Rain, heat and the occasional typhoons are risks of visiting Hong Kong in the summer. Have no fear. There are plenty of things to do around town when the weather isn’t cooperating. We used to live in Hong Kong and return for long stays every year.
This list of indoor activities is helpful when visiting Hong Kong with kids or even without.
1. Hong Kong Museum of History
This is probably my favorite museum in Hong Kong because it walks through the SAR’s history and cultural heritage. The exhibits are extremely well done, covering 400 million years ago to the reunification with China. Kids will love the dioramas and over 90,000 items on display. And, there’s plenty of space for them to cruise around. You can pick up a self-guided audio tour, walk through with a guide or tour on your own. It’s located next to the Hong Kong Science Museum if you’d like to visit both back-to-back. MTR Station: Tsim Sha Tsui, Exit B2.
2. Hong Kong Science Museum
A highlight here is the first Cathay Pacific DC3 airliner suspended from the ceiling. A great museum for kids, most of the exhibits at the Hong Kong Science Museum are hands-on activities including a driving simulator, computer area, and the enormous twin-tower energy machine which demonstrates how a dropped ball converts into other energy along the 22m track. MTR Station: Tsim Sha Tsui, Exit J.
3. Hong Kong Space Museum
It’s in need of refurbishment, but young kids will enjoy spending a little time at the Hong Kong Space Museum. There are a few hands-on exhibits (though some don’t function properly), a spaceship cockpit to walk into, short movies on repeat and plenty of space-related things to admire. My 10-year-old still likes to take a quick spin around it. This indoor Hong Kong activity is not too far from the Star Ferry (though you’ll definitely need an umbrella and rain shoes). MTR Station: Tsim Sha Tsui, Exit J.
4. Hong Kong Maritime Museum
Located in Central near the ferry terminals, it’s possible to walk to the Hong Kong Maritime Museum without too much exposure to the elements from Central hotels like Mandarin Oriental or Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong. This museum showcases the history of Hong Kong’s ships, naval exploration, trade and more. There’s even a family corner where kids and parents can leisurely read books and play. MTR Station: Central, Exit A.
5. Hong Kong Heritage Museum
Located a bit out of the way in Sha Tin, some locals believe the Hong Kong Heritage Museum is a hidden gem. The museum addresses art, culture and history of Hong Kong including canto opera (the costumes are amazing), ceramics, paintings and even a section dedicated to Bruce Lee. MTR Station: Che Kung Temple, Exit A.
6. Go To the Movies
It’s not the first thing that comes to mind when on vacation, but if there happens to be a movie the kids are dying to see, Hong Kong isn’t a bad place to do it. Book tickets at a nice theatre like Palace IFC (located in the IFC mall) where the chairs are comfortable and you pick the seat location in advance. Enjoy lunch inside the mall, shop, see a movie, grab a dessert and afternoon coffee—it’s not a bad way to spend the day. We like Palace IFC because we lived in the Four Seasons just steps away but there are other Broadway Circuit theatres all over Hong Kong. Palace IFC MTR: Hong Kong Station (connected to Central MTR station), Exit A.
7. Go To the Mall
Malls are one of the most popular indoor activities in Hong Kong. And, if you’re in Central, you can easily snake from one to the other without feeling one raindrop.
The Prince’s Building (near The Landmark) has maybe 10 designer kids clothing and toy stores as well as a fun bookstore. Then, give the kids your iPhone for entertainment while you shop the designer-laden Landmark or IFC Malls nearby.
Over in Kowloon, the Elements mall is big enough to entertain all ages and it does have a rooftop playground for when the rain breaks in addition to an indoor ice skating rink. It’s connected to The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong (the world’s highest hotel) where you may want to consider afternoon tea after shopping.
Harbour City has an entire kids’ retail wing (with many designer brands like Burberry for kids represented) anchored by a Toys R’ Us and plenty of family-friendly dining options.
8. Visit the Peak: Madame Tussaud’s and Trick Eye Museum
If it’s not raining too hard, take the Peak Tram up to The Peak (otherwise, hop in a taxi) where the most spectacular photo opportunities in all of Hong Kong await. Except, if it’s raining, you’re not likely to see much. However, there’s still plenty to do up here including loads of trinket shopping and good dining.
The Peak Lookout offers up family-friendly local and international favorites (I like their Hainanese chicken rice). It’s an elegant, historic cafe that has been open since 1947.
Madame Tussaud’s is in The Peak Tower and features Bruce Lee out front as well as the British Royal Family, Hollywood celebrities and international sports figures inside. It’s fun for a quick walk-through.
Kids do particularly like the Trick Eye Museum in the Peak Galleria. It’s a small 3-D museum with clever art that they can pose in front of to seem like they’re actually in the scene. You’d likely spend no more than an hour here.
9. Visit Temples
Visiting temples is a way to show kids the spiritual side of Hong Kong and there are over 350 to see. One doesn’t spend too much time inside these temples so consider it an idea for light rain.
Interestingly enough, most Hong Kong families worship both Taoist and Buddhist deities, as well as family ancestors. Some temples have rows of ancestral photographs. Man Mo Temple, pictured above, is down Hollywood Road in Sheung Wan. If rain is light, it’s a nice walk from the Mid-Levels escalator. It is a place of worship so keep in mind that if the kids are feeling unruly, it’s probably not the best idea. Note that the incense aroma and smoke can be thick. Man Mo MTR Station: Sheung Wan, Exit A2 (or Central, Exit D and walk).
10. Afternoon Tea
Here’s a win-win if your kids are up for it. Afternoon tea in Hong Kong is wonderful—remember it’s a former British colony. Most of the major hotels and some restaurants offer it. Our personal favorites include the Clipper Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental (the rose petal jam is divine), The Lounge at Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong and The Lobby at The Peninsula Hong Kong. Or, try local fast-casual favorites of milk tea and pineapple bun or egg tarts at Honolulu Coffee Shop or Tsui Wah.
11. Character Dim Sum
There are a handful of places that offer dim sum in the shape of popular characters or animals. The best when it comes to the quality of the food and ambience is Yum Cha in Central and Tsim Sha Tsui. Definitely make a reservation because it’s popular for a good reason.
Hello Kitty fans may love the Hello Kitty bao dumplings at Hello Kitty Chinese Cuisine. The food looks super cute though some claim the service is a bit slow.
Dim Sum ICON has two locations, one in Central and another in Tsim Sha Tsui. The character dim sum changes theme so you might want to find out what it is before going. They’ve have Gudetama, Angry Birds, Miffy and some others.
12. Go Ice Skating
If you happened to pack the right clothing (layering in Hong Kong at any time of the year is best anyway due to air conditioning), take the kids ice skating.
Elements mall in Kowloon has a pay-by-the-minute ice rink. (MTR: Kowloon Station, exit C)
Cityplaza (MTR: Taikoo Station, exit E2)
Mega Ice (MTR Station: Kowloon Bay, exit A – you can board the free shuttle bus to MegaBox mall)
Glacier at Festival Walk (MTR Station: Kowloon Tong, exit C)
13. Indoor Play Areas Hong Kong
FunZone: This used to be Playtown, where we’d attended a number of parties and play dates. It’s located in the Belchers at Kennedy Town on the island which isn’t too far from Central. FunZone is a 10,000 square foot playground dedicated to children from babies to 12-year-olds though there’s a cafe and free WiFi. MTR: HKU, exit C2
E3 Club Playland: It’s located inside Megabox (where the Mega Ice skating rink is also located) with ten zones including a princess play area, golf training area, toddler play area and more. It’s a nice play area. MTR station: Kowloon Bay, exit A
Ryze Trampoline Park: With obstacle courses, trapeze, foam pits and more kids will be sure to tire out at this gigantic Hong Kong trampoline park. MTR station: Quarry Bay, exit C
14. Try Hoverboarding
There are two indoor Azzita hoverboard parks in Hong Kong in Repulse Bay and Kwun Tong. It’s for ages 6 and older and even adults can join in the fun giving these rides a whirl around a racing track. Protective gear is provided and they also have games like pool, foos ball, Play Station and others.
15. Visit a Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel
The park will actually stay open until a typhoon or black rain warning is issued. However, if staying dry at Hong Kong Disneyland is more to your liking, consider booking the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique followed by a character dining with Mickey Mouse and friends at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel’s Enchanted Garden restaurant.
The other possibility is a mommy and me spa treatment at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel’s Victorian Spa. Oddly, the spa menu isn’t listed online so you’ll need to call. Disneyland Hotel MTR Station: Disneyland Resort (then take the shuttle bus).
See also: The BEST Guide to Hong Kong Disneyland
General Tips for When It’s Raining in Hong Kong
Check the Hong Kong Observatory for up to the minute weather updates.
Public transportation will be crowded when it’s raining and taxis will become difficult to hail. During typhoon 8 or above signals and black rain warnings issued before opening hours, almost everything will close.
Typhoon season is May–September. While a typhoon will certainly put a damper on flight schedules and outdoor touring, we have lived in Hong Kong through typhoons and the city is very well prepared.
Make any necessary reservations as early as possible. You will not be the only one trying to get out and about in sub-par weather.
It is better to visit Hong Kong in rain than not at all. It can certainly pour and the upshot is that it tempers summer heat. During rainy season, it is wise to choose a hotel near or attached to one of the major shopping malls so that you need not step outside for a change of pace, restaurants, necessities and other entertainment. I can help you find a Hong Kong family hotel but top picks include:
Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong (Central)
Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong (Central)
The Landmark Mandarin Oriental (Central)
Upper House (Admiralty)
Island Shangri-la (Admiralty)
Marco Polo Hotel (Kowloon)
The Ritz-Carlton (West Kowloon)
See also: 21 Best Family Hotels in Hong Kong
Entry to public museums is very cheap at usually $10 per adult and $5 per child, but have a look at the Museum Pass or Museum Weekly Pass to compare benefits, especially if you are a Hong Kong resident.
Hong Kong changes rather quickly, so the rule of thumb is to always call before you go.
What are your favorite thing to do in Hong Kong when it’s raining?
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