Dalian Travel Guide: Top 22 Things to Do in Dalian, China

Ever heard of Dalian? It’s this cool spot on China’s northeastern coast that’s seriously got a bit of everything. Imagine a city where skyscrapers are just a stone’s throw from lush parks and sandy beaches. That’s Dalian for you—a place that effortlessly blends urban living with nature’s charm. Let’s take a closer peek at what makes Dalian a destination worth checking out.

Harbor views of Dalian, China from a high vantage point

Green Spaces Galore

First up, Dalian isn’t playing around when it comes to parks and greenery. They call it the “City of Parks” for good reason. Xinghai Square? Massive and absolutely worth a visit. And for a dose of tranquility, Binhai Road’s got these scenic spots that’ll make you forget you’re in a bustling city. Plus, the beaches here aren’t just pretty; they’re perfect for anyone looking to catch some waves or just chill in the sand.

Where Cultures Collide

Dalian’s got this unique vibe thanks to its history with Russia and Japan. You’ll see it in the architecture and taste it in the food. Russian Street feels like you’ve stepped into a European postcard, while Japanese Street offers up some seriously authentic eats. It’s like a cultural mash-up that Dalian rocks with pride.

Feast Your Eyes (And Stomach)

Speaking of food, if you’re into seafood, welcome to paradise. Fresh sashimi, grilled squid, and so much more sea goodness await you here. But hey, even if seafood isn’t your jam, Dalian’s culinary scene is diverse. There’s something delicious around every corner, from street food to fine dining.

Festival Vibes

Dalian knows how to party, and the city’s festival calendar is buzzing all year round. The Dalian International Fashion Festival turns the city into a runway, showcasing dazzling designs and trends. And for those who enjoy a good brew, the Beer Festival is like Oktoberfest with a Dalian twist—think great music, tasty snacks, and an unbeatable atmosphere.

Why Dalian Deserves a Spot on Your Itinerary

Intrigued yet? Dalian is that friend who’s up for anything—be it a day at the park, a cultural deep dive, a foodie adventure, or just hanging out at the beach. Trust me, this city doesn’t just meet expectations—it exceeds them.

Dalian Travel Guide: Things to do in Dalian, China

Dalian City Guide: A Brief History Of Dalian, China

Ever wonder how Dalian went from a quiet fishing spot to the buzzing, vibrant city it is today? It’s quite the tale, filled with twists, turns, and a whole lot of character. Let’s dive into the history of Dalian and uncover the layers that make this city so fascinating.

A Humble Beginning

Back in the day—way back—Dalian was pretty much off the radar, a sleepy fishing village doing its thing. Fast forward a bit, and the Qing Dynasty starts to see its strategic port potential. But Dalian’s sleepy days were about to end, as bigger players eyed this coastal gem.

The Russian and Japanese Chapters

Enter the Russians. They lease Dalian from China in the late 19th century, and boom—infrastructure, railways, and that distinct European flair start to shape the city. But hold up, the plot thickens. The Japanese take over in the early 20th century, leaving their own mark with new buildings and development projects. Dalian’s like a historical ping-pong ball, bouncing between influences but soaking up all the culture.

A Modern Metamorphosis

Post-World War II, Dalian flips the script again. It’s back in Chinese hands, and the transformation doesn’t slow down. The city blossoms into a major shipping and logistics hub, its economy booming and its skyline reaching for the stars. Dalian isn’t just back; it’s making waves as a key player on the international stage.

Dalian Today: A Cultural Hotspot

Now, Dalian is this amazing mix of its past and present. You can stroll through Russian-style squares, check out Japanese architecture, and still catch that quintessential Chinese vibe. It’s a city that wears its history with pride, all while strutting into the future with tech parks, fashion festivals, and an ever-growing list of must-visit spots.

Dalian epic sunrise in China

Dalian Top Attractions and Best Places to Visit in China

Dalian, despite its young history (it was only founded in 1899), it enjoys considerable popularity with domestic tourists for its beaches and for being a past possession of Russia and Japan. Its museums explore its culture and its role in two significant wars, its beaches host scores of sunbathers, and its cherry farms will put a (red-toothed) smile on your face.

While Dalian is home to plenty of fun and interesting attractions, start your visit on a sombre note by paying your respects to past prisoners of war at the Japan-Russia Prison Site of Port Arthur. Built by Russia in 1902 to house detainees during the Japan-Russia War, it later came into the possession of the Japanese, who expanded the facility and used it for the same purpose during the Second World War.

The implements of torture found within will shock and horrify you, as will the hanging room where prisoners were executed. Other aspects of this facility include the dining hall and tiny cells which held upwards of eight inmates at any given time.

Fascinating Attractions

Brush up on the culture produced in the Dalian area by spending time exploring the Lushun Museum. Opened in 1917, it contains 30,000 relics from as far back as the Han Dynasty (3rd century BC), including the fascinating Xinjiang mummy exhibit.

Apart from this, its pottery, Buddhist artwork, paintings, and calligraphy will hold your interest throughout the duration of your visit here. Don’t miss the double dragon basin, as this bronze treasure will dazzle even the most jaded of travellers.

When life in the city starts to get to you as it often does in China, follow the locals up to the Grand Black Mountain of Dalian. Perched high above the hustle and bustle of this urban area, the greenery and fresh air will be just what the doctor ordered.

The vistas and the hikes available up here is worth the trip alone, but locally, this place is known for its cherries. Home to several U-Pick farms, you can pay 30 RMB to pick as many of this juicy fruit as you can take home with you, so take advantage if you are living and working in the area.

More Attractions

Combine all this with a number of peaceful temples, and you have a local gem you won’t want to miss.

Want to cool off on a hot day in Dalian? Spend an entire afternoon sitting by the sea within the Jinshitan Scenic Area. Situated 50 kilometres from the heart of the city, the ocean is cleaner than you would expect, and the beach, while not sandy, is made of fine pebbles which are easier to walk upon than you think.

If you have no interest in going into the water, there are numerous interesting rock formations to look at, and an outstanding golf course which pairs well with the seaside scenery it is built alongside.

Bridge views in Xinghai Bay in Dalian, China

Other Cultural Attractions: Trip to Dalian, China

Travelling as a family in Northeastern China? Make time in your schedule to check out the Dalian Forest Zoo. A sizable facility spanning 7.2 square kilometres, there are six separate sections housing over 1,000 animals representing 130 species, giving you and your children a chance to check out a wide variety of our four-legged friends from around the world.

Don’t miss the chance to ride a cable car to the top of West Hill, where you can get a dramatic view over the zoo from above.

Still looking for things to do with your kids while in Dalian? Take them to Pole Aquarium. Situated at Tiger Beach Park, you will find animals like dolphins, penguins, and polar bears within its bounds. The highlight is certainly the dolphin show, as these intelligent creatures interact with their trainers in a way few other animals do, so don’t miss it.

Outside, don’t forget to scope out the massive Six Tiger Sculpture, and grab a bite to eat at one of many food vendors who park in the plaza opposite this artwork.

Other Attractions

After a long day exploring the city core of Dalian, unwind from its inherent busyness by spending some downtime in Xinghai Square. You’ll have plenty of room to unwind, as it is the largest public square in the world at 1.1 square metres – that’s about four times the size of Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

Shaped like a star, it contains a series of bronze sculptures, as well as a stone pillar known as the Nine Dragons Sculpture. Those things don’t interest you much? No problem – it is flanked by an amusement park, water park, and a Shell Museum which contains specimens from around the globe.

Want to check out the beauty of the coast in the Dalian area? Rent a car and set out along the Binhai Road. Initially built in the 1970s for military use, it was re-purposed in the 1980s as a tourist route at the urging of the president after visiting it.

Along its 32 kilometres, the rocky coast, mountains, beaches, and flowering trees (in spring) will cause you to stop multiple times along the way, so don’t think this will be a quick trip despite its short overall length.

source: China Culture on YouTube

Top 22 Things To Do in Dalian, China For Visitors

Here are the top 22 things to do in Dalian:

Dalian cable car epic views in China

1. Visit Xinghai Square

Xinghai Square, the largest city square in Asia, offers breathtaking views of the sea and the city skyline. It’s a popular spot for kite flying, leisurely walks, and enjoying the musical fountain show at night. The square is surrounded by various attractions, including the Xinghai Park and the Dalian Modern Museum. It’s also the site of major events and festivals throughout the year.

2. Explore Dalian Forest Zoo

The Dalian Forest Zoo is set on a hillside with a natural environment where animals roam in large, open enclosures. It’s home to a wide range of species, including pandas, tigers, and African elephants. The cable car offers a panoramic view of the zoo and the city. It’s an ideal place for families and animal lovers to spend the day.

3. Relax at Jinshitan Scenic Area (Golden Pebble Beach)

Jinshitan Scenic Area, also known as Golden Pebble Beach, boasts unique rock formations, beautiful beaches, and a theme park. The area is perfect for outdoor activities such as swimming, hiking, and golfing. Its Geological Museum provides insights into the rock formations and the natural history of the region. Jinshitan’s tranquil beauty makes it a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

4. Discover the Charm of Dalian Russian Street

Russian Street in Dalian is a testament to the city’s multicultural history, featuring Russian-style architecture, shops, and restaurants. Visitors can enjoy Russian delicacies, purchase Matryoshka dolls, and explore the Russian souvenir shops. The street also hosts cultural performances and festivals, adding to its vibrant atmosphere. It’s a great place to experience the Russian influence on Dalian’s culture and history.

5. Take a Stroll Along Binhai Road

Binhai Road is a scenic coastal route that offers stunning views of the Yellow Sea, cliffs, and lush greenery. The road stretches over 30 kilometers, connecting several beaches and scenic spots, perfect for a leisurely drive or bike ride. Along the way, visitors can stop at various observation decks to take in the breathtaking views. Binhai Road is especially popular at sunset, when the sea and sky create a picturesque backdrop.

6. Enjoy the Attractions of Labor Park

Labor Park is a green oasis in the heart of Dalian, featuring beautifully landscaped gardens, a large lake, and amusement rides. The park’s main attraction is the sightseeing tower, offering panoramic views of the city. Visitors can enjoy boating on the lake, climbing the park’s hills, or simply relaxing in the serene environment. It’s a popular spot for both locals and tourists seeking a peaceful retreat.

7. Visit the Dalian Shell Museum

The Dalian Shell Museum is one of the largest of its kind, showcasing an extensive collection of shells from around the world. The museum’s exhibits are both educational and fascinating, highlighting the diversity and beauty of marine life. It’s an excellent place for families and marine enthusiasts to learn about the importance of ocean conservation. The museum also features an aquarium with exotic fish and marine creatures.

8. Explore Dalian Laohutan Ocean Park

Dalian Laohutan Ocean Park is a marine theme park offering a variety of attractions, including aquariums, animal shows, and amusement rides. The park’s highlights include the polar aquarium, where visitors can see polar bears and penguins, and the dolphin show. It’s a fun-filled destination that offers entertainment and education for all ages. The park also provides stunning views of the coastline, making it a perfect spot for photography.

9. Experience Dalian’s Nightlife

Dalian’s nightlife is vibrant and diverse, with numerous bars, clubs, and live music venues offering entertainment till the early hours. The city is known for its lively bar street in the downtown area, where visitors can enjoy local and international beers, cocktails, and live performances. Whether you’re looking for a quiet place to have a drink or a bustling club to dance the night away, Dalian has something to offer everyone. It’s a great way to experience the modern, cosmopolitan side of the city.

10. Wander through Dalian People’s Square

Dalian People’s Square, with its grand architecture and manicured gardens, serves as the administrative center of the city. The square is surrounded by important government buildings, featuring a large central fountain and statues. It’s a popular spot for locals to relax, take a walk, and enjoy the open space. The square also hosts various public events and celebrations, adding to its lively atmosphere.

11. Visit the Dalian Modern Museum

The Dalian Modern Museum provides insights into the city’s development, from its early days as a fishing village to its status as a modern metropolis. The museum features interactive exhibits, historical documents, and models of the city. It’s an excellent place to learn about Dalian’s history, culture, and economic growth. The museum’s modern architecture is also a highlight, blending traditional Chinese elements with contemporary design.

12. Take a Day Trip to Lushun (Port Arthur)

Lushun, formerly known as Port Arthur, is a historic port city located at the southern tip of the Liaodong Peninsula. It’s known for its strategic military significance and features several historical sites, including the Lushun Museum and the Japanese-Russian Prison Site. The area offers stunning coastal views and is surrounded by mountains, making it a beautiful spot for hiking and exploring. Lushun’s rich history and natural beauty make it a worthwhile day trip from Dalian.

13. Shop at Tianjin Street Pedestrian Mall

Tianjin Street Pedestrian Mall is one of Dalian’s busiest shopping districts, offering a wide range of products from international brands to local handicrafts. The street is lined with department stores, boutiques, and street vendors, making it a paradise for shoppers. It’s also a great place to sample street food and local snacks. The bustling atmosphere and diverse shopping options make Tianjin Street a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the city’s urban culture.

14. Enjoy the Views from Bangchuidao Scenic Area

Bangchuidao Scenic Area is a small island known for its beautiful beaches, rocky coastline, and luxury hotel resort. The island offers secluded spots for swimming and sunbathing, as well as paths for exploring the scenic landscape. It’s an exclusive getaway that provides a perfect blend of natural beauty and comfort. The views of the sea and the city from Bangchuidao are particularly stunning, offering a peaceful escape from the urban environment.

15. Visit Dalian Natural History Museum

The Dalian Natural History Museum is dedicated to showcasing the region’s geological and biological diversity. It features dinosaur fossils, mineral specimens, and exhibits on marine life found in the surrounding seas. The museum’s dioramas and interactive displays make it an educational visit for visitors of all ages. Its location by the sea adds to the museum’s appeal, offering both indoor and outdoor learning experiences.

16. Stroll Through Dalian Sunasia Ocean World

Dalian Sunasia Ocean World is an underwater aquarium tunnel that provides close encounters with marine life, including sharks, rays, and colorful fish. The aquarium offers educational programs and interactive experiences, such as sea lion shows and feeding sessions. It’s one of the largest oceanariums in China, making it a fascinating destination for families and marine enthusiasts. The experience of walking through the transparent tunnel, surrounded by marine creatures, is both thrilling and mesmerizing.

17. Admire Art at Dalian Art Gallery

Dalian Art Gallery is a modern art museum showcasing contemporary Chinese and international art. The gallery hosts rotating exhibitions featuring paintings, sculptures, and multimedia installations. It’s a hub for the local art community and provides a platform for emerging artists to display their work. The gallery’s sleek, modern design is a work of art in itself, providing an inspiring setting for exploring creative expressions.

18. Relax at Dalian Haiwan (Bay) Park

Dalian Haiwan Park is a beautifully landscaped area along the waterfront, offering walking paths, gardens, and scenic views of the bay. It’s a popular spot for leisurely walks, picnics, and enjoying outdoor activities. The park features several sculptures and artworks, adding to its cultural atmosphere. It’s especially beautiful at sunset when the sky and sea are painted in vibrant colors.

19. Explore the Charm of Zhongshan Square

Zhongshan Square is surrounded by colonial-era buildings and is a testament to Dalian’s historical architecture. The square serves as a social hub, with locals and tourists gathering to enjoy its lively atmosphere. It’s a great place to experience the city’s blend of Eastern and Western influences. The square is often the site of public performances and events, making it a dynamic part of Dalian’s urban landscape.

20. Visit Dalian Polar Aquarium

Dalian Polar Aquarium is one of the largest polar-themed aquariums in China, offering a glimpse into the Arctic and Antarctic ecosystems. Visitors can see polar bears, penguins, and other polar animals in environments designed to mimic their natural habitats. The aquarium also features a beluga whale show, which is a highlight for many visitors. It’s an educational and entertaining experience, especially for families with children.

21. Enjoy Dalian Discovery Kingdom

Dalian Discovery Kingdom (formerly known as Dalian Discoveryland Theme Park) is a large amusement park offering thrilling rides, shows, and attractions. The park is divided into themed areas, each offering a unique adventure and entertainment experience. It’s a place where visitors of all ages can find excitement and fun. The park’s roller coasters and water rides are particularly popular, providing a day of adrenaline-pumping action.

22. Walk Along Haizhiyun Park

Haizhiyun Park, located at the southern end of Dalian, offers stunning sea views and is a peaceful place for a scenic walk. The park features beautifully designed landscapes, sculptures, and lookout points that provide breathtaking views of the coastline and the city. It’s a popular spot for couples and families to relax and enjoy nature. The park’s winding paths lead to hidden coves and beaches, offering a sense of discovery and adventure.

Hot and sour soup in Dalian, China

What To Eat and Drink in Dalian, China

From the freshest seafood dishes to unique local delicacies, here’s your guide to the must-try eats and sips in Dalian. Prepare your taste buds for an adventure!

Seafood Extravaganza

  1. Grilled Squid: A staple at Dalian’s street food stalls, these are often served on skewers, perfectly charred and seasoned with a blend of spices.
  2. Sea Cucumber: A delicacy in Dalian, sea cucumbers are prepared in various ways, but braised sea cucumber is a luxurious treat that showcases the ingredient’s unique texture.
  3. Steamed Scallops: Fresh from the sea, scallops are steamed with garlic and vermicelli noodles, capturing the essence of Dalian’s seafood tradition.

Local Favorites

  1. Men Zi (焖子): A traditional Liaoning snack, these sticky rice cakes are mixed with brown sugar and sesame, offering a sweet and chewy experience.
  2. Dalian-style BBQ: Unlike other regions, Dalian’s BBQ focuses on seafood. Expect to find a variety of fish, shrimp, and shellfish grilled to perfection with local seasonings.
  3. Lü Da Gao (旅大糕): A type of rice cake distinctive to Dalian, known for its soft, spongy texture and mildly sweet flavor, often enjoyed as a breakfast item or snack.

Sips to Savor

  1. Dalian Beer: The city’s breweries produce crisp and refreshing beers, perfect for washing down a hearty meal or enjoying on a warm day.
  2. Sour Plum Soup (酸梅汤): A tangy and sweet beverage that’s not only refreshing but also believed to have health benefits, ideal for cooling down during Dalian’s summer months.
  3. Baijiu: While not unique to Dalian, experiencing China’s traditional liquor in a city with such a rich dining scene can elevate your culinary adventure. Opt for a local brand or variety for a genuine experience.

Sweet Treats

  1. Red Bean Ice: A popular dessert in Dalian, especially during the summer, featuring shaved ice topped with sweetened red beans and sometimes fruit and condensed milk.
  2. Fruit Flavored Bingfen (冰粉): A jelly-like dessert that comes in various fruit flavors, light and refreshing, often served with fruits and a sweet syrup.

Street Food Specials

  1. Jianbing Guozi (煎饼果子): Though popular throughout China, Dalian’s take on this crispy crepe filled with egg, green onions, and crispy wonton is a must-try for a quick, flavorful bite.

Dalian China distinct apartments high rise

Tours For Visitors To Dalian, China

Here’s a rundown of some must-try tours that promise to enrich your Dalian experience.

1. Dalian City Highlights Tour

Discover the essence of Dalian in a day with a tour that takes you through the city’s major landmarks, including Xinghai Square, the Russian Style Street, and Zhongshan Square. Learn about Dalian’s fascinating blend of cultures and its development from a fishing village to a cosmopolitan city.

2. Seafood Market and Cooking Class

Dive into the heart of Dalian’s culinary scene with a visit to a local seafood market, followed by a cooking class. You’ll get to pick the freshest catch and learn how to prepare traditional seafood dishes under the guidance of a local chef, culminating in a delicious meal you’ve helped create.

3. Coastal Road Bike Tour

Pedal along Dalian’s scenic coastal road on a guided bike tour that offers breathtaking views of the sea and the city skyline. This leisurely ride is suitable for all fitness levels and includes stops at beautiful beaches and hidden coves, perfect for a quick dip or a photo op.

4. Russian and Japanese Architecture Walking Tour

Explore Dalian’s unique architectural heritage with a walking tour that highlights the city’s Russian and Japanese influences. Visit buildings that tell stories of Dalian’s past, including the former Japanese Consulate and Russian Orthodox Churches, providing insights into the city’s complex history.

5. Dalian Natural Wonders Day Trip

Experience Dalian’s natural beauty with a tour to its surrounding wonders, such as the Golden Pebble Beach Geological Park and the lush Bangchuidao Scenic Area. These spots offer a mix of geological marvels, serene landscapes, and opportunities for outdoor activities.

6. Lushun (Port Arthur) Historical Tour

Take a step back in time with a day trip to Lushun, formerly known as Port Arthur, a site of significant historical importance. Visit the Lushun Museum, the Japanese-Russian Prison Site, and the Lushun Railway Station to learn about the area’s pivotal role in regional history.

7. Dalian Nightlife Experience

Discover the vibrant nightlife of Dalian on a tour that takes you through the city’s best bars, breweries, and night markets. Sample local beers, enjoy live music, and taste street food delicacies as you soak up the lively atmosphere of Dalian after dark.

8. Dalian Art and Culture Tour

Immerse yourself in Dalian’s thriving art scene with visits to galleries, artists’ studios, and cultural institutions. This tour offers a glimpse into the city’s artistic expressions and includes workshops where you can try your hand at traditional Chinese arts.

9. Eco-Tour to Dalian Forest Zoo

For wildlife enthusiasts, a visit to the Dalian Forest Zoo offers a chance to see a wide range of animals in environments that closely mimic their natural habitats. The tour includes educational talks on conservation efforts and the chance to participate in interactive experiences.

10. Dalian Shopping and Fashion Tour

Experience Dalian’s fashionable side with a tour that guides you through the city’s best shopping districts, from high-end boutiques to local markets. Get insights into the latest trends and perhaps find unique souvenirs and gifts to take home.

Anbo hot springs is a place to visit next on a day trip in China

Day Trips From Dalian, China

Whether you’re looking for a quick getaway or a deep dive into the cultural richness surrounding Dalian, here’s a list of day trips that promise to make your journey even more memorable.

1. Lushun (Port Arthur)

Lushun, once known as Port Arthur, is steeped in military history and was a focal point during various conflicts. Today, it serves as a serene spot with historical sites like the Lushun Museum and the Russian and Japanese war memorials offering insights into its tumultuous past. The Lushun Japanese-Russian Prison Site is a must-visit for history buffs. Despite its history, Lushun is also home to beautiful parks and scenic coastlines, making it a perfect blend of education and leisure.

2. Golden Pebble Beach National Resort

Just a short drive from Dalian, Golden Pebble Beach (Jinshitan) offers visitors a unique blend of natural beauty and amusement. The beach itself is renowned for its clear waters and interesting rock formations. The resort area around the beach is filled with attractions, including a dinosaur theme park and golf courses. It’s an ideal destination for families looking for a mix of relaxation and entertainment.

3. Bingyu Valley

Often likened to a mini-Guilin, Bingyu Valley boasts stunning karst landscapes, clear rivers, and lush greenery. A boat ride on the Yalu River offers panoramic views of the picturesque scenery and unique rock formations. Hiking trails allow visitors to explore the area’s natural beauty up close. It’s a perfect escape for nature lovers and those seeking tranquility away from the city bustle.

4. Pikou Port

Pikou Port is known for its beautiful beaches and seafood markets. It’s a quieter alternative to Dalian’s more popular coastal spots, offering a more authentic seaside experience. The port is also a gateway to visiting nearby islands, providing opportunities for island-hopping adventures. Sunset views from Pikou are particularly breathtaking and not to be missed.

5. Anbo Hot Springs

Nestled in the mountains near Dalian, Anbo offers a rejuvenating retreat with its natural hot springs. The area around the hot springs features resorts where visitors can relax and enjoy various health and wellness treatments. Hiking opportunities abound, with trails leading through serene mountain landscapes. It’s an ideal spot for those looking to unwind and connect with nature.

6. Changxing Island

Changxing Island, accessible by a short ferry ride, is the largest island in Dalian and is famed for its pristine natural environments and seafood delicacies. The Changxing Island Marine Products Market is a highlight, offering fresh catches and local specialties. Visitors can explore rural village life and enjoy scenic bicycle rides around the island. The island also plays host to the Dalian Changxing Island International Yacht Club, providing options for water sports and leisure activities.

7. Discoveryland Theme Park

For a day of thrills and family fun, Discoveryland Theme Park, located near Jinshitan, offers a wide range of rides and attractions themed around different world cultures. The park is divided into several zones, each offering unique entertainment and dining options. Live performances and parades add to the lively atmosphere. It’s a great choice for families and groups looking for an adrenaline-packed day out.

8. Dalian Forest Zoo

Set on the slopes of Baiyun Mountain, Dalian Forest Zoo offers a chance to see a wide variety of animals in environments that mimic their natural habitats. The zoo is known for its panda house and the aerial tramway that provides stunning views of the zoo and the surrounding city. Educational programs and interactive experiences make it an enlightening visit for all ages. The zoo’s layout encourages walking amidst lush settings, making it a pleasant outing for nature and animal lovers.

9. Xinghai Park

Although located within Dalian, Xinghai Park deserves a day’s visit on its own, especially during the annual International Fireworks Competition. The park features beautiful beaches, a scenic square, and the impressive Xinghai Bay Bridge. It’s a perfect spot for leisurely strolls, beach activities, and picnics. The park’s proximity to the Xinghai Square commercial area also offers convenient dining and shopping options.

10. Zhuanghe

Zhuanghe, a scenic drive from Dalian, offers unspoiled natural beauty with its beaches, hot springs, and the Dagu Mountain National Forest Park. The area is less crowded, allowing for a peaceful exploration of its landscapes. The Bingyu Valley Scenic Area, located within Zhuanghe, is particularly noteworthy for its stunning scenery. Local seafood restaurants provide delicious dining options, making Zhuanghe a perfect blend of natural exploration and culinary delights.

Bangchuidao Island in Dalian, China

Dalian Transportation Guide

Whether you’re looking to navigate the city’s vibrant streets, explore its scenic outskirts, or venture to nearby attractions, here’s everything you need to know about getting around Dalian.

Arriving in Dalian

By Air: Dalian Zhoushuizi International Airport serves as the main gateway for both domestic and international travelers. Located conveniently close to the city center, it offers various transportation options, including taxis, airport shuttle buses, and public transport, to get you into the heart of Dalian smoothly.

By Train: Dalian is well-connected by train, with services running to major cities across China. The city boasts several train stations, including Dalian Railway Station and Dalian North Railway Station, the latter of which is a hub for high-speed trains.

By Sea: As a major port city, Dalian also welcomes visitors arriving by ferry from domestic and international ports. The Dalian Port Passenger Terminal is the main hub for sea travelers.

Getting Around Dalian

Public Buses: Dalian’s extensive bus network is an economical way to travel around the city. Buses reach every corner of Dalian, offering a real insight into local life. Just be sure to have some change on hand for the fare.

Subway: The Dalian Metro system is rapidly expanding, providing a fast and efficient way to navigate the city. Currently, it consists of several lines that connect major districts, attractions, and residential areas, with more lines and extensions under construction.

Taxis: Taxis in Dalian are plentiful, affordable, and convenient for short distances or when public transportation doesn’t suit your needs. They can be hailed on the street, ordered by phone, or booked via various ride-hailing apps.

Bicycle Sharing: For those who prefer pedal power, Dalian offers a public bicycle-sharing system. It’s a fun and eco-friendly way to explore the city’s parks, waterfronts, and quieter streets. Just download the app and follow the instructions to get started.

Car Rental: Renting a car is an option for those wanting the freedom to explore Dalian and its surroundings at their own pace. Keep in mind, however, that you’ll need a valid Chinese driving license to rent and drive a car in China.

Walking: Dalian’s city center, especially around the squares and along the scenic coastline, is pedestrian-friendly and offers much to see on foot. Many of Dalian’s attractions, including parks and shopping areas, are easily accessible, making walking a pleasant option for sightseeing.

Tips for Travelers

  • Rush Hour: Like any major city, Dalian experiences rush hour congestion. Plan your travel accordingly, especially when using buses or taxis.
  • Fare Payment: While cash is accepted on buses, the subway system and some taxis allow payment using transportation cards or mobile payment apps for convenience.
  • Language Barrier: Basic English is spoken in many places, but it’s handy to have important addresses written in Chinese or saved on your phone to show taxi drivers or when asking for directions.

Shenyang is a must visit destination after Dalian, China

Where To Visit After Your Trip To Dalian?

Here’s a list of destinations that promise to extend your adventure with diverse experiences, from ancient cities and natural wonders to modern metropolises.

1. Beijing

China’s historic and political heart, Beijing, is just a high-speed train ride away. Dive into the rich tapestry of Chinese history at the Forbidden City, walk the ancient stones of the Great Wall, and savor Peking duck in its city of origin. Beijing artfully blends millennia of history with the rush of contemporary life.

2. Shanghai

Experience China’s futuristic skyline in Shanghai, the country’s financial hub. Stroll along the Bund to admire the colonial architecture, immerse yourself in the bustling energy of Nanjing Road, and take in panoramic views from the Shanghai Tower. Shanghai’s blend of old and new is mesmerizing.

3. Harbin

Famed for its Russian heritage and the spectacular Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, Harbin offers a unique cultural blend and an icy wonderland in winter. Explore the European-style architecture of Zhongyang Street, visit the impressive Saint Sophia Cathedral, and enjoy winter sports in Yabuli.

4. Qingdao

Known for its beaches, German colonial heritage, and the Tsingtao Brewery, Qingdao offers a relaxing seaside escape with a cultural twist. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the Zhan Bridge, visit the Qingdao Beer Museum, and indulge in fresh seafood by the shore. Qingdao’s blend of culture and natural beauty is refreshing.

5. Shenyang

Dive into the history of the Qing Dynasty in Shenyang, home to the Shenyang Imperial Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site that rivals Beijing’s Forbidden City in its grandeur. The city’s rich history, combined with its modern development, offers a comprehensive look into China’s past and present.

6. Chengde

Escape to the mountain retreat of Chengde, where emperors once summered away from Beijing’s heat. Visit the expansive Chengde Mountain Resort, explore the Outlying Temples, and enjoy the cooler climate. Chengde offers a peaceful respite with its historical and natural attractions.

7. Hulunbuir

For an off-the-beaten-path adventure, Hulunbuir’s vast grasslands in Inner Mongolia offer breathtaking natural landscapes, nomadic culture, and clear skies. Experience horse riding, stay in a traditional yurt, and witness the unmatched beauty of the steppes. Hulunbuir is ideal for those seeking tranquility and a connection with nature.

8. Xi’an

Travel back in time to the ancient city of Xi’an, the starting point of the Silk Road and home to the Terracotta Army. Explore the city’s ancient walls, savor Muslim Quarter delicacies, and dive into China’s rich historical narrative. Xi’an is a treasure trove for history enthusiasts.

9. Suzhou

Often referred to as the “Venice of the East,” Suzhou is famous for its elegant classical gardens, ancient canals, and silk production. Wander through the Humble Administrator’s Garden, take a boat ride on the canals, and visit a silk factory to learn about the city’s rich heritage.

10. Jeju Island, South Korea

For a change of scenery, consider a short flight to Jeju Island, South Korea’s premier island destination, known for its volcanic landscapes, waterfalls, and unique culture. Hike up Hallasan Mountain, explore the lava tubes, and relax on beautiful beaches. Jeju Island offers a blend of adventure and relaxation.

Dalian bay covered in snow overlooking a giant bridge in China

Dalian Travel Guide: Final Thoughts

And just like that, our deep dive into Dalian comes to an end. But let’s be real, the journey doesn’t truly stop here. Whether you came for the history, the food, or just to catch some beach vibes, Dalian likely had something special up its sleeve for you.

A City That Surprises

If there’s one thing Dalian teaches its visitors, it’s to expect the unexpected. Maybe it was finding tranquility in the heart of its bustling cityscape or discovering a slice of history on a random street corner. The fusion of Russian and Japanese architectural influences alongside traditional Chinese culture makes for a cityscape that’s anything but ordinary.

Culinary Adventures Await

Let’s not forget the culinary journey. From the freshest seafood feasts to the warmth of street food on a chilly evening, Dalian’s dishes tell their own stories. Each meal is a new chapter, blending flavors from the sea with local ingredients, and maybe even inspiring you to try recreating some recipes at home.

Beyond the City Limits

And for those who ventured beyond, whether to the serene beaches, the lush mountains, or the quaint nearby towns, Dalian served as the perfect launching pad into the wider wonders of the region. It’s a reminder that sometimes the best treasures are found just a short trip away.

Until Next Time

As we wrap up this guide, think of Dalian not as a checkbox on your travel list but as a chapter in your adventure book that you can always return to. So, pack your bags, but leave them open just a bit, because Dalian has a way of calling you back.

Dalian waterfront walkway in China

Ode To Dalian

In Dalian’s embrace, travelers find delight, Where sea and sky merge in a breathtaking sight. A city of contrasts, both old and new, With tales of history and dreams anew.

Xinghai Square, where waves gently crash, A promenade of serenity, a soulful splash. Zhongshan Square, where grandeur stands tall, European architecture, enchanting all.

Explore the Modern Museum, a treasure trove, Dalian’s story, beautifully woven and wove. In Forest Zoo, wildlife dances and plays, Pandas and tigers in nature’s loving embrace.

Jinshitan beckons with sandy shores, Where tranquility and beauty endlessly pours. Golden Pebble Beach, a haven of fun, Adventure and amusement under the sun.

Russian Street whispers of a bygone era, With culture and cuisine that forever linger. Taste the seafood, a feast for the senses, Delights from the ocean, flavors so intense.

Lushun’s history, a fortress by the sea, Port Arthur’s tales unfold, revealing bravery. Day trips to Bingyu Valley, nature’s retreat, Waterfalls and forests, a paradise complete.

Dalian, a gem on China’s northeastern shore, With sights and experiences to truly adore. From dawn till dusk, let wanderlust unfurl, In Dalian’s embrace, let your spirit twirl.

So, travel to Dalian, let your heart explore, Discover its wonders, let your senses soar. In this vibrant city, find beauty and grace, Dalian, a destination, time can’t erase.

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