Picture the scene: your initial cheerfulness at hearing that your parents have booked a flight to come see their favourite globetrotter out in the unknown land of China is beset by panic. What on earth can you take them to do in Guangzhou? They probably wouldn’t enjoy your normal habits of hanging around the bars drinking cheap pints until 4 am, or joining on your quest to pick up locals at the clubs near Haizhu Square (unless your parents are very different from mine). And you’re probably kicking yourself, wishing that you’d checked out a few parent-friendly sites in your Chinese home instead of spending weekend days on your couch with a hangover.
Luckily, quite a few of us have been through this before. Relax, take a look at this list, and I’m certain you’ll find a few things that you can enjoy together:
1) Diaosu Gongyuan: Sculpture ParkView In Map
Guangzhou’s Sculpture Park not only has great specimens of art, but is also a beautiful park in itself to peruse. You can easily spend a couple of hours wandering through the park, looking at a wide variety of sculptures, including two large hands that caress a bed of flowers, and a pack of horses that run across an expansive green lawn. The park is also home to a tea house, where you can sit on the patio and enjoy a cup of tea, coffee, or a meal of any sort that strikes your fancy. One small caramel cappuccino will set you back 35 RMB. If your parents are the sort that dig live music, you could also come here at night and take them to a gig at T-Union, which is also inside the park.
Add：575 Xiatang Road, Baiyun District, Guangzhou
Opening hours: 6:30 – 21:00
How much: Free
2) Redtory 红专厂View In Map
This is Guangzhou’s answer to the famous 798 District in Beijing, but it’s fairly new. Be forewarned that a trip here necessitates traipsing through some dirt roads and back alleys, but if you or your parents are into galleries and artsy cafes, this small district is a must-see in Guangzhou. The complex used to be a can factory, but efforts have recently been taken to convert its charming brick buildings and smokestacks into an art-focused area. There are only a few sparse galleries, but there are quite a few cafes where you can have a glass of wine or dessert and chat about your life as an expat. Redtory is a great representation of the arty subculture that exists in China, so if you’re looking for something a bit different to show your parents, this is a great option.
Getting there: Recommended to take a taxi, but if you don’t mind doing a bit of exploration, go to Fangcun Metro Station, exit B. Turn left out of the exit, and there will be a large dirt alley where you can see a smokestack in the distance. Walk down this alley until it curves right and you see a tall wall on the left, and walk down this alley, which has graffiti on the walls. Continue until you pass a graffito sign on the right that says Redtory, and you find a chain-link door, also on the right.
Add: 128 Yuancun Siheng Lu, Tianhe District, Guangzhou
Tel：020 8557 4346
3) Baiyun Park: The AviaryView In Map
Baiyun Park is a great place to take your parents in general. You can see many parts of Chinese culture: a temple, old men playing chess, groups of friends kicking a hacky sack, or a mid-afternoon casual singing performance. If your parents are fairly active, you could take a hike up to the peak with them. If they prefer a more leisurely experience, you can all hop on the cable car to the summit. One of my mum’s favorite attractions at the park was the impressive aviary perched atop the mountain.
Add：Baiyun Park South Gate, Yunshan South Rd, Guangzhou
Tel: 020 8771 4736
4) Pearl River CruiseView In Map
While it may be a bit cheesy to do with friends when you live here, tourists can definitely appreciate a night time cruise on the river. The lights of the opera house, the various bridges, and the spectacular Guangzhou Tower are simply too magnificent to miss. The boats leave from a few harbours on the river, but I was very satisfied with our cruise from nearby Haizhu Square. There are a variety of cruises that leave at different times and have different prices. We were satisfied enough with our bottom-deck, cheap cruise, as we could walk outside on the lower deck to view the lights. If you’d rather have an outside seat on an upper deck, you’ll have to pay a bit more, so hopefully your parents will foot the bill! I wouldn’t recommend doing the dinner tour; on our boat they served red-boxed meals like the ones you might buy for lunch at Family Mart.
There are boats that leave between 18:00 and 23:00 and take about 1.5 hours each. Ticket prices vary from 48 RMB to 200 RMB per person.
Add: Beijing South Road, Haizhu District, Guangzhou
Metro Directions: From Haizhu Square, go out Exit D and cross the street to the river. Turn to your left and walk a few hundred meters until you find the wharf.
5) Restaurant HimalayaView In Map
I stumbled upon this place and had a drink after having dinner with a friend in the neighborhood, and have never looked back. The Tibetan staff, authentic food, hanging prayer flags, and interactive performances make dinner at this place a fun and genuine Tibetan experience to have in South China. If you go on the weekend, a reservation is recommended, as they tend to be crowded around dinner/show time. I won’t give up all the surprises of what goes on, but be sure to wear your dancing shoes when you show up at this place, and leave your inhibitions at the door for the full experience. Recommended is the first item on the dinner menu: Sheep Meat with Pancake. Dinner reservations should be 7:30 at the latest.
Add: 19 Guangming Lane, Huaqiao Xincun, Huanshi Lu, Behind the Holiday Inn, Guangzhou
Tel: 020 8358 7299
6) Mother-Daughter TimeView In Map
If you’re a girl looking for a place to spend a charming moment with mumsy, I’d recommend Miss LiLi nails on Taojin Lu. It’s a fun area to show your mom anyway, and a salon that looks like your grandma’s house. You can get a quality manicure and pedicure for a cheap price, but little English is spoken there. Rather ironic, considering there is an EF Institute just next door.
Add: Miss Lili Nails, 48 Taojin Road, Third Floor, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou
Tel: 020 8359 2656
7) Father-Son TimeView In Map
The Zhujiang-InBev International Beer Museum is a definite possibility for a father-son (or any other combination of beer-lovers, drunkards and alcoholics) daytime outing. They have bilingual exhibits that explain the history of brewing, and the beer industry in China. There is also a tasting floor there where you can try many different types of local brews.
Add: Zhujiang-InBev International Beer Museum, Yuejiang West Road, Haizhu District, Guangzhou
Guangzhou Opera Theater
8) Other outings to consider
A few other places that are recommended to take your parents during their visit are already described in more detail on eChinacities. These places include:
1. Yuexiu Park – Take the tram around to the various sites, including the 5 goats statue, a Sun Yat Sen Memorial Tower, and the Guangzhou History Museum
2. Shamian Island – Walk around and enjoy the old European style buildings and gift shops.
3. Guangzhou Opera House – Take a tour of the opera house and enjoy the architecture of modern Zhujiang New Town
4. Museum of Guangdong – Just across from the opera house, this houses art, history, calligraphy, and other distinguishing factors of Guangdong
5. Guangzhou Museum of Modern Art – On Ersha Island, this has a new exhibition every few months and a small sculpture garden, with a few nice souvenir shops
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Keywords: Where to take visitors Guangzhou top tourist sites Guangzhou where to take parents Guangzhou
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