Hong Kong seems made especially for families, because there’s so much to do for kids of all ages, and not all of it means spending loads of money. You’ll want to prioritize, being sure also to schedule down time so little ones don’t run out of steam or to ramp it up to keep teenagers engaged. If you have more than a few days, be sure to check out my other itineraries for additional suggestions, like the Temple Street Night Market that is sure to appeal to older kids in the Hong Kong in Two Days itinerary.
Hong Kong’s biggest draw for families is—surprise!—Hong Kong Disneyland. While you might be reluctant to spend time seeing an American theme park in Asia, your little ones may override you, and in any case, there are attractions here you won’t find anywhere else, including Fantasy Gardens where tykes can meet up with famous Disney characters. Otherwise, my preference would be Hong Kong’s own Ocean Park, a combination theme park/aquarium with lots of aquatic animals to ogle, thrill rides that will make you scream your head off, scenic views of the South China Sea band more (I’ve even come here sans children, and I must confess I’ve always had a blast).
Of course, you won’t want to miss Hong Kong’s iconic gems, but while you’re at The Peak you could surprise the kids with a visit also to Madame Tussauds, where they can take photos of themselves standing next to Taylor Swift, Michael Jackson, President Obama and other famous people for their Snapchat friends. A cross-harbor trip on the Star Ferry is a Hong Kong tradition, but why not extend the experience with a one-hour Harbour Tour, giving your family time to relax and enjoy Hong Kong’s famous skyline?
Just because it’s a vacation doesn’t mean it can’t be educational, too, so consider a visit to the Hong Kong Museum of History if they’re older and/or the Hong Kong Science Museum if they’re younger. Both are located in Tsim Sha Tsui East, right across a plaza from each other.
As for free things to do in Hong Kong, Yuen Po Street Bird Market is probably something you won’t see back home, a unique area with a garden set aside for songbird owners who come to give their birds some fresh air, and for vendors selling everything necessary for these precious pets. On the other side of the harbor, the Hong Kong Zoological & Botanical Gardens is filled with more than 1,000 plants and trees as well as various species of birds, monkeys and other animals.
Parks, too, offer lots of room to roam, including Kowloon Park with its playgrounds, hedge maze, aviary, fitness trail, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and other diversions (including free kung fu and other performances Sunday afternoons). Across the harbor, Hong Kong Park also offers a playground, aviary, greenhouse and more. If swimming is your family’s passion, many public parks have pools, but Hong Kong also has 40 public beaches, spread around Hong Kong Island, the outlying islands and the New Territories.
But no matter how you decide to fill your days, you’ll want to end at least one of them viewing the Symphony of Lights, a nightly spectacle featuring colored lights, laser beams and searchlights projected from buildings on both sides of the harbor and authenticated by Guinness World Records as the “World’s Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show.”