Art and culture

Best things to do in Hong Kong in June

Beat the heat with the city's newest (air-conditioned) exhibitions, bars and restaurants

June’s a busy month in Hong Kong.

Firstly, we’re gearing up for the opening of Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts, a reinvigoration of the former Central Police Station, Victoria Prison and Central Magistracy on Hollywood Road that includes Swiss architect Herzog & de Meuron’s glassy cube. The first sections to open include the Police Headquarters Block and the Barrack Block.

We’ll stick with art – but head over the Peak to the Southside. There’s always plenty happening in Wong Chuk Hang; we’ll be seeing what’s new in boundary-pushing Pékin Fine Arts, Blindspot Gallery and de Sarthe. Then to Blue Lotus Gallery, where there’s a group exhibition (until 16 June) featuring local artists including illustrator Pete Ross, who once designed a cover for this very magazine; while across the harbour at West Kowloon there’s an exhibition focusing on Southeast Asian visual art, design, architecture and moving images (from 22 June) at the M+ Pavilion.

In restaurant news, Italian eatery Osteria Marzia, on the ground floor of reinvigorated Wan Chai bolthole The Fleming, is now open for lunch. Or book a table at Écriture atop H Queen’s, the vertical arts centre in Central that hosts powerhouse galleries including David Zwirner, Hauser & Wirth and Pace. The minimalist French-Japanese restaurant, with blockbuster views of the skyline, is just as arty as its neighbours below. Just drinks? Tsim Sha Tsui’s swanky Aqua will match your personality to a cocktail. (This writer’s? Probably a Noisy Control Freak. I made that up.)

Over at IFC mall there’s a dinosaur exhibition, run by local charity First Initiative Foundation, complete with a 13-metre T Rex skeleton and other fossils, timed to coincide with the release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (which you can catch at IFC’s cinema from 7 June).

A tradition that doesn’t date back quite as far as dinosaurs is this month’s Dragon Boat Festival (18 June). You might not have trained for months like the athletes, but you can still support them at Central Harbourfront with a cool-box full of Tsingtao.

Looking ahead, book a ticket to Hong Kong’s RISE tech conference (9-12 July). Sponsored by this airline, the event invites entrepreneurs and techies – including the founders of Meitu and Tinder as well as Sophia the Robot – to the city to speak.

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival
Wang Sing / Shutterstock

Further afield

Jul 7: George Town World Heritage Day, Penang, Malaysia

This event commemorates 10 years since Penang’s George Town became a UNESCO-listed site with a lively a street festival. It includes plenty of Penang’s famous street food.

Jul 26-30: International Champions Cup, Singapore

Part of a global football tournament, this round of the International Champions Cup sees Arsenal, Atlético Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain play each other over three games.

Jul 27, 28: Candle Festival, Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand

This festival held before Buddhist Lent showcases elaborately carved candle floats paraded through the city. The large wax sculptures are created by artists from all over the world.

Aug 29: Aranmula Boat Race, Kerala, India

Head to the riverbanks during Kerala’s intensely wet monsoon season. This boat race is a major part of the Onam cultural festival, featuring 30-metre snake boats that seat 150 paddlers.