Upper Lascar Row: Sheung Wan's Hidden Antique Street Full of Affordable Vintage Gems


Essential Information About Upper Lascar Row Antiques Street

Address: Upper Lascar Row, Sheung Wan

How to Get There:

  • Take the MTR to Sheung Wan Station and leave through exit A2
  • Walk up Hillier Street and turn right when you intersect with Queen's Road Central
  • Walk along Queen's Road Central and turn left on Lok Ku Road
  • Follow Lok Ku Road for a few meters and climb the stairs on your left
  • You'll see Upper Lascar Row on your right

Opening Hours: 11am-6pm, daily. Some sources say that Upper Lascar Row is closed on Sundays, but having visited on a Sunday, it was definitely open, though some shops may be closed.

The History of Upper Lascar Row

Upper Lascar Row (Cat Street) was first established over 100 years ago. Even back then, it was famous for selling old, vintage items and second-hand goods.

The name Cat Street is supposedly derived from the fact that stolen goods, which are termed as 'mouse goods' ( 老鼠貨) were once commonly sold here. The term 'cat' in Cantonese was used to describe a seller of such illegal goods.

Another interesting detail is that Cat Street was actually very close to the old promenade, which was just a few blocks away around Bonham Strand. A huge fire in 1851 burned down 450 houses, killed two British officers, and over 200 Chinese.

Using rubble from the fire, Sheung Wan was extended. It was actually the "city's first the city's first ever reclamation project."

Why You Should Visit Upper Lascar Row Antiques Street

Today, Upper Lascar Row is made up of a small grouping of antique shops and stalls that keep its history alive by selling everything from cheap souvenirs to serious historical artifacts.

You'll also be pleased to know that items sold here are no longer stolen and the place has a sort of buzzing, eclectic energy about it and was really fun to explore.

The store owners (from my experience) were very kind, friendly and polite, which made learning about the various items on sale a lot more enjoyable. Though many shop owners weren't able to speak amazing English, I found that several items (like an incredible stack of old black-and-white photographs) had English descriptions on the back of them.

Other items were more mysterious, but for the cheap prices they were being offered for, the risk seemed worth it!

If you're on the hunt for cool Secret Santa gifts, fun birthday presents or just want to buy something vintage for the person in your life that has everything, this is the perfect location!

A word of caution, though. If you're in the market for genuine antiques, you should do your homework and not take everything you see at face value.

Below is a rundown of some of the items you can expect to find in Upper Lascar Row today.

1. Souvenirs

While pretty much anything small could be considered as a souvenir, there are certain items on sale in Upper Lascar Row that are particularly cheap, compact and light.

If you're looking for easily transportable items with a bit of Asian flair, then this could be the perfect place to pick up something that's far more interesting than the typical Hong Kong skyline fridge magnet.

2. Home Decor

I'll be honest, I know nothing about home decor. However, if you're looking for a conversation starter that may also add to the overall vibe of your home, then Upper Lascar Row may have just what you're looking for.

After all, who doesn't want a set of intimidating door knockers to really make people think twice about intruding on your property?

3. Art

While art is totally subjective, there are a lot of shops and stalls that sell everything from traditional Chinese art to knockoffs of famous pieces.

No matter if you're on the hunt for a simple splash of color to decorate your favorite space or are looking for something far sophisticated with some historical pedigree, there's plenty to choose from at Upper Lascar Row!

4. Vintage Photos

A standout for me were the photos of old Hong Kong that really brought the city's history to life. Stacks of old photography depicted everything from chaotic Central in the 1800s to what village life was like in Shatin before it was developed and even reminded me of what it was like living with the deafening roar of jet engines as planes flew perilously close to city skyscrapers to land in the famous Kai Tak Airport.

If you want to capture a slice of old Hong Kong, you can't really go wrong with a super cheap historical photograph from one of the stalls in Upper Lascar Row.

5. Cultural Revolution Items

There are loads of odd and intriguing items dating back to the Cultural Revolution, or at least taking inspiration from that pivotal period of Chinese history.

Whether you're a culture buff or are just curious about China's past, these items are sure to pique your interest and may even warrant a purchase!

6. Vintage Shops

The vintage stores in the area cram in shelves full of wacky, weird and wonderful knickknacks that are super nostalgic. Though the prices in shops tend to be a little higher than those of the nearby stalls, the selection in these vintage shops is usually far greater.

Support Local Businesses

While you may be tempted to buy souvenirs or gifts from large chain stores, there's something wonderful and exciting about wandering through the stalls and vintage shops of Upper Lascar Row, not knowing if you're about to uncover a epic bit of treasure from Hong Kong's storied past.

From what I can gather, most of the store owners are locals, so why not get a great deal, support Hong Kong businesses and get in touch with Hong Kong's fascinating history all at the same time?

If you do end up visiting, I wish you good luck in finding plenty of wonderfully weird items!