In a city as vibrant and cosmopolitan as Hong Kong, there’s a lot happening throughout the year. Cultural celebrations, festivals, international sporting events, art exhibitions, concerts, and so much more. As with so much in Hong Kong, the challenge is in the choosing. Start with these major crowd pleasers and take it from there.
As the clock strikes 12 and New Year comes a-calling, Victoria Harbour lights up in an epic display of music and fireworks. Watch it by the shore, head out to sea or zoom up a skyscraper to catch it in the clouds.
Pin a number on your shirt and hit the streets, as long-distance runners take part in the city’s biggest marathon. The Hong Kong Marathon has been on-the-run since 1997, the annual event seeing up to 60,000 people compete at the beginning of every year. While the full marathon distance covers over 40km, there are half-marathon and 10km races too.
Hong Kong’s biggest festival, and one that sweeps over the entire city. Red lanterns are hung all across town, lion dances are performed on the streets, and crowds head down to their local temple to pray for good fortune. Chinese New Year, observed in January or February according to the Chinese lunar calendar, is a celebration that Hong Kong adores. Take a wander through the many makeshift markets selling all manner of festive items, stop in to see floats at the carnival, and then catch the stunning fireworks display that lights up Victoria Harbour.
Culture vultures come flying into town, as March signals Arts Month. From fine art to festivals like Art Basel, Art Central and Hong Kong Arts Festival, to operatic events and outdoor live music shows, there’s something for everyone.
Since its modest inception in 1993, Le French May has matured into one of the largest French arts festivals in Asia, bringing the spirit of France to Hong Kong. Francophiles can savour a rich cornucopia of French culture, as well as French culinary arts through the popular stand-alone programme called Le French GourMay.
Mid-Autumn was once celebrated to welcome the harvest and is now an enduring custom that takes over the city. Mooncakes are sold everywhere, fruit and wine offerings are made to the gods, and lanterns are lit to emulate the full moon in September or October. In Victoria Park, kids carry mini-lanterns, while games and performances take place. Over in Tai Hang, the Fire Dragon Dance is a spectacle where an incense-studded beast dances through the streets.
With names like Venus Williams, Jelena Jankovic and Johanna Konta regularly gracing our hard courts, the Hong Kong Tennis Open is quickly becoming a major sporting spectacle. Set every October in Victoria Park’s outdoor stadium, catch the world’s best women’s players for a weekend of singles and doubles matches. And if you’re lucky enough to be here during the first few days, the qualifying stages are free entry on a first-come basis.
Started in the 1970s as a local club affair, the Sevens has blossomed into Hong Kong’s biggest sporting showcase. Tickets are nigh impossible to procure, but those that gain entrance are treated to a true spectacle. The world’s finest athletes battle in rapid-fire games for three days, while local legions watch on, most infamously from the South Stand. If you can’t gain entrance, neighbouring Sevens Village makes an entertaining substitute. This infamous event is usually held in April, so October visitors should consider themselves lucky!
First held in 1906, the Cross Harbour Race has served as one of Hong Kong’s most celebrated events for over 70 years, attracting almost 1,000 participants and even more spectators to watch them swim across the iconic Victoria Harbour. After suspension in 1979, the event resumed in 2011, delighting locals and promoting the sport of swimming.
Cyclothon sees amateurs and professionals riding through the city.
Get in the swing of things at the Hong Kong Open, the city’s oldest professional sporting event and a tournament where the world’s best golfers gather. Set in Sheung Shui as the weather starts to cool in December, it regularly awards a US$2 million prize, with previous winners including Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose. Admission is free on the first two days, and ticketed for the main event over the weekend.
Soak in the heavy festive ambience in Hong Kong with a merry season like nowhere else! In winter, the skyline shines with more glamour than usual as buildings are dolled up for the jolly occasion. Don’t miss holiday events at top attractions, special shopping offers and festive menus that will fuel your excitement and add to the joyous atmosphere!