10 Must-Do Activities In Nanjing For First-Time Visitors

things to do in nanjing

Welcome to Nanjing! This ancient city in Eastern China is rich in history, culture, and natural beauty, making it an ideal destination for first-time visitors. Want to make the most out of your trip? Here are 10 must-do activities that will give you an unforgettable experience in Nanjing. From exploring historical sites to savoring local cuisine, Nanjing has something for everyone. Whether you're a history buff or a nature lover, get ready to immerse yourself in the charm and wonders of Nanjing. Let's dive in!


Visit the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum

Source: en.wikipedia.org
Characteristic Description
NameDr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum
TypeMonument in Nanjing, China
WebsiteGo to website
Rating / Review count4.5 / 242
AddressChina, Jiangsu, Nanjing, Xuanwu, 石祥路7号 邮政编码: 210014
Phone+86 25 8443 1174

Nanjing is a city steeped in history, and one of its most important landmarks is the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum. As the final resting place of the father of modern China, Dr. Sun Yat-sen, this monumental site is a must-visit for anyone interested in Chinese history and culture.

Located at the foot of Zhongshan Mountain, the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum covers an area of 80,000 square meters and is surrounded by lush greenery and scenic vistas. It was built in 1929 to commemorate the life and achievements of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, who is considered the founding father of the Republic of China.

As you make your way up the imposing staircase leading to the mausoleum, you will see the majestic gate of the mausoleum, which is adorned with huge stone lions. The gate is a symbol of the state's power and the strength and grandeur of the legacy of Dr. Sun Yat-sen.

After passing through the gate, you will enter a courtyard where you will find the Memorial Arch, which is inscribed with Chinese characters that read "The Principle of National Revolution." It is a reminder of the revolutionary thinking that inspired Dr. Sun Yat-sen and guided him in his quest to bring about an end to the imperial system in China.

The mausoleum itself is a magnificent structure that is both imposing and serene. The marble tomb is decorated with intricate carvings and inscriptions that depict the principles of Dr. Sun Yat-sen's philosophy, including his three principles of the people: nationalism, democracy, and socialism.

From the top of the mausoleum, you can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and cityscape. It is an experience that will leave you in awe of the natural beauty that surrounds this incredible historical site.

If you're planning a trip to Nanjing, make sure to add a visit to the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum to your itinerary. It is a remarkable tribute to one of China's greatest leaders, and an opportunity to delve into the rich culture and history of this fascinating city.


Walk along the ancient city wall

Source: www.lonelyplanet.com
Characteristic Description
NameCity Wall of Nanjing
TypeTourist attraction in Nanjing, China
WebsiteGo to website
Rating / Review count4.6 / 79
Address2RGG+942, Lanqi St, Qinhuai District, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China, 210095
HoursMonday - 9 AM–5 PM
Tuesday - 9 AM–5 PM
Wednesday - 9 AM–5 PM
Thursday - 9 AM–5 PM
Friday - 9 AM–5 PM
Saturday - 9 AM–5 PM
Sunday - 9 AM–5 PM

Nanjing, one of the most historically significant cities in China, boasts numerous historical sites and cultural landmarks. Among these landmarks is the ancient city wall of Nanjing, which dates back to the Ming Dynasty and is approximately 600 years old. Walking along the ancient city wall of Nanjing is a memorable experience, and it provides an opportunity to explore an important part of China's history.

The ancient city wall of Nanjing stretches over 21 kilometers and has a height of approximately 12 meters. The wall has 13 gates, each of which has a different name and a unique history. The most famous of these gates is the Zhonghua Gate, which was built in the 14th century and is the largest castle-style gate in China. This gate is a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike, and it serves as a symbol of the city's history and culture.

Walking along the ancient city wall provides a unique perspective of Nanjing's history and culture. The wall has been through many historical events, and visitors can see the remnants of these events through the various structures that make up the wall. Visitors can see the bullet holes and scars left by war and other battles that took place in the area. They can also see how the wall was reinforced and expanded over the years to better protect the city.

Walking along the ancient city wall also provides an opportunity to see Nanjing's beautiful scenery. The wall offers a breathtaking view of the city's skyline, the Qinhuai River, and other famous landmarks. Visitors can pause and take in the view, take pictures, and savor the experience of being high above the city.

For those looking for a more active experience, the ancient city wall of Nanjing provides a great opportunity for hiking and exercise. Visitors can walk and jog along the wall, taking in the fresh air and the beautiful scenery. There are also various activities and challenges that visitors can participate in, such as climbing up the wall and exploring the various towers and gates.

In conclusion, walking along the ancient city wall of Nanjing is a must-visit attraction for those who want to experience the city's cultural and historical significance. The wall provides a unique perspective of China's history and culture, and it offers visitors an opportunity to engage in various activities and experiences. This experience is highly recommended for anyone visiting Nanjing and looking for an unforgettable experience.


Explore the Confucius Temple

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Nanjing, the capital city of Jiangsu province in China, is a city full of historical and cultural significance. The city is home to numerous ancient buildings, temples, and monuments that hold great importance in Chinese history. One of the most fascinating places to visit in Nanjing is the Confucius Temple.

Located in the southeastern part of the city, the Confucius Temple is one of the most famous and historical places in Nanjing. The temple dates back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD) and is an important cultural site in China. It is considered as one of the largest Confucius Temples in the country and is also known as “Fuzimiao'' among the locals.

Exploring the Confucius Temple, one can witness the finest examples of traditional Chinese architecture. The temple is a brilliant display of white walls, dark-tiled roofs with wooden carvings and painted dragons on them. The surroundings of the temple are equally fascinating with stone lions decorating the entrance and the vibrant buildings around it.

The entrance of the temple houses a significant exhibition showcasing the life and teachings of Confucius. The exhibition is an interactive one that includes screens, videos, and even touchpads for better understanding and to immerse oneself into the spirit of Confucius’ teachings. One can also observe the spectacular gate tower of the temple built in the traditional ancient Chu style, which is seven stories tall and is exquisitely painted in bright colors.

The magnificent temple also includes three major courtyards, displaying gorgeous Chinese culture in each of them. The first courtyard is the main one with the statue of Confucius greeting the visitors. The second courtyard consists of various statues with significant historical and cultural meaning, and it leads to the innermost part of the Confucius temple. The innermost courtyard houses the Dacheng Hall, containing a huge statue of Confucius himself. The innermost courtyard is the best part of the temple, where one can witness the real charm of ancient Chinese culture and beliefs.

Apart from the fascinating architectural wonders, the temple also has several small shops and famous local restaurants in the vicinity. They offer various traditional Chinese snacks and souvenirs for visitors to enjoy.

In conclusion, the Confucius Temple is a must-visit site for anyone interested in exploring Chinese culture and history. With its rich history, stunning architecture, and a deep connection to Confucius’ teachings, the temple is a social and cultural hub of the city. It is a place that offers the best of Nanjing and China’s fascinating heritage, and an experience that is worth every penny.


See the Porcelain Tower of Nanjing

Source: en.wikipedia.org
Characteristic Description
NamePorcelain Tower of Nanjing
TypeBuilding in Nanjing, China
WebsiteGo to website
Rating / Review count4.5 / 35
Address2Q5M+Q84, Saozhou Ln, Qinhuai District, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China, 210006

Nanjing is a city located in the eastern part of China, known for its rich history and cultural heritage. One of the unique attractions of Nanjing is the Porcelain Tower, an ancient tower that has become a symbol of the city.

The Porcelain Tower of Nanjing was originally built during the 15th century, during the reign of the Ming dynasty. The tower is renowned for its intricate craftsmanship and architectural design, which combines the ancient Chinese art of porcelain with the traditional style of tower construction.

The tower has a height of approximately 260 feet and consists of nine stories. Each story of the tower is adorned with glazed tiles of varying colors, creating a stunning visual effect. The lower floors are square-shaped while the upper ones take on a circular shape. The tower is also adorned with numerous windows, balconies, and protruding eaves, all of which add to its charm and beauty.

Despite its historical significance and artistic value, the Porcelain Tower was destroyed during the Taiping Rebellion, a series of civil wars that took place in China in the 19th century. However, it was rebuilt in the early 21st century using modern construction techniques and materials, and it now stands as a magnificent monument to Nanjing's history and culture.

Today, visitors to Nanjing can visit the new Porcelain Tower, which is located in a scenic park. The tower is open to the public all year round, and visitors can climb up its various levels to enjoy the breathtaking views of the city and the nearby mountains.

In conclusion, the Porcelain Tower of Nanjing is one of China's most iconic attractions and a must-visit destination for tourists who are interested in Chinese history and culture. Whether you are an art enthusiast, a history buff, or simply a lover of architecture, the Porcelain Tower is an absolute must-see.


Visit the Nanjing Museum

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Nanjing, the capital city of China's Jiangsu province is a remarkable cultural hub in the country. One of the best ways to learn about Nanjing's vast historical importance is by visiting the Nanjing Museum. Nestled in the middle of a tranquil park, this extensive museum houses more than 400,000 antique archaeological finds and exhibition items. In this article, we'll take a closer look at what makes the Nanjing Museum unique and why it should be a must-visit destination on your travel itinerary.

The Nanjing Museum was founded in 1933 and has since been home to an extraordinary collection of ancient artefacts, covering over 8,000 years of Chinese history. The museum's layout is divided into three sections: the art hall, the history hall, and the Nanjing's modern history hall. Each section offers detailed insights into the history and culture of the region.

The art hall is a highlight of the Nanjing Museum. Located on the first floor, it showcases numerous jade artifacts, pottery, and porcelain dating back to the Neolithic period (10,000 B.C. – 2,000 B.C.). Visitors can marvel at the impressive stone sculptures of the Han dynasty (206 B.C. – A.D. 220), the murals of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), and the calligraphy displays of the Song Dynasty (960-1279). The art hall also has a unique Buddha Hall that depicts the Buddha's life with detailed displays of Buddhist art and culture.

One of the most prominent sections in the museum is the history hall, which is dedicated to highlighting specific events of the city's past. Visitors can see artefacts and historic documents dating back to the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) highlighting the history of Nanjing, including the city's vital role during the Taiping Rebellion (1850-1864). Visitors can also learn about the various dynasties and empires that once thrived in the region.

The final section of the museum is the Nanjing's modern history hall that exhibits the events surrounding the Nanjing Massacre of 1937 when Japanese forces invaded the city, killing tens of thousands of Chinese citizens. The hall plays a vital role in exploring the modern history of the region and pays tribute to the victims of the massacre.

In conclusion, Nanjing has a rich cultural heritage, and visitors who come to the city should not miss the chance to visit the Nanjing Museum. The vast collection of artefacts in the museum provides a complete insight into the history and culture of the region. With such a storied past, the Nanjing Museum showcases the significance of the city, making it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in learning about China's history.


Learn about history at the Memorial of the Nanjing Massacre

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Nanjing is a city with a rich history that dates back to ancient times. Over the years, the city has witnessed various significant events that have shaped the present-day Nanjing. One such incident that stands out in the history of Nanjing is the Nanjing Massacre. The Memorial of the Nanjing Massacre serves as a reminder of the horrific event that took place in the city during World War II.

The Nanjing Massacre, also known as the Rape of Nanjing, occurred in 1937, during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The Japanese Imperial Army captured Nanjing, then the capital of China, and carried out atrocities that included rape, murder, and looting. The exact number of the victims is unknown, but estimates range from 200,000 to 300,000 people, with many of them being civilians.

The Memorial of the Nanjing Massacre was established in 1985 to commemorate the victims of the massacre. The site covers an area of 28,000 square meters and consists of a museum, a cemetery, and a statue area. The museum houses artifacts, photographs, and documents that depict the events that occurred during the massacre. The exhibitions are available in both Chinese and English.

Visitors to the memorial can view the remains of the victims at the cemetery and pay their respects. The statue area features sculptures and monuments, including the Wall of Names, which lists the names of the known victims of the massacre.

The Memorial of the Nanjing Massacre serves as a sobering reminder of the atrocities that occurred during the war. It is a place where visitors can learn about the event and pay their respects to those who lost their lives. The site is a must-visit for anyone interested in the history of the region, and it provides a glimpse into a dark period in human history.

In conclusion, the Memorial of the Nanjing Massacre is an essential site in Nanjing that offers visitors a chance to learn about an important historical event. The museum, cemetery, and statue area provide a detailed account of the massacre and serve as a reminder of the importance of peace and tolerance. We should all strive to remember the lessons of the past and work towards creating a better future for all.


Take a boat ride on the Qinhuai River

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Nanjing, located in eastern China, is a city steeped in history and culture. One of the best ways to experience Nanjing is by taking a boat ride on the Qinhuai River. This scenic river flows through the heart of Nanjing, offering breathtaking views of the city's ancient architecture and modern skyline.

The Qinhuai River has played a significant role in Nanjing's history, serving as an important trade route during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Today, it is a popular tourist destination, drawing visitors from all over the world. Taking a boat ride on the river is a perfect way to explore Nanjing’s rich cultural heritage.

As you board your boat, you will be amazed by the stunning scenery along the river. Pass under beautifully arched bridges as you make your way to the historic Confucius Temple. This temple has been a hub of learning and wisdom for over 1,500 years, and is an important symbol of Nanjing's cultural identity.

As your boat glides serenely down the river, you will see evidence of the city's rich history and culture at every turn. Along the riverside, there are old shops and teahouses where visitors can sample local delicacies and traditional Chinese tea.

One of the highlights of the boat ride is the Nanjing City Wall. Stretching almost 22 miles around the city, the towering walls offer spectacular views of Nanjing's skyline. The walls have stood for over 600 years and are a symbol of the city’s power and resilience.

For those visitors who prefer a more tranquil experience, an evening boat ride is highly recommended. As night falls, the river comes to life with shimmering lights and lanterns that cast a magical glow over the water. This is truly a romantic and unforgettable way to experience the river.

In conclusion, if you are planning a trip to Nanjing, taking a boat ride on the Qinhuai River is a must-try experience. It provides an incredible opportunity to explore the city's stunning past and experience its vibrant present. Don't forget to bring your camera - the views are unforgettable!

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Ascend Purple Mountain and take in the view at Xuanwu Lake

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Nanjing is a beautiful city located in eastern China, famous for its rich cultural heritage and beautiful landscapes. One of the most popular tourist destinations in Nanjing is the Purple Mountain Scenic Area, which is home to several historic sites and stunning natural scenery.

To reach the mountain's summit, visitors can take the cable car from the base of the mountain to the top. As you ascend, you can take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside, and as you approach the summit, you will be greeted with panoramic views of the city. The main attraction at the summit is the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum, which is a grandiose memorial to the founder of the Republic of China.

After descending the mountain, visitors can take a short walk to Xuanwu Lake, one of the most scenic spots in Nanjing. Xuanwu Lake is a serene oasis in the middle of the bustling city, surrounded by a lush green park. The lake is named after the black dragon and white tiger - the guardians of the city - who are believed to live in the lake.

There are several activities that visitors can enjoy at Xuanwu Lake, such as boating, fishing, and hiking. The lake is also home to the Nanjing Museum of Paleontology, which showcases the history of the earth, from the formation of the planet to the evolution of life.

Overall, ascending Purple Mountain and taking in the view at Xuanwu Lake is an unforgettable experience that should not be missed while visiting Nanjing. The magnificent views and serene atmosphere offer visitors a chance to escape the bustling city and immerse themselves in the natural beauty of this historic city.


Sample local food at the night market

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If you are in Nanjing and on the lookout for an amazing food experience, then you must visit the night market. These vibrant markets are an excellent place to sample local food, and Nanjing has plenty of options for you to choose from.

The night markets in Nanjing attract both locals and tourists alike, and their bustling atmosphere is just what you need to get a true experience of the city's food culture. You can find a wide range of local cuisines, from street snacks to full meals. So it's time to loosen up your pants and get ready for a fantastic culinary adventure in Nanjing.

One of the most famous dishes at these markets is the Jianbing, which is a popular breakfast food. It is a type of Chinese pancake made with a batter of egg and flour cooked on a hot surface with additional fillings. The Jianbing is crispy, delicious, and perfect for a morning snack.

Another dish that you must try is the cha siu bao, which is a steamed bun filled with barbecue pork. The buns are fluffy and filled with rich flavors that melt in your mouth. You can find these buns at any of the night markets or even at breakfast restaurants.

If you are on the hunt for spicy food, then look no further than malatang. It's a hot and spicy soup that consists of various types of meat, vegetables, and noodles. Malatang is particularly famous in Nanjing due to its spicy and flavorful taste. You can customize your bowl of malatang based on your spice tolerance levels.

You cannot leave Nanjing without trying the famous salted duck. The dish is popular all over China for its unique flavor and meaty texture. The salted and cured duck is cooked in different ways, and you can have it either sliced or served as a whole. Additionally, you can also find various dishes made from duck meat like the duck neck, duck wings, and duck feet.

In conclusion, the night markets in Nanjing are a treasure trove of delicious local food. With the Jianbing, cha siu bao, malatang, and salted duck, you have a wide variety of dishes to savor. Whether you're a foodie or just looking for a memorable culinary experience, make sure to sample the food at the night market in Nanjing.


Experience traditional Chinese culture at the Imperial Examination Museum

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Nanjing, the capital of China's Jiangsu province, is a city steeped in history dating back to the Ming Dynasty. The city boasts numerous cultural and architectural attractions that will awe any traveler. One such attraction is the Imperial Examination Museum, a unique museum that reflects the Chinese education and examination system from ancient times.

The Imperial Examination Museum plays a significant role in Chinese culture, as it showcases the methods and techniques of the imperial civil service examination system used to select officials for the government in pre-modern China. It was one of the main channels for social mobility, where ordinary people had the chance to become civil servants, regardless of social status or wealth.

Visitors to the Imperial Examination Museum can expect to see various exhibits and artifacts that illustrate the history and significance of the examination system, including questions from various exam papers, ink stones, brushes, and other tools used in calligraphy, as well as an array of traditional clothing worn by the exam-takers. The museum's vast collection of ancient books and scrolls relating to the examination system provide an in-depth educational experience that highlights the importance of Confucianism in Chinese culture.

The museum has fascinating exhibits that showcase how the examination process evolved, starting from a simple test of the potential candidates' character and education to a four-tier system that was used at the end of the Ming and beginning of the Qing dynasty. Visitors can learn how the exams were structured, and how students prepared for them, which often involved years of preparation and study.

Apart from the historical significance of the Imperial Examination Museum, the building itself has a unique architecture that is worth admiring. The courtyard-style building was designed to mimic the Ming and Qing dynasties’ architecture and is complemented by a beautiful garden that creates a serene environment, perfect for reflection and meditation.

In conclusion, visiting the Imperial Examination Museum is an excellent way to learn more about traditional Chinese culture and the country's history. With its vast collection of exhibits and artifacts that showcase the imperial examination system, the museum provides a fascinating insight into the way of life in ancient China. Expect an educational and unforgettable experience that will leave you informed and inspired.

Frequently asked questions

The must-see historical attractions in Nanjing include the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum, the Confucius Temple, the Nanjing City Wall, and the Presidential Palace.

Some of the best outdoor activities to do in Nanjing include hiking the Purple Mountain, exploring Xuanwu Lake Park, visiting Mochou Lake Park, and walking along the Qinhuai River.

Some popular shopping districts in Nanjing include Xinjiekou, Hunan Road, Fuzimiao, and Zhonghua Gate. In these areas, you can find a variety of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options.

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Hector Moon

I recently had the opportunity to visit Nanjing and it was such a delightful city. One of my favorite things to do there was walking along the Qinhuai River at night. The lit-up boats, lively atmosphere, and stunning views were absolutely enchanting. Another must-visit in Nanjing is the Nanjing City Wall. The historical significance of this structure is fascinating, and the views from the top are breathtaking. Nanjing truly has something for everyone, from history buffs to food lovers. I highly recommend it as a travel destination!

Jesse Ellis

Wow, I absolutely loved my visit to Nanjing! One of my favorite things to do there was visiting the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum. The architecture is stunning and the grounds are so peaceful. It was a great place to learn more about the history of China. Another highlight for me was exploring the Confucius Temple area. The vibrant markets, delicious street food, and beautiful temple all made for a memorable experience. Nanjing has so much to offer, I can't wait to go back and discover even more!

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