Though Shenyang is considered a second-tier city, that is not to say that it lacks in any way. Shenyang is actually China’s fifth largest city and there’s plenty to do and see both within its urban confines and in the surrounding areas. Shenyang is a major economic and industrial centre in North China but at the same time it is also well known for its historic and cultural worth. Below, we’ll show you how to get a well-rounded perception of the city in just 48 hours.
Begin your day by indulging in a hearty breakfast of jiaozi (steamed dumplings), considered a classic dish of the area. There are plenty of jiaozi dining options and one need only stroll the streets for a couple of minutes to find a restaurant that serves the steamy delights, but if you want to get a true authentic taste then Ma’s Steamed Dumpling (Ma Shaomai) on Zhenyang Street or Laobian Jiaozi in Shenzhe District are excellent choices.
Continue on to the Shenyang Imperial Palace, one of Shenyang’s most famous landmarks and must-see sites. The palace was the former imperial palace of the Qing Dynasty and is the only existing royal palace outside of the Forbidden City. Though the site covers an area of 60,000 square metres, a couple of hours should be enough to appreciate the splendor of this well-preserved architectural wonder.
If the Imperial Palace hasn’t fulfilled your craving of history then perhaps the Liaoning Provincial Museum will. Here you can learn all about the history of Liaoning Province spread over 18 exhibition halls. Tens of thousands of cultural relics are on display here, many of which are among the rarest in the world. If on the other hand, a morning at the Imperial Palace has satisfied your historical curiosity then make your way to Strange Slope Scenic Area (沈阳怪坡景点区) for, as the name suggests, a very rare sight. Located 30 kilometres from the city, the 15 metre wide and 80 metre long hill creates an optical illusion that seems to defy gravity. Cars roll up the hill without any difficulty which is a mystery that has been baffling experts and scholars for many years. Bus route 331, 330, 4304 or 328 tourist bus from the city will get you there.
Head back to the city to refuel and prepare for the nightlife. Shenyang has a notoriously large Korean presence, and the area around the West Tower (西塔) is sometimes referred to as “Korea Town”. Here you’ll find an area bustling with restaurants, bars, spas, hotels and karaoke parlours. At night, it is also one of the most popular nightlife destinations especially among foreign students and expats. A brief stroll through the area will yield a countless of choice of dining and entertainment options.
The next day, take in some Chinese contemporary art at the Art Gallery of Liaoning Art Centre (辽宁美术馆画廊). The 300 square metre large gallery is the largest of its kind in Liaoning Province. Dedicated to promoting new artists and contemporary Chinese art, the gallery features regular solo, group exhibitions as well as many themed art events. Next,
treat yourself to some shopping therapy. Shenyang boasts the largest wholesale clothes market in northern China, the Wu Ai Market (五爱市场), also commonly referred to as “China’s top shopping bazaars.” Here’ll you’ll find anything from clothes, accessories to souvenirs, but be prepared to bargain hard. If the franticness of this bustling markets gets too much, head over to Taiyuan Jie (太原街), Shenzhen’s main shopping district and home to numerous large department stores and shops.
Finally, round-off your night with by enjoying a performance at Liaoning Grand Theatre. The venue has a wide range of functions and performances on offer, with events ranging from classical concerts to ballets or acrobatic shows. For information on events check out their website here, though unfortunately it is in Chinese only. Though the above mentioned sites in this guide only represent the tip of the iceberg for what Shenyang has to offer, it should give you a well-rounded itinerary of how to spend 48 hours here. For a list of more sites and attractions, please refer to our Travel Guide or introduction to other attractions here. Enjoy your trip!
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