The Miami of China, Dalian is a seaport city that exudes luxury and offers a plethora of options to view, explore and participate. Discovered by the Russians in the 1850s, Dalian’s architecture still holds a bit of its influence. Dalian is outlined by the Yellow Sea, giving tourists some wonderful panoramic views of the waters, and if that doesn’t interest you, there is always history and the lush greens that are waiting to be explored. A modern, sophisticated and multifaceted city (home to the conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group), here is how you can skip the routine to explore Dalian the off-beat way!
1. Xinghai Square
The largest city square in the world, Xinghai Square shows the essence of Dalian. Luxurious and posh, the square has everything from beautiful parks to bronze statues, memorials, and fountains, along with lavish restaurants and hotels to spend an afternoon. The square opens to the sea and cool breeze, beautiful sunsets, and flying seagulls making it the perfect spot to just watch the city pass by, go for a long walk or to read a book as you relax.
Address: Liaoning, Dalian, Shahekou, Zhongshan Rd
Website: Xinghai Square
2. Binhai Road
For your obligatory vacation photo, you must drive through Binhai Road. You might end up clicking more than one photo because this long stretch offers diverse picturesque views, changing every kilometer you travel. The open sea, beautiful caves, abundant foliage, perfectly paved roads, and old-fashioned windmills with the sea in the background are some good spots for a click. If you can rent a car, drive through the entire stretch, pack a few snacks and stop at every point to watch Dalian unravel its beauty as you speed up.
Address: Bin Hai Lu, Jinzhou Qu, Dalian Shi, Liaoning Sheng
Website: Binhai Road
3. Russian Street
Back in the 1890s, Russians created their own little empire in Dalian and left behind a few architectural wonders that will surely awe you. They are sure to perplex you and make you wonder if you’ve been teleported to Russia, and that’s one way to trick your friends online! Everything from the goods sold on the streets, the sloped, tiled roofs, the windows and the spires scream Russia. The majestic city squares and even the colors of the buildings have been maintained to keep it as Russian as possible. And while you’re there, see if you can tell the old buildings from the newly erected ones.
Address: North side of Shengli Bridge, Xigang District, Dalian
4. Longwangtan Cherry Blossom Park
Being a port city, the ocean air and the humidity might be a little too much! I agree you’ll want nothing more than a cool drink and floral scents to envelop your senses. Head to the Longwangtan Cherry Blossom Park to experience whimsy and feel like you’re walking through the pages of your childhood story book. Though sakura trees are widely popular in Japan and Korea, Japanese occupation planted a few trees across Dalian way back in 1921. That just works to Dalian’s advantage in being a multifaceted city.
Longwangtan Cherry Blossom Park
Address: No.1 Guoshuixi Road, Lushunkou District, Dalian
5. The food
Right off the seashore, Dalian gets some amazing oysters that are served fresh for as cheap as 1 USD a pop! Indulge in this seafood feast, served best at the Golden pebble beach with a beer and incredible views. Dalian also made its mark as a seafood capital of Northeastern China with its delicious stir fried prawns, steamed sea bream, scallops, and abalone. Ban Hai Liangfen is another specialty that is essentially seaweed that is dried and boiled and mixed with herbs. The good thing is, Dalian can provide everything from street food to a luxurious dining experience, giving your wallet some breathing space and your taste buds the time of their life!
6. Dalian Forest Zoo
Here is one, and the best reason for visiting the Dalian Forest Zoo, The Panada Pavillion. Some of the viral adorable, playful panda videos on the internet are shot here and imagine watching these furry little black and white cuddly creatures play and be mischievous all day long! Apart from the pandas, the lions, bears, zebras, tigers and the variety of birds at the zoo houses are sure to keep you occupied for the whole day!
Dalian Forest Zoo
Address: No.60 Yingchun Road, Nanshidao Street, Xigang District, Dalian
Website: Dalian Forest Zoo (in Chinese)
7. Dalian Zhongshan Square
Another city square that could show you the diversity of Dalian, the Zhongshan Square is a busy place that is great to visit in the mornings or nights. We suggest you take a walk around the square in the morning to see all people performing tai-chi. Such a beautiful scene there!
Dalian Zhongshan Square
Address: Zhongshan District, Dalian
8. Labor Park
Another spot where Dalian can surprise you, the Labor Park is a lush green plot that is filled with greenery, serene ponds, unique flower scents, upbeat people everywhere and tons of activities to do. Visitors suggest you carry a book or pack a picnic if you are visiting in the spring and keep your olfactory senses polished because the park emanates floral scents like no other park. Apart from that, there is the iconic football sculpture, as well as carousels, places to eat and lots of fun activities!
Address: Lushan Lane and Jiefang Road, Dalian
9. Laohutan Ocean Park
For a day of exploration, why not visit the Laohutan Ocean Park? The park exhibits coral reef fauna, with over 5,000 marine life-forms from more than 200 species. Make sure you check out the Tiger Sculpture Square while you’re there.
Laohutan Ocean Park
Address: No.9 Binhai Middle Road, Zhongshan District, Dalian
10. Spend a fantastic day at the Tiger Beach Ocean Park
In the seemingly underrated part of China, lies Dalian where some of the most interesting places are found. Travelers who dare to go beyond the usual commercial travel destinations should come to check out Dalian. Similar to some of the West’s amusement parks and ocean parks, Tiger Beach boasts China’s version of an interactive ocean park experience, best for kids and kids at heart alike. Tiger Beach Ocean Park spans 15,700 sqm (168,993.39 sqft) and was architecturally innovated in a way that it was designed in a bizarre shape. Han Meilin also designed the tigers sculptures found around the ocean park that is 35,5 m (116 ft) high, truly a sight you can’t miss when going around. If you’re traveling with children, blow their minds with the polar animal exhibit where sea otters, sea elephants, and dolphins come to see you from the aquarium, a snapshot you definitely can’t capture.
Tiger Beach Ocean Park
Address: Tiger Beach Ocean Park, Laohutan, Dalian, Liaoning.
Opening hours: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Sundays to Mondays
Price: 25.57 USD
11. See the entirety of Dalian's authentic beauty on the Dalian Sea Boat Tour
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Spend a couple of hours mesmerized by Dalian, China’s most fascinating sights. Guests who book this tour will have access to hotel pick up and drop off services, transportation, and a private tour guide to help you with your itinerary. See Dalian from a unique perspective and from various angles, highlighting the cultural heritage that Dalian has managed to preserve throughout the years. While pondering on that, guests will be served lunch and dinner on board. Some of the attractions guests will see include the Dalian Xinghai Square, the Golden Sand Beach, Silver Sand Beach, and Camel Island among others.
I hope you are convinced! Whether you want to just relax, have a luxurious holiday, travel back in time or just enjoy nature’s best, you can get it all in one vacation! Ready to add Dalian to your list now?
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