Though perhaps not as famous as Beijing and Shanghai, Guangzhou has quickly emerged as one of the most famous travel destinations in China. With a population of 14.5 million people, Guangzhou is one of the biggest cities in China and, along with Shenzhen, is the economic powerhouse of the Southern half of the country.
Guangzhou’s size makes it one of the best cities to visit in China. With a well-educated populace and a close proximity to Hong Kong, Guangzhou makes it easy to get around—even for those who don’t speak Chinese.
Below, we look at seven of the best activities you can do in Guangzhou.
1. Visit Guangzhou Tower
This rainbow-colored tower is one of the most famous attractions in Guangzhou. Standing a whopping 604 meters tall, Guangzhou tower opened up to the public in 2010. Visitors to Guangzhou tower can take a ride to the top for about 100 Chinese yuan or can simply mingle with others at the bottom.
Its sleek, rainbow colored design makes it recognizable from almost anywhere in the city and has even helped establish it as a secret LGBT symbol. Great for photo opportunities, this amazing tower is a staple of Guangzhou’s tourist industries and should be on the bucket list of any traveler to this south China city.
2. Visit Guangzhou Opera House
For those looking for a taste of tradition, a visit to the Guangzhou Opera House is in order.
Featuring some of the greatest in traditional Chinese opera, the Guangzhou Opera House is located on Zhejiang Boulevard. The exterior of the building has been hailed for its beautiful and well-lit architectural design. Visitors can expect to hear mostly Chinese opera, but Western favorites are sometimes available, as well.
3. Visit the Guangzhou Museum
Before stopping in at the opera house, tourists are encouraged to check out the Guangzhou museum. Located near the Guangzhou Opera House, this museum has a collection of artifacts showcasing the area’s rich history. Visitors will be treated to a variety of jaw-dropping artifacts, including walls from the Song Dynasty and a monument of Sun Yat-sen.
4. Visit Hong Kong
Those looking for an even more exciting trip can take one of the many trains running from Guangzhou to Hong Kong. Twelve trains run daily from the Guangzhou East Railway Station into Hong Kong—a unique Chinese city that has its own special culture. Once one of the most economically-sound cities in the world, Hong Kong enjoys a mix of Chinese and British culture. Those looking to visit this city will even have access to favorites such as YouTube and Facebook—websites that are blocked in mainland China.
Trains running from Hong Kong to Guangzhou stay in daily operation, making it easy to go back and forth between these two world-class cities. Just make sure that you have your passport ready to cross through immigration, as those entering and exiting Hong Kong must go through an immigration and customs screening.
5. Participate in a Fun Nightlife
Any list of activities that didn’t mention Guangzhou’s wonderful nightlife would be incomplete! With one of the highest foreign populations in the country, Guangzhou has an excellent mix of international and local bars. Provided you can find someone to take care of your kids, you’re certain to find the perfect place to spend an evening of fun.
With options ranging from quiet, romantic bars to rowdy foreign clubs that will have you dancing all night long, Guangzhou absolutely has the perfect bar for you.
6. Visit Beijing Road
This shopping district is one of the hottest in China. Filled to the brim with massive stores, malls, and other outlets, Beijing Road will keep you entertained for days. Beautifully-designed and lit up at night, Beijing Road features some of the world’s most popular brands. Even better, ancient sections of the street in this district have been preserved and are now viewable as you walk around and shop. Set aside in their own glass casings, these ancient relics are beautifully-integrated into the current walkways available. Each comes with its own plaque that explains its importance to China’s history, as well as the dynasty it comes from, making for a truly-unique shopping experience.
7. Visit the Underground Wholesale Market
A final stop for those in Guangzhou, the Underground Wholesale Market is a bustling shopping area that offers a unique and local flavor. Get a taste of Chinese culture by visiting this underground market to have one of the most memorable shopping experiences of your life time. This market adds another layer to an already-rich tourist scene in Guangzhou. Along with the other activities on this list, a visit to the underground wholesale market makes for an exciting and unforgettable trip to this south China powerhouse.