The Best of Art Galleries, Street Art and Artsy Cafes in Kowloon Hong Kong

4.12.2022 Kowloon, Hong Kong

As new-age Instagrammers, we are constantly on the lookout for stories that inspire us, art that moves us, and a city that mirrors our own growth. West Kowloon Cultural District is Hong Kong's newest cultural hub, pulsing with energy when it comes to creating modern traditions. It attracts dynamic cultural cityscapes where East meets West, Art meets Aesthetics, Modern meets History and getting carried away in the gleaming possibilities of Cultural District isn't just a false promise.

Classic Instagram Shot: A local pose in front of Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market's mosaic mural near ferry street, which depicts the lively market's comings and goings. 

Art has taken precedence in our lives even more since the pandemic. While museums were once viewed primarily as educational institutions that we could cross off our bucket list, as we spend more time at home indulging in our artistic endeavors and creativity, the role of art has become central in our lives, necessitating the need to get out there to heal and understand through art.

Suhanya Raffel, Museum Director M+ says, “Great cities have great cultural institutions. M+ is the first global museum. In Asia, there is no institution that’s collecting visual art together with design and architecture and moving image, none. When M+ opens it will change people’s life.” 

West Kowloon is so diverse that it will pique your curiosity no matter what your interests are. We could marvel at the skyscrapers and mountains, or we could delve into West Kowloon's history of seafaring Tanka People - also known as Water Gypsies or Water people - docking their fishing boats. We could go on and on about our experience at the Yau Ma Tei Theatre, the only surviving pre-World War II theatre. Or we could keep our cameras ready for the Flight of Stairs, which is a series of steps with a 2D flower garden painted on them.

     Flight of Stairs: Let’s choose our flowers, shall we? 

I have created itineraries picking the best of Art Galleries, Street Art, and Artsy Cafes in Kowloon. So, let's begin our journey of ten of my favorite spots from the West Kowloon Cultural District:

The Best of Art Galleries:

I've put together a map that highlights the local art galleries. Because the loop is only 20 minutes long, art gallery enthusiasts will appreciate the variety of options available.

1. M+: If you thought M+ was just another museum, you're in for a surprise. M+ is a must-see on the West Kowloon waterfront, featuring 20th and 21st century visual art, design, and architecture, as well as moving visuals and the thematic area of Hong Kong visual culture. Jacques Herzog, Founding Partner of Herzog & de Meuron, says, “By visual art, we mean it’s much more open for performance, for photography, for ceramic work, for design, for architecture. That variety and diversity is important today than it was 10 or 20 years ago.” 

There are about 8000 works in the museum, plus 50,000 items collection dedicated to architecture. The collection is divided into 3 areas: 1) Design and Architecture. 2)Moving Image 3) Visual Art. 

Where: West Kowloon Cultural District, 38 Museum Drive, Kowloon, Hong Kong 

2. Hong Kong Museum of Art: You can also go to the newly renovated Hong Kong Museum of Art, which has rotating exhibitions and international exhibits. The Hong Kong Museum of Art is the city's first public art museum, with a collection of approximately 17,000 artefacts ranging from Chinese antiquities and calligraphy to modern installations and Western paintings. 

Where: 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

Anyone who gets more interested in calligraphy can also visit Yau Sang Cheong to learn more about the Chinese Calligraphy. They also have workshops to learn the fundamentals of this traditional art form.

Yau Sang Cheong transports you to the brushstrokes that defined classical Chinese art and calligraphy, as well as a specialty shop selling calligraphy brushes, ink, and other Chinese art supplies.

3. Museum of History: The museum's exhibitions trace the city's evolution from a modest fishing village to the bustling metropolis it is today, with fascinating relics and photographs providing an insight into the city's past! 

Where: 100 Chatham Road South, Tsim Sha Tsui

4. Cultural Center: Head to the Hong Kong Cultural Centre to witness a live performance, ranging from ballet shows to theatre productions, for culture vultures who wish to continue their discovery of arts and creativity along the harbourfront. Since its opening in 1989, this multipurpose venue has been the leading location for cultural performance, and it is well known for its visual appeal — its hallways and consistent tilework lend themselves particularly well to dramatic Instagram pictures! 

Where: 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

We may momentarily stretch our legs at the Art Park and waterfront promenade, which are ideal for green grass spaces and skyline photos, since we will be in and near Victoria Harbor when visiting M+ and the Cultural Centre. 

The Best of Street Art

Let’s begin by tracing directions on Google map of our favourite street arts.

1. Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market: I strongly suggest stopping by the Gwo Laan, or Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market if you are near the Yau Ma Tei Theatre or the Temple Street area. Imagine going through a sensory overload of fresh fruit, both local and exotic, while appreciating the art deco brick and stone structures of this historic building. Shutter art captures the lively market's comings and goings, from personified apples, oranges, and pineapples to a quiet scene of mahjong-playing locals. They say that the real action in the market is during the night, when tons and thousands of boxes of produce are moved in and out in this large wholesale fruit market. See if you can find the name plates adorning the shopfronts, which bear the names of various firms that are often as old as the structures themselves. 

Where: Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market, Waterloo Road, Yau Ma Tei

To view shutter art, you must visit while the shutters are down, around mid-morning, after the stalls have completed their early morning bidding session and before the market opens to the public for retail shopping.

2. Flight of Stairs: This is a popular photo op for both locals and photographers. Different sections of the stairwell are painted with a different type of flower, so you can sit amongst a field of purple tulips, yellow sunflowers, or red roses — whichever appeals to you the most. 

Where: 81 Public Square Street, Yau Ma Tei

3. 176–178 Shanghai Street: Only a few buildings in Hong Kong still have a covered terrace on the ground level in the manner of historic shophouses, but one of them is the building at 176–178 Shanghai Street. They were mostly occupied by Chinese merchants in the past and were known locally as tong lau, which literally means 'Chinese building.' Though the four-story tenement building has since been rebuilt, a big sign on top of the structure carries the numerals '1940,' the year of construction. It currently houses a typical pawn store, which is a dying industry in and of itself. 

Where: 176–178 Shanghai Street, Yau Ma Tei

A neon sign with the customary pawn shop figure of a stylized, upside-down bat gripping a coin may be found on both sides of the building. 

The characters for the bat’s Chinese name (蝠) and good fortune (福), and ‘to turn around’ (倒) and ‘to arrive’ (到) are homophones, auspiciously alluding to the arrival of good fortune.

4. Surrealist mural piece: Murals are a living art canvas that may be used to express a variety of subjects. The Surrealist Mural Piece, for example, is located on Shanghai Street, near to the Red Brick Building, which is a popular tourist attraction. The large artwork illustrates urban life alongside a plea to mankind to adopt environmentally conscious actions. At first look, we perceive a robot-like creature standing on top of a flowering bush and riding a bicycle. 

Where: 342 Shanghai Street, Yau Ma Tei

As we explore deeper into the mural's secret meaning, our attention is drawn to his mandarin vest. His waistcoat is adorned with windows and air conditioners, emulating the characteristic building facades of Hong Kong's cityscape, including the one on which it rests! Isn’t it an interesting way to know how the typical building facades of Hong Kong are! 

The Best of Artsy Cafes 

The two artsy cafes mentioned below are situated 5 minutes apart from each other, and this is where they stand on Google Map.

1. PICKY: Begin your tour with a cup of coffee or tea at PICKY, which is located inside Tung Nam Lou, a heritage building that has been turned into a boutique art hotel. It began as a neighborhood seafood restaurant, then evolved into an office building, and finally into a celebration of arts and culture in the community. Explore the terrace for views of historic tong lau buildings all around — a flavor of old Hong Kong — and drink tea or coffee surrounded by art pieces and design-conscious furnishings. 

Where: 5/F, 68 Portland Street, Yau Ma Tei

2. Mido Café: Make a pit stop at Mido Cafe for some classic Hong Kong cha chaan teng cuisine if you're hungry after a screening at the Broadway Cinamatheque (a unique theatre that runs arthouse films in addition to blockbuster movies). Since their opening in 1950, their basic interiors have remained the same, consisting of classic remains of Hong Kong's newly industrialised landscape. 

Where: 63 Temple Street, Yau Ma Tei 63 Temple Street, Yau Ma Tei

A mural representing the dining scene in the café hangs on the wall right outside the entrance.

The interiors of Mido Cafe

Movies are works of art because they are interpretations of reality. If you're in Kowloon and curious about regional cinema, the Vision Signage Production Mural on Reclamation Street is a good photo opportunity because the owner's film props appear in 90 percent of Hong Kong-based films. The Box, Hong Kong's largest black box theatre, is housed in Freespace at Art Park, making it an ideal venue for experimental productions and events. Also, take a walk down the Avenue of Stars next to the Victoria Harbor and marvel at the entertainment titans who shaped Hong Kong's indelible film industry and continue to inspire us today.

The West Kowloon Cultural District is hence one of the HK Neighborhoods that is unique enough to inspire a great vacation with a high-energy vibe you must not miss!

Also, feel free to tag in your HK Kowloon experiences at discoverhongkong using #discoverhongkong on Instagram and we would love to hear…

Feel free to visit the following for more details: Discover Hong Kong Website

/* Note: I wrote this post in collaboration with Hong Kong Tourism(Discover Hong Kong) */


  1. Maybe I missed this info, but what camera do you use?

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Thanks for telling us to visit best places

  4. I have been Hong Kong before. There have many building chinese called lao zhi hao. I very love Hong Kong.


Please introduce yourself here.