Top 10 Things to Do in Hangzhou

An old Chinese saying "Above, there is heaven; below, there is Suzhou and Hangzhou" can indicate how beautiful Hangzhou City is. As one of the most beautiful cities in China, Hangzhou is full of must-visit places. The top 10 things to do in Hangzhou are as follow and you’d better not miss them.


Romantic Cruise on West Lake

Hangzhou West Lake
The West Lake is undoubtedly a representative of Hangzhou's beauty. It was named a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 2011 and described reflecting "an idealized fusion between human and nature". Especially the Ten Scenes of West Lake such as Dawn on the Su Causeway in Spring, Wine-making Yard and Lotus Pool in Summer, Moon over the Peaceful Lake in Autumn, Remnant Snow on the Bridge in Winter are essence of the Lake. Boating on the Lake, the trees on the bank flutter with wind and you can immerse yourself in the natural landscape to enjoy your leisure, which could the best thing to do in Hangzhou.

 Recommended Tour to West Lake:  Hangzhou Day Tour from $92

Leifeng Pagoda & Legend of the White Snake

Leifeng Pagoda, Hangzhou
The Leifeng Pagoda on the south bank of the West Lake is one of the best places to visit in Hangzhou, because of the romantic folk legend of the White Snake. Once upon a time, a white snake spirit Bai Suzhen encountered a young scholar Xuxian on the West Lake and then fell in love with him. However, an evil monk Fahai separated the couple and imprisoned the White Snake in the Leifeng Pagoda. Years later, the son of the couple got the Scholar and prayed for the god to release his mother. The god was touched by him and finally the family reunited. 

Today, you can appreciate some cultural relics in the Pagoda, such as the large woodcarving murals "White Snake" and some poems on the mural. Climbing up the Pagoda, you can enjoy a full view of the West Lake, which is pretty beautiful. In addition, Leifeng Pagoda in the Sunset is one of the Ten Scenes of West Lake.

Visit Lingyin Temple

Hangzhou Lingyin Temple
Visiting ancient Lingyin Temple and experience the Buddhism culture can be one of the top 10 things to do in Hangzhou. Lingyin Temple is one of the most famous and oldest Buddhist temples in China. About 1,700 years’ history made the ancient temple a treasury of exquisite cultural relics in different dynasties. For example, the plaque of the hall was written by Emperor Kangxi in the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911) and in the Great Buddha’s Hall stands the largest wooden statue of Buddha Sakyamuni. Some other Buddhism relics are also well reserved in the temple. What’s more, there are hundreds of Buddhist grottoes on the Peak Flown From Afar near the temple.

 Recommended Tour with the Temple:  2 Days Hangzhou City Tour from $239

Xixi National Wetland Park

Xixi Wetland Park
Xixi National Wetland Park is a place you must see in Hangzhou and it is a natural wetland located in the west of the urban area. The Park has been divided into two parts: the East Area and West Area. In fact, the most beautiful scenery gather in the Western Area. Rafting on the intricate water ways is the best way to visit the Wetland Park. You can enjoy the three causeways, various gardens, the reeds land as well as different kinds of birds and amphibians, which makes you feel like being in a natural fairyland.

Three Signature Dishes of Hangzhou

Hangzhou Food
Relishing the local cuisine is one of the most interesting things to do in Hangzhou. Referring to China's Eight Regional Cuisines, you can’t forget Zhejiang Cuisine, which is famous for its light taste and rich cultural characteristics. Hangzhou is home to Zhejiang Cuisine and the representatives you cannot miss include West Lake Fish in Vinegar Gravy, Fried Shrimps with Longjing Tea, and Braised Dongpo Pork. It is amazing to taste the dishes and explore the legendary stories behind them.

 Further Reading: Notable Hangzhou DishesTop 10 Hangzhou Foods You Have to Eat

Qinghefang Ancient Street

Qinghefang Ancient Street
Strolling in Qinghefang Street is one of the free things to do in Hangzhou. The stores along the street are all rebuilt from old buildings. As the most prosperous street of the city, here gather all kinds of local snacks, famous restaurants as well as various tea houses. Stopping by the Ancient Street to taste some local snacks and purchase some local specialties as souvenirs is one of the fun things to do in Hangzhou.

In addition, some special museums are worth visiting. The Museum of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Huqingyutang, used to be  one of the most famous pharmacies in China. You can know more about Chinese herbology there. Zhu Bingren Bronze Art Museum is a good place to appreciate special bronze handicrafts, bronze casting sculptures and bronze architecture.

Try Longjing Tea in Meijiawu Village

Meijiawu Tea Plantation
Meijiawu Tea Plantation, also named Meijiawu Tea Cultural Village, is one of the producing areas of Longjing Tea. The village is surrounded by green mountains and far away from the noisy urban area. Tasting the best Longjing Tea, wandering around lush tea trees and enjoying the fragrance of tea leaves could be one of the top things to do in Hangzhou. What’s more, if come in spring, you can even have a chance to experience the process of tea picking and tea making. However, remember to avoid the Qingming Festival travel peak in early April and you’ll enjoy a better leisure time.

Classical Hiking Trail from Jiuxi to Longjing Village

Hangzhou Hiking
Jiuxi Scenic Area is crisscrossed with many small streams and it is also called Nine Creeks Meandering through a Misty Forest. That’s because every time after rain the mist permeate the air and make a Misty Forest. The whole Jiuxi Scenic Trail stretches around 5.5 km (3.4 miles) with verdant forests and green tea fields. Hiking along the way to immerse yourself to the natural landscape will be one of cool things to do in Hangzhou in summer.

The best time to hike is from April to October because of wet season, in which you can see beautiful waterfalls especially after rain.

Thousand Islets Lake

Thousand Islets Lake
Thousand Islets Lake is an artificial lake located in Chun’an County near Hangzhou. This place is famous for the scattered islets, clear water, green mountains, strange stone forests as well as the clever monkeys. Many tourists head there to enjoy summer time. Hiring a bicycle to ride along the dedicated green tracks around Thousand Islets Lake is undoubtedly a good way to view the beautiful scenery. What’s more, after the cycling, drifting in a boat is also a good option to relax.

Wuzhen Water Town

Wuzhen Water Tower near Hangzhou
Wuzhen is a typical ancient water town in southern China and it is about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Hangzhou. The main scenic area consists of two sections: Dongzha and Xizha. In fact, Xizha could be the essence of the whole scenic area and contains a lot of exquisite stone bridges. Taking a boat to enjoy the night scene is an interesting experience you cannot miss. After the visit of Xizha, you can go sightseeing in various museums in Dongzha Section to experience the local customs and culture, such as Shadow Play Museum and Yu Liuliang Coin Museum.

 Recommended Tour:  1 Day Tour to Wuzhen Water Town from $148

 You may like: Best Time to Visit Hangzhou

- Last updated on May. 25, 2023 by Catherine He -
Ask a Question
Question Summary (100 characters)
Details (optional) (2,000 characters)