TST for the whole family…
Tsim Sha Tsui is arguably the most popular tourist and shopping destination in Hong Kong, so it’s difficult to imagine the origins that once inspired the name, which translates to “sharp, sandy point.” But with the swapping of sandy bays for shopping bags and local eateries, Tsim Sha Tsui has now developed to the point where it offers a little something for every member of the family. There’s no need to wait for the next round of visitors to head over, we’ve found the most family-friendly restaurants, the best play areas and hand-picked our favourite spots in this bustling part of Hong Kong.
There’s so much to see and do in Tsim Sha Tsui! Click on the links below to jump to a specific section.
Whether you’re after a weekend staycation, a relaxing lunch, or dinner with a view, Hotel ICON has got you covered. Home to chic interiors, spacious guest rooms, a harbour-facing swimming pool, award-winning restaurants and Asia’s largest vertical garden – this really is a haven in TST. The hotel houses three restaurants: Above & Beyond, The Market and GREEN; with each providing guests with exceptional quality food and impeccable service. As one of the city’s most celebrated Cantonese restaurants, Above & Beyond’s breathtaking cuisine is only matched by its sweeping views of Hong Kong. Located on Level 28 of the Hotel ICON, the restaurant not only offers panoramic views of the Hong Kong skyline, but diners can also enjoy the sumptuous Chinese cuisine. Looking for a more intimate experience? Book into one of Above & Beyond’s three private dining rooms and make sure to check out the unique wine room!
Hotel ICON, 17 Science Museum Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon, Hong Kong, www.hotel-icon.com
What To See
Help your kids fall in love with Hong Kong (and remind yourself of what a fabulous city we live in!) with a ride on the iconic Star Ferry. Children and parents alike will get a kick out of the 10-minute journey across Victoria Harbour. At just $2.70 ($3.70 on weekends) it is the cheapest harbour cruise going!
Sassy Mama Tip: Head upstairs to the very front or the very back of the boat – the cabin is often air-conditioned!
Skyline Viewing Area
Turn right when you come off the ferry and stroll along the harbourfront. Point out the landmark buildings; HSBC, Bank Of China, IFC and make a game by seeing if there are any that your kids recognise. Can they pick out the tallest? Can you?! If you really want to make your visit educational, do a Google image search of historic Hong Kong images and look how the skyline has changed over the years (make sure to search for the old Kowloon-Canton Railway too).
Sassy Mama Tip: For a real Hong Kong experience, grab an egg tart from Tai Cheong Bakery (downstairs at the Star Ferry Pier) and sit down and enjoy while you admire the view.
After being closed for renovations for a number of years, the Avenue Of Stars has finally reopened! Pose in front of the Bruce Lee statue and admire the handprints of over 100 Hong Kong film and television stars.
The historic former Marine Police Headquarters, 1881 Heritage, is well worth a stop when you visit Tsim Sha Tsui. Fun fact – it was actually built in 1884, but because of the bad luck associated with the number four the name has been changed! There are almost always seasonal exhibits in the Grand Piazza (definitely make time to visit at Christmas!) which make for great photo opportunities with the family. Head up the escalators to House 1881 and see how the 130-year-old building has been restored. If you are inspiring little history buffs, pop into The Sergeant’s Bar (open from 5pm) for a step back in time. There are old prison cells and photos from the bygone colonial era. In the courtyard out the back, see if you can spot the birdhouses (formerly used to house carrier pigeons!) and take a look at the old horse stables, which are now a restaurant.
Hong Kong has excellent, educational, interactive and affordable museums, many of which are located in Tsim Sha Tsui. These are all worth a visit (more than once!) and are great to keep up your sleeve for those bad weather days.
This recognisable domed structure houses the museum of astronomy, a hall of space science, and the space theatre. After exploring, enjoy one of the multi-lingual shows at the Stanley Ho Space Theatre, which is a cinema experience unlike any other. Don’t learn the hard way – it’s closed on Tuesdays (regular opening hours 1pm to 9pm).
You’re never too old for the Science Museum! Located in the heart of TST, the kids will always have something new to discover as they spend a few happy hours exploring the many floors of fascinating exhibitions (we love the world of mirrors!), not to mention the 22-metre high Energy Machine. It’s the largest of its kind in the world and we challenge you not to turn into an instant physics nerd once it’s set in motion. With the very family-friendly price tag of $20 (not to mention kids under four and full-time students are free!), this one is worth the trip. Make note – the Science Museum is closed every Thursday.
Hong Kong Science Museum, 2 Science Museum Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2732 3232, www.hk.science.museum
Kids will be glued to the many dioramas on display here – you can peer inside a fishing junk, see what Kowloon Walled City looked like before it became a park, view the backstage area of a Chinese opera and walk down a recreated old Hong Kong street – complete with a pawnshop, teahouse and a Chinese herbal-medicine shop that were all located in Central until 1980 and reconstructed in the museum! This one is also closed on Tuesdays.
Kowloon Park is a reason in itself to visit Tsim Sha Tsui. This oasis is located smack bang in the middle of Canton and Nathan Road, yet you’ll feel a world away from the hustle and bustle. There are multiple playgrounds (including the Discovery Playground created around the old canons) and gardens, the outdoor maze and sculpture walk, and we haven’t even talked about visiting the flamingoes yet! When you need to cool down, head over to the public pool for a swim (there’s even a dedicated kids’ paddling pool).
Kowloon Park, 22 Austin Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, www.lcsd.gov.hk
This small and relatively quiet playground not only boasts views of the harbour but is conveniently located directly above the MTR. Yes, it can get a little hectic at weekends, but during the week, it’s a hidden gem with shaded seating and picnic spots.
Middle Road Children’s Playground, Middle Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, www.lcsd.gov.hk
When you just need to sit down with a decent coffee while the kids play, Baumhaus is the place to go. The Harbour City branch (there’s also a branch in Wan Chai), boasts a beautiful, custom-made wooden treehouse that is sure to capture the imagination of your little ones. Classes are also offered at the centre and the teachers take a holistic approach to learning. 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. Playroom access is $100 for the first child, $60 for siblings and adults are free.
Sassy Mama Tip: Visit on Mondays for 50% off entry. Playroom access is complimentary Monday to Friday when you sign up for a term of classes.
Baumhaus Harbour City, Suite 614–615, World Commerce Centre, 11 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 3585 8577, www.baumhaus.com.hk
This popular global brand is all about creating a fun learning environment for the little ones. It’s a great place to make new friends and build self-confidence. Although largely class-based, it offers day camps on location during the summer and other school holidays, providing you with the chance to keep your kids occupied (and learning!) while you get to – dare we say it – take a well-deserved break.
The Little Gym, Suite 601, 6th Floor, World Commerce Centre, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2368 8777, www.thelittlegym.com
Escape reality for a few hours in one of Hong Kong’s most popular cinemas. The IMAX theatre in iSquare boasts enormous screens and great sound, making this the ideal rainy-day activity – just don’t get lost in the mall’s confusing system of escalators.
IMAX at UA iSquare, 7/F, iSQUARE, 63 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 3918 5888, www.uacinemas.com.hk
With its convenient location on Salisbury Road, between Heritage 1881 and the Peninsula Hotel, the YMCA in Tsim Sha Tsui is worth checking out for all members of the family. The TST branch is home to The Salisbury, a hotel (perfect for out of town visitors who want a Victoria Harbour view without the Peninsula price tag!), and for us locals, a very reasonably-priced swimming pool and gymnasium, as well as educational courses and sports programmes for kids, teens, adults and even foreign domestic helpers. They even have an indoor rock climbing wall for your young adventurers!
YMCA of Hong Kong, 41 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2268 7000, www.ymcahk.org.hk
Where To Eat
Friendly service, a casual and welcoming atmosphere, simple but hearty food – Jamie’s restaurants will always be a good place to come with the whole fam. We love that all dishes on its dedicated kids’ menu come with a healthy “shake me” salad (gotta make sure the veggies get in there!). This Jamie’s branch is full of colourful street art and cosy booth tables, and curious kids can take a peek into the buzzing open kitchen.
Jamie’s Italian, Shop 412, Level 4, Ocean Centre, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 3758 3333, www.jamieoliver.com
Alfresco Lane at Tsim Sha Tsui Centre
Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of downtown TST, this area offers a variety of restaurants with outdoor seating and a view across from Salisbury Road to the stunning Victoria Harbour. Choose from London House by Gordon Ramsay, Wooloomooloo Steakhouse and Spasso Italian along with family-favourites like Pizza Express, Outback Steakhouse and Le Pain Quotidien.
Tsim Sha Tsui Centre, 66 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon, Hong Kong, www.tsimshatsuicentre.com.hk
With a breathtaking view of our skyline and a contemporary twist on all our local favourites, Hutong is ideal for special occasion brunches (especially if you have overseas visitors to entertain) with slightly older kids. All dim sum here is made fresh on-site and you’ll be tempted to try everything on the menu. The brunch menu consists of 18 dishes served banquet style and features a selection of appetisers, dim sum, hot dishes and dessert. The food isn’t the only reason to visit for brunch, aside from the stellar view, each weekend the restaurant features different cultural acts varying from Chinese Sugar Painting Workshops to Sichuan Face Changing Astonishment and Monkey Puppet Shows.
Hutong, 28/F, One Peking, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, 3428 8342, www.hutong.com.hk
This vegetarian restaurant is famed for its authentic and delicious Indian cuisine. We love that it also provides flavour-bursting Jain food (for those who don’t eat garlic or onion).
Branto, 1/F, 9 Lock Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/Branto
Sassy Mama tip: If you’re after good South Indian food, there are now many more options. Sangeetha Vegetarian Restaurant and Saravanaa Bhavan both have plenty of branches across the world and now have loyal fans in Hong Kong as well. Which place serves better coconut chutney and sambhar? The jury’s out on that one!
Din Tai Fung really needs no introduction. Who doesn’t love a good xiao long bao? This popular chain of restaurants serves up arguably the best in Hong Kong, alongside a mouthwatering list of all your dim sum favourites. With quick service, an English menu (we always appreciate the handy allergy guide) and classic Chinese favourites, your little ones are sure to be pleased!
Din Tai Fung, Shop 306, 3/F Silvercord, 30 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Din Tai Fung, Shop 407, 4/F Food Loft, Mira Place One, 132 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, www.dintaifung.com.hk
A longtime family favourite with three branches in Tsim Sha Tsui. Dough balls and decadent desserts combined with classic pizzas (and some grown-up options for mum and dad too!) make this a solid option to feed hungry little mouths. High chairs are readily available along with colouring sets to keep little fingers occupied. Looking for more than just lunch? The K11 Art Mall branch also offers kids’ pizza-making parties!
Pizza Express, Shop G 31-33, 49- 51 Empire Centre, 66 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2513 1411
Pizza Express, Unit 107, 1/F K11 Art Mall, 18 Hanoi Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2317 7432
Pizza Express, Shop 213, Mira Place One, 132 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 3792 0350, www.pizzaexpress.com.hk
Dim Sum Icon is a must-visit for kids and Instagram lovers alike! It serves all your favourite dumplings as kawaii characters. Whilst it’s not the most amazing dim sum you’ll ever have, it is a whole lot of fun – and a real treat for cartoon-loving kids!
Dim Sum Icon, L308, 3/f, The ONE, 100 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2885 1345, www.dimsumicon.com.hk
This underground food fest is the best place to come when you and the family are hungry and indecisive (usually a lethal combination – here, an excuse to go nuts). Food from all across Asia is on offer, plus there’s a great juice bar slap bang in the middle of it all. Everyone’s a winner.
Food Republic, B01, Silvercord Mall, 20 Canton Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 211111961, www.foodrepublic.hk
Arguably the biggest shopping mall in Hong Kong, you are sure to find everything you need (and many things you don’t) for your family at Harbour City’s 450 shops. Home to a Cruise Ship Terminal, three hotels and more than 70 food and beverage outlets you could easily spend a day or more in this shopping, dining and entertainment precinct. Many of the big designers have their flagship stores in Tsim Sha Tsui, so naturally you’ll find the corresponding kids’ outlets here too. If you are after some junior versions of Armani, Dior, Burberry or Gucci, this is your place and you’ll also find the likes of Mothercare, Toys R Us and Smiggle (and many, many more).
Sassy Mama Tip: For a spectacular view, head to the observation deck for unobstructed views across to Hong Kong Island.
Located at the intersection of Nathan and Peking Road and directly connected to the MTR, iSquare is super convenient. Head to the first and second floor for children’s specific stores like Babies R Us, Mothercare and Chicco. You’ll also find the UA Cinema (and IMAX) so you can park the older kids while you get some shopping done!
If you have a fashion-savvy tween or teen in need of a shopping spree, you should make a beeline towards Granville Road. You’ll find a variety of brands alongside smaller boutiques selling budget to mid-priced clothing.
For all your baby and toddler needs, head directly to the only Babies R Us branch in Hong Kong. Catering specifically to the tiniest tots, this is a one-stop-shop with everything from nappies and prams, to feeding essentials and toys.
Babies R Us, Shop 109-110, 1/F iSquare, 63 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, www.toysrus.com.hk/babies-r-us-home
We love the quirky homeware and furniture on offer at Homeless. It’s great for finding the perfect housewarming gift and also has a good selection of kids furniture, toys and decor. You’ll definitely find something unique here!
Homeless, Shop 602-605, The One, 100 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2997 8191
Homeless, Shop 233, Mira Place, 132 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2111 3151
Does your little one’s nursery need a make-over? Zara Home is a great place to start! You’ll find all the essentials from bed sheets and coat hangers to stylish toy boxes and baskets.
Zara Home, Shop 3205-3206, Harbour City, Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2880 5068, www.zarahome.com
The Tsim Sha Tsui branch of this chain store gets a special mention because it has a whole floor dedicated to Cotton On Kids. Pick up affordable (and adorable!) clothes for your little one, from babies through to teens. Speaking of teens, your older ones are sure to love the selection of stationery on offer at Typo, also located in the Granville Road megastore.
Cotton On, 36 Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2367 2190, www.cottonon.com
Parents Only – Bars, Spas and Afternoon Tea
Unparalleled views over Victoria Harbour and fabulous food and drinks make Aqua the perfect spot for a date night or a girls-only brunch. It’s popular, and for good reason!
Aqua, 29 and 30/F, 1 Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 3427 2288, www.aqua.com.hk
With sweeping Victoria Harbour views from the outdoor terrace and a range of exotic cocktails, Eye Bar in iSquare is the ideal place to unwind with a drink after a hard day of shopping.
Sassy Mama Tip: Head to Eye Bar in the afternoon or early evening to watch the sunset and the city lights turn on for the night.
Eye Bar, 30/F iSquare, 63 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2487 3988, www.elite-concepts.com
Welcome to the home of afternoon tea (since 1865!). Yes, the Peninsula is pretty spectacular, but so are the queues, so head over to the Langham Hotel for an alternative. The Palm Court pays tribute to its London namesake and serves up a wholly delicious pastry feast consisting of both sweet and savoury bites.
Palm Court at The Langham, 8 Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2132 7898, www.langhamhotels.com
Epitomising luxury not just in Tsim Sha Tsui, but in the whole of Hong Kong, The Peninsula is home to eight restaurants and bars. From the famed afternoon tea in The Lobby to fine-dining and breath-taking views at Felix and an authentic Swiss experience at Chesa, there’s plenty to be enjoyed, all with the highest quality guaranteed.
The Peninsula, Hong Kong, Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, www.peninsula.com
Think live jazz, vintage cigars and rare aged spirits. The Rosewood Hotel’s DarkSide is a sophisticated bar coupling time-honoured traditions with innovative techniques. Relax on the terrace, soak in the harbour views and splurge on a premium cocktail – you deserve it, mama!
Darkside, G/F Rosewood Hong Kong, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 3891 8732, www.darkside.hk
For a special date night, head to Nobu. Stunning views, conversation-starting decor (think “undulating sea urchin ceiling” – their words, not ours) and some of the freshest Japanese food you’ll ever have. It’s not the most acclaimed Japanese restaurant in the world for nothing. Enjoy!
Nobu, 2/F, InterContinental Hong Kong, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2313 2323, www.noburestaurants.com
Don’t let the office-y address fool you; the Thann Sanctuary is a haven of tranquillity that will make you feel worlds away from the all-too-real hustle and bustle of Tsim Sha Tsui. This is where to come for proper pampering, Thai-style, in Hong Kong.
Thann Sanctuary, Room 1010-11, 10/F, World Commerce Centre, Harbour City, 11 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 3689 4391 www.thann.com.hk
With over 18,000 square feet of sophisticated, luxurious wellness, the MiraSpa is the ultimate treat-yourself serenity getaway. The wet zone includes a hydro pool, sauna, steam room, experience showers and waterbeds, complete with a calming soundtrack.
MiraSpa, Mira Hotel, Mira Place, 118-130 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2315 5500, www.themirahotel.com
Editor’s Note: This article was originally written by Melissa Albarus on 27, February 2018 and updated by Jess Mizzi on 23, August 2019.
Featured image courtesy of Getty, image 1 courtesy of Dan Freeman on Unsplash, image 2 courtesy of 1881 Heritage, image 3 courtesy of HK Space Museum, image 4 courtesy of Mark Billante on Unsplash, image 5 courtesy of YMCA of Hong Kong, image 6 courtesy of Hutong, image 7 courtesy of Gio Rey Tabernero on Unsplash, image 8 courtesy of Dim Sum Icon via Instagram, image 9 courtesy of Baby Natur on Unsplash, image 10 courtesy of Zara Home, image 11 courtesy of Aqua, image 12 courtesy of Palm Court, image 13 courtesy of DarkSide.