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About a thousand years of commerce and prosperity have left their mark on this metropolis at the mouth of the Grand Canal. From Song Dynasty pagodas and serene gardens to bustling craft markets spectacular landscapes, you’re in for a wealth of attractions as you explore the check out one of China’s favorite destinations and explore all the things to do in Hangzhou.
Bounded by downtown Hangzhou, the shore of West Lake, and the Qiantang River, this area puts you close to some of the city’s most beautiful sights. You can find plenty of traditional Chinese craft shops and tea houses along the pedestrian avenue of Hefang Street, and the parks that dot the district offer some great scenic views.
Developed as a world-class hub of science and industry, this district packs a host of college campuses and corporate headquarters into this new urban core. Located near the city’s eastern edge, Xiasha makes up for its elegant landscaping around the network of canals that run alongside the modern thoroughfares and plazas.
A favorite subject for poets and pilgrims throughout Hangzhou’s history, this oasis marks the boundary between the city and the lush, hilly countryside in the prefecture’s central and western regions. Walking paths and causeways run over the water and through bamboo forests to show you landmarks that give you a look back through time.
It’s not easy to get the distinction of being one of China’s most beautiful cities, but the landscapes of Hangzhou make a compelling case for the title. You can check out the string of peaceful little lakes in Xixi National Wetland Park, admire the plum trees at Hangzhou Botanical Garden, or admire the views of West Lake from the famous Broken Bridge. The towering Lihue and Baochu pagodas show off Song Dynasty elegance over the misty forest, and the grounds of Lingyin Temple hold one of the country’s most dazzling spiritual sites.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the sights that Hangzhou has to offer, so a guided tour of the city is a great way to get acquainted. You can team up with a personal guide for a true insider’s perspective, learn about the city’s long history at the National Silk Museum, or admire its natural wonder with a look at its gardens and lakes. Check out the canals of Xitang Water Town or ride a wupeng boat through Shaoxing to explore of the waterways that made the area famous.
If you want to experience a bit of Hangzhou’s traditional glamor for yourself, head to the shore of West Lake for Enduring Memories of Hangzhou, a brilliant performance of open-air theater with a story rooted in local legend. Or you can get a look back at life in the 12th century with The Romance of the Song Dynasty, one of the most extravagant dinner shows you can find.