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Qingdao, an important seaside city in Shandong Province, is a modernized port city with old charm. At present, it becomes an ideal tourist destination offering endless fun. No matter you want a sightseeing trip, outdoor activities, history exploration or just an undisturbed sunbathing time, Qingdao meets your demands in various perspectives. Here we list the best things to do in Qingdao to help you make full of your holiday and focus on the top Qingdao attractions and activities. If you want to have some of them or some other experience included in your itinerary, feel free to tell us. We can customize a private tour according to your own ideas and needs.
Huge Sculpture in Golden Beach
Enjoy Qingdao International Beer Festival
What makes Qingdao so famous? Qingdao Beer (also called Tsingtao Brewery) must be the answer. With an old history of over 100 years, Qingdao Beer is regarded as a calling card of Qingdao. Visiting Qingdao allows you to try the fresh Qingdao Beer and explore the history of Qingdao Beer. If you are quite interested in beer, don't miss Qingdao International Beer Festival which is held once a year on the second weekend of the August (might be a little different in each year), and lasts for 16 days usually. You can indulge yourself in the happiness of Beer Carnival. Qingdao's top attractions to enjoy Qingdao International Beer Festival:
Qingdao Beer Museum: Qingdao Beer Museum is built on the site of German Beer Company Qingdao Branch, which is a two-story red building. It offers much information from the past to the present and showcase the hundred year history of Qingdao Beer. You can see the old brewing machinery and a great collection of past packaging of Qingdao beer there. It is highlighted that you can also see beer being bottled and packaged on conveyer belts. Free beer tasting is offered.
Golden Beach: Golden Beach is one of the main venues of Qingdao International Beer Festival. During the festival, you can fully enjoy the happy atmosphere and the amazing activities in Golden Sand Beach. At night, there will be great light show, firework show and music show. Golden Beach itself is a popular beach in Qingdao as well. Endowed with appealing scenery, golden sand and blue sea, this beach is really a great place for outdoor activities, like football, soccer, frisbee… or just relaxing in the sun. Tents and tables are available for rent.
Century Square Beer City: Century Square Beer City in Laoshan Mountain is another main venue of Qingdao International Beer Festival. Visiting the beer square, you are able to enjoy the best of China's beer drinking culture at this event. Just like Golden Beach, many performances will be enjoyed here as well. Besides beer, there is a ton of food, both Chinese and western, to gorge on. There is also a large indoor beer area, where you can find lots of good souvenirs to buy and great beer to drink.
May Fourth Square
Zhanqiao Pier - Symbol of Qingdao
In Qingdao, there are several landmarks that you can't say you have been to Qingdao without visiting them. They are Zhanqiao Pier, May Fourth Square and 2018 Olympic Sailing Center. It is quite easy to see the images of them in various books, videos and brochures about Qingdao. By visiting them, you can enjoy Qingdao's present glories.
Zhanqiao Bridge: Built in 1891, it is the symbol of Qingdao. This now 440 meter long strip stretches into the sea and was the first wharf at Qingdao. There is an octagonal pagoda of distinctive Chinese style, “Huilan Pagoda” at the end of the pier. Zhanqiao Pier is viewed in the eyes of many as the official symbol of Qingdao as it was made famous by being placed on the label of the bottles and the front of cans of Tsingdao Brewery. This beautiful pier park is a pleasant place for you to rest or enjoy the scenery of Little Qingdao and its white tower. It is close to the railway station and No.6 bathing beach.
May Fourth Square:May Fourth Square, built at the end of 1990s in Qingdao, now is the central business district in the eastern seaside square. It received its name from commemorate the students' patriotic movement pf May 4, 1919. Walking in the square, you'll find a special and unique sculpture - The Winds of May. The red color of The Wind of May is like permanent burning flame, is indicating Qingdao's booming future. It is a wonderful place to fly a kite if you are in a family trip. Close to May Fourth Square, you can visit Olympic Sailing Center, the venue which held the 2008 29th Olympic sailing competition and 13th Paralympic Sailing competition. Now, you can see the breathtaking Qingdao skyline here.
Huashi House in Badaguan Scenic Resort
Featured Architecture of Qingdao Railway Station
One of the best experiences of traveling Qingdao is that it is available to explore various architectural designs with styles of different countries. Many German and other foreign (especially European) architectures (church, museum, dwellings…) were built in the colonial period. Besides, Qingdao also have very beautiful villas with red tiles and yellow or white walls in the hills or near the sea. For an architectural feast, the top attractions in Qingdao you can't miss include:
Badaguan Scenic Area: Badaguan Scenic Resort is composed of 10 streets of which 8 are named after 8 important military fortresses through the Great Wall of China. Now, it is attractive as the Museum of World Architectures because there are more than 200 old buildings with styles of more than 20 countries, like German, Japanese, Russian, French, American, Danish, etc. to sightsee. Most popular buildings in Badaguan Scenic Resort contain Danish style Princess House, Spanish Villa and European castle-style Huashi House. It is also available to have a paid visit in the buildings to admire the inner design. Many villas can be appreciated in Badaguan as well. In addition to its architectural fun, it is also very enjoyable to take a stroll in the peaceful street of Badaguan Scenic Resort. Some streets will be lined with pink cherry flowers in spring and some street will be dotted with colorful fallen leaves in autumn.
Others: There are many other characteristic buildings scattered in Qingdao, including Qingdao Catholic Church – Qingdao's largest Gothic architecture, Protestant Church – German castle-style architecture, Jiaozhou Hotel Former Site – German classic style architecture and Qingdao Railway Station - German Renaissance style architecture.
Peaks in Laoshan Mountain
Enjoy Seascape from Laoshan Mountain
Laoshan is not only the main site for Qingdao International Beer Festival, it is a top attraction of Qingdao. It is a Taoist site dotted with Taoist temples, spectacular peaks, imposing canyons and green tea terraces. Moreover, it is just located on the shore of the Yellow Sea and you can feast on the stunning view of mountain and sea together. Laoshan Mountain is also featured in many legends and local traditions. It is said to have been visited by the emperor Qing Shi Huang and Emperor Wu of Han, both hoping to meet immortals and gain immortality here. The whole scenic area of Laoshan Mountain can be divided into six parts: Taiqing, Chessboard Stone, Jufeng, Beijiushui, Yangkou and Hualou Area. Taiqing Scenic Area is the best place to probe into Taoist culture in Laoshan Mountain. There many Taoist temples in this area and the largest one is Taiqing Temple - the Temple of Supreme Purity. It is good to extend to Laoshan Mountain to have a nice hike when you are in Qingdao.
Impressive View from Xiaoyushan Park
Panoramic View from Signal Hill Park
Apart from walking close to the splendid architectures, captivating beaches, marvelous islands, etc. you will also have an unforgettable trip by taking a panoramic view of them. Qingdao has three fantastic places offering a bird's-eye view of Qingdao, including Xiaoyushan Park, Signal Hill Park and Zhongshan Park.
Xiaoyushan Park: Xiaoyushan Park is honored as the best viewpoint of Qingdao. Climbing to the small hill in the park, the best landscape of Qingdao will come into your eyes, including Zhanqiao Pier, German Governor's Mansion, No.1 Bathing Beach, Little Qingdao Isle, Huiquan Bay, etc., as well as the stunning seascape.
Signal Hill Park: Signal Hill Park, or Xinhaoshan Park, is also a wonderful view deck of Qingdao. On the top of the Signal Hill is Mushroom Tower which holds a rotating 360° platform where you can get one of another best Qingdao overviewing lookout in town. From there, you can admire the sight of old city of Qingdao, Zhanqiao Bridge, Television Tower, Qingdao Catholic Church, Qingdao Beer Museum, etc.
Zhongshan Park: From Zhongshan Park, you can start an incredible chair-style cable car trip which offers you a wonderful overall view of Qingdao City. Apart from enjoying a moving panoramic view of Qingdao in the day time, you can also enjoy the beautiful night view if you visit in summer. It is available to take a cable car from Zhongshan Park to TV Tower or Botanical Garden.
Qingdao Site Museum of the Former German Governor's Residence
Qingdao Nava Museum
Qingdao is a modernized city as well as historical city. If you want to get a better understanding of Qingdao's history and development, visiting various museum is a great option. There are many informative museums in Qingdao displaying the past and present of Qingdao. Top attractions for history lovers include:
Qingdao Site Museum of the Former German Governor's Residence: Qingdao Site Museum of the Former German Governor's Residence was built for the German governor in late 19th century. In the museum, you can see lavishly landscaped grounds, art nouveau tiles and several elegantly-designed rooms. The large buildings keep their original furniture and pictures that really make you wonder what it must have been like for Germans over a hundred years ago to move to China to administer a far flung colony. This place is not just German colonial architecture. Several historical events also took place here. Other notables who stayed here were Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi, Lin Biao and Prince Sihanouk.
Qingdao Nava Museum: Qingdao Naval Museum, built in 1988, is the only military museum that features the complete development of the Chinese naval establishment. It lies to the west of the famous Luxun Park and faces Little Qingdao Isle across the sea. The museum, with a great collection of documents, photographs and precious relics of different periods, fully narrates the history and achievements of the Chinese navy. It has three main exhibit areas: Military Uniform and Gift Exhibition Hall, Weapons and Equipment Exhibition Area, and the Ship and Naval Warfare History Galleries on the sea area.
Qingdao Underwater World
Qingdao No.1 Bathing Beach
Want to spend a quality time with your family and help them experience quite different landscape in Qingdao? Of course you can make it. In addition to the nature appreciation and culture discovery for your family, you can also get many other activities to meet your children's interest. Top attractions in Qingdao for Children include:
Qingdao Underwater World: Qingdao Underwater World, also known as Qingdao Aquarium, is the oldest aquarium in China located on shore of the Yellow Sea's Huiquan Bay. With a major aquarium, a museum of sea animals, a museum of fresh animals and many sea animal performance, it is a wonderland for kids of all ages. It interestingly displays different types of sea plants and coral from around the world as well. More than a collection of specimens and aquarium, it also offers an educative experience to your kids with interactive marine biology presentation.
Various Beaches in Qingdao: No other people enjoy sands like Children. In Qingdao, there are many beaches to have fun, top beaches including Golden Beach, Shilaoren Bathing Beach, Yangkou Bathing Beach (at the foot of Laoshan Mountain), Qingdao No.1 Bathing Beach, Qingdao No. 2 Bathing Beach, Qingdao No. 3 Bathing Beach and Qingdao No. 6 Bathing Beach. No only kids can fully enjoy themselves, you can also have a relaxing time while lying on the beach. Blue sky, blue sea, little spray… all of them create a comfortable atmosphere of holiday.
Tasteful Food in Pichai Yuan Food Street
Night View of Qingdao Beer Street
Qingdao is not only famous for its beer but also for the delicious seafood. It is undoubted that travelers can get a banquet of tasteful seafood in any of the numerous restaurants on the street of Qingdao. Most popular seafood include octopus, mussel, winkle, crab, Chinese mackerel, scallop, clam, corvine, squid, shrimp, etc. If you are a foodie, don't miss Qingdao. There are so many restaurants in Qingdao for your choice, and you can choose a slap-up one or a low-key one in the food street. Top recommended food street include:
Pichai Yuan Food Street: Pichai Yuan is a popular food street among locals and travelers. It is featured with vintage vibes. Most of the eateries here sell live seafood (prawns, squids, starfish, clams…), which you can order and have the kitchen cook them for you. You can also find local snacks such as sauce trotters, tofu pudding, seaweed jelly and sweet congee. There's also a few worth-trying desserts (ice cream, egg waffles, cheese-pull corn dog) and a small humble looking stall selling fried insects.
Qingdao Beer Street: Qingdao Beer street is a great place to have a meal after visiting the beer museum. There are many courtyard restaurants and colorful street stalls in the interesting narrow street to choose from, all selling beer seafood of course. This street market is exactly what you are looking for if you have an adventurous pallet. All types of cool foods are here, from scorpions to octopus tentacles in a big size. You can also buy some typical souvenirs in the shops as a gift for your friends or families.
Best time to visit Qingdao: March to November, especially mid-August to early September if you want to join Qingdao Beer Festival
How to get to Qingdao: High speed train from Beijing (1.5h), Jinan (2-2.5h), Tianjin (4~4.5), etc., and flights from Beijing (1.5h), Shanghai (1.5h), Xian (2h), Luoyang (1.5h), Guangzhou (3.5h), etc.
Where to Stay in Qingdao: Most recommended to stay in Qingdao downtown near May Fourth Square and along the coastline to Zhanqiao Pier for the convenient transportation and comfortable living environment.
Generally, a classic Qingdao tour takes 2~3 days, with the top attractions of Qingdao covered. It is recommended to spend 2 full days exploring the best highlights of Qingdao, including Qingdao Beer Museum which showcases the hundreds of years' history of Tsingtao Beer, Xiaoyushan Park which offers a valuable panoramic view of Qingdao City and nearby attractions, Zhanqiao Pier - the symbol of Qingdao and Badaguan Scenic Area with old villas of different architecture styles of over 20 countries. If you have more time, don’t miss Laoshan Mountain where you are able to appreciate the beautiful mountain view and seascape together.
Qingdao is just a small piece of charming Shandong. If you want to add cultural savory into your trip, we strongly suggest you visit Mount Tai and Qufu. Mount Tai is the first UNESCO World Natural & Cultural Heritage site while Qufu is the hometown of Confucius. Spending another 2~3 days visit these two destinations will deliver you an unforgettable experience of Chinese culture discovery.
Of course, you may be extremely interested in the best beaches and coastlines of Shandong province. It is also worthwhile to visiting Yantai, Penglai and Weihai in 3 more days. Or you could enjoy a comprehensive tour throughout the whole province to taste the brilliant culture and fascinating nature of Shandong in the most aspects in one go. Feel free to browse our all Shandong Tour Packages>
√ 7 Days Golden Coast of Shandong Tour (Qingdao / Weihai / Yantai / Penglai / Yantai)
√ 8 Days Shandong History & Culture Tour (Qingdao / Weihai / Yantai / Penglai / Yantai)
√ 10 Days Shandong Panorama Tour (Qingdao / Weihai / Yantai / Weifang / Zibo / Qufu / Mount Tai / Jinan )
Zhanqiao Pier in Qingdao
Confucian Temple Sacrifice in Qufu
Penglai Pavilion in Yantai
Top 3 Qingdao tours chosen by most customers to explore Qingdao in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.
Qingdao / Qufu / Mount Tai
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[Important] Travel News for Expats: China travel is reopening now! Travel with China Discovery and learn about where to visit & requirements for each destination! Read Details >