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8 Must-Visit Hong Kong Arts & Culture Spots, According To A Canadian Ballerina Living There

Consider this your bucket list for future travels.

8 Must-Visit Hong Kong Arts & Culture Spots, According To A Canadian Ballerina Living There

When you think of Hong Kong, a bustling urban metropolis probably comes to mind. What you may not know is that this region is one of the world's greatest cultural hubs.

To get an interesting perspective on the arts and culture of Hong Kong, Narcity interviewed Canadian ballerina Jessica Burrows about her favourite cultural destinations in the area.

Originally from Stouffville, Ontario, Jessica decided at the young age of nine to train with Canada's National Ballet School. She graduated in 2008 before joining the National Ballet of Canada for a year, then moving on to work with the Hong Kong Ballet in 2010. After leaving for two years to join the Boston Ballet, Jessica returned to the Hong Kong Ballet in 2019, where she's currently a soloist.

Courtesy of Conrad Dy-Liacco and the Hong Kong Ballet

Jessica's shows have sold out consistently. Many of the region's venues are limiting audience capacity to 85% due to COVID restrictions, but with stay-at-home orders easing up, locals have been looking for exciting new things to do. Jessica loves that more people are being exposed to ballet.

About the arts and culture scene, she says, "You almost feel like there are no limits to your creativity. You're able to develop yourself or your industry or whatever kind of job you're in [...] And there's always some sort of audience. I think people from everywhere in the world find that appealing, that you can express your ideas and create something new in this city.

"There are so many ways to take in Hong Kong's creative landscape, and the locals will welcome you with open arms when the time is right for leisure travel. In the meantime, check out this list of Jessica's favourite activities in the area.

Listen To Live Music & Bike Around The Art Park

Price: Free

Address: West Kowloon Cultural District, Kowloon, Hong Kong

The Art Park, situated right on the water in the West Kowloon cultural district, offers jaw-dropping vistas. Here, you can watch open-air performances, relax in the park or rent a bike for an afternoon cruise.

If you're eager to plan a future trip to West Kowloon, check out Hong Kong Tourism Board's new itineraries, including five walking routes with 50+ shops, restaurants, and points of interest. The itineraries will help you best explore the area's rich heritage, vibrant street life and new museums. Log on to Discover Hong Kong to get started.

Website

Attend A Freespace Performance

Price: Ticket prices vary

Address: Art Park, West Kowloon Cultural District, Kowloon, Hong Kong

At the centre of the Art Park, you'll find a black-box theatre and performance centre that stages the work of various contemporary creators (including Jessica).

Freespace is an interdisciplinary venue that showcases contemporary art that regularly comes alive with music, workshops, craft vendors and more. Here, Jessica enjoys having a Sunday picnic while taking in stellar sunset views.

With a wide variety of genres and shows, this venue offers something for everyone. The Freespace Mural is a must-see, and every weekend the Lau Bak Livehouse hosts film screenings, live musical acts and other cultural events.

Website

​Immerse Yourself In Chinese Opera At The Xiqu Centre

Price: Ticket prices vary

Address: 88 Austin Rd. W., Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Featured on TIME's "Greatest Places 2019" list, the large two-theatre Xiqu Centre is one of the best spots to experience Chinese arts and culture. The venue showcases traditional Chinese theatre, film, talks and exhibitions, workshops, Cantonese opera and regional forms of Xiqu (Chinese opera).

There are guided tours available and unique activities aplenty. At Tea House Theatre, for example, you can immerse yourself in performances while savouring tea and dim sum. Jessica feels that "it's much more than just a theatre. As you walk in, it's a work of art itself and so contemporary, which is also so beautiful."

Website

Experience Contemporary Culture At The M+ Museum

Price: Free for residents, $19.50 for adults

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

The M+ Museum, opening this November, will house iconic artworks from the 20th and 21st centuries. There will be four collections featuring work that considers Asian heritage from a global perspective. The interdisciplinary M+ Collection connects design, architecture and moving images from Asian and international cultures.

Jessica is super excited to have her choreography featured at the M+ opening, performed by two Hong Kong Ballet dancers. She describes the new space as "absolutely stunning" and believes it will be a huge attraction.

Website

Admire Street Art In Hong Kong's Central District

Price: Free

Address: Old Town Central, Hong Kong

If you feel like stretching your legs, don't miss the street art in Hong Kong's Central district. Many artists have work on display at local restaurants and on high-rise buildings. Jessica mentioned the notable collective, Elsa Jean De Dieu Studio, "[Their] paintings are absolutely gorgeous, and you find them everywhere in the city. Really, really talented."

The area is also home to Elgin Street, an urban impressionist mural of a rainy Hong Kong evening, by British street artists Dank and Charles Williams. Here, you can also find Galerie 1839, a photography gallery that updates the murals outside to match its current exhibition.

Website

See A Show At The Hong Kong Cultural Centre

Price: Ticket prices vary

Address: 10 Salisbury Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Located along the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, the Hong Kong Cultural Centre is the region's main theatre. Here, you can find creative works of every discipline, from performance art to visual art.

According to Jessica, the venue is a "must-see for dance and art lovers visiting Hong Kong." She works with the Hong Kong Ballet out of this centre, and tells Narcity it's "where most of the big companies in Hong Kong perform." Crowd favourites include the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Hong Kong Sinfonietta and the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong.

Website

Visit The Hong Kong Museum Of Art

Price: Entry included with the purchase of a Museum Pass (around $10)

Address: 10 Salisbury Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Museum of Art, located in Tsim Sha Tsui, has been recently renovated and is a feast for the eyes, according to Jessica. She highly recommends the many exhibitions there.

Established in 1962 as Hong Kong's first public art museum, it boasts over 17,000 items that represent the region's cultural legacy and worldwide influence. The museum houses a collection of pieces both ancient and modern, local and international.

Website

Shop At The K11 Art Mall

Price: Free

Address: 18 Hanoi Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong

The K11 Art Mall is a museum-retail concept that presents creative workshops, mini-concerts, film screenings, artist talks and exhibitions.

"But the building itself, aside from any exhibitions that they host, is gorgeous. The art gallery on top is really nice, and you can just walk in," Jessica says.

The 3,000 square-foot gallery space is definitely worth the visit, and on the way up, you can have a shopping spree. Brands from all over the world can be found in the centre's seven storeys. Pop by the international design store and grab lunch at one of the popular restaurants.

Website

Despite Jessica's demanding schedule as a ballerina, instructor and student (she's currently completing her bachelor's degree), she still takes time to explore Hong Kong's impressive array of cultural venues. The creativity in this region is guaranteed to inspire.

You can discover it for yourself, once travel is more feasible and safe. Though you may not be able to visit just yet, it's fun to dream a little think ahead to future travels.

To learn more about Hong Kong's incredible cultural hubs, check out the Hong Kong Tourism Board's website for more information.

Before you get going, check our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.

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