If variety is the spice of life, then Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District must be one of the most vibrant art destinations in the world. Set across 100 acres, the district is home to 17 enthralling arts, culture and performance venues — including the new flagship M+ museum — a sprawling art park and more than a dozen restaurants and cafés.
Art enthusiasts will appreciate the vast collections, including imperial Chinese art, contemporary digital works, sculpture, cinema and opera. At the same time, foodies can’t resist the tempting Cantonese, Italian and fusion dining experiences peppered across the harborfront park.
Whether you’re keen to plan an artsy escape or a flavor-filled culinary adventure, here are a few of the West Kowloon Cultural District’s must-visit spots ahead of your next trip to Hong Kong:
Immerse yourself in art and culture
The West Kowloon Cultural District is packed with world-class venues. Still, the star of the show is the long-awaited M+ — Asia’s first museum dedicated to visual culture — which opened its doors in November 2021 after seven years of construction. Set on Victoria Harbour, the facade, shaped like an inverted “T,” features a 12-story LED screen that broadcasts digital art, animations and videos juxtaposed by glazed ceramics cladding inspired by traditional Chinese roofs.
Inside, the 53,820-square-foot structure displays 6,000 works across 33 galleries, plus a photogenic Roof Garden, an educational zone and three cinemas — all part of an ambitious design brought to life by Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron in collaboration with TFP Farrells and Arup.
The galleries celebrate the depth and breadth of 20th- and 21st-century visual arts, including Hong Kong ink art and sculptures, contemporary Chinese prints, vintage posters, Internet culture, graphic design, photography and exclusive screenings. There’s also an interactive “Cabinet” on the second floor where you can use your phone to interact with art.
After visiting M+, make a beeline to Freespace for live music and contemporary dance performances or reserve a spot at the Xinqu Centre’s 1,000-seat Grand Theatre to experience the rich tradition of Cantonese opera in a prestigious setting. For a shorter, 90-minute introductory show paired with dim sum bites, visit the Tea House Theatre, which houses 200 seats in a more informal setting.
Next up, travel back in time at the forthcoming Hong Kong Palace Museum, slated to open in July. Nine galleries will guide you through imperial Chinese artwork, such as calligraphy, paintings, architectural features and rare books, on loan from the renowned Palace Museum in Beijing. Art and performances are just the beginning: you can also rent bikes and pedal around the harborfront park, visit the dedicated tree nursery or simply lounge on the promenade and soak up the views.
Wine and dine by the harbor
If you’re heading to the art park first thing in the morning, fuel up with coffee at CURATOR Creative Café, within the M+ museum, for gorgeous design, inspiring harbor vistas, and specialty brews, plus a latte art machine if you’re keen to design your own cuppa.
Another option for premium caffeine, Rest Coffee Gin, can be found on the harbor promenade. This two-in-one experience serves up single-origin beans all day, then transitions into a gin bar come nightfall with a comprehensive collection of more than 80 varieties of the spirit.
When the clock strikes lunchtime, head to FAM for contemporary Chinese cuisine — think har gow (shrimp dumplings), savory puff pastries and turnip cakes — served with a side of 180-degree waterway scenery. Craving European cuisine? Try Café Bohème — a casual, convivial eatery that’s all about Italian pizzas and pasta and has quickly become a favorite among families.
And for dinner, take the atmosphere up a notch with Asian-French fine dining at PANO, named for its unmatched sea panoramas. Sapphire-blue accents and Art Deco touches create a glamorous vibe, while artfully plated dishes like sea urchin risotto, grilled French quail and allspice maltose French pigeon display fusion flavors at their best. Or opt to dine at M+’s newly debuted Mosu Hong Kong, an outpost of the well-known Seoul restaurant, for creative Korean fare and wraparound skyline vistas.
Stay in style
One of the city’s most luxurious retreats, The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, is conveniently in the iconic International Commerce Centre (ICC) across the street from the Kowloon West Art Park. Soaring above the city from the 102nd to 118th floors of the ICC, the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel promises richly appointed rooms, incredible views, personalized service and, in case you’re still hungry, top-notch dining at six onsite restaurants.
Enjoy sophisticated Cantonese cuisine at Tin Lung Heen or savor contemporary Italian creations at Tosca di Angelo — both Four-Star options promise impressive vistas from the 102nd floor. Of course, you can’t stay at the Ritz-Carlton without a cocktail at Ozone, which brings together small Japanese-inspired plates, DJ sets and creative tipples on the 118th-floor rooftop.
Just next door, W Hong Kong offers another tried-and-tested place to stay with a more eclectic, whimsical vibe. Designed by Yasumichi Morita of Japan’s Glamorous Co. and Nic Graham of G+A in Australia, the vibrant Four-Star hotel is known for its colorful rooms and imaginative afternoon teas, DJ sets, epic pool (it’s the highest rooftop pool in the city) and larger-than-life art installations, including oversized mosquito sculptures by Australian James Angus.
And whatever you do, don’t miss Bubbly Sunday Brunch at Kitchen — it’s one of the city’s best breakfast experiences with its diverse selection of jet-fresh seafood, delectable dim sum and photogenic pastries.