Central, Hong Kong has some of the best shopping in a shopping-mad city. Better known for its hotels and skyscrapers and often overlooked for the more hyped up shopping of Causeway Bay and the markets of Mongkok, the truth is Central is the destination for high end, luxury shopping. It’s here that many designers and fashionistas base their first branch in Asia, and some of the world’s swankiest brands can be found along Hong Kong’s swankiest streets.
Aside from the fancy boutiques, there are also some flagship department stores, a pair of top-class malls and even a market or two. Read on to find out where in Central to take your shopping bags.
Iconic Shops in Central
There are a couple of particularly noteworthy shops in Central. Straddling the very center of Central at the Des Voeux Road is the iconic Louis Vuitton shop. Wrapped in glass and backlit in ever-changing styles and color, this is said to be one of the fashion retailer’s busiest stores and is a popular local landmark.
For a more local flavor try Shanghai Tang, an upscale fashion department store which specializes in traditional Chinese wear, from Cheongsams to Mao jackets, and gifts with contemporary designs. The brand has taken off in recent years as interest in unique Chinese designs has increased and its new flagship store at 1 Duddell Street is often packed.
The other large-scale shop worth name checking is Harvey Nichols. Hong Kong remains the only place in Asia to have a Harvey Nics store.
Slightly different and a sweaty walk away above the streets of SoHo is Hollywood Road. This street has been famed for its antique shops since the 50s, and these historic stores are still considered the best places to pick up Chinese antiques in the world. The shops aren't as stuffy as they appear from the outside, and you'll be welcomed in of you want to have a browse.
Shopping Malls in Central
The districts flagship shopping mall is the IFC mall down on the waterfront. This is often people’s first taste of Hong Kong due to the fact it sits on top of Hong Kong Station where the Airport Express pulls into town, the mall is squeezed between IFC 1 tower and one of Hong Kong's tallest buildings, IFC Tower 2.
The shops inside IFC mall reflect the pricey location and it’s a mixture of designer boutiques and higher end brand name shops, such as Armani, Boss, and Prada but also Zara and American Vintage. It's also home to Hong Kong's flagship Apple Store. The second-floor roof garden is a fantastic place to take a breather from the shops, enjoy the view over the harbor and picnic.
The second mall is the Landmark. Smaller, but purposefully so it's home to not only Harvey Nichols and Louis Vuitton but a host of other boutique names from Paris, London and Rodeo drive. This is sheik and sugar daddy territory, so don’t expect a food court, but do expect Calvin Klein, MODCHINA, Dior and Jimmy Choo amongst others.
Markets in Central
Slowly squeezed out by ever-rising property and rental prices, Central is not really market territory, but surprisingly a few do continue to hold out. On the steep steps of Pottinger Street are two dozen market stalls flogging witches' hats, green wigs and other party costume essentials - this is a top spot during the Hong Kong Sevens.
Also worth mentioning is Li Yuen Street, or the Lanes as it’s sometimes known. This narrow passageway is packed with sellers flogging cheap and cheaply made clothes, handbags, and shoes. It’s not a patch on some of Hong Kong’s bigger, bolder markets, such as Temple Street, but it’s a welcome addition to the pricey surroundings.