Top Jinan Attractions & Things to Do in Jinan
Jinan, the capital city of Shandong, is best known as “the City of Springs” with abundance of clear springs, as well as many other beautiful natural and cultural sites. Among the 733 springs, there are 72 named springs and the most famous one is Baotu Spring throughout the city which is rightly located in the city center near Daming Lake, Black Tiger Spring and Five Dragon Pool.
To help you quickly figure out the most interesting attractions worthy your exploration, we’ve selected the most popular Jinan tourist attractions for you, including top springs, city parks, museums, mountain and Buddhist temple, etc. If you want to discover any specific and less-known spots in Jinan, please contact us to get the most useful information and travel tips. Just prepare yourself to step into the watery city of Jinan!
- Top Attractions
No.1: Baotu Spring Park
Type: Springs, Nature & Park
Location: in the center of Baotu Spring Park, No.1 Baotu Road, Lixia District, and Downtown Jinan
Recommended Length of Visit: 1~2 hours
Jinan is most known as “the City of Springs” which hides over 700 artesian karst springs underground. Baotu Spring is the most famed and outstanding one among the 72 famous springs in Jinan and was titled the No.1 spring under the heaven by Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty and many prestigious scholars. A long history of over 3,500 years, the super high daily hydraulic discharge (average amount: 70,000 cubic meters, highest record: 162,000 cubic meters), crystal clear drinkable water in a constant temperature and piles of celebrity anecdotes all make Baotu Spring a top must-see landmark in Jinan. While walking in the Baotu Spring Park, except the Baotu Spring with three spewing spring holes, you can find 27 other small spring, including Jinxian Spring, Shuyu Spring, Dukang Spring, Liuxu Spring, etc., and appreciate historical relics in the beautiful park. Always expect crowds at weekend and during festivals.
No.2: Daming Lake
Type: Bodies of Water, Nature & Park, Historic Walking Areas
Location: in the Daming Lake Park, No.271 Daminghu Road, Lixia District, Downtown Jinan; only 1 km, 15-20 minutes’ walking from Baotu Spring Park
Recommended Length of Visit: 1~3 hours
Fed by many wild springs, Daming Lake is a huge lake and scenic park as well as one of the Top 3 Scenic Spots in Jinan. The most eye-catching sight is impressive refection of ancient architectures and modern towers on the clear blue water, weeping willows along the bank and broad vision of the blue sky. In summer, the lake gains more fabulous beauty and poetic atmosphere when lotuses bloom uninhibitedly. It’s a good place for a leisurely walk. Also, you can make an interesting boat trip inside the park, visit more than 30 places of interest, such as Lixia Pavilion, Beiji Temple, Tiegong Ancestral Hall, and learn widespread elegant poems about the lake.
No.3: Spring City Square
Type: Landmark, City Square
Location: No.69 Luoyuan Avenue, Lixia District, Downtown Jinan
Recommended Length of Visit: half an hour ~ 1 hour
Facing Daming Lake to the north and, Baotu Spring to the west and the city moat to the east, Spring City Square is regarded as the center and right the heart of Jinan. Surrounded by big shopping centers in downtown, this large square is specially designed to represent spring culture of Jinan. The midpoint is a blue statue of seal-scripted Quan, which refers spring. And there is a famous Lotus Music Fountain in the east, which displays different looks, colors and musics at different times. It’s quite beautiful at night. Besides, you can come into contact with local daily life scenes here and walk to Furong Ancient Street to try a variety of snacks.
No.4: Black Tiger Spring (Heihu Spring)
Type: Hot Springs, Nature, Geysers
Location: West Heihuquan Road, Lixia District, Downtown Jinan; only 400 m, 6 minutes’ walk to Jinan Kuanhouli Street; 1.5 km, 20 minutes’ walk to Baotu Spring
Recommended Length of Visit: 1-2 hour
Black Tiger Spring ranks the second most significant spring among the 72 famous springs in Jinan with the second largest outflow of water (after Baotu Spring). The spring waters originate from a natural cave beneath the rocks, gush through three stone-carved tiger mouths, gather in an oblong stone pond and finally converge to the city fosse. Winds emit a terrifying roar as the water blow through the cave; therefore, the spring got its name of Heihu (Black Tiger). The Black Tiger Spring Group consists of total 14 springs, so you can visit Pipa Spring, Jiunv Spring and other named springs around. This site is good for walking to cool off in summertime and closely encountering the limpid clear and cool water.
No.5: Thousand Buddha Mountain (Qianfoshan)
Type: Mountain, Historical Walking Area, Monuments & Statues, Nature & Wildlife
Location:No.18 Jingshiyi Road, Lixia District, Jinan; about 3 km from downtown (Baotu Spring)
Recommended Length of Visit: 3 hours
Thousand Buddha Mountain, located in the south of city area, is the extension of the Mount Tai and one of the Top 3 Must-see of Jinan. Its history can be traced back to Sui Dynasty when the Buddhism prevailed and thousands of Buddhist statues were engraved. The mountain is adorned with temples, caves, pavilions, terraces, towers, and numerous Buddhist carvings. Main spots include the giant golden statue of the sitting Maitreya Buddha, a huge sleeping Buddha (weight: 50 tons), Wanfo Caves collecting over 30,000 Buddhist figurines and large-scale of murals, undersized statues imitating China’s Four Great Grottoes (Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes, Datong Yungang Grottoes, Luoyang Longmen Grottoes and Tianshui Maijishan Grottoes), Thousand Buddha Cliff exhibiting up to 130 Buddhist statues from Sui Dynasty, Xingguo Temple, Avalokitesvara Garden, etc.
You can walk stairs up (about 1 hour) or take a cable car to the top, enjoying great panoramic view of the Jinan city on clear days. Drum, Martial arts and some featured Shandong folk activities will be held here during every third day of the third lunar month and ninth day of the ninth lunar month.
No.6: Five Dragon Pool (Wulongtan Park)
Type: Hot Springs, Nature & Park
Location: No.18 Kuangshi Street, Tianqiao District, Jinan; only 300 m to Baotu Spring & 800 m to Daming Lake
Recommended Length of Visit: 1 hour
Five Dragon Pool which sits in Five Dragon Pool Park, the north of Baotu Spring is truly a hidden gem in Jinan. Together with 26 different-shaped springs, the springs form the Five Dragon Spring Group, one of the four most famous spring groups of Jinan that enjoys the best water quality. According to Li Daoyuan’s geographical masterpiece - Waterways Classic, the spring has existed before the Northern Wei Dynasty (4th-6th century AD) with more than 1,500 years of history.
The park with clean water, lush greens dotted ancient architectures and clustered koi fishes is a nice site for walk. During the best travel season, April and October, the tranquil park receives lovely flower blossom and warm sunshine, and drinking a cup of tea is a wonderful way to immerse in the peaceful moments.
No.7: Shandong Museum
Type: Specialty Museum
Location: No. 11899, East Jingshi Road, Lixia District, Jinan; about 8 km from downtown
Recommended Length of Visit: 1~2 hours
Shandong Museum, a provincial comprehensive museum founded earliest in China, is one of the free places to quickly and fully understand the unique culture and long history of Shandong Province. Covering about 34,000 square meters, the museum collects more than 140,000 cultural relics and thousands of valuable literal data and natural specimens. In the majestic and elaborate exhibition buildings, you can take a close look at the ancient ceramics, bronzes, calligraphies, paintings and texts, oracle bone inscriptions, stone carvings and so on. Murals of Han Tombs in Dongping, bamboo slip of the Art of War (Master Sun’s Military Methods) are treasures you can’t miss. Special themed exhibitions will be held irregularly. While visiting, there are café and souvenir store you can rest.
No.8: Jinan Kuanhouli Street
Type: Points of Interest & Landmarks, Shopping Mall
Location: Simao International Plaza, No.187 North Heihuquan Road, Lixia District, Downtown Jinan
Recommended Length of Visit: 1 hour
Jinan Kuanhouli Street, also named Simao Kuanhouli Jinan, is a new historical walking and shopping area in the city center which perfectly combines with tourism, commerce and culture. The street is lined with ancient style buildings, modern creative bloacks and various snack shops, so tourists can sample local snacks and see the traditional residences of Jinan and know some time-honored local brands. Night scene here is more recommended and interesting than in the daytime.
No.9: Furong Ancient Street
Type: Historical Walking Area, Snack Street
Location: Donghuaqiangzi Street, Lixia District, Downtown Jinan; about 700 m to Baotu Spring and 900 m to Daming Lake
Recommended Length of Visit: 1 hour
Earned name for the Furong Spring, Furong Ancient Street is a distinctive old snack and walking street in Jinan. It starts from Donghua Qiangzi Street, go north-south direction to Quancheng Road with a length of 432 meters and width of 4.6 meters. It is very popular among visitors to Jinan for eating diverse local delicacies. During festivals, you can always meet crowds stuffed in the street, enjoying food and eyeful stores. Here you can see the real dwelling houses of Jinan people, aged characteristic whitewashed wall and grey tiles.
No.10: Lingyan Temple
Type: Buddhist Temple, Historical Sites, Architectural Buildings
Location: Wande Town, Changqing District, South Suburb of Jinan; about 55 km, 1.5 hours’ drive from downtown
Recommended Length of Visit: 1~2 hours
Located in the southwest suburb of Jinan and northwest of Mount Tai, Lingyan Temple is an important component of the UNESCO World Natural & Cultural Heritage – Mount Tai. Lingyan Temple with a long history of more than 1,600 years was a notable national Buddhist shrine during the Tang Dynasty, which once housed up to 500 monks. It not only has rich Buddhist heritages with 36 halls and 18 pavilions, but also relates to Monk Xuanzang and Emperor Gaozong of Tang Dynasty.
The biggest and best-preserved building is the Thousand Buddha Hall that was built in Tang Dynaty and expanded in Song Dynasty. After admiring its exquisite framework and grand carvings, you can see three big golden Buddha statues presenting three Dharmakayas of the Buddha, 40 vivid painted clay Arhats and thousands of pint-sized bronze and wooden Buddha sculptures inside. The towering Pizhi Pagoda (height: 54 meters), an 11th century nine-storey octagonal pavilion-style tower and the second largest tomb pagoda are the two most impressive spots in Lingyan Temple.
No.11: The Terracotta Warriors of Weishan
Type: Ancient Ruins
Location: Weishan Mountain Scenic Area, Shengjing Town, Zhangqiu City, Jinan; about 40 km, 1.5 hours’ drive from downtown Jinan
Recommended Length of Visit: 2 hours
In terms of size, structure and significance, the Terracotta Warriors of Weishan, is the recognized as the third largest terracotta army in China (after Qin Shihuang Terracotta Army and Shaanxi Xianyang Yangjiawan Terracotta Army) and the first most-preserved funerary tomb in Shandong. Discovered in Zhangqiu, east of Jinan, this site has three Han Dynasty burial pits underground, which respectively remains ancient chariots, owner life scenes and stone and wooden coffins and skeletons, archaic pottery pots, arrows and etc. In Pit 1, there are more than 500 pieces making up the ceremonious array of the aristocratic travel, but most clay carriages, horses and figures are severely damaged by the fallen cover board. Besides, many painted ceremonial pottery artifacts like drums, screens, pearls were also founded. This place is an important archaeological discovery and a mystery may help to know the Han Dynasty culture and the feudal etiquette.
- Top Things to Do in Jinan
No.1: Explore Different Amazing Springs
Renowned as “the City of Springs” in China, Jinan totally has 733 wild karst springs in the city area and 72 of them have names known to the public. The springs rich are rich in amount, novel in shapes either spouting powerfully or flowing like waterfalls and lakes.
Undeniably, Jinan is a natural “Museum of Artesian Springs” where visitors can witness the magic of the nature, view crystal clear water and experience special spring culture of the city. Downtown Jinan is very convenient to see the top four spring groups: Baotu Spring, Black Tiger Spring, Five Dragon Pool and Pearl Spring. Though located differently with various history, these famous springs present similar amazing spewing sights, clean water and scenic surroundings and same formation causes. In general, the spring culture has been the top charm and an inextricable part of local culture, from the street name, city history and daily routine.
No.2: Stroll around in Picturesque City Parks
Unlike most destinations in Shandong showing rough characters, Jinan is more favored as a quiet, elegant and gentle Jiangnan style lady. Beyond the springs, beautiful parks rightly depict the extraordinary watery, romantic and poetic look of Jinan. You can visit Baotu Spring Park, Daming Lake Park or Five Dragon Pool Park, Huancheng Park in the downtown. Some are huge enough to walk on the stone-paved paths, take a couple of hours to view seasonal natural beauty of flower blossoms and soft green willows and lush trees along the banks, cyprinoid swimming around in the lucid ponds, fine ancient architectures, diverse local recreation and enjoy a cozy leisure time there.
No.3: Admire Remarkable Treasures of the Literati
Jinan has always enjoyed a good reputation of the location of numerous learned celebrities. Prominent ancient scholars include Li Qingzhao (the most famed female poet in Chinese history), Xin Qiji (poet during the Southern Song Dynasty), Zhang Yanghao (litterateur of Yuan Dynasty), Zhou Yan (Yin-yang theorist during the Warring States period), Bian Que (the earliest Chinese physician in 2,300 years ago), Fang Xuanling (Tang Dynasty historian & politician), Qin Qiong, etc. Moreover, famous poets and writers like Li Bai, Du Fu, Su Shi, Zeng Gong, Cao Cao, Lao She, Ji Xianlin and many other scholars had also lived, or studied, served as officials in Jinan. Hence, Baotu Spring and city landscape of Jinan were often commended in many poems, books and inscriptions. The Baotu Spring even inspired Emperor Qianlong writing praise poetry and an article of the same name appeared in the Chinese textbook. In the Baotu Spring Park, visitors can see handwriting of Emperor Qianlong, Hu Zuanzong (a Ming Dynasty calligrapher), lots of Guo Moruo’s inscriptions in the Memorial Hall of Li Qingzhao and massive literary history.
No.4: Seek Ancient Buddhist Arts & Heritages
Aside from nature sightseeing, Jinan remains several sacred Buddhist sites with precious cultural legacies. Thousand Buddha Mountain and Lingyan Temple are two religious spots worthy of your exploration. In Thousand Buddha Mountain, you can see tremendous number of Buddhist statues Cliffside from the Northern Wei, Sui, Tang, Song and Qing Dynasties, Xingguo Temple of Ming Dynasty, recording Buddhist history of development. Escaping from the city center, Lingyan Temple reserved millennial tranquility and extensive Buddhist architectures. Pizhi Pagoda carved with Buddhist stories of enlightment of Asoka the Great was a marvelous endeavor of 63 years and a fantastic ancient Chinese building. Painted clay sculptures in Thousand Buddha Hall and hundreds of stone tomb pagodas carved with flowers, moon and various patterns all reflect splendid traditional Buddhist art.
No.5: Attend Various Local Featured Festivals
Many interesting featured events are held in different times and places in Jinan. Tourists visiting Jinan in a proper time may attend some festivals to experience the local culture, see the charming natural scenery and appreciate outstanding artworks. Tourism Festival of Local Folk Custom, Jinan takes place in the central downtown during Spring Festival each year. All sorts of folk customs will be performed in the Spring City Square and a beautiful lantern show will hosted in Baotu Spring Park and a busy temple fair in Daming Lake Park. Spring Festival of Jinan is another popular local event to propagandize spring water culture. In Addition, there are Golden Autumn Chrysanthemum Festival in Baotu Spring Park, Summer Lotus Cultural Festivals and dragon boat festival in Daming Lake Park and Red Leaves Festival in Red Leaves Valley for locals and tourists to seize the seasonal natural beauty.
No.6: Taste Authentic Shandong Cuisine
Eating is a part of local culture and food in Jinan belongs to Shandong Cuisine. one of the Eight Culinary Traditions of Chinese Cuisines that derived from Shandong in the Chuqiu (Spring & Autumn) period about 2,500 to 2,700 years ago. Geographic location, mild climate, varied terrain, rich high-quality vegetable and affection of Confucianism bred an exquisite, neutralized and healthy diet of Shandong. In Ming and Qing Dynasties, royal favors sublimate Shandong Cuisine more dignified and placid, making it one of the main cooking styles in China. Classic dishes have steamed oil rotation, Shandong pancake, Tofu stuffed with vegetables, Nine-coiled Pig’s large intestine, sweet potato with caramelized sugar, fried carp with sweet and sour sauce, Dezhou Braised Chicken, etc. In Jinan, Furong Ancient Street and Kuanhouli are popular walking areas you can eat most local snacks. Luxury 5-star and 4-star hotels usually offer traditional Shandong dishes for guests. Downtown areas near attractions provide large choices of local restaurants, like Cheng Nan Wang Shi Jinan Fengwei Theme Restaurant (城南往事济南风味主题餐厅), Lu Xian Lao Pai Fang Tese Restaurant (鲁西南老牌坊特色餐厅).
How to Plan Your Jinan Tour
How to Get to Jinan: You can fly to Jinan from Shanghai, Xian, Guangzhou, Datong or take high speed train from Beijing, Shanghai and other Chinese cities.
Best Time to Visit Jinan: May, September and October when temperature is moderate comfortable and weather is probably good.
Top Attractions to Visit in Jinan: Baotu Spring Park, Daming Lake, Thousand Buddha Mountain, Shandong Museum …
Jinan, the capital city in central Shandong, is the famous “City of Spring” in China hiding numerous natural springs and picturesque city landscape. 1 day is suitable for visiting major spots in Jinan. But tourists usually take 4 to 5 days to travel Jinan with the best highlights in Shandong, including the sacred Mount Tai, hometown of Confucius - Qufu and beautiful coastal city - Qingdao.
During your day trip in Jinan, you can conveniently visit several attractions together in the city center, such as the Baotu Spring Park, Daming Lake, Black Tiger Spring and Spring City Square. In Jinan, it’s also a good idea to learn the local culture and history in the Shandong Museum and make a leisurely hike on the Thousand Buddha Mountain. Next, you can take 1 full day to climb the Mount Tai and another day to worship the Confucianism in the “San Kong” of Qufu. While in Qingdao, you may spare leave 2 days to immerse in the mind-blowing seaside scenery and experience the energetic Tsingtao Beer.
If times allows and you’re quite interested in Shandong culture and beauty, it’s strongly advised to explore more wonderful places, like the Capital of Kite - Weifang, fairyland Penglai of Yantai, pretty Weihai, etc. Beyond Shandong, travelers often extend trip further to Beijing, Xian, Datong & Pingyao (in Shanxi)， Luoyang & Shaolin Temple & Kaifeng (in Henan) and more stunning heritages and nature sights in China.
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Recommended Jinan Tours
Top 3 Jinan tours chosen by most customers to explore Jinan in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.
- 4 Days Jinan Mount Tai Qufu Cultural Tour
Jinan / Mount Tai / Qufu
- 6 Days Best of Shandong Tour
Jinan / Mount Tai / Qufu / Qingdao
- 8 Days Shandong History & Culture Tour
Jinan / Mount Tai / Qufu / Zibo / Weifang / Qingdao