Things to Do in Eastern China
Located in Anhui, Mt. Huangshan (aka Yellow Mountain) is considered one of China’s most beautiful mountains and is renowned for its four wonders: a sea of clouds, jagged granite peaks, odd-shaped pine trees, and hot springs. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the mountain is also one of the most visited scenic areas in the country.
Stretching for over 71 miles (113 kilometers) and with an average width of 1,312 feet (400 meters), the Huangpu River flows through the middle of Shanghai and divides the city into two parts. Puxi, to the west, is the city’s historical, cultural, and entertainment center, while Pudong, to the east, is Shanghai’s business and financial center.
Nanshi is the collection of narrow streets and alleys once enclosed within the walls of old Shanghai. During the city’s period of foreign concessions, it was the main Chinese district, rarely entered by foreigners. Today, the neighborhood captures the essence of old China, complete with several temples, food vendors, and a crowded bazaar.
On top of Snake Hill, along the banks of the Yangtze River, the iconic Yellow Crane Tower offers panoramic city and river views, and features artwork on different levels. Considered one of the Four Great Towers of China, it’s one of the most popular attractions in Wuhan, and a symbol of the city.
One of Shanghai’s most charming areas, the former French Concession is known for its tree-lined streets and interesting mix of Chinese and Western architectural styles. Popular with locals, expats, and visitors, the area is home to a number of top attractions, as well as hip cafés, restaurants, bars, clubs, boutiques, galleries, and museums.
Experience the magic at Shanghai Disneyland, the first Disney park in Mainland China. Enjoy thrilling rides, shows, and attractions; shop and dine; and pose with your favorite characters in six different themed areas: Mickey Avenue, Gardens of Imagination, Fantasyland, Adventure Isle, Treasure Cove, and Tomorrowland.
The Grand Canal is the longest and oldest man-made waterway in the world, once covering 1,115 miles (1,794 kilometers) from Beijing to Hangzhou. Dating from the fifth century BC, this engineering marvel is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some sections are still in use today.
Once the tallest building in Shanghai, the Oriental Pearl Tower (Dongfang Mingzhu Ta) remains one of the most recognizable skyscrapers in Pudong, part of the skyline visible from The Bund. The sci-fi-esque 1,535-foot (468-meter) tower houses observation platforms, a glass-bottomed walkway, rotating restaurant, as well as the Shanghai History Museum in its basement.
Dating from the Ming Dynasty, Yuyuan Garden—or simply, Yu Garden—in the middle of the Old Town (Nanshi) Shanghai, is one of China’s best-preserved classical gardens. Covering an area of 5 acres (2 hectares), Yuyuan Garden is known for its beautiful scenery, elegant layout, and delightful pavilions, pagodas, pools, bridges, and rockeries.
The Tsingtao Beer Museum was built in 2003 and commemorates some 100 years of German brewing history and heritage in China. Visitors to this top attraction can wander the halls of the two-story structure and learn about the traditions developed and perfected here, thanks to photo galleries and exhibits where brewing tools from the trade are on display. And while an up close look at the nation’s deep roots in hop history makes this place worth a stop, it’s cold and crisp samples straight from the production line that make a tour of the oldest working brewery worth a visit.
More Things to Do in Eastern China
Also known as the “Venice of Shanghai,” Zhujiajiao is the best preserved of the four ancient water towns in the Shanghai area. With a history dating back over 1,700 years, Zhujiajiao is full of lovely canals and waterways, small alleys, picturesque bridges, and ancient buildings, many from the Ming and Qing dynasties.
The Bund (Waitan) refers to Shanghai’s iconic waterfront strip, which runs for 1 mile (1.5 kilometers) along the west shore of the Huangpu River. Renowned for its extensive collection of colonial-era buildings, there’s also pedestrian-friendly promenade perfect for strolling, which offers stunning views of both the Bund and Pudong.
One of the tallest buildings in the world, the Shanghai Tower (Shanghai Zhongxin Dasha) has a twisting silhouette that dominates the skyline. Standing 137 stories and 2,073 feet (632 meters) high, the building features some of the world’s fastest elevators, which race to a viewing platform 1,841 feet (561 meters) above the city. On a clear day, the views are spectacular.
Nicknamed the “Bottle Opener” due to its distinctive shape, the Shanghai World Financial Center (SWFC) is the second tallest building in Shanghai, reaching a dizzying 1,614 feet (492 meters). Its three observatories—in particular, the glass-bottomed observatory on the 100th floor—are the main draw of the building, located in the Lujiazui area of Pudong. There’s also a hotel and a mall.
The City God Temple (Chenghuang Miao) is one of the main Taoist temples in Shanghai. Originally built during the Ming Dynasty, the temple has a rich history, which has survived its near destruction and renovation over the years. Still an active and lively temple, it’s a beautiful oasis within bustling Old Shanghai.
The Shanghai Jewish Refugee Museum (Shanghai Youtai Nanmin Jinianguan) is housed within the restored Ohel Moshe Synagogue, which played a key role in the lives of the 20,000 European Jewish refugees who settled in the city during World War II. The museum highlights their story through photos, films, documents, and personal items.
West Lake (Xi Hu) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a top attraction in the heart of old Hangzhou. With mountains on three sides and plenty of charming gardens, bridges, pagodas, temples, and islands, it’s easy to see why this scenic man-made lake has inspired so many poets and painters through the ages.
Jade Buddha Temple (Yufo Si) is a working Buddhist monastery—one of the few in China. The star attractions of the Jade Buddha Temple are two figures brought to Shanghai from Singapore by a monk from Burma in the 19th century: a 6.5-foot (2-meter) seated jade Buddha encrusted with semiprecious stones and a smaller white jade reclining Buddha.
Considered one of the finest museums in China, the Shanghai Museum has a vast collection of Chinese artifacts from the Neolithic period onward. The museum’s 11 state-of-the-art galleries display ancient bronze, jade, and ceramics; painting, calligraphy, and ancient sculptures; and Ming and Qing dynasty furniture.
The massive People’s Square (Renmin Guangchang) is in the heart of Shanghai. Surrounded by the city’s municipal government headquarters, a park, and several top museums, the major landmark makes for a popular meeting spot, as well as being at the center of politics, culture, transportation, and tourism in Shanghai.
The tallest building in China when it was completed in 1999, Shanghai’s landmark Jin Mao Tower reaches nearly 1,380 feet (420.5 meters). The main draw for most visitors is the observation deck on the 88th floor—the largest in the city—which offers stunning 360-degree views over Shanghai.
Experience the world’s fastest commercial train: Shanghai Maglev Train (SMT). The train uses magnetic levitation to “float” along the tracks and can make the 19-mile (30 kilometer) journey between Shanghai Pudong International Airport and Longyang Road Station in Shanghai in just over seven minutes, reaching speeds of up to 268 miles per hour (431 kilometers per hour).
Tiger Hill, a large hill-rock known as Hu Qiu or Huqiu in Chinese, is a must-see when visiting Suzhou, both for its beauty and its history. Traditional architecture, tranquil landscapes, and numerous historical sites dating back more than 2,500 years distinguish the hill as a top destination among the city's UNESCO-listed attractions. Highlights include the Tomb of King He Lu, the Sword-Testing Stone—a rock split cleanly in two pieces, supposedly by a legendary sword—and the famously lopsided Yunyan Pagoda, or 'Leaning Tower of China.' Also not to miss is the garden architecture at Wanjing Villa, where potted landscapes and bonsai shrubs create miniature classical gardens.
Tiger Hill, which gets its name from resembling the shape of a crouching tiger, is relatively small and compact, making it an easy stop on any day or half-day tour of Suzhou. Go with a guide to get the most out of the site's rich history, and consider combining your visit with entry to nearby attractions, like the Humble Administrator's Garden or Master of Nets Garden.
- Things to do in Hangzhou
- Things to do in Shanghai
- Things to do in Huangshan
- Things to do in Nanjing
- Things to do in Nanchang
- Things to do in Suzhou
- Things to do in Tai'an
- Things to do in Wuhan
- Things to do in Okinawa
- Things to do in Southern China
- Things to do in Northern Vietnam
- Things to do in Zhengzhou
- Things to do in Qufu
- Things to do in Guangxi
- Things to do in Northern China