Top Things to Do in Hong Kong with Young Kids
My mother took me on my very first trip to Hong Kong when I was six, and since then, I’ve been going back regularly, for reasons varying from fun trips to work trips to extended layover trips. I love Hong Kong's unique balance between urban and nature, East and West, and not to mention the mouth-watering, jaw-dropping Cantonese food.
When I visited Hong Kong before I had kids, I’d wander into narrow street alleys for authentic local flavors, and jump on a double-decker bus for an adrenaline-filled ride to Stanley’s beaches (the bus drivers make it an Ocean Park roller-coaster ride for adults).
But when we travel with young kids, we have to slow the pace down a notch. As for shopping in Causeway Bay and bar-hopping in Lan Kwai Fong, unless you have a nanny or if your hotel can book you a babysitter, you’d have to wait for another trip.
Here are my top picks of things to do in Hong Kong with toddlers and young kids. Note that I did not include Disneyland or Ocean Park as I find them more fun with older kids. The following places are fun and safe for everyone, for the young kids, for the parents, and even for solo travelers.
1. Take the Peak Tram for a Bird’s-Eye View of Hong Kong
There really is no shortage of places with good views in Hong Kong, but Victoria Peak is the absolute highest point on Hong Kong island. The queue is long, the hill is steep, but taking the Peak Tram that dates from Victorian times up a 30-degree angle passing skyscrapers is just too good of an experience to miss. The best time to go? Right before sunset on a clear day.
2. Refresh in Hong Kong Park, the Urban Oasis
How often do you get to be in a park filled with tropical plants and surrounded by skyscraper-topped hills? Hong Kong Park won’t disappoint. It’s not far from the Peak Tram, if you are a family of good walkers, it’s nice to stroll through the park on your way to or from the visit to take the Peak Tram.
The land where the park stands today used to be a garrison in colonial times. It went through a complete makeover in the early 1990s to become Hong Kong’s very own “Central” park. To get a glimpse of history, visit Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware in the park, it was the office of the Commander of British Forces in Hong Kong, you get to learn about tea and see some amazing teacups!
The park itself encompasses lily ponds, fountains, waterfalls, and a “tropical forest” aviary with colorful birds… in other words, it’s a true oasis amidst the urban jungle. It is, hands down, our favorite park in Hong Kong.
3. Weave Through a Maze to go on the Hong Kong Observation Wheel
OK, there’s no actual maze, but the intricate network of elevated walkways and elevators that go through countless buildings in Central is very much like one and worth seeing.
The connecting walkways can take you from the Landmark (the swank indoor mall) through the IFC complex (Airport Express station, IFC Mall, Four Seasons Hotel) all the way to the Hong Kong-Macau ferry terminal. The walkways are stroller-friendly in general, and when it rains, you’d highly appreciate the fact that they are covered so you can go on sightseeing perfectly carefree.
Once you walk through Central and your little companions need some rest, it’s time to go to the Observation Wheel. Before going to the ride, you could stop by City Super supermarket inside IFC Mall to grab some beverages and snacks to calm the starving ones. Once you get on the Observation Wheel, you get 3 rounds and 20 minutes of peace and quiet as your kids watch the stunning harbor view from their seats inside the giant ferris wheel. Priceless.
4. Walk Along the Kowloon Riverfront to see Stars and Lights
The best place to see the glistening towers of Central? Right across from the harbor in Kowloon. There used to be the Avenue of Stars, Hong Kong film industry’s answer to Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, but it’s going through a renovation project from 2015 to 2018.
Without the crowd, we find the stroller-friendly walk along Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade quite pleasant. Once you arrive at Signal Hill Garden, you’ll find some remaining statues from the Avenue of Stars including one of Bruce Lee. Bonus: a children’s playground is right there.
Every night at 8PM, there’s “A Symphony of Lights” in Central, the world's largest permanent light and sound show (Guinness World Records) projected from the buildings that ends in fireworks. It’s great to see it from the West Kowloon Waterfront Promenade by the Cultural Centre because you can hear the show’s music and narrative. (Laser lights not shown in my picture below, but you get the idea.)
5. Have Afternoon Tea at the Peninsula Hotel Hong Kong
This is one of Travel Chic Mom’s favorite activities, and just because we’re traveling with young kids doesn’t mean that we should sacrifice this kind of gastronomical pampering.
Taking tea at the Peninsula Hong Kong is quintessential. Even if you have toddlers in tow, all you need is a little bit of planning for this to be a pleasant experience for everyone. Read more about my tips to have tea at the Peninsula with toddlers.
6. Relax and Stroll Along the Beach at Stanley
I did mention that taking the bus from Central to Stanley is an exciting journey, but if you’re traveling with young kids, you might want to take a taxi (~30 minutes).
Stanley is on the south side of Hong Kong island, and just when you start to get dizzy with all the tall buildings and bright neon lights, you come to Stanley and realize that you are indeed on a (sub)tropical island. Because you get the beach here. With all the Greek and Spanish restaurants around, you even feel a slight Mediterranean vibe.
After relaxing at Stanley Main Beach, stroll down Stanley Promenade from Stanley Market to Blake Pier, relax and watch the waves go by. If you're lucky, the local fisherman might show you their fresh catch. After an afternoon of far niente, why not watch the sunset while having dinner at the Murray House? Now that’s my idea of dolce vita in Hong Kong.
7. Have a Sky-Land-Sea Adventure with Ngong Ping 360
If you want to take a day trip away from the dizzying buildings of Central and Kowloon and reconnect with Nature, Ngong Ping 360 experience on Lantau island is the way to go. You take an aerial tram, visit a giant Buddha statue on top of a hill, and see an authentic fisherman's village with stilt houses built on water.
We packed in the Ngong Ping 360 trip on our last day in Hong Kong since the airport is only a 10 minute taxi ride away from the aerial cable car station. So within a single day, we took the Kowloon station shuttle bus, the MTR subway, the aerial tram, the bus, the boat, taxis, and a Boeing 777! If only we packed in a bike ride and a donkey ride…
Tip for Ngong Ping 360: Make sure you buy the tickets online in advance to save waiting time in line, it can be dreadful. The best deal is the 360 Sky-Land-Sea Day Pass, and if the budget allows, book the crystal cabin, the line is significantly shorter than for the standard cabins.
8. Chill at a Pool with a View of Hong Kong
Let’s face it. After an intense trip seeing everything in Hong Kong, kids and adults alike need some downtime to rest. Furthermore, Hong Kong has a humid subtropical climate, which means that in most months of the year, you’d want to chill in a pool after a day out.
On our recent trip to Hong Kong, we stayed at the Hotel Icon Hong Kong, an independent, experimental hotel that exceeded my expectations. We enjoyed some fun pool time at the hotel’s outdoor pool that overlooked the Victoria Harbor at the Central skyline.
At night, why not go for another dip with a splendid view of the glamorous Hong Kong before kissing goodnight?
Here are my hand-picked hotels that have pools with great views in Hong Kong for your next hotel booking. I really think this kind of experience makes a trip particularly memorable.
And you never know, perhaps you'll find an amazing pool with... Airbnb. Sign up and get a $25 credit on me!
And here is the map with all the places I’ve mentioned in the post for your reference.