18 Best Things to Do in Hong Kong with Kids
You won't run out of things to do on a Hong Kong family vacation, trust me.
I had the great fortune of living in Hong Kong for almost 5 years. My daughter was born there and the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong was her first home. We return every year (and I always update this post after we do), because underneath the modern skyscrapers is a surprisingly kid-friendly destination.
People are familiar with Hong Kong’s shopping and even its Michelin-starred dim sum, but confusion sets in when it comes to entertaining the kids in Asia’s World City. The truth is that though it’s not a large destination, being in Hong Kong with kids is easy. And, it’s my favorite city in the entire world.
Table of Contents
- Best Things to Do in Hong Kong with Kids
- 1. Hong Kong Disneyland
- 2. Ocean Park
- 3. Ride the Star Ferry Hong Kong
- 4. Visit The Peak
- 5. Hong Kong Science Museum/Hong Kong Museum of History
- 6. Hong Kong Park
- 7. The Big Buddha and Po Lin Monestary via Ngong Ping 360
- 8. Go Hong Kong Pink Dolphin Watching
- 9. Explore the Geoparks
- 10. Watch the Nightly Symphony of Lights and ICC Light Show
- 11. Ride the Mid-Levels Escalator
- 12. Walk Avenue of the Stars
- 13. Ride or Watch for Duk Ling
- 14. Ferry To Another Island
- 15. Ride the Hong Kong Observation Wheel
- 16. Visit the Repulse Bay Visual Art Museum
- 17. Visit the Trick Eye Museum
- 18. Eat Character Dim Sum
- Good Things to Know When in Hong Kong With Kids
Best Things to Do in Hong Kong with Kids
1. Hong Kong Disneyland
It’s probably the smallest Disney park but we love going to Hong Kong Disneyland. I’m a fan of experiencing Disney in other cultures, because the food is different along with other aspects. Hong Kong Disneyland really delivers. Rides like “it’s a small world” are sung in English though instructions for this and that around the park are typically given in English, Cantonese and Mandarin.
Newer areas like Toy Storyland and usually have the longest lines at Hong Kong Disneyland. Dumbo almost always has a long wait relative to the rest of the park. Of the major roller coasters, Space Mountain is the only one represented here.
Buy tickets in advance online and print them in advance, buy them at the Central MTR station (if in Central) Hong Kong Disneyland kiosk or purchase them through a Hong Kong Disneyland hotel concierge. The key is to buy them in advance to avoid potential lines at park ticket booths.
If short on time, a half-day visit to Hong Kong Disneyland is still worth it. If you’re coming during summer months and would like to skip the lines, think about booking a 3-hour Disneyland VIP Tour ($4688 HKD). The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique princess dress up program, Hong Kong Disneyland character dining, and Disney dim sum all take place at Disneyland Hotel, which is a quick shuttle bus away from the theme park. You’ll need to reserve either of these experiences in advance.
Be sure to check their website, but the single-day Hong Kong Disneyland ticket price ranges from $539 HKD for adults to $385 HKD for kids. The 2-day Hong Kong Disneyland ticket price ranges from $739 HKD for adults to $525 for kids. There is also a special ticket price for seniors.
Though it’s small relative to other Disney parks, Hong Kong Disneyland is one of the best things to do in Hong Kong with kids. See my post about Hong Kong Disneyland which has a good discussion in the comments and tips for visiting Hong Kong Disneyland in the summer.
2. Ocean Park
Sea-themed Ocean Park Hong Kong is on the south side of Hong Kong island and accessible by car, bus or taxi (no MTR service yet but it’s coming!). Some prefer this park to Hong Kong Disneyland, because it’s unique with less crowds and has opportunities for animal encounters (check the schedule). We recently participated in the Honorary Panda Keeper program.
The park is divided into two—a lower level and upper level—connected by a sky tram that provides some of the best views of this part of Hong Kong island, though the sky tram is a bit hairy on windy days. A train now barrels through the mountain to the other side, too. The lines are usually shorter if you take the train up to the upper level and the cable car down.
The Waterfront (lower area) area near the entrance has the pandas, a huge aquarium and a playground for younger kids. The Summit (upper area) has rides for older kids, the sea lions (which you can toss fish to at designated times), the main show area and other attractions.
Ocean Park is also doable with just a half-day if you’re short on time. Also, buy tickets in advance to avoid lines.
3. Ride the Star Ferry Hong Kong
The Star Ferry Hong Kong is a historic American-football-shaped boat that journeys from Central to Kowloon or Wan Chai to Kowloon in just a few minutes (6-12 depending on the time of day).
Depending on how far you have to walk to or from the ferry terminals, it can be faster to take the Star Ferry Hong Kong to Kowloon than the MTR. Starting at $1.4o HKD, it certainly is cheap.
Try to sit on the upper deck to avoid inhaling coal fumes that trap themselves on the lower level. It costs a few extra cents, but I believe it’s worth it. There is no need to really check the schedule (unless you need to ride it very early in the morning or late at night) because the ferries run frequently enough.
4. Visit The Peak
First, pray for a clear day because The Peak offers the most spectacular view of Hong Kong. The viewing deck on the top of The Peak Tower is the perfect place to take that holiday card photo.
Go any time of the day but I think it’s best to maximize your time up here by also dining at the Peak Cafe or Cafe Deco (both sit-down restaurants) or there’s Delifrance, Tai Cheong (my favorite egg tart place) and other fast or fast-casual food, too. Madame Tussaud’s is here as are many, many souvenir shops. The building across from the Peak Tower (where Cafe Deco is) has one of my favorite stores, G.O.D. (Goods of Desire), but there are outlets all over Hong Kong.
Stroll around the Peak Circle Walk for more scenic shots. As the name implies, you can walk an entire circle around The Peak. There’s a little kids’ playground around the middle if they need a break. It takes around 40 minutes to do the entire walk, however, we’ve walked it for a few minutes and turned around back to The Peak Tower.
We usually take The Peak Tram up and taxi back down, because my daughter is usually tired from walking. However, on the most recent trip we walked down the scenic Morning Trail from the Peak all the way back to Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong in Central which took about an hour or so (however, I know where I’m going… if you try and get lost at the bottom of the trail, hail a taxi). Likewise, you could hike down to Pok Fu Lam from The Peak and down a few other trails. If this appeals to you, ask your hotel concierge for a map and make sure your cell phone is charged.
5. Hong Kong Science Museum/Hong Kong Museum of History
Here’s something to do on a rainy day (and, in the summer, there are plenty of rainy days). The Hong Kong Science Museum is located in Tsim Sha Tsui East in Kowloon and has over 500 exhibits on display including Cathay Pacific’s first DC3 airliner, which is suspended from the ceiling. Most of the exhibits are hands-on including a car simulator that you “drive” in an effort to avoid accidents. Another highlight is the 22-meter Energy Machine (the largest of its kind in the world) with audio-visual effects simulating energy. Kids will love it.
The Hong Kong Museum of History is right next door. It is my favorite Hong Kong museum and does have some colorful hands-on exhibits for kids but you will likely enjoy it more than they will. I say hit both at the same time, because they’re not expensive (and free on Wednesdays) and literally right next door to each other.
6. Hong Kong Park
It’s not huge but passing through here is a pleasant thing to do with kids, especially if you’re walking from Central to Admiralty (or vice versa) or need a break from shopping at Pacific Place (one of my favorite indoor malls). Turtles and koi fish can be seen swimming in little ponds along the walkway.
There’s even a small teaware museum worth a quick stroll into. When it’s hot, it’s easy to duck into Pacific Place mall for a drink or bite to eat. This park is a little oasis off of the busy street.
7. The Big Buddha and Po Lin Monestary via Ngong Ping 360
Named for the stunning views seen during a ride, Ngong Ping 360 (a good concierge can buy your tickets in advance) eliminates the need to endure a windy bus ride to the Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island. Take the MTR to Tung Chung station and the cable car is just a few minutes away by foot. Ride in a regular cable car, private cable car or even a glass-bottom cable car. Kids will absolutely love the glass-bottom cable car and the queue to board is shorter.
The cable car drops you at Ngong Ping Village where there is shopping, dining and entertainment (it’s a bit touristy). Nature walks are accessible here but most famous is the Po Lin Monastery (where you may have a decent vegetarian lunch) and the Tian Tan Buddha (otherwise known as the Big Buddha). Do know that though people from all over Asia make the pilgrimage to see the Big Buddha, it was built in 1993. It is still a holy place.
If your kids are good walkers, do take a quick detour to the Wisdom Path where a group of enormous wooden steles display a prayer. It’s great for photos.
My daughter loves visiting the Big Buddha and asks to visit every time we go to Hong Kong now. You can read more about our tips for visiting the Big Buddha because there is a lot to know.
8. Go Hong Kong Pink Dolphin Watching
Sadly, due to pollution, ferries and harbour reclamation, the endangered Hong Kong pink dolphins are becoming even more rare. They are gorgeous and if you can swing 3 hours on a boat, try to see them before they are gone. Through our site affiliate partner Viator, you can book a Hong Kong pink dolphin watching tour.
9. Explore the Geoparks
There are actually eight UNESCO Geoparks in Hong Kong that highlight interesting rock formations created by the Earth’s movement. Contrary to the way the above Geopark looks, there are plenty that are flat and easy for young kids to navigate. There are hexagonal volcanic columns, sea arches and other interesting rock formations. Some of them are remote so your best bet is to do some research in order to decide which are most appropriate for your family.
If you happen to be staying at The Peninsula Hong Kong, they now offer a private helicopter tour of the UNESCO Geoparks as part of their Peninsula Academy bespoke programs.
10. Watch the Nightly Symphony of Lights and ICC Light Show
There is something about this show that I loved throughout the years of living in Hong Kong. I recommend a harbour view hotel room to anyone that might have a chance of seeing the nightly Symphony of Lights over Victoria Harbour.
The ‘World’s Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show’ as named by Guinness World Records starts every night at 8:00pm. Colored lasers and lights shoot from the top of buildings lining the Hong Kong skyline. My daughter is 8-years-old and still loves it. There’s music and narration available on the radio though it’s live near Avenue of the Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui and Wan Chai at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Make sure to see the laser show at least once.
Then, the ICC building, which you can see from Hong Kong island starts its own light show. Download the app so that you can listen to music synchronized with the light show. You can see it extremely well from a harbour view room at Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, the IFC terraces on Podium 3 and 4 as well as a number of harbour view restaurants. The shows happen nightly at 7:45 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.
11. Ride the Mid-Levels Escalator
This activity depends on the level of patience your kids have, but the Mid-Levels Escalator is the largest in the world. Make it a challenge and see if you can ride it all the way to the top—though it doesn’t reach The Peak. If I were you, I’d draw them to the escalator by talking it up. If they start to get bored, use the opportunity to exit the escalator in the Mid-Levels for lunch.
There are tons of great restaurants here. Just know that you’ll either need to taxi back down the hill (very easy to do) or walk down numerous levels of steps as the escalator runs downhill in the morning and switches directions to run uphill for the rest of the day. From the Mid-Levels, it’s easy for young kids to walk down (is tough with a stroller if you don’t know the shortcuts), but any higher than Mosque Street is a major trek for small legs.
12. Walk Avenue of the Stars
This attraction is neat to see, but it will resonate to fans of Chinese film more than the rest of us. Located on the Tsum Sha Tsui promenade in Kowloon, this is also a great place to view the impressive island skyline and Symphony of Lights. It’s modeled a little bit after the Hollywood walk of fame and tells the story of 100 years of Hong Kong film making. The big bronze statue of Bruce Lee here makes for another great photo opp.
13. Ride or Watch for Duk Ling
It’s a Hong Kong icon often seen in travel ads and a sight that lends immediate recognition to Victoria Harbour. Duk Ling is the last authentic Chinese sailing junk in Victoria Harbour. The junk has been painstakingly restored and is available for short cruises during the week or private hire. If you’re not going to ride it, keep an eye out for this famous junk in the harbour. I see it often from Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong.
Another red-sailed junk built by the Aqua Group is also visible on the harbour and available for dining and tours. It’s called Aqua Luna but is a new ship.
There are also a number of junks you can rent by the day (sans the red sails, usually). We’ve done it with friends (and loads of champagne) and it’s quite fun.
14. Ferry To Another Island
Kids who love boat rides can get their fill in Hong Kong between the Star Ferry, Duk Ling, dolphin watching and ferries to outlying islands where the buzz of a big city is less noticeable. The two most popular islands are Cheung Chau (pictured above), which is famous for the annual bun festival in May (if you are in Hong Kong in May, this festival is a must), and Lamma Island, another fishing village.
Cheung Chau is home to a pretty beach near the ferry terminal and water-based outdoor activities like kayaking and swimming, while Lamma Island is home to fresh seafood and a quiet beach. We used to take the 20-minute ferry ride over to Lamma from Central, walk around the island and then eat at one of the small seaside restaurants. The islands, especially Lamma, are relatively quiet and provide a nice break from city life.
15. Ride the Hong Kong Observation Wheel
Recently opened on the Central harbourfront, the new Hong Kong Observation Wheel (or Hong Kong Ferris Wheel) provides 20 minutes of fun for all ages. The wheels spins around 3 times and provides excellent views over Victoria Harbour and is also within walking distance of the ferry terminals and Central hotels. One of the best times to visit is during Golden Hour when the sunlight hits the skyscrapers or during the Symphony of Lights laser show. But, really, any time is a good time.
16. Visit the Repulse Bay Visual Art Museum
My friends in Hong Kong are really getting a kick out of the new Repulse Bay Visual Art Museum, which is an easy bus or ferry ride from Central Hong Kong or anywhere else on the island. Basically, you pose in front of 3-D art and it looks like you are participating in whatever the scene is. We did something similar in Beijing and it was a complete hoot for all ages. We will definitely check out this museum on our next visit. You could easily pair a visit here with lunch at The Verandah (a famous Hong Kong restaurant) and/or a stop at Stanley Market where there are also restaurants. Or, hit the beach at Repulse Bay, too.
17. Visit the Trick Eye Museum
My daughter and her friends loved this little 3-D art museum which is similar in nature to the Repulse Bay Visual Art Museum. I would say allow 30 minutes or so to walk through the rooms in the Trick Eye Museum. This one is convenient because you’ll likely be touring The Peak at some point anyway.
18. Eat Character Dim Sum
Character dim sum is trending in Hong Kong and elsewhere. One of the most popular places for it in Hong Kong is a restaurant called Icon where the themed character dim sum changes every so often to keep people coming in. To be honest, I did not recognize the character series featured when we were there but it didn’t change the fact that the dumplings and noodles were actually pretty good.
Dim Sum Icon in Kowloon, however, is currently featuring Gudetama (which is currently all the rage) and we’re definitely hitting this up next time.
Another option people LOVE is a restaurant called Yum Cha. It looks much more contemporary and trendy with just cute animal-shaped dim sum. If in Central, I would go here over Icon though both are good choices. Do make reservations!
Good Things to Know When in Hong Kong With Kids
No, your child isn’t going to always have to eat dim sum. There is plenty of Western food available, but kid-friendly favorites like steamed rice, fried rice, egg rolls and other simple Chinese food items can be ordered, too. Car seats aren’t required in taxis. Uneven pavement makes using a stroller difficult in some areas and finding a lift in an MTR station can be difficult, though not impossible. Hong Kong residents love kids and I’ve received plenty of help from strangers over the years.
Do research in advance. A great resource for planning a trip to Hong Kong is the Discover Hong Kong website. I hope you wind up loving Hong Kong as much as I do.
What is your favorite thing to do in Hong Kong with kids?
*Photo credits: Geopark, Flickr/Anthorea; Top photo, Ocean Park tram, Star Ferry, Peak Tower, Peak Tram, Symphony of Lights, Duk Ling, Cheung Chau are courtesy of the Hong Kong Tourism Board.