Things to Do & Must-See Attractions in Qingdao
Laoshan Scenic Area, one of China’s first national parks, has been a place of pilgrimage for centuries. The hills and slopes surrounding the 3,280-foot (1,000-meter) peak of Mount Lao were once hope to eight temples, nine palaces and six dozen convents.
While many of the park’s architectural treasures have been lost to time, it’s still possible to visit the Taoist Taiqing Palace, the park’s oldest, built in 140 BC. Natural wonders add to the appeal, including the majestic Chaoyin waterfall and numerous striking sea views.
The mineral waters originating within the scenic area are famous throughout China as well; they’re a main ingredient in China’s famous Tsingtao beer.
The Tsingtao Beer Museum was built in 2003 and commemorates some 100 years of German brewing history and heritage in China. Visitors to this top attraction can wander the halls of the two-story structure and learn about the traditions developed and perfected here, thanks to photo galleries and exhibits where brewing tools from the trade are on display. And while an up close look at the nation’s deep roots in hop history makes this place worth a stop, it’s cold and crisp samples straight from the production line that make a tour of the oldest working brewery worth a visit.
Built in 1891, Zhanqiao Pier has become a symbol of the city of Qingdao and one of its most iconic attractions. The 33-foot-wide (10-m) pier extends 1,444 feet (440 m) into Qingdao Bay, with the octagonal Huilan Pavilion (the structure pictured on the Tsingtao beer label) at its terminus. The traditional Chinese pavilion, which sometimes hosts art exhibitions, juxtaposes the European architecture prevalent in the rest of the city.
While originally a naval pier, the earliest known dock in Qingdao now serves pedestrians coming to enjoy the sea breezes and harbor views of the city.
Stroll through Badaguan Scenic Area, and you might forget you're in China. This breathtaking neighborhood on the Qingdao coast has a colonial past, and is now home to the architectural styles of more than 20 countries, including Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain, and Denmark.The stunning effect of European mansions and villas peeking out from the neighborhood's verdant, waterfront land puts Badaguan at the top of the list for photographers, nature-lovers, and first-time visitors to Qingdao.
Tour the former German protectorate (1897-1914) on a day trip away from the city's busy Central Business District to experience the tranquility of Badaguan. Gardens and courtyards boast varied greenery and flowering plants, so there's always something blooming no matter the season. Don't miss No. 2 Bathing Beach, the stretch of sand that fronts the neighborhood, which was once a favored swimming spot of Chairman Mao.
LIttle Fish Hill Park (Xiaoyushan Park), was built between 1983 and 1985 as the first classical Chinese-style park in the city. Little Fish Hill's position about 200 feet (60 meters) above the surrounding city makes it a wonderful scenic viewpoint, where visitors can gaze down on Zhanqiao Pier, Little Qingdao Island, No. 1 Bathing Beach and Badaguan Scenic Area.
At the heart of Xiaoyushan Park sits an elegant three-story, octagonal Chinese pavilion, called the Lanchao (Watching Tide) Pavilion. A spiral staircase leads to viewing platforms on both the second and third floors. Two smaller pavilions afford views of Huiquan Bay and the surrounding maplewood forest.
Situated in the heart of Qingdao’s business district, May Fourth Square (Wu Si Guang Chang) commemorates the nationwide May Fourth Movement — a 1919 student protest against the government’s response to the Treaty of Versailles — that began in Qingdao.
At the heart of the park rises The Winds of May, a red sculpture reminiscent of a burning flame. On any given day, the park is filled with locals who come to walk, exercise, fly kites, cool off in the fountains and take in views of the sea.
Located to the south of Zhanqiao Pier, Little Qingdao (Xiao Qingdao) is sometimes known as Small Qingdao Island. But it's actually a small peninsula connected to mainland Qingdao by a seawall. Shaped like an ancient Chinese musical instrument known as a qin, the island draws visitors and locals to its natural scenery. Walking paths hug the shores and wind through the interior of the island, past black pines and a variety of flowering plants.
The main attraction on the island is a white marble lighthouse, built by German residents in 1900, that rises 51 feet (16 meters) above the shore. The island is also home to a few small cafes, as well as a smattering of statues and pavilions.
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