Wan Chai might be full of hustle and bustle, but there are some great spots for families too!
There is so much to take in as you wander the streets of Wan Chai. While there is certainly a nightlife side that is NOT for the eyes of children, the rest of this busy Hong Kong district is full of cafés, restaurants and things to do with kids. There’s even a spot of history and culture, if you know where to look. It would be simply impossible to list all the best places to go in Wan Chai, so we’ve stuck with a few of our favourites to help you explore!
Family-Friendly Wan Chai Cafés
Just like its big sister restaurant in Soho, this café offers a huge variety of good-value items whether you are after breakfast, lunch, dinner or just a quick coffee. With over 13 options on the kids’ menu — including pancakes or French toast for brekkie, to grilled salmon or cheese quesadillas for lunch or dinner (and options starting from as little as $35!) — even the fussiest little diners are sure to find something to eat. It opens from 7am so it is also perfect for early risers (aka kids everywhere)!
Sassy Mama tip: Oolaa Petite has a great happy hour from 3pm to 8pm, Mondays to Fridays and 5pm to 8pm at weekends, with basic drinks for $40 and cocktails for $50. Treat the kids to dinner out and relax with an affordable beverage yourself!
We love catching up with friends for a coffee at this cafe in Lee Tung Avenue. You can be assured of a good cuppa and if you feel like something more substantial there are great breakfast and lunch options too. Keep the kids happy with crosswords, mazes and colouring on the kids’ menu (which features healthy breakfasts and lunches). Don’t have time to stop? Get your latte to-go and add on a delicious pastry!
It used to be that you could only get exquisite treats from Pastry Chef and Baker, Grégoire Michaud if you dined at Michelin-starred restaurants or five-star hotels. That was until he set up shop in this little bakery in Wan Chai. It can be hard to get a table during the lunchtime rush, so families with kids are far better stopping by for a morning or afternoon coffee, or getting treats to take away.
Favourites amongst the Sassy Mama team are the cookies (the double chocolate is to die for), the croissants (show me an adult or child who can resist this delicious flaky pastry) or the twist on a Hong Kong favourite — the sourdough egg tart! The real standout though is the naturally-leavened sourdough.
Bakehouse, 14 Tai Wong Street East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, www.bakehouse.hk
Mamas (and papas!) who can’t start the day without their morning caffeine hit should swing past The Cupping Room. It is a sure bet for quality, with a focus on carefully-made coffee, delicious brunch and treats, and above all exceptional service. Pop in for its famous Avocado on Toast with Poached Eggs and, of course, a good cup of coffee.
With two bright and airy locations in Wan Chai, one outside Pacific Place and another just around the corner on quiet Sun Street, Elephant Grounds is certainly making its presence felt. We’re sure you won’t mind sharing your pancakes or avocado toast with the kids, but if you’d prefer to keep them from stealing your meal, just order them an ice-cream sandwich. We’re sure they won’t say no to that!
Elephant Grounds, 8 Wing Fung Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 2778 2700
You can’t go wrong with a coffee from The Coffee Academics (we’re big fans of the breakfast menu here too). The coffee here is good – serving arguably the best mocha in Hong Kong. Beans are roasted on-site, which means if you’re a true coffee connoisseur, you can order a custom blend. There’s no dedicated kids’ menu here, but you’re sure to find a sweet treat behind the counter to go with a babyccino or hot chocolate!
Coffee Academics, 35-45 Johnston Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, www.the-coffeeacademics.com
Read more: Family-Friendly Breakfast Spots In Hong Kong
Family-Friendly Restaurants In Wan Chai
There are so many restaurants to choose from in Wan Chai that, rather than try to list them all, we’ve highlighted a few of our favourites (selected for their dedicated kids’ menus, play areas or friendly welcoming staff).
This growing chain of European-style beerhouses offers tasty, traditional European food, complete with one of Hong Kong’s largest selections of draught and bottled Belgian beer. Though inspired by traditional 1920s Belgian beer halls, with high ceilings, rustic tables and stained glass windows, it’s not just for the beer lovers! Families should head down at the weekend when there is a children’s play area for the kids to stretch their restless legs, while parents kick back and enjoy their meal. Mums and dads will also appreciate the dedicated kids’ menu, complete with find-a-word, maze and colouring (and they’ll provide the pencils!), with spaghetti, burgers and chicken strips all on offer. Looking for a kids’ birthday venue that the adults will enjoy too? Ask about the party packages available.
Le Garçon Saigon celebrates the vibrant, fresh flavours of Saigonese cuisine in a bright, welcoming space. Conveniently located in the charming Star Street neighbourhood, the establishment is a quaint new addition to the area. We love that this spot is presented as a traditional brasserie, with a family-style menu showcasing an unexplored genre of Vietnamese cuisine. While there is no kids’ menu, there’s sure to be something on the “Les Petit Plats” menu that satisfies hungry little mouths (spring rolls or grilled calamari should do the trick) and the staff are more than welcoming to little diners.
Boasting quality freshly-made pasta, Pici is always a good choice with kids because which child doesn’t like tucking into a good bowl of spaghetti! Dishes are affordable and designed to be served family-style, so pick a few (the pappardelle with slow-cooked beef cheek or the lasagne are safe bets for kids) and let everyone dig in. Families will love the quiet location in the Star Street precinct as well.
There’s something so charmingly Italian about Motorino. Tucked away on Ship Street in the coolest part of Wan Chai, there is a warmth and a cosiness to this establishment that feels truly authentic. With a sauce that must have been passed down through generations and a vast selection of toppings to choose from, Motorino is no doubt a top pick for pizza-loving families. Save room for dessert because once the kids eye that Nutella Calzone, they’ll be begging you to order one (trust us, it’s de-lish!).
Fini’s combines the heartiness of American food with the freshness and style of Italian cuisine. The best part? Kids under 10 eat for free on weekdays from 4pm to 7pm. The special children’s “Bingo” menu asks kids to tick the box they like — from the “Don’t Know” (spaghetti and meatballs all covered with cheese) to the “Something Yummy” (spaghetti bolognese), the “Anything” (crispy chicken cutlet with fries) or “Pizza!”.
Tucked away on the quiet side of Ship Street, this unpretentious and homely spot is perfect for a hearty meal. It’s quite small, so best to leave bulky strollers at home, but the staff are more than welcoming to little diners. The regular menu features hearty dishes like burgers, pasta dishes and mains like mussels or fish and chips. The best deals are found in the regular weekly offerings — Tuesday is $200 steak night, on Wednesdays it’s beef Wellington for $250 and, in what’s sure to be a family favourite, the all-day Sunday roast is $248.
We love that at The Flying Pan, it’s breakfast all day, every day. This iconic Hong Kong breakfast restaurant is open 24/7, so if the kids are asking for pancakes for dinner, this is where to go. With omelettes, French toast and bottomless coffee, they’ll keep you coming back for more. The whole family will love the old-school vibe, which makes you feel like you’ve been transported to an American diner.
Family Weekend Brunches In Wan Chai
Treat the kids to a Pizza Master class ($120) while you enjoy your Sunday brunch! Adults can choose from breakfast-style dishes, sharing platters, salads, pasta or pizza, with the option to add on a free-flow package. The location on the patio of the Causeway Centre ensures that the kids can run around well away from the bustling streets of Wan Chai.
Sassy Mama tip: Be sure to keep DiVino Patio in mind for your next kids’ birthday party. It offers a pizza-making party where the kids will learn to toss and roll the dough, put together their own toppings and, best of all, eat the delicious creations!
You can’t go wrong with a family-friendly weekend brunch at The Pawn. Kids under 12 eat free (one child for each paying adult) with a choice of five crowd-pleasing dishes like fish nuggets and chips, mac and cheese, or sausage and mash with a special milkshake, lassi or smoothie to wash it down. When the kids get tired of adult conversation, they can excuse themselves to the playroom. The brunch menu is also a tried-and-tested hit with the grown-up crowd too — sharing plates to start, followed by a selection of mains and topped off with an unlimited selection of sweets served up on a dessert platter to share.
Choose your drink option from “The Sober Brunch” for $498 including soft drinks, cold-pressed juices and smoothies, “The Boozy Brunch” for $598 with free-flow Moët & Chandon Rosé Imperial, Bloody Mary, selected red & white wines, bottled beers, ciders or upgrade to the “Absolutely Fabulous Brunch” and switch your champagne to Ruinart Blanc de Blancs.
We always keep this steakhouse and rooftop bar up our sleeve for a special date night or when we’ve got visitors in town. With unparalleled views over the city lights, harbour and Happy Valley Racecourse, it is a real treat. It is also great for a weekend deal! Families should take advantage of the excellent value four-course weekend set lunch for $388 per person (plus 10% service charge) with a special set kids’ menu for $128.
Read more: Family-Friendly Brunches In Hong Kong
What To Do With Kids In Wan Chai
This centre takes a holistic approach to learning, offering creative arts, music and drama programmes, a beautiful playhouse and coffee lounges made for the whole family. Its impressive play areas feature a specially crafted and custom-made indoor treehouse from Germany (a child’s dream come true)! An easy choice for the whole family, let your little ones run around in a safe, light and bright space, and enjoy healthy bites and drinks. Current students get free access to the playroom Monday to Friday ($60 on weekends), and non-students can run around to their heart’s content for $100.
Morrison Hill Swimming Pool*
Take the little ones for a swim to cool off during the sweltering summer months. Morrison Hill Swimming Pool is tucked away in the (appropriately named) Morrison Hill area of Wan Chai, bordered by Queen’s Road East, Hennessy Road and Happy Valley. This Hong Kong public swimming pool is well priced ($17 for adults, $8 for kids, and toddlers under three are free!) and features an indoor lap pool as well as a training and toddler pool outside.
*Editor’s note: Public facilities are currently closed due to the coronavirus outbreak. Please keep an eye on the website for updates.
It’s hard to miss Southorn Playground as you travel through Wan Chai. It’s right next to the MTR, opposite Lee Tung Avenue. You’ll see Hongkongers from all walks of life sitting in the stands overlooking the soccer pitches and basketball court. Take the little ones to the small playground on the Johnson Road side of the park.
This gem of a playgroup for 0 to 5-year-olds might take place in a church, but there are no religious overtones, just affordable fun for kids! The one-hour sessions include free-play, a healthy snack break (food is provided) and music time for a donation of $100 (extra children $30). Check the website for the most up-to-date session times.
*Editor’s note: This playgroup is currently postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. It is expected to resume when schools reopen.
As well as selling all manner of board games, this store and café lets families come and enjoy some quality time together to play its HUGE variety of games. There are games for kids of all ages, card games and family-friendly favourites. For something different you can even book a gaming party for your child’s next birthday or, for those serious about their boardgames, you could think about some game-tutoring.
Where To Shop For Children In Wan Chai
Wan Chai Market Streets
The buzzing Wan Chai market streets are easily found (opposite exit A3 of Wan Chai MTR) and are some of the best on Hong Kong Island. Affectionately known as “Toy Shop Street”, you can guess what you might find when strolling down Tai Yuen Street! There are all manner of toys for kids of all ages and it’s also a great spot to find seasonal decorations (for Christmas or Chinese New Year) as well as kids’ costumes and art and craft supplies. Wander the back lanes of the area and you’ll find clothes, along with Thai and Filipino goods, plants and groceries!
Toy Shop Street, Tai Yuen Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Lee Tung Avenue
You could be forgiven for forgetting you are in the middle of Wan Chai as you stroll down the pedestrian strip of Lee Tung Avenue. You’ll find shops, cafés and restaurants for the whole family. The best time to visit is when there is an upcoming celebration, as Lee Tung Avenue is known for going all out for its decorations.
Petit Bazaar offers some truly innovative and imaginative toys for babies and children. It has its own range of eco-friendly sourced toys, such as Pop-Up Collages in which kids can build and put together a scene with characters and props made from recycled cardboard and non-toxic vegetable-based inks. It also stocks lots of wooden toys and dollhouses that are all made with sustainably-harvested wood and topped with non-toxic water-based varnishes. It carries World Wildlife Federation (WWF) stuffed animals that meet the strictest environmental and social criteria for production. What’s more, with each purchase of a WWF toy, a portion of the proceeds will go to your local WWF conservation efforts. New mamas, there is also a registry if you want to pass a few hints around for baby shower gift ideas.
A Little Bit Of History And Culture
Hong Kong House of Stories
Looking for something off the beaten path? Hong Kong House of Stories is presenting a Wan Chai Community Walk (conducted in English!). The aim is to preserve and share the cultural essence of Wan Chai through exhibitions, cultural tours, workshops and other activities. As part of the preservation work, it has also trained Wan Chai inhabitants and culture preservationists to lead students and the general public on exciting and insightful tours of this diverse neighbourhood. The quirky, informative exhibitions are great for the little learners in the family
The Blue House and the neighbouring colourful houses are all a part of the Hong Kong House Of Stories. You’ll know them when you see them! These historic buildings are wonderful for showing your little ones a side of old Hong Kong as you stroll the streets of Wan Chai.
Blue House, Stone Nullah Lane, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Pak Tai Temple
After you’ve wandered past the colourful houses, stop in with the kids at the Pak Tai Temple. Pak Tai is worshipped for his courage and power and, as this is the biggest shrine to this God on Hong Kong Island, you’ll often see lots of colourful activities going on as well as locals making offerings.
Pak Tai Temple, 2 Lung On Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, www.ctc.org.hk
Hung Shing Temple
Get your kids to use their imagination here. If you could go back in time to stand at this very spot on Queen’s Road East you would have been standing on the waterfront looking at sampans milling nearby in the harbour. The Hung Shing Temple was built in 1847 (although there was probably a shrine of some sort on the site before that!) and local fisherman used to visit to ask for protection before setting out to sea.
Hung Shing Temple, 129-131 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published by Poppy Mason-Watts in August 2017 and was updated by Jess Mizzi in February 2020.
Featured image courtesy of Getty, image 1 courtesy of Oolaa Petite via Instagram, image 2 courtesy of Bakehouse via Instagram, image 3 courtesy of Elephant Grounds via Instagram, image 4 courtesy of Getty, image 5 courtesy of La Garçon Saigon via Facebook, image 6 courtesy of Motorino, image 7 courtesy of Three Blind Mice via Facebook, image 8 courtesy of DiVino Patio via Instagram, image 9 courtesy of Wooloomooloo Steakhouse, image 10 courtesy of Baumhaus via Facebook, image 11 courtesy of Jolly Thinkers, image 12 courtesy of Lee Tung Avenue via Facebook, image 13 courtesy of HK House of Stories via Facebook.