Hong Kong is a city that knows a thing or two about shopping—but it’s not all indoor malls and mega entertainment complexes. There are also plenty of colorful outdoor markets that cater to every type of customer. Check these out while you’re in town.
PMQ Night Markets
This all-new night-time market in Central is housed in a rejuvenated former police building (known as the Police Married Quarters, or PMQ for short). Taking place each weekend in the central courtyard that’s sandwiched between the two main lowrise buildings, PMQ Night Markets consists of stalls hawking everything from jewelry to beauty products to clothing to shoes. Take your pick of local brands or international designers. There are also a handful of outdoor food vendors representing restaurants across the city, serving finger foods, snacks and pastries. Picnic tables spread out across the yard make it easy to grab a bite and while the evening away.
The PMQ building itself is on the site of a former government school that was partially destroyed during World War II. After the war, the site was converted into the city’s first Police Married Quarters, where newly inducted officers lodged with their spouses. The complex was vacated in 2000, and in 2009 the government earmarked it for a heritage conservation project, consequently transforming it into a public space while keeping functional elements of the old buildings intact. Today, clothing boutiques and lifestyle shops line the corridors. 35 Aberdeen St., Central
Opening Hours: June 6-8 & 13-15. Fri 6-11 pm, Sat 5-11 pm, Sun noon-5 pm.
How to Get There: Ride the Mid-Levels escalators up to Hollywood Road, then walk westward until you reach Aberdeen Street. Make a left on Aberdeen—PMQ will be on your right-hand side.
Upper Lascar Row
Hollywood Road and its surrounding streets in Sheung Wan are a treasure trove for art and antiques enthusiasts, and one particularly enchanting enclave is Upper Lascar Row, also known as “Cat Street.” This pedestrian-only alleyway is occupied on both sides by antiques and curio shops, stocking everything from Chinese propaganda posters to jade buddhas to jewelry to playing cards. Trinket stalls parked outside the shops add to the market atmosphere. In recent months, two restaurants have also opened up on the street: Man Mo Café, which serves Frenchified dim sum, and Bibo, an art-gallery-slash-restaurant. After checking out Upper Lascar Row, be sure to browse the many art galleries along Hollywood Road as well as all the intersecting side streets. Delightful cafés and boutiques can be found on Po Hing Fong, Tai Ping Shan Street and Upper Station Street, to name just a few. Upper Lascar Row and Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan
Opening Hours: Each shop and gallery has different opening hours, but the streets are open to the public 24/7.
How to Get There: Take the MTR to Central Station and get out at Exit D. Walk west on Queen’s Road Central until you reach the Mid-Levels Escalators, then take the escalator up to Hollywood Road.
Stanley used to be the base for Britain’s garrison when Hong Kong was under British rule in the 18th century. With British colonial architecture such as the Murray House—which was relocated brick by brick from Central—flanked by local shops and restaurants, the district boasts a quaint east-meets-west vibe.
This busy outdoor market is a top tourist spot. Made up of alleys and lanes dotted with dozens of stalls, Stanley Market offers a diverse selection of local as well as international products. All sorts of distinctively Chinese items can be bought, including traditional Chinese clothes, paintings, jade and name stamps. Your best bet is to negotiate or compare prices before you go ahead with a purchase—it’s all about bargains in Hong Kong’s street markets. As a bonus, Stanley also has two beaches (Stanley Main Beach and St. Stephen’s Beach) and a host of al-fresco bars and cafés that stretch across its waterfront. It’s a peaceful and relaxing district packed with fresh air and cool breezes. Stanley New Street and Stanley Market Road, Stanley
Opening Hours: Most shops open from 10 am to 7 pm.
How to Get There: From Central’s Exchange Square Bus Terminus, take Bus 6, 6A, 6X, 66 or 260.
Island East Markets
Organized by the same folks behind the PMQ Night Markets, Island East Markets is a Sunday affair that takes place outside a multi-building office complex in Quarry Bay. The pedestrian-only area is lined with artisanal stalls offering the freshest produce from Hong Kong’s farms, trinkets from local designers and snacks from yet-to-open restaurants, as well as established names across the city. In fact, you might even be able to catch some products from local entrepreneurs who are testing the waters before they launch a full-blown business.
The Island East Markets are particuarly family-friendly, with live music and entertainment for children and adults alike. Vendors rotate weekly to keep things interesting. Tong Chong Street, Quarry Bay
Opening Hours: Throughout June, Sundays 11 am-5:30 pm.
How to Get There: Take the MTR to Quarry Bay Station, walk out of Exit A, cross the street.
Wan Chai Market
Arguably the largest open-air market on Hong Kong Island, the Wan Chai Street Market is known to locals as “Toy Street,” as it is a go-to for novelty knick-knacks and childhood favorites, with some shops having been in business for decades. After the 1980s, Hong Kong’s booming toy industry moved to the mainland, and locally produced toys became a rare charm. For the young at heart, take an afternoon stroll through the market, where you can find limited-edition action figures, stuffed toys, cute stationery and everything in between.
While there are still some shops on Toy Street where you can find the “watermelon” beach balls and bubble blowers that most Hong Kong kids played with once upon a time, today the market is a local shopper’s hub where you can find all sorts of dried foods and snacks, affordable clothing and accessories, plants and flowers, and different seasonal decorations year-round. Also check out the myriad local diners lining the streets on both sides, which offer a lot of strange and wonderful gems: from Chinese herbal soups and snake stews to iconic Hong Kong cha chaan teng (local greasy spoon) bites. Tai Yuen Street, Wan Chai
Opening Hours: Daily from around 11 am to 7 pm; some vendors may choose to open slightly later or earlier.
How to Get There: Take the MTR to Wan Chai station. Look for Exit A3 on Johnston Street. Facing south, cross the road and you’ll reach Tai Yuen Street, perpendicular to Johnston. Just follow the street down the row of green tin stalls.
Fa Yuen Street Market
If you love shopping for the latest trends, Fa Yuen Street is the place to go. Along the seemingly ordinary street market facade, you’ll find some of the freshest exotic fruits and produce, together with daily necessities such as hosiery and umbrellas, and toys and knitting supplies. If you venture on either side of the market stalls, the shops carry a full range of fashionable dresses, outfits, shoes and accessories that mimic the styles donned by runway models and celebrities. Years ago, the shops here were known to stock mostly factory seconds, but these days that’s less true. Nowadays, more and more local fashion digs are opening up along this street, offering everything from cheap trendy trinkets to stylish clothes and bags made from top-quality fabrics. You’ll find that some stores offer designs imported straight from Japan and Korea—think quirky and cute looks with clean cuts—while others stock unique looks curated in-store. From basics to your next party dress, Fa Yuen Street has it all at incredibly affordable prices; you just have to take the time to sift through to find what you want. But there’s much more to Mong Kok’s famous markets than Fa Yuen Street alone. Remember to also check out the Ladies' Market, Temple Street and Jade Market. Fa Yuen Street, Mong Kok
Opening Hours: From around 11 am-10:30 pm; some vendors may choose to open slightly later or earlier.
How to Get There: The street market is located just perpendicular to the massive pedestrian walkway along Mong Kok Road. The walkway connects Grand Century Plaza at Mong Kok East train station and Mong Kok MTR exit B3 and will lead you to the southern end of the market near the midpoint of the walkway. Alternatively, take the MTR to Prince Edward, and get out at exit B2. Take a left and follow Nullah Road until it turns into Fa Yuen Street Market.
Sai Kung Sunday Market
While not technically outdoors, this vibrant monthly farmers and craft market debuted in March and has already become a popular weekend haunt for the locals. With over 50 stalls housed in the Hong Kong Academy, the Sai Kung Sunday Market offers a wide range of goods. Small businesses, farmers, artists and artisans attract visitors with all sorts of temptations: from organic or specialty foods to handmade crafts to henna tattoos. There are also live-music performances during market hours, making it the perfect Sunday family outing. Sai Kung district itself offers everything from beaches to mountains to seafood restaurants. Adventurous visitors can hike through the country parks and surf by the beaches. Tai Long Wan on the east coast of the Sai Kung peninsula is a popular surfing location as well as a camping hotspot, although it’s a fairly strenuous, 45-minute hike each way. Sai Kung is also renowned for its seafood. Crowds of fishermen selling fresh fish line the pier and promenade each day. Pick up a fresh catch, then bring it to a nearby harborside restaurant, which will turn it into a delicious seafood meal. Hong Kong Academy, 33 Wai Man Rd., Sai Kung
Opening Hours: First Sunday of every month 11 am-5 pm (open September-June).
How to Get There: Go to Choi Hung MTR (Exit C2), then take green minibus 1A or bus 92 to Sai Kung.