Dalian's scenic spots are in three major areas: the Downtown Area, the Binhai Road Area and the Xinghai Park Scenic Area. Visitors to the city are often impressed by its distinctly European feel. With colonial buildings dotted throughout the city, and a relatively large foreign population, Dalian is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the north eastern part of China.
Visitors usually first head for Zhongshan Square, the central landmark of the city. The square is surrounded by the government and private offices, as well as a variety of European- and Russian-style architectures.
Dalian has in fact more than 30 squares that boast emerald lawns, varied sculptures and western-style fountains. Among these, Xinghai Square claims to be Asia's largest, and is the venue for international events like the city's beer festival and fashion festivals, while the historical and politically significant Renmin Square (People's Square) is the home of an impressive fountain.
Originally constructed for defensive purposes, but deemed worthy of a status as a national attraction, the ''natural oxygen bar'' that is the 40-km-long Binhai Road boasts various places of interest and secluded beaches. Binhai Road originates at Haizhiyun Square, and follows the commanding Dalian coastline to places like Bangchuidao Scenic Area, Laohutan Tiger Ocean Park, and Fujiazhuang Beach.
Laohutan Tiger Ocean Park offers visitors a range of attractions including the Laohutan Polar Region Marine Animal World (Polar Aquarium), Tiger Sculpture Square and Dalian Labor Park. This park is considered a must-visit place, as it offers in one location a wealth of natural beauty, oceanic life, and much more.
A number of interesting places can be found on the outskirts of Dalian, too. These include the Jinshitan (Golden Pebble Beach) Scenic Area, Bingyu Valley and of course Bangchuidao. With overnight accommodation available, these areas offer local residents a respite from the bustling city, and they offer tourists a chance to get very close to nature during a visit to Dalian. The Jinshitan Scenic Area boasts The Golden Pebble Beach National Resort, a massive leisure complex that boasts white sandy beaches, a great golf course, and other outdoors activities like the Jinshi Discovery Kingdom Theme Park. The nearby Bingyu Valley is considered a great getaway in both summer and winter. It has rugged cliffs, jagged peaks, and winding crystalline rivulets.
Dalian also has a range of interesting museums including the Dalian Natural History Museum, which boasts a great collection of fossils; the Dalian Modern Museum, which brings to life the history of Dalian through cutting-edge exhibition technology; and Lüshun Museum, which is stocked with ancient bronze wares and fascinating Chinese artifacts. There's also a wax museum, a stone museum, and the Dalian Art Exhibition Museum, with its extensive display of Chinese art including painting and calligraphy, woodcarvings, stone carvings and more.
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