. Large areas of water help tourists survive the scorching summer and it is also the best time to visit the lotuses in bloom inside. Another two cool activities are watching the tidal bore of the Qiantang River in late Sep., and taking a night cruise at the Grand Canal.
Autumn: October to Early December
Autumn in Hangzhou is comfortable and sunny, being the best season to go for an outing.
Average temperature: 10 - 17℃ (50 - 63℉)
Clothes: jacket, hoodie, windbreaker, sweater
At the West Lake, pleasant weather enables tourists to see Twin Peaks Piercing the Clouds, View Fish at the Flower Harbor, or take a walk at the Solitary Hill. Standing on the Baochu Pagoda or the Six Harmonies Pagoda, tourists may enjoy the clear view of the West Lake or the Qiantang River. In the Hangzhou Zoo nearby, one may get close to docile pandas and elephants, and lion shows and tiger shows are very popular among kids. If time permits, tourists may spend two days at the Wuzhen Water Town, 60km (37mi) northeast of downtown. With the autumn wind gently blowing, it is very comfortable to paddle a boat through the river lined with traditional buildings. Historical sites in the west area (Xizha) and acrobatic performances in the east area (Dongzha) are equally worth seeing.
Winter: Mid-December to February
Winter in Hangzhou is cold and dry.
Average temperature: 3 - 10℃ (37 - 50℉)
Clothes: down jacket, sweater, padded trousers, scarf
If it is a snowy day, tourists may feast their eyes on the breathtaking view of the West Lake in snow. However, for those with cold intolerance, a chilly day might be the best time to visit Hangzhou Museum, National Tea Museum, National Silk Museum, or other indoor attractions inside the scenic area. Actually, a more efficient way to warm up is to have some Hangzhou food at nearby restaurants. Top specialties include the West Lake Fish in Vinegar Gravy, Fired Shrimps with Longjing Tea, and the Dongpo Pork. Another recommended place in winter is the Song Dynasty Town. Splendid musical performances bring tourists back to the Hangzhou of 800 years ago. More importantly, in January and February., the Song Dynasty Town hosts a temple fair for visitors to enjoy lantern shows, dragon and lion performances etc.