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Things to do in Chengdu

Things to do in  Chengdu

Welcome to Chengdu

Chengdu, a Chinese city famed for pandas and parties, lacks in natural features and is plagued by grey clouds for most of the year. But it remains perennially popular for its wealth of cultural attractions, chief among them, the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, credited with more than 100 panda births since it opened in 1987. Spend the day volunteering and caring for the endangered animals there or at Dujiangyan Panda Base (55 kilometers or 34 miles from town), or combine the conservation center with a visit to the Leshan Giant Buddha, a UNESCO World Heritage site and world’s largest stone Buddha statue, on a day-tour. Sightseeing tours of Chengdu’s city center orient travelers with visits to Renmin Park (People’s Park), Kuanzhai Alley, and the ancient Wenshu Temple, or head to Mount Qingcheng, shrouded by dense bamboo forests, and the Dujiangyan Irrigation System, built in 256 BC. With more time, visitors can check out Mount Emei (Emeishan, 170 kilometers or 105 miles from Chengdu), the highest of China’s four sacred Buddhist mountains, the ancient town of Huanglongxi (a 35-minute drive away), replete with Ming and Qing-era architecture, and Chengdu Culture Park, where they can watch a Sichuan Opera among bonsai displays and historic temples.

Top 15 attractions in Chengdu

Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding

Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is considered a Chinese national treasure. Opened in 1987 to care for rescued wild pandas, the 165-acre (67-hectare), open-air sanctuary is now one of southern China’s most popular destinations due to its focus on breeding, conservation, and introducing new pandas into wild populations.More

Dujiangyan Panda Base

China’s Dujiangyan Panda Base focuses on rehabilitation, disease prevention, and public education for the conservation of the endangered giant panda, one of the rarest species in the world. Tour the panda hospital, enclosures, and educational center for the opportunity to spot dozens of pandas munching on bamboo and playing.More

Leshan Giant Buddha (Da Fo)

Standing 233 feet (71 meters) tall, the Leshan Giant Buddha(Da Fo), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, holds the record as the largest Buddha sculpture in the world. A Buddhist monk—hoping to earn divine protection for the local fishermen—carved the massive statue into a cliff, starting in 713. Ninety years later, the carving was finished.More

Wuhou Memorial Temple (Temple of Marquis Wu)

Dating back nearly 2,000 years, the Wuhou Memorial Temple (Temple of Marquis Wu) in a southern suburb of Chengdu is steeped in history and lore. The site is meant to honor Liu Bei, emperor of the Shu Kingdom, as well as his much revered military strategist Zhuge Liang (later Marquis Wu)—two immensely popular figures in Chinese history.More

Jinli Ancient Street

Stretching for 1,148 feet (350 meters), just east of Wuhou Temple, Jinli Ancient Street is one of the oldest shopping streets in Chengdu, dating back to the Three Kingdoms period. Restored in 2004, this historical lane paved with green flagstone still teems with shops, restaurants, and food stalls in traditional architecture.More

Renmin Park (People's Park)

Located in central Chengdu, Renmin Park (People’s Park) offers a glimpse into the day-to-day life of local residents who come here to relax, exercise, play games like mah-jongg or chess, sing and dance, or find love matches for their loved ones. It’s a great place to slow down, have a cup of tea, and experience life as the locals do.More

Qingyang Palace

An early Tang Dynasty classic, Qingyang Palace (also known as the Green Ram Temple) is considered to be one of the oldest and most important Taoist temples in all of China due to its location near the boyhood home of Lao-Tzu, the father of Taoism. Much of the palace was restored during the Qing Dynasty.More

Kuan Zhai Alley (Kuan Zhai Xiang Zi)

Located in Chengdu’s Qingyang district, the three parallel alleys of Kuan Zhai Alley (Kuan Zhai Xiang Zi) offer a lively mix of old and new, with renovated and restored buildings that date from the Qing dynasty. A popular shopping, dining, entertainment, and tourist destination, it’s also one of the city’s three historic conservation districts.More

Mt. Qingcheng (Qingcheng Shan)

Regarded as the birthplace of Taoism, and one of its most sacred mountains, Mt. Qingcheng (Qingcheng Shan) has a history dating back 2,000 years. Surrounded by peaks and lush forests, Mt. Qingcheng offers a peaceful escape from the big city of Chengdu, and there are plenty of temples, historical sites, and cultural relics for visitors to enjoy.More

Shufen Yayun Teahouse (Shufeng Yayun)

Located inside Chengdu Cultural Park, Shufen Yayun Teahouse (Shufeng Yayun) has been hosting Sichuan Opera performances for over 100 years. It’s one of the city’s most popular venues for this art form, which involves an exciting mix of music, dancing, acrobatics, martial arts, hand shadows, puppet play, comedic theater, sword play, and costume changes (face changing).More

Jiuzhai Valley

Located north of Sichuan Province, Jiuzhai Valley, also known as Jiuzhaigou Valley, is one of China’s most spectacular nature reserves and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spanning 278 square miles (720 square kilometers), the valley is famed for its colorful lakes, cascading waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, diverse wildlife, and Tibetan culture.More

Dujiangyan Irrigation System

Originally built in 256 BC, the Dujiangyan Irrigation System is the world’s oldest non-dam irrigation facility. A marvel of engineering, and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Dujiangyan uses the natural topography of the region, as well as hydrological features of the river, to irrigate 1.65 million acres (668,700 hectares) of farmland.More

Chengdu Sichuan Opera Art Center

At the Chengdu Sichuan Opera Art Center, learn about the history of Sichuan opera, enjoy tea and local cuisine, and take in a performance. Located in downtown Chengdu, the comprehensive cultural center is made up of Jinjiang Theater, Yuelai Teahouse, Pansun Restaurant, and the Sichuan Opera Museum.More

Mt. Emei (Emeishan)

At 10,167 feet (3,099 meters), Mt. Emei is the highest of the Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains of China. The UNESCO World Heritage Site includes over 70 temples, monasteries, and attractions, culminating in the Golden Summit, where visitors can take in the giant Puxian Buddha and stunning mountain views.More

Jinsha Site Museum

Located at Chengdu’s Jinsha archaeological site, the Jinsha Site Museum offers insight into the mysterious Bronze Age Shu civilization. See the actual excavation site and the treasure trove of relics and artifacts that have been unearthed to date, including bronze, gold, ivory, jade, stone, pottery, and lacquerware.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 3 Days in Chengdu

How to Spend 3 Days in Chengdu

Sichuan Food Lover's Guide to Chengdu

Sichuan Food Lover's Guide to Chengdu

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Recent reviews from experiences in Chengdu

Wonderful way to see all of Chengdu in a day
Steven_G, May 2021
1-Day Panda Breeding Center plus Chengdu City Tour
Made for a wonderful way to see all of Chengdu in a day!
Great Dinner and Show ! A must !!
Luis_N, Aug 2019
Private Half-Day Tour in Sichuan Culture Show with Hot Pot Dinner in Chengdu
If it’s summer get ready for the heat!
This is a great way to see a city as...
Lee E, Apr 2018
Private Chengdu Half Day Bike Tour
This is a great way to see a city as big as Chengdu!
It was amazing experience. Panda cub...
Seiko M, Dec 2017
Private Half-Day Chengdu Panda Breeding Center Tour with Optional Volunteer
She explained lot about Chengdu and pandas and gave lot of tips what to do and where to go in Chengdu.
This was an amazing tour. I had some...
Therese_J, Mar 2018
All Inclusive Private Day Tour of Chengdu Old Streets including City Top Attractions
This is a must to visit the different old shopping streets.
Had a wonderful day visiting the...
David B, Nov 2016
Chengdu City Tour of Qingyang Palace, Wuhou Temple and Jinli Street
Overall, an excellent introduction to the city and its many attractions.
Great tour! It was a quick trip for...
Denise A, May 2016
Private Half-Day Chengdu Panda Breeding Center Tour with Optional Volunteer
It was a quick trip for me in Chengdu so wanted to see as much as possible.
Lovely bike tour! Guide picked us up...
Vivianne_S, Feb 2013
Private Chengdu Half Day Bike Tour
Great and friendly guide and for sure a good way to see Chengdu!
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People Also Ask

What is Chengdu known for?

Chengdu is known for giant pandas: the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding pioneered breeding this endangered species, with August to December the best period for seeing panda cubs. But it’s also famous as the epicenter of Sichuan food, known for numbing-hot flavors and fiery hot pots.

How many days should I spend in Chengdu?

It’s easily possible to spend longer, but most travelers spend only two days in Chengdu. That gives you time to see the pandas, sample the food, explore downtown, and see one of two nearby UNESCO World Heritage sites: the Leshan Giant Buddha plus Mt. Qingcheng and the Dujiangyan Irrigation System.

What special landmarks can be found in Chengdu?

Spanning almost 21 acres (9 hectares), Tianfu Square is Chengdu’s focal point. It boasts twin dragon fountains, a 100-foot (30-meter) statue of Chairman Mao, and the enormous, copper-clad Chengdu Museum. Qingyang Palace is a Taoist temple, first built more than 1,000 years ago but rebuilt many times since then.

What is there to do in Chengdu at night?

Chengdu is home to around twice the population of New York City, so there is plenty to do at night, including bars, clubs, restaurants, and live bands. Sichuan opera, featuring gorgeous masks, fire-breathing, and more, is a popular evening choice, while the Chengdu City Concert Hall offers opera, theater, and musical performances.

What is there to do in Chengdu in winter?

Winter is a good season to see the pandas, which are more active, while Lunar New Year celebrations are as vibrant as you’d expect. It’s also a great time to enjoy popular sights such as Jinli Ancient Street, the Leshan Giant Buddha, Mt. Qingcheng, and the Dujiangyan Irrigation System without the crowds.

Is Chengdu worth visiting?

If you are on a long trip to China or a dedicated panda fan, then, yes, this important Chinese city definitely repays a visit. If you only have a couple of weeks to explore this gigantic country, then, no. There are cities with better-preserved history and culture to enjoy.


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