Drawing on six years of fieldwork in Beijing, this article looks at the daily interactions of ethnic minorities in local neighbourhoods and places of economic activities. Moreover, it examines ethnic minorities’ negotiations with public institutions, the Han majority and other ethnic minority groups. The article suggests that celebratory ethno-festivals and ethnic-oriented restaurants that showcase minority traditions serve as a mechanism to encourage Han interactions with ethnic minority groups. However, the attendant risk in utilizing this practice is that the socio-economic struggles of many ethnic minority groups are being masked when a celebratory version of their culture and traditions are presented. This can potentially lead to reduce meaningful Han-ethnic minority interactions in the future.