Beneath Hong Kong’s modern skyscrapers lies a surprisingly kid-friendly destination. The city holds tremendous sentimental value to me personally. I go back every year because the list of things to do in Hong Kong with kids is expansive — even if you don’t factor in Hong Kong Disneyland. The neat thing about Hong Kong is that you can experience something new every time you visit. For such a tiny destination, it really packs a punch. This list is focused on activities that one can practically experience on a typical Hong Kong family vacation.

Hong Kong Disneyland

If you’re short on time, a half-day visit to Hong Kong Disneyland is still worth it. If you’re coming during the summer months and would like to skip the lines, think about booking a 3-hour Disneyland VIP Tour. The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique (there is one in the park now, too), Hong Kong Disneyland character dining, and Disney dim sum all take place at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel, which is a quick shuttle bus away from the theme park. However, know that you need to reserve these experiences in advance.

Of the major roller coasters, Hyperspace Mountain (more or less Space Mountain for those familiar with Disneyland in Anaheim) is the only one represented here. Do not miss the Iron Man Experience, Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars, Mystic Manor, and the new Ant-Man and the Wasp: Nano Battle.

The Peak

the peak hong kong

The Peak offers the most spectacular view of Hong Kong. The viewing deck on the top of The Peak Tower on the Sky Terrace 428 (admission required) is the perfect place to take that holiday card photo. Or opt for the Lion’s Peak Pavilion to the right (if facing Victoria Harbour) of The Peak Tower. It’s a free viewing platform with more charm but be aware that it is usually crowded.

Go any time of the day, but I think it’s best to maximize your time up here by also dining at The Peak Lookout. There are also quick-service restaurants, some of which serve must-try Hong Kong food. Madame Tussaud’s is here as are many, many souvenir shops, so plan to spend a while here.

Stroll around the Peak Circle Walk for more scenic shots. As the name implies, you can walk an entire circle around The Peak. There’s a little kids’ playground around the middle if they need a break. It takes around 40 minutes to do the entire walk.

The Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery via Ngong Ping 360

The Big Buddha statue next to Po Lin Monastery in Hong Kong

Named for the stunning views seen during the ride, Ngong Ping 360 eliminates the need to endure a windy bus ride to the Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island. You can ride in a regular cable car, private cable car, or even a glass-bottom cable car.

Book the glass-bottom cable car at Ngong Ping 360. Kids love the glass-bottom cable car for obvious reasons and it usually has a shorter boarding queue. The cable car drops you at Ngong Ping Village where there is shopping, dining, and entertainment. It’s a bit touristy, though nature walks are accessible here, and the most famous sight is the Po Lin Monastery, where you can have a decent vegetarian lunch and see the Tian Tan Buddha, otherwise known as the Big Buddha.The Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery are very popular Hong Kong attractions for a good reason. People from all over Asia make the pilgrimage to see the stately Big Buddha, which was built in 1993. If your kids are good walkers, do take a quick detour to the Wisdom Path where a group of large wooden steels displays a prayer. It’s great for photos.

Symphony of Lights

The Symphony of Lights show over Victoria Harbour never gets old.I highly recommend harbour view hotel rooms as most have views of it (the closer you are to the harbour, the better). The ‘World’s Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show’ as named by Guinness World Records starts every night at 8:00 p.m. Colored lasers and lights shoot from the top of 40 buildings lining the Hong Kong skyline on both sides of the harbour. Listen to music (Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra recorded the new musical score) and narration available via the A Symphony of Lights app though it is broadcast live near Avenue of the Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui and at the promenade at Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai.