Typically, July kicks off with a literal bang with Hong Kong Establishment Day celebrations, where last year it was one of the year’s most elaborate fireworks spectacles to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of Hong Kong SAR. This year, even without the pyrotechnic extravaganza, there’s plenty of revelry to be had regardless. From theatre season to free ice cream, orchestral performances of Bernstein to national day festivities galore — these are the best things to do in Hong Kong this fortnight.
Outlet #6: Franck Roger
When: 1 July, 4–11pm
Price: HK$500 from Eventbrite; HK$250 entry after 8pm unless guestlisted
Known for its extravagant rooftop brunches and deep house garden parties across Hong Kong, Outlet is hosting its sixth rendezvous at Ovolo Southside’s rooftop, Above. Spend a sunny long weekend overlooking the Wong Chuk Hang greenery with HK$500 for free-flow wines, prosecco and beer from 4–8pm, and local DJs kicking off the tunes before 90s French House mainstay Franck Roger rounds out the night from 9–11pm.
Above, Ovolo Southside, 64 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong, +852 3460 8159
When: 1 July
Our Canadian friends get a birthday celebration too come 1 July. Whether you’re a maple syrup-gulching, hockey-loving Canuck, or just out to enjoy the long weekend, there’s plenty of ways to indulge. Get your fill of pancakes, poutine and tall glasses of Caesars (Canada’s National cocktail) at 11 Westside’s Canada D’Eh brunch; or head to HQ by Terrace Concepts for their poutine- and booze-infused extravaganza and to exercise your hand at a game of beer pong.
Handover Hallelujah H2 Live Music Festival
When: Through 2 July
With or without pyrotechnics in the sky, Hong Kong rockers will want to flock to this annual live music extravaganza celebrating Handover weekend each year. Handover Hallelujah boasts itself as the city’s longest live music festival, lasting seven days through to 2 July. Taking the stage are 70 bands from Hong Kong as well as from across the globe. Best of all, the gigs are all free, the pints are cheap and the talent will be sweet.
The Wanch, 54 Jaffe Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Fourth of July
When: 4 July
Not too fatigued from all the revelry this long weekend, we hope, because come Wednesday there’s another reason to celebrate — USA’s Independence Day. Whether you’re an American transplant or just down to enjoy the lively festivities, there’s plenty going on around town for you to partake in. Read up here for all the places to eat, drink and be merry around town.
Celebrate Bernstein on Broadway
When: 6–7 July, 8pm
Price: HK$180–480 from Urbtix
The works of the great Leonard Bernstein come to life once again in this homage to the master by the Hong Kong Philharmonic. In celebration of the great musical icon’s centenary, you can catch a film screening of West Side Story complete with live orchestral accompaniment on 29 and 30 July; while on 6–7 July, conductor John Wilson will be leading a cast of award-winning vocalists and actresses to stage a thrilling programme of Bernstein’s best hits for the theatre. From West Side Story to Candide, On the Waterfront to Peter Pan, don’t miss these musical tributes to wrap up the 2017-18 orchestral season.
Concert Hall, Hong Kong Cultural Centre, 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Imitating the Dog: Nocturnes
When: 6–7 July, 8pm; 7–8 July, 3pm
Price: HK$250 from Urbtix
Tai Kwun’s theatre season is in full swing, bringing local and international pieces to the stage. One of the UK’s most innovative theatre troupes, Imitating the Dog is known for melding stage with digital sorcery. They bring the much-accoladed production of Nocturnes to Tai Kwun this summer, which pays homage to the universe of Cold War espionage tales. It begins innocuously enough: three characters are seen reading scripts to provide the soundtrack to a black and white film screened above them, but slowly, it unravels as the onstage performers appear to go off script, leaving the film actors to steer the narrative back on course. If you haven’t checked out the new grounds at Tai Kwun, this is more than enough reason to head on over.
JC Cube, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong
Central Harbourfront SummerFest
When: 7 July–26 August
Summer fun doesn’t have to break the bank — it doesn’t need to cost anything, in fact. Taking advantage of the massive public space out on the Central Harbourfront, the SummerFest transforms the event space into a pop-up park — aptly named the XXL Playground — bringing a series of free events to the public. There’ll be art installations, giant inflatables, fairground games, sports, an indie marketplace, live music and dance: if all the above are up your alley, you’ll want to make sure you get out to the harbourside this month. Some events may require pre-registration, so be sure to check the calendar here.
Central Harbourfront Event Space, 9 Lung Wo Road, Central, Hong Kong
Yoga & Brekkie Vol. 002
When: 14 July, 9:45am
Price: HK$350 from Eventbrite; Lifestyle Asia readers get 10% off with code lifestyleasia.
Wellness mavens Natalie Soderstrom and Aleksandra Milewicz (who’s also behind Bamboo Yoga) are hosting the second of their morning hip-hop yoga flow series, the perfect Saturday morning hangout for Sheung Wan’s hippest yogis. The duo are also behind Off the Chain Bowls, Hong Kong’s newest smoothie bowl business, packing stylish bowls with superfood goodness — they’re also gluten-, sugar- and dairy-free. Grab a bowl after the workout and buzz up on coffee and tea by Locofama, and don’t forget to Bring Your Own Mat.
The Hive, 33-35 Hillier Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Bastille Day at La Vache TST
When: 14 July
Price: HK$488 per person
Just when you thought we were done with national holidays, La Vache in Tsim Sha Tsui comes round with a celebration of epic steak proportions in honour of Bastille Day, or France’s National Day. Continuing on the rowdy theme of La Vache’s Le Disco Brunch, revellers will get to dig into unlimited steak frites with USDA prime rib-eye, and free flow Guillotines — France’s answer to the Bloody Mary featuring a kick of horseradish. Bubbly and house wines are also on offer all day. Reservations are available for parties of all sizes by email at TST@lavache.com.hk. Find out more here.
La Vache, 12 Hart Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 2666 6818
Chinese Opera Festival
When: Through 12 August
Price: Tickets start from HK$50 from Urbtix
If you’ve ever been curious about what Chinese opera entails, now is the best time to catch a show in Hong Kong. Returning for the ninth edition, the Chinese Opera Festivals spotlights an eclectic mix of operatic genres that are considered to be intangible cultural treasures. Opening with Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe’s full rendition of The Palace of Eternal Life, the programme rounds out throughout two months with a comprehensive line-up of masterpieces and excerpts, as well as seminars, film screenings and artist’s talks. Check out the full programme details here.
National Ice Cream Month
Hailing from Boston, popular ice cream purveyors Emack & Bolio’s are bringing America’s National Ice Cream Month (fun fact: first introduced by Ronald Reagan) to Hong Kong, perfect to cure these sweltering July days. The month-long celebration will include a range of activities, starting with the first 20 customers with July birthdays at the Wan Chai store every day receiving a buy-one-get-one offer. Mark your calendars for 15 July, where every 100th customer at the Central store will win a set of 10 scoop vouchers. In the third week of July, participate in an in-store quiz at the Central branch for a chance to win an Emack & Bolio’s ice cream cake.
See the list of Emack & Bolio branches here.