There are three main scenic areas in the city - the Downtown Area, Binhai Road Area and Xinghai Park Scenic Area.
Binhai Road Area - A Paradise of Beachscape
Tiger Beach (Laohutan) Ocean Park
Bangchuidao Scenic Area
Jinshitan Scenic Area
In addition to the historical stories in the downtown area, Dalian is also a bathing paradise . It has an amazing 40-kilometer (25-mile) long beachscape along Binhai Road. Originally a military defense road built in the 1970s, Binhai Road is a national scenic area with imposing mountain scenery on one side and ragged cliffs and seaside on the other. Starting from Haizhiyun Square, it follows the coastline of Dalian from the east via the south part and on to the west. Driving along the road, tourists will find a dozen attractions, like a string of pearls scattered along it including Bangchuidao Scenic Area , Tiger Beach Ocean Park , Yanwoling (Swallow Nest Mountain), Fujiazhuang bathing place and Yuexiu Villa. The southern section starting from Hutan Paradise to Fujianzhuang bathing place is the most popular part.
Downtown Area - A World of Squares
Squares in Dalian
The busy downtown area presents the historical heritage, exotic flavor and modern charm of the city.
Zhongshan Square is the central landmark of the city, where the governmental financial institutions are located. Also called 'Nicolas Square', it was a colonial construction built by Russian engineer decades ago. The square has more than ten avenues radiating outwards and forms the central commercial area of the city.
In the Russian and Japanese colonial periods, the invaders dreamed of building an oriental city in the style of Paris or Tokyo. As a result, many varieties of buildings were built in the city. Like the Bund area in Shanghai, Zhongshan Square is a result of that period with a mixture of western style buildings of Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance designs. At present, banks and financial offices dominate these buildings giving it the name of 'Oriental Wall Street'.
Dalian Hotel on the southern side of the square has an imposing European-style architecture with dignified royal court buildings and Baroque vaulting. Walking further southward you will find a Japanese flavor street with Japanese restaurants, teahouses and flower shops. Another German-designed building houses Dalian Art Exhibition Hall.
A short one kilometer walk northward from the Zhongshan Square, crossing the Shengli Bridge (Victory Bridge), is Russian Flavor Street. This street, flanked with European and Russian style architecture, is an ideal place to 'meet Russia'. You can take Bus No. 203 at the Railway Station and get off at Shengli Qiao stop.
There are more than 30 squares in Dalian with artistic sculptures, hush lawns and western-style fountains. These formed the architectural style of the city - taking squares as the center and radiate outwards. A square sightseeing tour by Tourist Buses 801 and 801 (B) include Victory Square, Renmin Square, Olympic Square, Haizhiyun (Sea of Melody) Square and Youhao Suqare. The tourist bus stops at each spot for ten minutes and people can take pictures.
Another touring highlight would be a tram tour by antique trolley cars from the early 1900s. It recalls the olden days when the city was ruled by the Japanese invaders.
Xinghai Square Area - New Spirit of Dalian
In the western part of the city is the largest square in Asia, Xinhai Square. It was a great project built to commemorate Hong Kong's return to China in 1997 and imprints of 1000 pairs of footprints of Dalian people symbolize the enterprising spirit of Dalian people.
500 meters (500 yards) north of the square is a landmark of the city, Xinghai Exhibition Center. This is a venue where big events and ceremonial activities such as the Spring Fireworks Festival, International Beer Festival and Dalian International Fashion Festival are held. A park in this area with the same name has Shengya Aquarium and the best bathing place in Dalian with all necessary amenities. Three docks inside the Xinghai Gulf have ferries to Laohutan and Baochuidao scenic areas.
There are several natural scenic spots around Dalian.
Known as 'Port Arthur', Lushun occupies the west end of Dalian City and the south edge of the Liaodong Peninsula. As an important military strategic port, Lushun has many historical stories and contains a rich treasure of relics. The pretty Bingyu Valley Scenic Area , 240 kilometers (150 miles) north of Dalian, is Liaoning's answer to Guilin and Yangshuo with many towering, vertical rock formations with limpid rivers running through it. Jinshitan Scenic Area , located 50 kilometers (31 miles) northeast of the city is a popular national park.
Another featured tourist choice would be the any of the bathing places along the coastline of the city. As a coastal city at the tip of Liaodong Peninsular, Dalian is a paradise for water sports lovers and those looking for a beach holiday.