In partnership with Hong Kong Tourism Board & Cathay Pacific
It’s no secret that Hong Kong is a world-famous for incredible urban adventures, delectable street food delights and show-stopping shopping. What’s less obvious is Hong Kong’s merits as a destination for art lovers, whether you prefer traditional settings like a museum, street art or even special art events that only occur during certain times of the year. Continue reading for a round up of the best things to do in Hong Kong for art lovers.
Hong Kong Art Venues
You don’t need to go out of your way to enjoy the arts in Hong Kong. You’ll find H Queen’s, a 24-story collection of non-traditional exhibition spaces in a “vertical” venue that could only exist in Hong Kong, mere minutes from Central Station. Spend a bit farther on foot and you’ll reach Hollywood Road’s Tai Kwun complex, which features several unique art show venues, in addition to a variety of retail and restaurant outlets.
On the other side of Victoria Harbour? Head to Xiqu Centre, which is just steps from the new West Kowloon high-speed train station, and is dedicated to preserving the Chinese theatre tradition of xiqu.
Alternatively, if you want to experience Hong Kong’s arts scene but only have a short layover at HKIA, head to the just-opened Centre for Heritage Arts & Textile. Located near Tsing Yi (the closest Airport Express stop to HKIA), this rich art hub immortalizes the craftsmanship of the historical Nan Fung textile mill.
Key International Art Events in Hong Kong
In addition to art venues you can enjoy all 365 days, a number of high-profile art events come to Hong Kong throughout the year. Perhaps the most famous of these is Art Basel Hong Kong, the flagship exhibition of the Art Basel franchise in Asia. Like its sister productions in Miami Beach (and, of course, the Swiss city of Basel), Art Basel Hong Kong spotlights the artistic diversity of the region, with a captivating array of artwork that highlights historical approaches to the creation of art, as well as more contemporary techniques.
If you’re looking for art events that are born-and-bred in Hong Kong, try Art Central or the Hong Kong Arts Festival. Art Central, which will celebrate its fifth year this March, sees more than 100 galleries from around the world (most of them from the Asia-Pacific region) showcase their best art right along the Central Harbourfront. Hong Kong Arts Festival, for its part, runs from late February to late March, and spotlights a variety of artistic pursuits, from opera, to dance, to theatre, to live music performances.
The Best Hong Kong Street Art
Some of the world’s most talented artists have blessed Hong Kong’s streets and alleys with their work. On Hong Kong Island, scope out street art in Sai Ying Pun, whose vibrant murals are a colorful profusion of pop culture, politics and personal artistic statements.
You’ll also find amazing graffiti along Hollywood Road (whose world-famous bars are likely already on your Hong Kong itinerary) and beside the steps of Shelley Street, which leads from Central up into the Mid-Levels.
Riding the Star Ferry to Tsim Sha Tsui, you’ll also find a variety of sprayed-on art. Walk up Nathan Road from the waterfront to Kowloon Park, whose stone steps bear colorful images of birds and other nature. A couple MTR stops away, the aptly-named “Graffiti Wall of Fame” on Mong Kok’s bustling Argyle Street showcases a staggering variety of eclectic spray paint landscapes. Even further north, in vibrant Sham Shui Po district, Man Fung Building is an example of how utilitarian urban design can be both beautiful and practical, thanks to the three-dimensional “Rainbow Thief” by Madrid-based artist Okuda.
“Found Art” in Hong Kong
Street art notwithstanding, some would argue that Hong Kong’s cityscape itself is a work of art. Nowhere is this more apparent that along the Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui. High-five a statue of world-famous Jackie Chan, then take long-exposure shots of the glittering Hong Kong Island skyline, with the ruby sails of junk boats flapping in the gentle wind, and contrasting beautifully with the turquoise waters of Victoria Harbour. Or, ascend the historical Peak Tram to the iconic Peak Tower, where all of Hong Kong’s thousands of skyscrapers are literally at your feet.
Hong Kong is also high-art in its humbler reaches. You can photograph truly beautiful examples of public housing, from the rainbow façade of Choi Hung Estate and the green-clad utilitarianism of Nam Shan Estate in Kowloon, to Hong Kong island’s Lai Tak Tsuen, whose circular balconies seem almost extraterrestrial as you gaze up through the courtyard.
Visit the so-called “Instagram Pier” at Sai Wan Waterfront, which was until very recently a cargo dock, or snap shots of the world-famous neon signs of Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok as they light up each evening.
Other Opportunities to See Art in Hong Kong
Still other examples of art in Hong Kong defy categorization. The annual Chinese New Year Parade takes place on February 5, 2019, when hundreds of luminous floats that portray a colorful diversity of traditional and contemporary Chinese imagery will roll through the city.
April, meanwhile, sees the arrival of Hong Kong Sevens, where the artistry in question is sport—rugby in this case. Make sure to check out Cathay Pacific’s exclusive offers for unbeatable deals on travel to Hong Kong during HK Sevens.
Hong Kong is one of the world’s pre-eminent art destinations, no matter which style of art appeals to you most, or which venues strike your fancy. Whether you prefer street art in Sai Ying Pun or want to rub elbows with the high-art crowd at Art Basel, there’s never been a more beautiful reason to plan a visit to Asia’s world city.