Although just 1,114 square kilometres (four times smaller than Tokyo and nine times smaller than Los Angeles), Hong Kong packs a lot of punch within the 250+ islands that make up the territory. From fishing villages that appear as if they’ve been frozen in time to night markets full of streets upon streets of trinkets, and grand museums to one of the most awesome giant Buddha statues in the world, it’s impossible to fully grasp the mingling of cultures and history that has made the city of Hong Kong what it is today in just one trip. However, we’ve put together a list of some of the essential Hong Kong attractions you must see to give you the best idea of just what this city is all about.
Antique Street & Cat Street
The small lanes of Antique Street and Cat Street in Sheung Wan are one of the best places to visit for antique treasure hunters. Wander through rows of stalls selling everything from Maoist memorabilia and vintage teacups to exquisite jade. It’s the perfect spot to snag unique souvenirs and soak in the local ambiance. The neighbourhood of Sheung Wan also houses many boutique shops, cafés, and bars, making it a must-visit to explore a piece of Hong Kong’s east-meets-west, old-meets-new culture.
Best For: Antique and souvenirs shopping
How to get there: From Sheung Wan MTR Station, walk along Hillier Street and then take the steps up, or continue further to ascend Ladder Street; either route will lead you there. Look for signposts indicating Cat Street when you reach the street
Website: Cat Street’s website
Avenue of Stars
Hong Kong’s Avenue of Stars, reminiscent of Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, celebrates film legends like Bruce Lee and Anita Mui, featuring statues and handprints like director John Woo’s. Located on Tsim Sha Tsui harbourfront, it’s an ideal spot to view the city skyline. Don’t miss the nightly 8 pm Symphony of Light show. Nearby, the Hong Kong Museum of Art and other cultural tourist places offer free entry on Wednesdays.
Best For: Victoria Harbour view
How to get there: From Tsim Sha Tsui or Tsim Sha Tsui East MTR Station, exit from the K11 MUSEA exit then walk towards the harbourfront. Or take the ferry from Central (pier 7) or Wan Chai to the Star Ferry Pier and start walking along the harbourfront
Website: Avenue of Stars’ website
Big Buddha (Tian Tan Buddha)
Standing 112 ft tall on Lantau Island, the Tian Tan Buddha, also known as the Big Buddha, is the world’s largest outdoor seated bronze Buddha. Reach this tourist attraction via a scenic 25-minute gondola ride on Ngong Ping 360, followed by a stroll through Ngong Ping Village. After climbing 268 steps, enjoy views of surrounding nature and explore halls with Gautama Buddha relics. Visitors are also welcome to try vegetarian food at the nearby Po Lin Monastery.
Best For: Historic Buddha statue and serene ambience
How to get there: From Tung Chung MTR Station, take exit B and board the Ngong Ping 360 cable car to Ngong Ping Village. Then, it’s a 10-minute walk to the Big Buddha.
Website: Po Lin Monastery’s website
Chi Lin Nunnery & Nan Lian Garden
Escape to the serene Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden in Hong Kong. This historic Buddhist sanctuary boasts remarkable Tang dynasty wooden architecture, built entirely without nails. Adjacent to it, Nan Lian Garden is a picturesque retreat, complete with a red bridge and the Pavilion of Absolute Perfection. This peaceful tourist place offers a refreshing contrast to the busy city life around it.
Best For: Buddist culture & Chinese traditional architecture
How to get there: From Diamond Hill MTR station, take exit C2 and walk 5 minutes to Chi Lin Nunnery
Golden Bauhinia Square
Golden Bauhinia Square is home to the Forever Blooming Bauhinia Sculpture, which commemorates the 1997 Handover and was gifted by the Chinese government. Adjacent to the HKCEC, this tourist attraction is best for sightseeing, hosting daily flag-raising ceremonies at 8 am, performed to the national anthem by the Hong Kong Police. Following the ceremony, enjoy a stroll along the Expo Promenade for stunning views of Victoria Harbour.
Best For: Historic monument and flag-raising ceremony
How to get there: From Exhibition Centre MTR station, take exit B and walk 5 minutes to Golden Bauhinia Sqaure
Website: Golden Bauhinia Square’s website
Happy Valley Racecourse
Wondering where to go in Hong Kong in the middle of the week? Happy Valley Racecourse isn’t just about horse racing; it’s an iconic mid-week hotspot! On Wednesdays, join the crowd for live races, music, and a lively beer garden atmosphere. Perfect for beginners and racing pros alike, these nights offer a unique blend of excitement and entertainment.
Best For: Mid-week night out
How to get there: The non-member entry to the racecourse is via Wong Nai Chung Road. From the Causeway Bay MTR Station, exit from Time Square then walk 5-10 minutes to the entrance. Alternatively, take the Happy Valley tram to the last stop and walk across the road to the track
Website: Happy Valley Racecourse’s website
Hong Kong Disneyland
The Happiest Place on Earth can also be found in Hong Kong! This magical tourist attraction, complete with seven themed lands and the exclusive World of Frozen, offers endless fun for all. Stay for the dazzling ‘Momentous’ fireworks show and the charming shows. Whether it’s a family trip or a solo adventure, Disneyland is worth a full day trip. Read our full Disneyland guide before you visit!
Best For: Disney fans, family day-out
How to get there: Take the Disneyland Resort line from Sunny Bay Station to reach the theme park
Website: Hong Kong Disneyland’s website
Hong Kong Observation Wheel
The Hong Kong version of the London Eye is located in front of Victoria Harbour. A 15-minute ride on this 60m Ferris Wheel is perfect for sightseeing and cityscape snaps, day or night. Located at the Central Harbourfront, it’s a great tourist spot to catch events like Hong Kong’s largest music festival – Clockenflap. A must-visit for both views and vibes!
Best For: Victoria Harbour and city skyline view
How to get there: Take Star Ferry from Tsim Sha Tsui to Central Pier then walk over. Or, from Hong Kong MTR Station, exit from IFC mall then walk 5-10 minutes to reach the wheel.
Website: Hong Kong Observation Wheel’s website
If you’re looking for a good bargain, then Tung Choi Street, also known as Ladies’ Market, is your go-to destination. Don’t be fooled by its name; the stalls here offer everything from luxury replicas to affordable tech. This 1 km pedestrian-only street is lined with stalls and complemented by stores, restaurants, and street food vendors behind them. Popular with both tourists and locals, the famous place comes alive in the afternoon. Nearby attractions include Sneaker Street, Goldfish Street, and the Flower Market.
Best For: Street market
How to get there: From Mong Kok MTR Station, take Exit E2 and walk for two minutes along Nathan Road towards Shan Tung Street to reach Tung Choi Street.
Lan Kwai Fong
Hong Kong, a city that never sleeps, is energetic with late-night shops and restaurants, and lively streets even at 9pm. The heart of this buzz is Lan Kwai Fong, one of the city’s most famous places to go at night. On Fridays and weekends, it’s a hub of energy with young crowds filling pubs, lounges, and nightclubs, often spilling onto the streets during major events like Halloween, Rugby Sevens, and New Year’s Eve.
Best For: Bar hoping and clubbing
How to get there: From Central MTR station, take exit D2 and walk 3 minutes uphill to Lan Kwai Fong
Website: Lan Kwai Fong’s website
Man Mo Temple
In the eclectic neighborhood of Sheung Wan, you can find the city’s oldest temple, Man Mo Temple. Established in 1847, this historical sanctuary honors the gods of literature and martial arts. Wander through its incense-filled, lavish halls and experience tranquility in this Grade I Historic Building. Before or after your visit to this popular tourist attraction, explore the charming neighborhood surrounded by antique stores.
Best For: Spiritual heritage
How to get there: From Sheung Wan MTR station, take exit A1 and walk your way up to Hollywood Road. Alternatively, take the Mid-Level Escalator from Central to Hollywood Road then walk over
Ocean Park, Hong Kong’s cherished amusement park, offers thrill rides, oceanariums, and Water World, the city’s largest water park in Hong Kong. Spread across a mountainside, it features unique attractions like Old Hong Kong Street, Amazing Asian Animals with giant pandas, and Polar Adventure with penguins. The park is also a famous for its October Halloween event, Asia’s biggest, with haunted houses and themed rides.
Best For: Family day out
How to get there: From Ocean Park MTR station, take exit B and walk one minute to Ocean Park.
Website: Ocean Park’s website
Sky100 Hong Kong Observation Deck
For a unique bird’s-eye perspective of the famous skyline, head to the Sky100 Observation Deck. Located on the 100th floor of the ICC, the city’s tallest building, this observation deck is among the best places to visit for a 360-degree view of Hong Kong. Ascend in the city’s fastest elevator, explore local history with interactive exhibits, and enjoy a coffee break at Café 100, operated by The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong.
Best For: 360-degree unobscured view of Hong Kong
How to get there: From Kowloon MTR station, exit from Elements mall and walk 5 minutes to ICC
Website: Sky100 Observation Deck’s website
Hop on the iconic symbol of Hong Kong – the Star Ferry. In just 5 minutes, this affordable ride travels from one shore to the other between Central and Tsim Sha Tsui, offering front-row seats to the city’s skyline. Running all day, every day, it provides a leisurely way to do sightseeing from a new angle while enjoying the breeze.
Best For: A leisure ride on the iconic ferry across the Victoria Harbour
How to get there: The ferry service runs from Tsim Sha Tsui Pier to/from Central Pier every 5 minutes during operation hours
Website: Star Ferry’s website
Symphony of Lights
Catch the Symphony of Lights, a dazzling 10-minute show every night at 8 pm along Hong Kong’s harbor. Featuring 43 buildings in a choreographed dance of lights and music, it offers a visual feast best enjoyed from the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront. This world-record show, blending modern technology with traditional Chinese instruments, is a perfect sightseeing activity that symbolizes Hong Kong’s ‘East meets West’ ethos.
Best For: Large-scale evening light show along Victoria Harbour
How to get there: For the best view, head to Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront. Take the ferry to Tsim Sha Tsui Pier and walk over to the promenade, or take the MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui East station and walk over
Website: Symphony of Lights’ website
Tai O Fishing Village
Often dubbed ‘Hong Kong Venice’, Tai O is a historic fishing village unique for its stilt houses, or pang uk, not seen elsewhere in the city. Descended from early boat-dwelling communities, residents here live in metal and wood homes built on stilts over water. Famous for its salted fish and boat tours to see pink dolphins, Tai O is a captivating tourist attraction.
Best For: Relaxing in a traditional village
How to get there: From Tung Chung MTR station Exit A and take bus 11 to Tung Chung Town Centre. Or take the ferry from Central to Mui Wo (pier 6) and then catch bus 1 to the village.
If you crave the vibrant energy of a night market, head to Temple Street in Yau Ma Tei. The historic street market, revamped and reopened in December 2023, offers delicious street food classics like three stuffed treasures and mock shark’s fin soup. Explore stalls selling everything from trendy electronics to fortune-telling services. Open daily from 2 pm to 11 pm, the tourist spot usually comes alive after 8 pm.
Best For: Night market
How to get there: From Jordan MTR station, take exit A and walk 1 minute to the entrance of Temple Street Night Market
Website: Temple Street Night Market’s website
Victoria Peak, the highest point on Hong Kong Island, offers stunning city views from 1,811 ft above. Historically a retreat for wealthy expats, this famous tourist place now features Peak Tower and Peak Galleria with shops, restaurants, and a Madame Tussauds museum. While the Peak Tower observation deck charges HK$75, lower decks offer similar breathtaking views of Victoria Harbour and the outlying islands for free!
Best For: City and Victoria Harbour view
How to get there: Take the equally iconic Peak Tram from Admiralty. Alternatively, there are multiple bus and minibuses to the Peak Galleria. You can also hike your way up from Central
Website: The Peak’s website
Tsz Shan Monastery
Visit Tsz Shan Monastery for a serene escape. Home to the 76-metre tall Guan Yin statue and nestled away from buzzing city life, this monastery offers a tranquil atmosphere. Its grand courtyards and contemplative spaces blend white marble and African wood amidst natural beauty. One of the essential places to visit for appreciating Buddhist culture, visits are by appointment only, available through their website.
Best For: Buddhist culture and the Guan Yin statue
How to get there: From Tai Po Market MTR station, take minibus 20B, 20C, 20T, NR532, or bus 75K or 275R to San Tau Kok. Then walk 10 minutes to the monastery.
Website: Tsz Shan Monastery’s website
West Kowloon Cultural District
If you’re interested in cultural activities and want to know where to go in Hong Kong, the answer is the West Kowloon Cultural District. This tourist spot features the M+ Museum, Hong Kong Palace Museum, and Art Park. Don’t miss M+, with its stunning LED facade and diverse art collections, including works by renowned artists like Yayoi Kusama. Beyond art enthusiasts, the district also offers a large green open space for families to enjoy waterfront picnics.
Best For: Museums and large green space for picnics
How to get there: From Kowloon MTR station, take exit B and walk about ten minutes to West Kowloon Cultural District
Website: West Kowloon Cultural District’s website
Header image credit: Michael Kafka via Flickr