Things to Do & Must-See Attractions in Qingdao
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.
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 are home to the Taoist Taiqing Palace, built in 140 BC, as well as waterfalls, precipitous gorges, and views across the Yellow Sea.
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.
Qingdao’s first pier, Zhanqiao Pier, is a landmark of the city. Built in 1891, the 1,444-foot (440-meter pier stretches into Qingdao Bay. At the end of the pier stands the octagonal Huilan Pavilion, which famously forms a part of the Tsingtao beer logo. One of the most popular attractions in Qingdao, Zhanqiao Pier also offers stellar sea views.
The Tsingtao Beer Museum commemorates some 100 years of German brewing history and heritage in China. Wander the halls of the two-story structure and learn about the traditions developed and perfected here, and sample cold and crisp beer right from the production line of one of China’s oldest working breweries.
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