Best 38 Free Things to Do in Hong Kong

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Jonathan

Find out Hong Kong's top attractions that you can enjoy at no cost, including The Peak, Victoria Harbour, free museum admissions, and more.

Hong Kong may be one of the most expensive and densest cities in the world. As a result, the city may seem cramped at first glance and can get expensive sometimes. However, there are many things that you can do and visit for free.

Are you a city person who likes sightseeing? The cityscape and iconic buildings are something that you can tour and admire. Love the outdoors? Visit the urban parks and gardens, or hike in the countryside. Or looking for kid-friendly activities? Take them to the promenades or visit world-class museums for free every Wednesday.

There are also numerous amazing activities that, albeit paid, are very affordable, like the HK$6.5 (~US$0.2) Star Ferry. But for this article, let’s focus on the best free things to do in Hong Kong.

Admire Hong Kong’s Iconic Skyline

Having one of the most beautiful skylines in the world, you should definitely see Hong Kong’s. Seeing it is free and very easy to do as there are numerous ways to see it. Most people consider that the best spot to see the skyline is from the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade or West Kowloon area (Kowloon Peninsula side). There, you will see many iconic buildings against the backdrop of Victoria Peak.

1. Avenue of Stars

Avenue of Stars has handprints of famous Hong Kong celebrities along its railings. It also has excellent street-view of Victoria Harbour.
Avenue of Stars has handprints of famous Hong Kong celebrities along its railings. It also has excellent street-view of Victoria Harbour. Photo credit © Jackimage520429

Located in Tsim Sha Tsui promenade, Avenue of Stars is a 440 m (1,440 ft) waterfront that pays tribute to Hong Kong’s film industry. The place is perfect not only for admiring the city’s skyline, but also for finding handprints of your favorite Asian movie stars like Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh, Andy Lau, and more, along with their brief filmography. Don’t forget to also look for Bruce Lee’s lifesize statues. Avenue of Stars is very easy to reach from Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station.

2. Symphony of Lights

Symphony of Lights Hong Kong
Photo credit © Woraphon Banchobdi

If you visit the Avenue of Stars just before 8 p.m., you can watch the Symphony of Lights to get a special view of the skyline. Why? Because more than 40 buildings on both sides of the harbour put on a sound and laser show illuminates the sky every night. With music, narration, and lights coming together, it creates an unforgettable spectacle.

3. Clock Tower

Clock Tower lights up beautifully at dusk. To its left is an observation platform with amazing view of Victoria Harbour.
Clock Tower lights up beautifully at dusk. To its left is an observation platform with amazing view of Victoria Harbour. Photo credit © Tomas1111

While admiring the skyline, do a short walk west from Avenue of Stars to find the Clock Tower. It is one of Hong Kong’s declared monuments and is a nostalgic symbol of the city’s colonial past. Standing tall since 1915, this landmark was once the Kowloon station, part of the early railway network of China (Kowloon–Canton Railway). The tower’s well-preserved looks and charm along with the view of Victoria Harbour makes it an ideal photo spot.

Marvel at Bird’s Eye View of Victoria Harbour

Victoria Harbour seen from above is just as beautiful as from the ground level, if not more impressive. The best and most popular place to do so is from The Peak. Unlike Tsim Sha Tsui, where the focus is the skyline, you will treated to an amazing panoramic bird’s eye view of the harbour and city. The most recommended way, especially for tourists, is to ride The Peak Tram, one of Hong Kong’s top attractions. It is a paid ride, but fortunately, there are things you can do to get there for free.

4. Hike to The Peak

The Peak is the tallest hill on Hong Kong Island, where you can also find shopping malls and an observatory deck. Without riding the tram, you will have to hike or take a bus/taxi to go up there. Bus is the most affordable option and can take you straight there. But if you love nature and want to save even more money, then try hiking from Old Peak Road. It is a relatively moderate hike of about 45 minutes. The trail is full of trees, but you may get panoramic views of the city along the way.

5. Lugard Road & Lion’s Pavilion

Bird's eye view of Victoria Harbour from Lugard Road at The Peak.
Bird’s eye view of Victoria Harbour from Lugard Road at The Peak. Photo credit © Paulwongkwan

Once you reach the tourist area, you may go to the observatory deck (Sky Terrace 428) to see the harbour. It is the highest viewing point, but there’s an entrance fee. For a free alternative, head to the nearby Lion’s Pavilion or continue the hike further to Lugard Road. The view from those places is as amazing as from the observatory deck. Another option is the free-entry observation deck of Peak Galleria, a shopping mall across the Peak Tower.

6. Central Plaza

Central Plaza, Hong Kong's third tallest building, stands out among the surrounding skyscrapers in Wan Chai.
Central Plaza, Hong Kong’s third tallest building, stands out among the surrounding skyscrapers in Wan Chai. Photo credit © james jiao

If you prefer a more practical way to see the harbour, head to Central Plaza. The skyscraper’s 46th floor houses the Sky Lobby, which is open to the public and free of charge. From there, you can see also get an aerial view of the harbour from different perspectives. Central Plaza is conveniently located near Wan Chai MTR station.

Enjoy the City’s Lively Promenades

Instead of just seeing the harbour, you can also enjoy and feel the vibrant atmosphere of the waterfront. Luckily, the city provides ample opportunities to do so. Hong Kong has many public promenades that are child and pet-friendly, with some having their own themes and attractions.

7. West Kowloon Art Park

West Kowloon Cultural District Art Park Hong Kong
Photo credit © LN9267 (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

Want to enjoy the harbour while relaxing or sipping some coffee? Head to the Art Park of West Kowloon Cultural District. The harbour view is similar to Avenue of Stars, but you can chill at the cafes or have a picnic at the park. You can also get a better sunset view there. In addition, you can explore seasonal open-air exhibits, visit museums (paid), or simply stroll along the beautifully landscaped gardens.

8. East Coast Park Precinct

You can see the uniquely shaped CWB East Vent Shaft along with a panoramic view of Victoria Harbour in East Coast Park Precinct.
The CWB East Vent Shaft adds to the charm of the area, making it a photogenic spot. It is also a good place to hangout. Photo credit © LN9267 (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

East Coast Park Precinct is a vibrant promenade located in Fortress Hill, Causeway Bay. It features a spacious open area that is perfect for bike rides, skateboarding, and letting the kids run around. In addition, the park has a uniquely shaped and large vent shaft that gives a striking but harmonious harbour view, especially at sunset.

9. Belcher Bay Promenade

Belcher Bay Promenade Hong Kong
Photo credit © LN9267 (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

Kids, skateboarders, and pet lovers will love it here. Unlike the other promenades, Belcher Bay has more playgrounds than the other promenades, making it a hit among local families. The bay is located in the residential area of Kennedy Town. You can get a good view of the sunset there while relaxing in the seating areas.

10. HarbourChill

There are pop-up installations and chairs in HarbourChill where you can relax and enjoy the harbour view.
There are pop-up installations and chairs in HarbourChill where you can relax and enjoy the harbour view. Photo credit © LN9267 (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

Another lively and pet-friendly promenade is HarbourChill, located just beside Wan Chai Ferry Pier. Here, you can enjoy art installations and food trucks serving delicious snacks. It’s a great place to hang out with friends, take some photos with the eye-catching art installations, or enjoy the food trucks. This is also a great spot to get a view of Victoria Harbour on the Kowloon Peninsula side.

Hang-out in Hong Kong’s Iconic Shopping Malls

Hong Kong is home to world-class and iconic shopping center that may be hard to find anywhere else. Even if you don’t like shopping, it’s still worth visiting for their amazing interior or cultural significance.

11. K11 MUSEA

Known as the ‘Silicon Valley of Culture’, K11 MUSEA is more than just a shopping mall. The mall interior is very modern, unique, and attractive, something that will capture your attention for sure. Other than that, you can browse through high-end boutiques, explore art installations, or enjoy a meal at one of the many gourmet restaurants.

12. 1881 Heritage

Step back in time at 1881 Heritage, a shopping mall that was once the headquarters of the Hong Kong Marine Police. Now, it’s a beautiful blend of Victorian-era architecture and luxury retail. Wander around the charming courtyards, admire the historical buildings, and shop at world-renowned designer stores. History lovers and luxury shoppers will find this place particularly appealing.

13. Chungking Mansions

Chungking Mansions Hong Kong
Photo credit © CW HADIC M223 KSUM (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

For a more multicultural experience, head to Chungking Mansions. This complex in Tsim Sha Tsui is known for its budget accommodations, diverse food options, and small businesses selling goods from around the world. It’s a prime example of globalization where you can taste authentic cuisines, meet people from different backgrounds, and hunt for unique bargains. The place is also the shooting location for the 1994 film “Chungking Express” by one of Hong Kong’s famous movie directors. The film’s success contributed to the building’s popularity as it’s the filming location.

Visit Bustling Traditional Markets

As a major trade and financial hub, you’ll see many shops and markets in every corner of the city. To get a glimpse of what makes Hong Kong the city it is today, explore the various traditional markets where you can find street food, clothes, antiques, and souvenirs. Some of the most famous ones are located in Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kong.

14. Temple Street Night Market

Temple Street Market at Jordan Hong Kong
Temple Street Night Market at Jordan. Photo credit © Diego Delso (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

Immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting Temple Street, one of Hong Kong’s liveliest night markets. This bustling street is filled with stalls selling everything from electronics to clothes and antiques. You can also enjoy live street performances or get your fortune told. This is an excellent place to sample some of Hong Kong’s delicious street food.

15. Ladies Market

Ladies Market at Tung Choi Street
Ladies Market at Tung Choi Street. Photo credit © Wpcpey (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

The Ladies Market on Tung Choi Street is a must-visit for fashion enthusiasts. It’s teeming with vendors selling clothing, accessories, and beauty products at bargain prices. It’s a great place to practice your bargaining skills and score some unique finds.

16. Goldfish Market

Goldfish Market Mongkok Hong Kong
Goldfish Market at Mong Kok. Photo credit © LN9267 (CC BY 2.0) modified

The Goldfish Market on Tung Choi Street North is a fascinating sight to behold. Here, you’ll find shops and vendors selling a variety of aquatic animals, from colorful goldfish to exotic marine species. In Chinese culture, goldfish are believed to bring prosperity to its owner. The market also offers aquarium supplies.

17. Flower Market

Flower Market Mong Kok Hong Kong
The CWB East Vent Shaft adds to the charm of the area, making it a photogenic spot. It is also a good place to hangout. Photo credit © FAIUOKAMEI NgaU (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

Experience the vibrant colors and fragrances of the Flower Market located in Mong Kok. This market is home to a multitude of shops selling fresh-cut flowers, potted plants, and gardening supplies. It’s a delightful place to explore, offering a refreshing break from the city’s concrete jungle.

18. Jade Market

Jade Market Hong Kong
Photo credit © Baloncici

Last but not least, visit the Jade Market in Yau Ma Tei for a taste of Hong Kong’s gemstone culture. Jade is believed by locals to bring luck and prosperity as well. There, you’ll find hundreds of stalls selling jade in various forms, from jewelry to figurines.

Stroll at Chinese-style Gardens and Peaceful Urban Parks

Despite being one of the densest cities in the world, you’ll be surprised to find calming and beautiful public gardens in the middle of tall buildings or on the city’s outskirts. They are a great picnic spot for friends and families or for those looking to take a break from the city’s life.

19. Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens

Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens
Photo credit © Wpcpey (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

Located on the northern slope of Victoria Peak, the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens offer a tranquil retreat in the heart of the city. The garden is home to a variety of flora and fauna, including rare and endangered species. You can explore the greenhouses, aviaries, and mammal enclosures or simply enjoy a peaceful stroll amidst lush greenery. This place is perfect for nature lovers and families.

20. Edward Youde Aviary

Edward Youde Aviary Hong Kong Park Central
There’s a raised walkway where you can watch rare birds inside Edward Youde Aviary, which is a part of Hong Kong Park. Photo credit © Tuomaslehtinen

The Edward Youde Aviary is another must-visit spot for bird enthusiasts. Located within Hong Kong Park, this aviary is designed as a walk-through habitat where you can observe exotic birds up close. The raised walkway takes you through different levels of the rainforest, offering a unique bird-watching experience. It’s a fantastic educational outing for children and adults alike.

21. Kowloon Park

You can see flamingos at Kowloon Park Bird Lake.
You can see flamingos at Kowloon Park Bird Lake. Photo credit © Konstantin Ovchinnikov

Kowloon Park, located in Tsim Sha Tsui, is a large public park featuring a swimming pool, sports facilities, and a flamingo pond. The park’s flamingo colony is a major attraction, drawing visitors from near and far. This spacious park is a great place for leisurely walks, picnics, or simply watching the flamingos.

22. Victoria Park

Victoria Park Causeway Bay
The largest park in Hong Kong Island. Photo credit © Wpcpey (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

Victoria Park is the largest public park on Hong Kong Island. Named after Queen Victoria, it offers a range of facilities including tennis courts, a swimming pool, and a jogging track. It’s also a popular venue for festivals and events. Whether you’re looking to exercise, relax, or immerse yourself in local culture, Victoria Park has something to offer.

23. Nan Lian Garden

Chi Lin Nunnery Kowloon Hong Kong
Chi Lin Nunnery in Diamond Hill, Kowloon. Photo credit © Pixattitude

Nan Lian Garden, a Tang Dynasty-style garden in Diamond Hill, is a stunning example of classical Chinese landscaping. With its meticulously maintained plants, water features, and traditional architecture, the garden is a peaceful oasis in the city. Adjacent to the garden is the Chi Lin Nunnery, an impressive Buddhist temple complex worth visiting.

24. Kowloon Walled City Park

Kowloon Walled City Park Hong Kong
Photo credit © Pixattitude

Kowloon Walled City Park is a historical park built on the site of the former Kowloon Walled City. The park’s design is inspired by the Jiangnan garden style of the early Qing Dynasty. It features eight themed gardens, each with its unique charm. Exploring this park is like taking a journey through Hong Kong’s history.

25. Lai Chi Kok Park

Lai Chi Kok Park Hong Kong
Photo credit © Ohmaymay

Lastly, visit Lai Chi Kok Park in Sham Shui Po for a mix of traditional Chinese and modern landscaping. The park features a Chinese garden, a European garden, and a variety of sports facilities. It’s a great place to unwind and enjoy some outdoor activities.

See the City’s Culture, Heritage, & History

If you’re the type of person who likes to learn about a place’s history and culture, then Hong Kong will not disappoint. The city has many well-preserved centuries-old temples, heritage sites with an interesting twist, and world-class museums.

26. Man Mo Temple

Man Mo Temple Sheung Wan Hong Kong
Soft, ambient lighting illuminates the interior of Man Mo Temple along with numerous coiled incense hanging from the ceiling, emitting a tranquil and distinctive atmosphere. Photo credit © Alexander Shalamov

Man Mo Temple on Hollywood Road is one of Hong Kong’s oldest and most important temples. Dedicated to the gods of literature and war, the temple is renowned for its stunning interior, especially the ceiling hung with large incense coils. It provides a serene respite from the bustling city and offers a fascinating glimpse into Chinese religious traditions.

27. Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple

Wong Tai Sin Temple Kowloon Hong Kong
Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple in Kowloon. Photo credit © Jess Yu

Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple in Kowloon is a prominent Taoist temple known for its fortune-telling practices. The temple complex, with its ornate decorations and beautiful gardens, draws both worshippers and tourists. It’s an ideal place to experience Hong Kong’s spiritual side and learn about Taoist beliefs and customs.

28. Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Art

Tai Kwun Central Hong Kong
Photo credit © Dorefuom 993 (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

The Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Art, situated in Central, is where history meets contemporary culture. Housed in the former Central Police Station compound, it now serves as a venue for art exhibitions and performances. You’ll discover relics from Hong Kong’s past such as a prison, police museums, and courtrooms. Its blend of restored colonial architecture and modern design elements make it a unique cultural landmark in Hong Kong.

29. Blue House Cluster

Blue House and other colorful buildings in Stone Nullah Lane, Wan Chai.
Blue House and other colorful buildings in Stone Nullah Lane, Wan Chai. Photo credit © Wpcpey (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

The Blue House Cluster in Wan Chai is a collection of historical buildings notable for their brightly colored facades. The cluster includes the Blue House, Yellow House, and Orange House, each representing different periods of Hong Kong’s architectural history. Today, they host various community and cultural activities, promoting local heritage and sustainable living.

30. Bowrington Villain Hitting

Bowrington Villain Hitting is located under the flyover of Canal Road West between Causeway Bay and Wan Chai.
An elderly woman is preparing her altar in the Petty Person Beating site. Photo credit © SHWEUM Cizemsh (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

Experience a quirky piece of Hong Kong culture at the Bowrington Villain Hitting stalls. This traditional ritual involves elders beating a piece of paper to drive away ill luck and attract good fortune. It’s a unique cultural phenomenon offering intriguing insight into local beliefs and practices.

31. Central-Mid-Levels Escalator

Central Mid Levels Escalator Hong Kong
Photo credit © Wpcpey (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

The Central-Mid-Levels Escalator is not just a transport system but also a symbol of Hong Kong’s fast-paced lifestyle. As the world’s longest outdoor covered escalator system, it offers a unique way to explore the city’s diverse neighborhoods and enjoy some people-watching. The escalator is also used as the filming location of Chung King Express (1994) and Batman’s The Dark Knight (2008) movies.

32. Flagstaff House Museum

Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware Hong Kong
Photo credit © Tksteven (CC BY 3.0) modified

Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware, located in Hong Kong Park, is dedicated to the culture of tea drinking. The museum is housed in the oldest remaining colonial building in Hong Kong, adding a historical dimension to your visit. Here, you can learn about the art of tea brewing and even participate in tea ceremonies.

33. Hong Kong Museum of History

To fully understand Hong Kong’s rich past, visiting the Hong Kong Museum of History in Tsim Sha Tsui is a must. The museum showcases extensive collections related to archaeology, ethnography, and natural history, providing an informative and engaging overview of Hong Kong’s evolution.

34. Hong Kong Science Museum

The Hong Kong Science Museum in Tsim Sha Tsui is a fun and educational destination for all ages. With its interactive exhibits covering various scientific disciplines, the museum makes learning enjoyable and accessible. And the best part? Certain parts of the museum have free admission on Wednesdays!

35. Hong Kong Space Museum

Lastly, explore the mysteries of the universe at the Hong Kong Space Museum. Located in Tsim Sha Tsui, the museum features a range of astronomy and space science exhibits, which the kids will love. Like the Science Museum, it offers free admission on Wednesdays.

Participate in Chinese Festivals Celebrations

If you’re interested in experiencing Hong Kong’s traditions, you can participate in the many traditional Chinese festivals that take place throughout the year.

36. Dragon Boat Festival

Tai O Dragon Boat Water Parade Hong Kong
Photo credit © Kelvin Ma (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

The Dragon Boat Festival is one of the liveliest and most colorful events in Hong Kong. Held annually on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month (Usually late May or June), the festival features thrilling dragon boat races where teams paddle furiously to the rhythm of beating drums. These races are held throughout the city, but Stanley Main Beach, Aberdeen, and Tai O are among the most popular venues. Apart from the races, you can also enjoy traditional music performances, martial arts demonstrations, and a variety of delicious food. It’s a fantastic way to experience local culture and community spirit.

37. Spring Lantern Festival

Spring Lantern Festival Chinese New Year Hong Kong
Photo credit © Yiu Tung Lee

Celebrate the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations with the Spring Lantern Festival. This event, held on the 15th day of the first lunar month (usually in February), sees parks, temples, and public spaces across Hong Kong adorned with beautiful lanterns. The lantern displays range from traditional Chinese designs to modern interpretations, creating a magical atmosphere. Highlights include the lantern carnivals featuring folk performances, lantern riddles, and craft workshops. This festival offers a delightful cultural experience for all ages.

38. Tai Hang Dragon Dance Festival

Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance
Photo credit © M L Wong

Experience a unique piece of Hong Kong’s intangible cultural heritage at the Tai Hang Dragon Dance Festival. This event, held during the Mid-Autumn Festival (end of September), involves a spectacular fire dragon dance performed by over 300 performers. The dance, accompanied by drumming and firecrackers, is believed to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits. The festival also includes a parade, live performances, and street stalls selling snacks and souvenirs. It’s a must-see event that showcases the vibrant traditions of the Tai Hang community.