by Dhruvalakshmi Paithankar Updated on 15 Oct 2018
Popularly known as the Queen City of the South, Cebu City is the beating heart of Philippines. With a plethora of exciting things to do in Cebu, it has become a favorite destination amongst tourists. If you are visiting the Philippines and are interested in exploring tourist attractions in Cebu, then read on! Here is the list of important places to visit in Cebu that will introduce you to a city’s rich past and interesting present. From natural recreational activities to shopping and wandering around, you will find everything here. Visit this tourist attractiosn Cebu to make the most of your time.
Let's explore the best things to do in Cebu City:
1. Stop by the most popular attraction - Magellan's Cross
Magellan's Cross is an ancient Christian cross that dates back to 1520s. It is believed that Portuguese and Spanish travellers planted this cross and it started the Christianity afterward. Many people believed that this cross had magical powers and tried to take small parts of it as souvenirs. Today, it has become one of the famous landmarks in Cebu and people come here to understand a part of the local history as well as to spend some peaceful time.
2. Visit Basilica del Santo Nino
Basílica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebú was established in 1565 making it one of the oldest Roman Catholic churches in the Philippines. Locally known as Santo Niño Basilica, this place of worship is popular as it is home to the statue of Jesus as a child. The building we see was built in 1738 and is still standing tall today. There is a small museum on the premises of this Basilica that will tell you about the religious and cultural aspects of the city.
3. Understand local history at Fort San Pedro
Fort San Pedro is the fortress built by the Spanish in the early 17th century. Today, the remains of this triangular-shaped stone structure have been converted into a museum. The collection at the museum includes different Spanish artifacts along with documents, paintings, and sculptures. This fort holds a significant place in the local history and taking a guided tour will tell you about different fascinating stories from the past. One of the few historic attractions in Cebu, this fort has become a must-visit place for travellers.
4. Go to interesting Cebu Taoist Temple
Built in 1972, Cebu Taoist Temple dominated the skyline of the city with its unique architecture. Built by the Chinese community in the city, this temple has become one of the important points of interest in Cebu. Surrounded by well-manicured gardens and adorned by dragon statues, this temple is home to a famous wishing well along with a library and a gift shop. The temple welcomes believers as well as non-believers with equal warmth and offer you a tranquil place to soothe your mind.
5. Explore historic Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral
Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral is one of the historic places of worship in Cebu with the magnificent architectural style. With the history dating back to 1590s, this cathedral has become a popular tourist attraction in Cebu over the decades. This is the place that represents religious as well as historical aspects of the city. Though most of the building was destroyed during the Second World War, it rebuilt in the 1950s and has succeeded in maintaining its old charm. You can spend some time here away from the chaos of the city.
6. Get an adrenaline rush at Sky Experience Adventure
Sky Experience Adventure is a popular amusement complex in Cebu that is established on the top floor of the Crown Regency Hotel. This place offers several high-altitude activities along with different rides and dining options to choose from. It is designed in such a way that kids, as well as adults, can enjoy all the activities safely. You can go for a skywalk, enjoy urban ziplining, and treat your senses at the 6D theater. It is recommended to talk to the staff of the center first to know different rules and packages.
7. Catch the lovely views from Tops Lookout
Tops Lookout is an ideal place for those who want to catch the sweeping views of the city. It has an observation deck that will give you a chance to spend some quality time with your loved ones. After wandering around the city, you can come here around the sunset and watch how the city starts illuminating with lights. This fortress-like viewing area has become one of the must-visit places in Cebu. Though many people come here every day, you will still find a peaceful spot where you can sit without any disturbance.
8. Sit at Plaza Independencia
Located in the bustling area of Cebu, Plaza Independencia is an ideal place to visit if you want to soak in the local flavor. This public square has a huge garden at the center that is used for picnicking by locals. Many come here for recreational activities like jogging or skating as well. The heart of the plaza had a spectacular obelisk that is dedicated to the memory of first Spanish governor-general of the Philippines - Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. You can come here for people-watching as the square is always bustling with locals and tourists alike.
9. Reconnect with nature at Sirao Garden
Sirao Garden, one of the most beautiful gardens in Cebu, is nestled on the hilly land that is around 15 kilometers from the center of the city. Though it takes more than half an hour to reach this site, the ride will be worth all the time. Popularly known as Little Amsterdam or the Mini Holland of Cebu, this place has gained public attention over the last few years. It is an ideal place to reconnect with nature when you are surrounded by picturesque, vibrant flower beds.
10. Soak in the local flavor at Carbon Market
Considered to be one of the oldest and largest farmer's markets in Cebu, Carbon Market is nestled in Downtown Cebu City. with the history of more than a century, this market has become an important landmark as well. Visiting this place is a cultural experience that will give you a glimpse of the local lifestyle. From fresh fruits and vegetables to handicrafts, you will find everything here. The rates are cheap, and you will find different options to choose from. Try to visit the market in the morning as it is usually in the full-swing at that time.
11. Take a walk on Marcelo Fernan Bridge
Located over Mactan Channel, Marcelo Fernan Bridge connects Mandaue City to Lapu-Lapu City. As the bridge is established in Metro Cebu, you will have to travel a bit to reach the bridge. You can take a taxi as it will be easier. As it has 2 pedestrian walkways, you can take a leisurely walk admiring the city’s skyline that can be seen here. It also offers picture-perfect views that are an added benefit for amateur photographers. Consider coming here around the sunset and watch the city illuminating with lights.
12. Shop till you drop at SM City Cebu
One of the biggest shopping malls in Cebu, SM City Cebu attracts thousands of people each day. For those who are looking forward to shopping in Cebu, this is the place to be! Home to national as well as international brands, you will get hundreds of options to choose from under one roof. It also has a food court, cinema theater, and gaming zone making it a great place for different age groups. You can easily spend more than half a day here shopping and wandering around with your loved ones.
13. Take a leisurely stroll along Colon Street
Colon Street is known as one of the oldest streets in the Philippines that was a bustling entertainment hub in the past. Today, you can take a walk around here to admire historic buildings that stand between huge commercial establishments. You will still find many shops and boutiques selling cheap merchandise and handmade products. This street will give you a glimpse of a glorious past and will also give you a chance to see how Cebu is economically flourishing.
14. Experience the nightlife in Cebu
When it comes to dancing the night away or simply enjoying with your loved ones, the city of Cebu makes sure that you get everything you need. You can visit Maxilom Avenue, Fuente Rotunda and Osmeña Boulevard to be a part of the local canvas. These streets are dotted with cafes, pubs, bars, and restaurants that attract a huge crowd of locals and travelers alike and are a perfect place to experience the iconic nightlife in Cebu City. You will also find shops where you can buy souvenirs for your loved ones.
15. Get a glimpse of past at Casa Gorordo Museum
Casa Gorordo Museum is a site that dates back to the 1850s and is known as the former residence of Juan Gorordo. If you have some free time on your hands and are interested in knowing about the local history, consider stopping by this house museum for some time. This is one of the museums in Cebu that offer guided tours so that you can understand exhibits clearly. You can spend a couple of hours exploring the collections and also shop for souvenirs at the gift shop that is located on the premises of the museum.