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Top 13 Things to Do in Chengdu

What else is there to see in Chengdu besides pandas? Chengdu is indeed a city with a rich culture and vibrant street life. 

Our local experts have journeyed to every corner of the city and uncovered the best things to see and do in Chengdu.

1. Watch Giant Pandas and Join the Panda Keeper Program

Giant panda is a must-see in Chengdu.The giant panda is a must-see in Chengdu.

Your trip to Chengdu is not complete without a visit to see the pandas. Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, home to approximately 100 pandas, is one of the best places to see these lovable creatures.

For a chance to get up close and personal with pandas, consider taking part in the one-day Panda Keeper Program at Dujiangyan, which allows you to help take care of the pandas with activities that include preparing food, feeding a panda, and cleaning the enclosures.

For an in-depth experience, book a private trip to the vast Wolong National Nature Reserve to explore the habitat of wild giant pandas, and enjoy a chance to be the pandas’ private guest and discover what their nightlife is like.

See the Top 4 Places to See Pandas in Chengdu

2. Try a Hot Pot

Chengdu food: hot potHot pot in Chengdu

Have you tried a hot pot? If not, don't miss out on one in Chengdu. If you like spicy food— good; if you don’t— good luck!

Served in a heated metal pot at the center of a table, the hot pot will impress you with its mouth-numbingly spicy soup and various meats and vegetables. You can easily find a hot pot restaurant in Chengdu.

To sample a full range of dishes with the help of a knowledgeable guide, book our One-Day Chengdu Food Tour, during which you'll taste a range of snacks and local dishes, and you’ll discover the culture of Chengdu’s cuisine.

Before that, know How to Survive a Chengdu Hotpot

3. Walk Around Jinli Ancient Street

top things to do in chengdu: Jinli Ancient StreetJinli Ancient Street

Don't know where to go at night in Chengdu? Jinli Ancient Street can be a great option.

The narrow street with beautiful Chinese-style buildings and lanterns is a nice place to experience. At dusk, the ancient street will be lit up, which is quite charming.

You can taste a variety of local delicacies available from street food vendors and restaurants. You can also enjoy various folk arts, such as making clay figurines and sugar painting. The only reason you may not enjoy it is if you do not like crowds.

4. Enjoy a Day Trip to the Leshan Giant Buddha

Leshan Giant BuddhaLeshan Giant Buddha

Can you imagine only being as tall as the toe of a giant Buddha? Check this out for yourself when you stand next to the Leshan Giant Buddha, which is an hour’s journey south of Chengdu by high-speed train.

The Leshan Giant Buddha is the largest stone seated Maitreya in the world at 71 meters (233 feet) high and 24 meters (79 feet) wide. As the local saying goes, "the mountain is a Buddha, the Buddha is a mountain". The Leshan Giant Buddha has been included on the World Heritage List.

You have two options to take in the Leshan Giant Buddha: by foot or by boat. For a hassle-free experience, join an organized tour such as our One-Day Giant Buddha Tour, which allows you to climb up the Buddha to have a close-up look, and take a boat trip to view the Buddha in its entirety from afar.

5. Watch a Magical Face Changing Performance

chuan operaFace changing performance

Sichuan opera is a type of opera drama, and opera masks are its most important element. Magical face changing is a visual stunt used to express each character's mood in Sichuan opera. 

This should not be missed when enjoying a Sichuan opera performance.

6. Visit Wenshu Monastery

If you are interested in Buddhist culture, don't miss Wenshu Monastery (Wénshū yuàn, 文殊院).

Top thing to do in Chengdu: Wenshu MonasteryWenshu Monastery

Built in the 700s, it has a collection of more than 100 bronze Buddha sculptures and thousands of precious Buddhist scriptures.

It is home to an active Buddhist monk community but is also a spot where locals hang out in the gardens, playing cards and drinking tea.

Be sure to spend some time enjoying a traditional beverage called gaiwan chain the on-site tea house and have a feast at a vegetarian eatery within the temple.

7. Visit People's Park

the People's Park in ChengduThe People's Park

If you want to experience authentic local life in Chengdu, the centrally located People's Park is worth visiting.

A great way to get the most out of your visit is to drink a cup of tea in a local tea house and get your ears professionally cleaned on the spot by one of Chengdu’s renowned ear cleaning masters.

Don't miss ‘Matchmaking Corner’ in the park, where you will find many parents looking for future spouses for their children.

8. Climb Mount Emei

Mount EmeiMount Emei

Mount Emei is one of the four famous Buddhist mountains in China. It is one of the most well-known summer destinations in China thanks to its scenery as well as its cultural and religious attractions.

There are two ways to enjoy this mountain: by hiking up it or by taking a cable car ride. The whole climb takes two days. The hike up the stairs to the top is tough but worthwhile. If you are limited by time or fitness, you can take a single-trip or round-trip cable car ride.

For an even more unforgettable experience, consider taking our Amazing One-Day Trip to Mount Emei, which allows you to visit the site at your own pace as well as receive services with hotel collection, transport, and lunch provided.

9. Explore Mount Qingcheng

Mount QingchengMount Qingcheng

If you have seen the movie Kung Fu Panda 3, you should be familiar with Mount Qingcheng, which inspired the ‘Panda Village’ in the movie.

Mount Qingcheng, located 68 kilometers (42 miles) northwest of Chengdu city, is one of the ancient cradles of Taoism. It was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2000.

Covered with verdant trees and dotted with traditional Taoist architecture, Mount Qingcheng is a great escape from the bustling city.

A great way to enjoy this area is to go on the fun Panda and Qingcheng Mountain Day Trip from Chengdu, which includes a cable car ride up and down and can involve some hiking depending on your time and fitness.

10. Visit Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve

Top things to do around chengdu: JiuzhaigouJiuzhaigou

Jiuzhaigou means 'Valley of the Nine Villages'. Honored as being "a fairy-tale world", the scenery there is so beautiful that it can take your breath away.

Fortunately, despite the strong earthquake in 2017, Jiuzhaigou still retains its beauty. A partial scenic area has been reopen since Sep. 27, 2019, but only 2,000 visitors are allowed per day.

For a rare chance to see the amazing scenery, join us on our Jiuzhaigou Highlights Tour to visit it before it is flooded with tourists. Or see more detailed information about How to Plan a Jiuzhaigou Tour

11. Learn about China’s History at Jinsha Site Museum

Jinsha Museum in ChengduJinsha Site Museum

Jinsha Site Museum is recommended if you are interested in Chinese civilization and Chengdu’s history.

It has more than 6,000 relics of gold, bronze, jade, stone, pottery, ivory, and other cultural relics. Most of them date back to the late Shang Dynasty (1700–1027 BC)and through to the Western Zhou Dynasty (1047–772 BC).

It is better to visit the museum with a professional guide to get a better understanding of the history and culture behind the collections.

12. Admire the Three Gorges

the three gorgeThe Three Gorges

Transportation between Chengdu and Chongqing is very convenient. The Yangtze River’s Three Gorges are the most scenic section of the navigable reaches of the Yangtze River. 

They form a series of natural and cultural attractions on the river’s middle reaches when you’re on a Yangtze River cruise between Chongqing and Yichang. Join our Yangtze River tours or book a Yangtze River cruise.

13. Visit Dujiangyan Irrigation System

DujiangyanDujiangyan Irrigation System

The ancient Dujiangyan Irrigation System is an amazing feat of engineering that was constructed in 256 BC. 

You will be amazed that this system still works after being built more than 2,000 years ago.

Take a day trip from Chengdu to see the site and stroll around. Beyond just seeing the irrigation system, you will enjoy the beautiful surroundings of mountains and rivers that divert around a temple complex.

Discover the Authentic Chengdu with Local Experts

A couple enjoyed their day to be a panda keeper.A couple enjoyed their day to be panda keepers.

Want to discover more hidden gems and have more authentic experiences in Chengdu? Traveling with a local expert opens up so many more possibilities than trying to figure it out for yourself.

Tell us your interests and one of our specialists will help you to maximize your travel experience by suggesting the optimal trip for the time you have and the things you love to do.

Here is a Chengdu itinerary for your reference (it can be customized):

1-Day Dujiangyan Panda Keeper Program Tour 1-day It’s a memorable day tour to look after a cute and fluffy panda as you clean its enclosure, make its food and feed it View more
Start planning your tailor-made China tour by contacting ​one of our specialists... Create My Trip

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