With high-rise buildings, bustling streets, glitzy shopping centers, and a sleek transport network, Shenyang, one of the prominent industrial hubs in China, exudes the image of any other thriving city. What lies beyond this modern setup is the historical evidence of a royal city. The grand palaces, historical monuments and tombs, religious sites, and beautiful parks are the primary attractions in Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning province in northeast China.
The city’s name, Shenyang — the Yang side of Shen — refers to its geographical location to the north of the Hun River (formerly known as the Shen River). The rightful mix of the past and present, history and nature, and moreover, its 144-hour visa-free policy allures many international tourists to book cheap flights to Shenyang! Read on to find out the best things to do in Shenyang, China.
Check out Shenyang’s Four Towers:
Built around Shenyang city in 1643 by the Manchu rulers, the four ancient towers in the four directions are popular historical attractions in Shenyang. Constructed outside the city wall, each site has a pagoda and a small Buddhist temple, namely East Pagoda/Yongguang Temple, South Pagoda/Guangci Temple, West Pagoda/Yanshou Temple, and North Pagoda/Falun Temple. The four Pagodas measure around 26 meters in height and look quite identical with white, bulb-shaped structures and gold decoration on the top. They symbolize the four heavenly Buddhist Kings who are believed to safeguard the city from natural disasters.
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Entrance Fee: Free.
Explore the Qipanshan Scenic Area:
Qipanshan Scenic Area, the largest natural scenic spot in the city, is a 4-A level tourist attraction in Shenyang. Famous for its landscape consisting of ‘Three Mountains and One Lake,’ Qipanshan Scenic Area features Qipanshan Mountain, Huishan Mountain, Dayangshan Mountain, and Xiuhu Lake. It entices the viewers with colorful scenery of green plants and blossoming flowers in spring and the snow-clad views in winter. Shenyang International Ice and Snow Festival is held every year in this park from December to February, the highlights of which are snow sculpting and alpine skiing. Taking part in this festival is one of the best things to do in Shenyang during the winter season.
Location: Senlin Road, Hunnan District.
Entrance Fee: 80 Yuan.
Visit the second-largest imperial palace in China:
Mukden Palace, less than an hour’s ride from Shenyang Taoxian International Airport, is the most famous landmark of the city, and hence a visit to this royal palace deserves to be among the top things to do in Shenyang. Also known as Shenyang Imperial Palace, the historical, cultural, and architectural significance of this well-preserved imperial palace of the Qing Dynasty is second only to Beijing’s Forbidden Palace. Today, the magnificent palace serves as a museum and houses over 10,000 ancient relics.
Location: 171 Shenyang Road, Shenhe District.
Entrance Fee: 60 RMB.
Welcome spring at Shenyang Botanical Garden:
Come spring, the sprawling 246-hectare garden represents a splash of colors, thanks to its 1,700 kinds of flowering plants. Located at a distance of about 10 kilometers from the city center, the Shenyang Botanical Garden is a 5A tourist attraction in China made of several themed gardens, rolling hills, a poppling lake, waterfalls, evergreen pine and fir trees, and pavilions. Spending an evening in this garden is the most recommended thing to do in Shenyang, not only for those into horticulture but for every nature lover. The cheerful blooms and pleasant fragrances fill your heart with joy. Various flower shows such as a tulip show in April/May, a peony show in June, a lily show in July, a dahlia show in August, and a chrysanthemum show in September are held here.
Location: Shuangyuan Road, Hunnan district.
Entrance Fee: 50 Yuan.
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Experience the unexperienced at the Shenyang Strange Slope Scenic Area:
The Strange Slope is the highlight of Shenyang Strange Slope Scenic Area, which boasts a total of 20 natural and man-made attractions. The 80-meter-long and 15-meter-wide slope is termed ‘strange’ because of its unnatural and mysterious phenomenon that apparently defies the basic principle of gravitation. Drifting downhill takes great effort here. Yes! Try it yourself — halt your vehicle at the foot of the slope, and it effortlessly rolls up to the top. On the contrary, you’ll have to drive hard to reach the foot of this strange slope. It is the most interesting and fun thing to do in Shenyang!
Location: Qingshuitai Township, Xinchengzi District.
Entrance Fee: 40 Yuan.