Top 10 Things to Do in Changsha

Changsha is the capital city of Hunan Province in middle China. With a history of more than 3,000 years, it is a well-known historical and cultural city. Many precious historical sites have been discovered like Mawangdui Han Tombs and Yuelu Academy. When visiting Changsha, Hunan Cuisine is definitely worth tasting which is known as one of the 8 cuisines in China. Stinky Tofu and Rice Noodles are both the representative dishes. Below are the top 10 recommended things to do in Changsha.


Located in the center of Xiangjiang River, Orange Isle is a long and narrow island with a length of 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) and a maximal width of 300 meters (330 yards). It is seldom seen such an island in other urban areas of China, hence, a visit is definitely one of the top 10 things to do in Changsha. On the island, there is beach park, bonsai garden, water sports area, and so on. Thousands of plants grow on and rare animals like crane, gull, fox and badger inhabit there. The most representative architecture on it is Chairman Mao Zedong's Statue which shows the image in his youth period. Also, there is a large fountain. When it spouts water, it can reach the height as high as a 30-storey building. At night of every Saturday from May 1 to Oct. 30, Chinese New Year, Chinese New Year's Eve and Lantern Festival, there is 20-minute firework show on this island, too.
Hunan Provincial Museum is an important window to know Hunan Culture. Among all the 180,000 collections, the most characteristic are the cultural relics unearthed from Mawangdui Han Tombs including Xin Zhui lady, plain unlined gauze gown, bronze wares in Shang and Zhou Dynasty (17th century BC – 256BC), ceramics of various generations and writings and paintings in Ming and Qing Dynasty (1368 – 1911). The most amazing is the well-preserved body of Xinzhui whose organs are still intact, skin is supple and joints can even move. The body is preserved so completely for more than 2,000 years that it is regarded as a wonder till now. Plain unlined gauze gown is 160cm (63 in) long with the overall width of the sleeves of 190cm (75 in) but it weighs only 48g which is made of plain unlined gauze with square holes and level patterns; it’s too hard to believe it was made 2,000 years ago!
As a world famous rare treasure, Mawangdui Han Tombs has shocked not only China but also the world when it was discovered. Because the cultural relics unearthed there like Xinzhui lady and plain unlined gauze gown are preserved very well through 2,000 years which is rare in the history of world archaeology. The whole tomb is a family graveyard of a prime minister in Changsha called Li Cang in Western Han Dynasty (202BC – 9AD). It is composed of three tombs which are for the prime minister, his wife Xinzhui and his son separately. Besides Xin Zhui lady and plain unlined gauze gown under the care of Hunan Provincial Museum, there are lacquer wares, silk books, silk paintings, bamboo slips, weapons and so on all together over 3,000 historical relics being found, which are of great value to the study of Western Han Dynasty. This is why visiting the tomb has been a must thing to do in Changsha.

Mt. Yuelu & Yuelu Academy

Mt. Yuelu is to the west of Orange Isle and combines both natural beauty and cultural atmosphere. There are plenty of rare birds in the mountain. Tourists can not only feed the birds on their own but also watch the interesting birds’ performances. Among all the tourists attraction, the most well-known is Yuelu Academy in the foot. It is one of the four famous ancient academies and the most well-preserved ancient academy in China. Most existing architecture in the academy are the relics of Ming and Qing Dynasty. Mt. Yuelu is also known as one of the four best places to appreciate the maple in China. Aiwan Pavilion in the scenic area is definitely one of the top places to watch the picturesque maple leaves during the mid-November and the early December. Climbing to the top of the mountain, tourists can have a bird view of Changsha city scape.

Taiping Street

If you want to know what the ancient Changsha is like, Taiping Street is the best place to go. Taiping Street has been the central part of Changsha city for over 2,000 years and has completely preserved the fishbone street pattern for 200 years. The common characteristics of the buildings there are green tiles, pitched roof, white tiled roof ridge, fire-proof wall and wooden door & window. The old mansion there usually has a stone gate, blue walls and guardrails. For architecture enthusiasts, visiting Taiping Street is certainly one of the top things to do in Changsha. In addition, tourists can taste various local snacks like Changsha Stinky Tofu, and Sisters' Rice Balls.

Huangxing Road Walking Street

Huangxing Pedestrian Street is one of the most prosperous places and the top 1 business street in Changsha, 840 meters (920 yards) in length and 23 – 26 meters (25 – 28 yards) in width. It is flanked with shopping malls, accessories stores, and delicious food all over China. Some time-honored restaurants have also set their shops there like Yangyuxing Noodles and Deyuan Steamed Bun. Another highlight is the 10 sculptures along the street displaying the local life of ancient Changsha people, including frying stinky tofu, mending shoes, buying soy sauce, etc.

Huogongdian Snacks

Huogongdian is a representative place combining traditional folk culture and food culture. Honggongdian is originally a temple worshipping Fire God but now more famous as a time-honored restaurant brand. In addition to the head store by Hongguodian Temple, it has opened 4 branch stores in Changsha. Tourists can taste various Changsha and Hunan snacks there. Fried Stinky Tofu, the most famous snack in Changsha, smells not good but tastes delicious. It is the most recommended food in the city. Different like most spicy snacks, Sisters’ Rice Balls with salty meat or sweet sugar as ingredients are quite suitable for people dislike spicy food. Blood Jelly, Jiao Yan San Zi and rice noodles are also popular among the local and tourists. Most food lovers list visiting it as the top things to do in Changsha.

Xiangjiang Scenic Belt

If you wanna spend a leisure and quiet time in Changsha, Xiangjiang Scenic Belt is the place to go which is along the east bank of Xiangjiang River. The most attractive part of the scenic belt is between Xiangchun Road and Nanhu Road, featured by the leisure promenades, creative sculptures, and diverse squares. In Fengfan Square, there is performance every day and the scenery there is more fascinating at night. A variety of plants have been planted along the scenic belt, forming a unique scenery of shore and Xiangjiang River. Also, it is one of the best places to watch the firework show on Orange Isle.

Window of the World

Window of the World is a comprehensive large theme park with land park, water park and children’s park all in one. With miniature landscapes of world’s famous attractions like Pyramid, Triumphal Arch, The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and Statue of Liberty, the scenic area makes tourists feel like travelling around the world. In the park, you can experience exciting entertainment facilities like roller coaster, pirate ship and going to the top of the sightseeing tower to overlook Changsha. There is also specialized children’s park for them to play building block, sea ball, etc. Besides, water dance show, singing and dance show of different countries, jungle percussion, and folk show of west Hunan are all performed so that tourists can feel the charm of different cultures. And every year, about 20 different creative themed activities are held to celebrate the festivals like Chinese New Year, Dragon Boat Festival, Halloween and Christmas. Window of the World is also a first class film and television shooting base in China where a lot of hot programs have been shot. So there are also chances to encounter celebrities. The scenic is suitable for all ages so most travelers are willing to list touring it as the top things to do in Changsha.

Tianxin Pavilion

Located in the center of Changsha, Tianxin Pavilion is in the style of Ming and Qing gate tower. It used to be the place for ancient people to observe the stars and worship the gods. The main pavilion has three floors and is connected with the other two auxiliary pavilions by a corridor. There are pictures and paintings of celebrities in the pavilion. On the guardrails, horses, dragons and 62 stone lions are carved, showing the charm of the ancient city. 32 copper bells are hanging on the pavilion ringing with the wind. The ancient city wall around the pavilion is the only existing city wall in the city. From Yingshan Tower in the northeast of the scenic area, tourists can overlook Xiangjiang River and Mt. Yuelu.
- Last updated on Jul. 26, 2021 -
Questions & Answers on Top 10 Things to Do in Changsha
Asked by Siobhan from IRELAND | Jul. 22, 2021 08:48Reply
Mawangdui not open
I went to Mawangdui tombs today and it was closed. No sign, no details. Several other visitors also confused as to why it was closed with no explanation
Answers (3)
Answered by Lora from CHINA | Jul. 26, 2021 17:54

Was it Monday? I know that the museum is closed on every Monday.
Answered by Siobhan | Jul. 26, 2021 20:13

No, I was there on a Thursday
Answered by Lora | Jul. 26, 2021 20:52

Then it was strange, because I didn't see any notice about its closing. Maybe you should book an appointment in advance the next time you go there.
Ask a Question
Question Summary (100 characters)
Details (optional) (2,000 characters)