Top 10 Things to Do in Chengdu

The panda is one of the national treasures of China. But do you know where their hometown is? Yes, the answer is Chengdu. It is one of the best tourist cities in China and had been awarded the title of "Gourmet Capital of the World" by UNESCO. Here are the top 10 things to do in Chengdu including pandas and some must-see places.

1  

Close Contact with Pandas

Giant Pandas in Chengdu
There is no doubt that the top thing to do in Chengdu is to visit a panda sanctuary to view the cute pandas. The Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is the one of the best places to see pandas in Chengdu. There are a lot of pandas in the base. You can watch these cute national treasures at close range in all stages of growth from babies to adults. In fact, the cubs are like small pink mice when they are first born and weigh only about 100g. That's only about 1/1000 the weight of the mother'. It is the largest difference in weight between a mother and  cub in the animal kingdom. Besides the Base in Chengdu, the Dujiangyan Panda Base is also a good choice. You can even have an opportunity to be a volunteer there to have a closer experience with pandas, which is really one of unusual things to do in Chengdu.

The best time to visit a panda base is before 10:00 am, since that’s their active time. And remember, do not use a photographic flash or feed animals casually.

 Recommended Tours:
 1 Day Chengdu Panda Tour from $69
 1 Day Volunteer Program at Dujiangyan Panda Base from $169
2 

Hotpot or Chuanchuan

Chengdu Hotpot
Speaking of top things to do in Chengdu, hotpot is a must-try, especially for foodies favoring hot and spicy food. Generally, people sit around the table, add various meats and vegetables to the hotpot and enjoy a good time together.  Besides that, there is a special Chuanchuan Hotpot that is very popular among local people. The biggest difference between Chuanchuan and traditional hotpot is that Chuanchuan features foods stuck on skewers and boiled in the hotpot. In general, both the traditional hotpot and Chuanchuan are the top things you can’t miss in Chengdu.

 Further Reading: Chengdu Dining & Recommended Restaurants
3 

Tasting Sichuan Cuisine

Sichuan Cuisine
As one of Eight Cuisines of China, Sichuan Cuisine has developed over a long period of time and has a great reputation at home and abroad. Tasting authentic Sichuan Cuisine is definitely one of the top things to do in Chengdu. It is famous for its spicy, hot flavor. For those who are addicted to spicy food, Chengdu will be a paradise. Ma Po Tofu, Kung Pao Chicken and Sliced Beef in Hot Chili Oil are popular dishes.

However, after eating spicy food, some fresh fruit or yogurt will make your stomach more comfortable.

 Recommended Tour:  Chengdu Day Trip to Panda Base & Sichuan Cuisine Museum from $99
4 

Local Snacks

Chengdu Food
Chengdu is a foodie heaven, so don’t miss the delicious local snacks. Strolling around Wide and Narrow Alley and Jinli Street to taste the local specialties is one of the best things to do in Chengdu. Wide and Narrow Alley is the only ancient street dating back to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), and Jinli Street is the most well-known business district with plenty of buildings in the antique architectural style. You can find all the local snacks in these two places such as Lai's Glutinous Rice Ball, Long Wonton as well as Dan Dan Noodles. What’s more, they are good places to enjoy the night life as there are some attractive boutiques and nice bars.

 Recommended Tour with Wide and Narrow Alley:   5 Days Chengdu Tour from $639
5 

Wuhou Temple

Chengdu Wuhou Temple
Wuhou Temple is also known as the Memorial Temple of Marquis Wu. It was built to commemorate Zhuge Liang who was the Marquis Wu of the Kingdom of Shu during the Three Kingdoms Period (220 - 280). Zhuge Liang is an extremely intelligent legendary character. He was very loyal to his emperor Liu Bei and devoted himself to the Kingdom of Shu. This is a must-see place in Chengdu and, through the visit, you can learn more about the Three Kingdoms Period and the past of the city. The temple is adjacent to Jinli Street so that you can easily go sightseeing in both places.

 Recommended Tour with Wuhou Temple:   Chengdu 3 Days Tour Itinerary from $319
6 

Strolling around Chunxi Road

Chengdu Chunxi Road
Chunxi Road is one of the must-visit places in Chengdu since it is the most prosperous pedestrian street and the fashion center of the city. Strolling around this well-known business street is one of the free things to do in Chengdu. You can purchase fashionable clothes and have some tasty food. Restaurants abound and you can easily find just what you are looking for. At the junction of Chunxi Road, there is a relief wall made of granite, depicts scenes from various fairs of the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907) .  
7 

Experience Teahouse Culture

Chengdu Teahouse
Chengdu is a good place for leisure and the local people have a positive attitude towards life. They love life and enjoy the present moment. Experiencing the local leisure lifestyle in a teahouse is what you must do in Chengdu. The People’s Park and Wangjiang Pavilion Park are the best places to enjoy leisure time. You can savor a cup of tea like a local and chat with people in the warm sunlight.
8 

Sichuan Opera: Magic Face Changing

Sichuan Opera
One of the funniest things to do in Chengdu is to enjoy the magical face-changing in Sichuan Opera. Sichuan Opera is one of the Chinese traditional operas and face changing is one of the special effects of the performance. It is used to reveal changes in the characters’ feelings. The performance is so interesting, and the actors need ingenious skills so that the face can change quickly and perfectly. Shufeng Yayun Theater, Jinjiang Theater and Sichuan Theater are all good places to enjoy performances.
9 

Jinsha Site Museum

Jinsha Site Museum
The Jinsha Site is located in the west of Chengdu and dates back to the Shang and Zhou Dynasties (17th century BC-256 BC). The museum consists of an exhibition hall, monuments hall, Jinsha theatre and other buildings. The cultural relics include gold, bronze and stone tools unearthed from the Jinsha Site. Through these artifacts, you can understand something about the civilization of ancient Chengdu. The most famous exhibit is the Gold Foil of Sun and Immortal Bird, which has become the main pattern on the city logo of Chengdu.

 Recommended Tour with Jinsha Site Museum:  Chengdu 2 Days Tour from $139
10 

Dujiangyan and Mount Qingcheng

Dujiangyan Irrigation System
These two famous sights together should earn a place in the top 10 things to do in Chengdu. They are located near each other in Dujiangyan City, which can be reached by high speed train from Chengdu in half an hour. The Dujiangyan Irrigation System, built in the Qin Dynasty (221 - 207 BC), is the most complete ancient water conservancy project in China. For more than two thousand years, it has been playing an important role in flood control and irrigation. Today, you can see three main spectacular projects and the beautiful landscape all around. Mount Qingcheng is one of the birthplaces of Taoism. Around the front parts of the mountain, there are plenty of historical sites and temples. The back section is for vacation and leisure because of its beautiful natural scenery.

 Recommended Tour:  1 Day Dujiangyan & Mount Qingcheng Tour from $109

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