Hong Kong is known for many things — a stunning skyline, exciting attractions, amazing shopping, halal Chinese food and more. But Hong Kong is also a haven for vibrant art spots.
From colourful street art to refurbished spaces and exhibitions, Hong Kong has art for everyone, even if you’re not an arts enthusiast. Here are eight spots to explore. There are plenty of halal food options nearby too.
Sai Ying Pun
1. Artlane (Street Art)
Once under the radar, the up-and-coming district of Sai Ying Pun is now characterised by its Instagrammable street murals. Stepping out of the MTR Sai Ying Pun Station, you immediately see old residential buildings which have been revitalised with a splash of colour, thanks to the visions of local and Hong Kong-based international artists.
These murals are inspired by street art in major cities like New York and London, and they were painted with inspiration from SoHo District’s art and music.
The bulk of these artworks can be found at Ki Ling Lane and Chung Ching Street. With such bright colours and striking characters, they are hard to miss, especially this iconic flight of stairs (pictured above). Be sure to take your time to explore not just the area’s shop facades, but also its back alleys!
Directions: Take the MTR Island Line to Sai Ying Pun Station and head out Exit B3.
2. PMQ, Old Town Central
Once a dormitory for police officers, PMQ (short for Police Married Quarters) is now a refurbished space where art meets shopping and food.
Here’s where you can get an all-in-one shopping experience — uncover unique souvenirs, local designer boutiques and explore art galleries and design studios. Almost 100 design and other creative enterprises call PMQ home. What’s also interesting about PMQ is that its stairs and corners are dotted with artwork, so you can snap that perfect photo for the ‘gram’.
PMQ also holds art shows and fairs regularly such as Draw HK, which showcases the works of hundreds of local students. Plus, for those interested in learning an artform, there are occasional opportunities to sign up for workshops. There’s always something interesting happening at PMQ!
In the sea of skyscrapers in the Central District, Tai Kwun stands out as a fragment of Hong Kong’s past, with its restored architecture. While PMQ used to be the police dormitories, Tai Kwun was the Central Police Station, including the iconic Victoria Prison.
Fun fact: The former Vietnamese communist leader Ho Chi Minh was once held at Victoria Prison.
Once a restricted space, you’re now free to explore all of Tai Kwun’s buildings to admire its architecture or even sign up for interactive tours and attend exhibitions to learn more about Hong Kong’s history.
Tai Kwun is also an important hub for performances and art. Head over to Tai Kwun Contemporary, which holds about six to eight exhibitions a year. Arts enthusiasts can also catch films or watch theatre, music or dance performances here — in both its indoor and outdoor spaces.
Halal food options:
Ebeneezer’s Kebabs & Pizzeria
After immersing yourself in art at PMQ and Tai Kwun, head over to Ebeneezer’s to fill your tummy. This halal chain specialises in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine. Take a bite of their scrumptious doner kebabs, biryanis or curries, which are sure to satisfy your hunger!
Halal status: halal-certified
Address: G/F, 24 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong Island
Directions: Ebeneezer’s is just outside Tai Kwun and a 5-minute walk away from PMQ.
Featuring handprints of over one hundred celebrities emulating the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Avenue of Stars pays homage to the Hong Kong entertainment industry. The handprints can be found on the wooden handrails overlooking the stunning Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong skyline.
Other than handprints, be sure to look out for the iconic statues of Hong Kong stars Bruce Lee and Anita Mui. Not only can you pose for photos with them, but you can even interact with the superstars using Augmented Reality (AR) technology.
As part of the new features of the Avenue of Stars, you can also expect stalls and mobile carts selling all sorts of creative local souvenirs including those from popular brands like Mei Lok Store and even limited-edition Avenue of Stars knick-knacks and exclusive Bruce Lee souvenirs.
5. Xiqu Centre
If you’re interested in immersing yourself in Cantonese opera and traditional Chinese theatre, then the Xiqu Centre is perfect for you.
This performing arts venue boasts designs inspired by traditional Chinese lanterns, but with a modern twist. What’s really interesting is that its entrance is made to resemble parting curtains; definitely perfect for a photo opportunity.
The most striking feature of the Xiqu Centre is its Tea House Theatre as it takes you back in time to create the atmosphere of Hong Kong’s early 20th-century tea house. While watching a performance here, the audience will be treated to tea and dim sum too!
Tip: Even if you don’t watch the performances, you can also learn more about traditional Chinese theatre by attending film screenings, workshops, talks, exhibitions and guided tours at the Xiqu Centre.
Halal food options:
Hung’s Chinese Restaurant
You can never get enough Chinese food while in Hong Kong, so why not head over to Hung’s Chinese Restaurant for a scrumptious meal? Located in Chungking Mansions where there are many halal food options, Hung’s stands out for being the only one here serving Chinese cuisine.
A delicious dish to try is the crispy roasted chicken, which is so juicy and crispy. Pair it with their tantalising black pepper beef and fried rice for an unforgettable meal.
Tip: Chungking Mansions is also home to other great halal eateries like Khyber Pass Mess, Sedique Halal Mess, Syed Bukhara and more.
Halal status: Muslim-owned
Address: Chungking Mansions, 36–44 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Directions: Hung’s is about a 10-minute walk from the Avenue of Stars and about a 15-minute walk from Xiqu Centre.
6. The Mills
What used to be a cotton mill in the 1960s has now been refurbished into a heritage and art space. One of Hong Kong’s latest creative spots, The Mills is now a design hub with plenty of local designer shops, cafes and Instagram-worthy corners.
For those who are interested in learning more about the history of Hong Kong’s textile industry, head over to the Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile (CHAT). There are exhibitions, artist talks and even workshops to get acquainted with textiles.
But if you’re just here to soak in the nostalgic vibes, you’ll be pleased to know that the renovated space has retained some of the architecture of the original cotton mill. Taking a walk in the compounds of The Mills will definitely take you back in time! Be sure to head outside to snap some shots with the picturesque murals reflecting life in the cotton mill.
Halal food options:
Lanzhou Halal Beef Noodles
Just down the road from The Mills, you’ll find a halal eatery selling Lanzhou hand-pulled beef noodles! Take your pick from soupy or dry beef noodles and the best part is, they are wallet-friendly and come in generous portions. Dishes also include stuffed minced lamb and beef puffs. After having a satisfying meal, wash it down with their fragrant herbal tea!
Halal status: halal-certified
Address: 283 Sha Tsui Road, Tsuen Wan, New Territories
Directions: From The Mills, take bus 302 or 84
Yau Ma Tei, Mong Kok and Sham Shui Po
7. Shutter Art by Urban Canvas
The well-known shopping neighbourhoods of Yau Ma Tei, Mong Kok and Sham Shui Po have been around for decades and at first glance, it doesn’t seem there would be much art here. But thanks to a community art project called HK Urban Canvas, some of these districts’ shop shutters have been transformed into vibrant artworks.
What’s really unique about this graffiti art is that it reflects the stories of the shop owners and their professions. How the artists portray the shop owners is really interesting to see!
The project signifies that art isn’t only for art enthusiasts. These streets are frequented every day by locals and it’s intriguing to see how everyday life is mirrored by these artworks. They also make picture-perfect spots too!
Tip: To help navigate your way through these shutter artworks, make sure to download the HK Urban Canvas app on your phone. Not only will you be able to more easily spot the artwork, but you’ll also get to learn more about the stories behind the artworks.
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