12 Best Places to Visit in Guangzhou for First-time Visitors

Guangzhou is a large metropolis in the delta of Pearl River, the southeast China. It is one of the most developed cities in the country also famous for profound culture, refreshing Cantonese Cuisine and rich products for shopping. Then when you go there for the first time, where are the best places to visit in Guangzhou? This article will tell you the top Guangzhou destinations you should not miss.

Shamian Island is the most exotic Guangzhou place to see, famous for the more than 150 historical buildings in Gothic, Baroque, Neoclassical and more styles. It was the vital trading district in ancient China, but become the foreign concession in 1840s, thus these old European buildings were built one after another. Catholic Church Our Lady of Lourdes, former HSBC Bank, Customs House are among the best of them. After strolling around, you may have a break or afternoon tea at a café, to enjoy some leisure time.
As a new landmark of the city with a height of 600 meters (1,968 feet) and a unique shape of a slim waist, Canton Tower is a hot place to go in Guangzhou. Standing on the observation decks with the ceilings being decorated like clouds and starry sky, you may have a bird’s eye view of the downtown with the Pearl River flowing through. Taking pictures of Pearl River, seeing the stunning sunset on high, and enjoy the night sights of the city are the top activities to do on Canton Tower.

 Recommended Tour:   3 Days Guangzhou City Tour from $279
Among the best places to visit in Guangzhou, Chimelong Tourist Resort is the best known theme park. The best part of the large resort is Chimelong Safari Park, where you will feel like in a wildlife zoo with animals from all over the world, including koalas, pandas, yellow gorillas and anteaters. There are performances by the animals as well. Chimelong Paradise and Chimelong Water Park are the exciting zones to play in, with various amusement facilities. After having fun, you can have a seat to enjoy the thrilling circus shows at Chimelong International Circus. If you have more time, you can go on to Chimelong Birds Park nearby, to see various fowls and birds. The hotels inside provide caring accommodation service.

 Recommended Tour:  1 Day Guangzhou Family Tour to Chimelong from $196

Sacred Heart Cathedral

Sacred Heart Cathedral, on the north bank of Pearl River in Yuexiu District, is the most majestic church in Guangzhou downtown and one of the world’s four Gothic churches completely built with stones, hence listed among popular Guangzhou places to visit. It has double steeples, looking similar to Notre Dame de Paris from outside. Except the mass time, tourists are allowed to enter and pay a visit inside. The stained glass windows tell the stories in the Bible, the bronze bell from France is in the middle of two steeples, and all things there seem to bring you to Europe.
Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family, or called Chen Clan Academy, is one of the most important ancient historical sites in Guangzhou. Although it was constructed in the late Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911 AD), it is the largest-scaled and best-persevered ancestral temple existing in Guangdong province. There are 19 houses connecting with the courtyards and the garden. You may get to know the local traditional houses, enjoy the ancient architecture, sculptures as well as the fine carvings of wood, stones and bricks. For these reasons, it is listed on the places to see in Guangzhou, especially for culture lovers.

 Recommended Tour:  Guangzhou Day Tour with Temple of Chen Family from $111
A well-known symbol of Guangzhou is Five-Ram Sculpture and it stands right in Yuexiu Park. It is the largest park and one of the most beautiful places in Guangzhou. You will be surprised to find a hill in the downtown, with lush plants and three artificial lakes. Apart from Guangzhou’s landmark Five-Ram Sculpture, you would also see a remaining section of the ancient city wall and red Zhenhai Tower. You may tour the park either by foot or boat.

 Recommended Tour:  5 Days Guangzhou & Guilin Private Tour from $699
To know about the history, culture, and arts of Guangdong province, Guangdong Museum is the best place to visit in Guangzhou China. The newly built venue of Guangdong Museum interestingly resembles a giant ancient style box with carved patterns. Inside, you will see more than 172,700 collections, including ceramics, bronzes, paintings and calligraphy, gilded wood carvings, Duan ink-stones, precious stones, paleontological fossils, herb specimens, etc. These collections would show you Guangzhou as well as the regional history in all aspects.
This is the most prosperous area in the old downtown area, and a shopping paradise out of Guangzhou places to go. In addition to the old buildings, Shangxiajiu is full of large and small department stores and restaurants. You may find cheap clothes on great discounts, local foods and snacks from all over China. On hot days, iced fruits are the best to taste. Along the street, you can meet up with some bronze figure sculptures in diverse shapes, showing you the local life in modern times.

Read More: Guangzhou Shopping
Pearl River is the mother river of Guangzhou flowing through it. A cruise is the best way to tour it. During the cruise between Shamian Island and Liede Bridge, you would see many modern buildings and unique bridges. Night cruise is more popular, when splendid buildings and bridges are lit up with neon lights and reflected on the water colorfully. There are many wharfs where you can get on and get off from the cruise ship, including Tianzi Wharf, Xidi Wharf, and Zhongda Wharf.

Pearl River Cruise
 Recommended Tour:  Night Cruise Tour on the Pearl River from $92

Xiaozhou Village

Xiaozhou Village is a small ancient village established over 600 years ago, in the southern area of Guangzhou. You would see the yellow hall on your arrival, then the village landscapes with old traditional houses and modern buildings next to each other by river. The houses built with oyster shells are worth your special attention. At this Guangzhou best place to visit, you can also taste traditional foods, or enjoy the exquisite handicrafts, too. You’d better go there on the weekends, as some shops do not open during weekdays.
In 1983, the tomb of the Nanyu King of the Western Han Dynasty (202 BC - 9 AD) was found and unearthed, and it was the only excavated one with painted stone tomb room in the region. Nanyue Kingdom was a regional power in the early years of Western Han Dynasty, and this tomb belonged to its second king is quite rare. Later, a museum was built on the tomb site and becomes one of the best places to visit in Guangzhou, China. You can see the stone tomb in person and enter the tomb room to learn its structure. You can also see the ancient burial objects and other relics there, which are mainly jade wares. The Jade Burial Suit with Silk Thread there was the oldest one nationwide.
Located in the south to Guangzhou University City, Lingnan Impression Park is a cultural attraction with rising popularity among places to see in Guangzhou China. Lingnan refers to the region south to the Five Ridges, mainly in Guangdong and Guangxi. After entering, you would feel like stepping into an old town, with waterside traditional dwellings, courtyards, stage, archway, etc. The folk shows and activities of Lingnan style are also exciting, such as the lion dancing, sugar-figure blowing, glass blowing, diabolo playing, and so on. The local snacks, like Tingzai Porridge, Bamboo-pressed Noodles, Stewed Milk Beancurd, and Ginger Milk Pudding, are toothsome to taste, too.
- Last updated on Dec. 31, 2020 -
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