Go on a stroll around the neighbourhood and get artsy with the little ones!
Although March is officially Art Month, Hong Kong’s bustling creative scene is evident every single month of the year. We don’t just mean in the many galleries that exist, we’re talking specifically about Hong Kong’s street art scene. Each spring, the non-profit organisation HKWalls selects one district in the city and chooses to adorn it with a bunch of amazing murals. It usually chooses a relatively small area to cover, so you won’t have to walk miles (with kids or a stroller in tow) to see all of the graffiti. We’ve rounded up this guide to some of the most striking street art on display, to direct you to some of our favourites.
*Editor’s note: The HKWalls 2020 festival was originally scheduled for Saturday, 14 to Sunday, 22 March, but it’s been postponed due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. Stay tuned on Facebook for details of this year’s event.
Read more: How To Introduce Your Children To Art
With its eclectic attractions and local flair, it is no surprise that Wan Chai was chosen as the neighbourhood for HKWalls in 2019. With more than 40 new murals around, we’ve handpicked some of our favourites for starters (after all, isn’t the spontaneous hunt for art all part of the fun?). If you’re thinking about going one step further, click here to find out where you can discover other amazing murals around the Wan Chai district!
Stop 1: To get to our first mural, hop off the MTR at Wan Chai station (exit A5) and go for an 8-minute walk towards Wan Chai Park (we promise the short walk is worth it). Once you reach Morrison Hill Swimming Pool, you’ll find the longest mural of 2019 created by the Kwan Clan. As a collaborative piece between five Chinese artists, this colourful painting illustrates the perfect combination of Chinese traditional art and Oriental graffiti style. Beyond its vibrant colours, we are in love with the dynamic and abstract shapes (ask the little ones what they see in this mural and they might come up with something you hadn’t thought of)!
Morrison Hill Swimming Pool, 7 Oi Kwan Road, Morrison Hill, Hong Kong, 2891 7335
Stop 2: If you walk along Oi Kwan Road, you’ll find a colourful mural by American artist Stephanie Studzinski, who is known for her deconstruction of natural objects. Beyond her conceptual craftsmanship, her visual artistry is also enshrined through her (very) three-dimensional objects and use of light and shadow. With her surrealist take on art, her mural will leave you pondering: is that a lady, or a snake? There’s only one way to find out!
Tang Shui Kin Victoria Government Secondary School, 5 Oi Kwan Road, Morrison Hill, Hong Kong
Stop 3: Once you’re done with the previous mural, all you need to do is walk straight, make a turn and voila! Apart from its bright and splashy visuals (which the little ones will definitely enjoy), this mural also seeks to teach a lesson to the not-so-little ones, by showcasing materialism through our society’s endless pursuit of products.
Tang Shui Kin Victoria Government Secondary School, 5 Oi Kwan Road, Morrison Hill, Hong Kong
Stop 4: To end the art tour with a bang, simply walk straight along Oi Kwan Road and cross the road. After a few minutes of walking straight, you’ll find an adorable moon rabbit, one of the animals in the Chinese zodiac system (which is painted on the wall of Zodiac Lighting). With the theme of the moon rabbit, this mural is also perfect for mamas who want to teach the little ones a Chinese mythology lesson.
Although Central is full of magnificent murals, we’re usually so caught up in the hustle and bustle that we tend to miss most of them. But if you’re ready to see what it has to offer, you’ve come to the right place. Central and Western District was the location for HK Walls in 2018, so you’re in for a treat.
Stop 1: The first place on the list is the truly iconic Old Hong Kong Skyline graffiti on Graham Street. Although we don’t often see such clear blue skies (and the houses depicted belong to Kowloon rather than Central), the spot is loved by both locals and tourists because of its old-school vibe. It’s an excellent way to show kids the disappearing side of Hong Kong without actually leaving the island. Plus, it’s a great spot for photo ops!
Graham Street wall mural, 44 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong
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Stop 2: One street away on Peel, you’ll see Uma Nota’s Laughing Woman (pictured above), and although she may not be as famous as this city’s skyline, she manages to brings the cheerful feeling of Rio to the very heart of Hong Kong.
Stop 3: Just down the street from Uma Nota, you’ll find a striking mural of Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Charlie Chaplin and Frank Sinatra, outside Madera Hollywood. You won’t miss this one as it’s over three metres tall!
Stop 4: Keep walking down Peel Street until you see the entrance to Man Hing Lane. Turn left and head into Pak Tsz Lane Park, where you can sit and take a breather while the little ones enjoy the open space. Make sure to check out the “Cutting off the Queue” sculpture of a man in Western clothes cutting the pigtail of a Manchu man, which is meant to be a symbol of liberation from Qing rule. It’s an easy way to incorporate a quick history lesson into this art-filled day!
Pak Tsz Lane Park, Central, Hong Kong
Stop 5: Walk to your left until you’re out of the park and on Aberdeen Street. Continue down to the corner of Gage Street for another great mural. We love the delicious-looking seafood, there’s a chilly crab (pun intended), a thoughtful tuna and a pompous shrimp on the wall of Etsuzo.
Stops 6 and 7: Turn left and make your way along Gough Street. A true gem of Hong Kong Island, this tiny lane in Soho hides some of the most stunning pieces, so make sure you save enough time for this bit. Walk for two minutes until you see this colourful mural (pictured above) behind the bustling open-air food stalls, and then head up the stairs behind it. Here, a fading Einstein gives a universal answer to all your questions (spoiler: it’s love!).
Stop 8: Take the stairs back down to Gough Street, where if you keep walking (for less than a minute) you’ll find a stunning mural of a smiling woman clad in gold jewellery, which is one of our favourite pieces of street art in Central. There’s just one final mural begging to be seen, and it’s only one hundred metres away (tucked away in a narrow dead-end by 51 Gough Street). You’ll be mesmerised by the subtle reds and teals, and wonder what the girl on the wall is seeing in her marine dreams.
Pitstop: The kids will definitely have worked up an appetite by now, so why not head to Oddies Foodies (which is just one door down from the last mural) and get yourselves some delicious ice cream served in a warm egg waffle.
Wong Chuk Hang
In 2017, HKWalls decided to decorate Wong Chuk Hang, which (thanks to the South Island Line) is now only 10 minutes away from Admiralty by MTR. Use this handy map by HKWalls to find your way around!
Stop 1: Take Exit A1 out of Wong Chuk Hang MTR station and take the escalator down to the street. From here, you’ll be able to see the first piece of street art, which is a larger-than-life mural covering the outside of The Factory. Turn right, and walk along Heung Yip Road for a couple of minutes until you see one of our favourite pieces, which transports us right into the jungle – MAUY’s Monkey King (pictured above).
Stop 2: The fun doesn’t stop here. Walk for three minutes until the end of the block and turn left at One Island South. Walk straight for two minutes until you get to Ovolo Southside, where you’ll see two more fab murals (we especially love the one of a man frying up some tasty looking food in his wok). Keep walking up the block and you’ll find a mural that is sure to be a hit with the kids. It’s a dreamy piece of art called “Messy Desk” (pictured above), which, as a parent, will probably sound familiar!
Stops 3 and 4: Head back to Ovolo, turn right, and then walk straight along the road for four minutes until you see a huge mural of a man with an umbrella standing over a car, which is painted on the walls of a blue building. Cross the road so that you’re right in front of it, and you’ll discover even more art. Once you see the beautiful bird mural (pictured above), turn left and marvel at the intricate fish as you head back to Heung Yip Road. Here, you’ll find the now-familiar Monkey King — all that art in just one small block! The MTR will be right in front of you, ready to take you home.
Pitstop: If you’re looking for somewhere to take a break for food or drinks, we have some suggestions. If it’s a caffeine fix you’re after, try a coffee at Komune and chill on the terrace. Another spot for coffee is Bread and Bistro, which has seriously good pastries and a kids’ menu. If you want something more substantial, head to Golden Monkey for Vietnamese fare.
HKWalls blessed Sheung Wan twice in 2014 and 2015, so we’ll only recommend a couple of places here (because if we listed them all, you would have to walk around the neighbourhood for weeks!).
Stop 1: One of the best places for street art in the area is Tank Lane, making it the perfect place to start your journey. Here, you’ll find work by international artists, from Taiwan to Brazil. We especially love South Korean artist Xeva’s mural of Bruce Lee (pictured above), one of our hometown heroes. Walk up Tank Lane admiring all the murals along the way, then turn right onto Bridges Street and walk straight for just three minutes until you reach Tai Ping Shan Street. This is the perfect place to take a break for a snack. Why not sit out in the sun at Teakha with a delicious cup of masala chai and a sweet treat?
Stop 2: Walk for another three minutes to the end of Tai Ping Shan Street, turn left onto Pound Lane, and make a short four-minute walk up the hill past the park (or through it!) until you reach Tai On Terrace. This short street holds two fun pieces of art – geometric stars on stairs by Xeme and a funny “brush your teeth” window by Szabotage.
Stop 3: Last but definitely not least, head back down to Tai Ping Shan Street, turn right, and walk for two minutes until you reach Upper Station Street. Walk down the street for another three minutes and you will come across this colourful dragon mural. From here, you can easily grab a cab from Hollywood Road, or continue walking down into Sheung Wan to catch the MTR home.
Although this year’s annual street art festival has unfortunately been postponed, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t revisit existing murals (in fact, all the more the reason to revisit them!). So, stay tuned for HKWall’s updates and get ready to spot some new paintings very soon!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally written by Sonia Levina on 26, March 2018 and updated on 6, March 2019 and 16, March 2020.