15 Best Things To Do in Nanjing, China

Nanjing is situated in the Yangtze River Delta region and is the capital of Jiangsu Province of China. It has a great historical and cultural significance in China, a city which tells many important historical stories about China. Nanjing has been recognized as one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China. Famous for its historical monuments, sights, temples, gardens and of course, beautiful landscapes, Nanjing in the recent years, has also become developed and is counted among the most modern cities in China. Explore list best places to visit in Nanjing to make your Nanjing trip memorable.

Here's the list of Nanjing tourist attractions and 15 best things to do in Nanjing:

1. Know the history of Jinghai Temple 

Jinghai temple - ImageImage Source: wikipedia.org

Jinghai Temple is an ancient temple situated in the southwest of Shizi Mountain in Nanjing. The great Ming Yongle Emperor Zhu Di constructed the temple. In 1842, China’s treaty of Nanjing was decided at this temple. The Nanjing Treaty Historical Exhibition Museum was established in 1990 and after that Jinghai Temple became the Nanjing Jinghai Temple Memorial. It is an educational site which your kids should know about if you are traveling to Nanjing.

2. Visit the Nanjing Historical Confucius Temple 

Nanjing points of interest Image Source: wikimedia.org

The ancient Confucius Temple is located in the southern Nanjing. Visitors come here to worship and pay their humble respect to the legendary philosopher and educator Confucius. The temple was first built in the year 1034 during the Song Dynasty. The place is very rich in heritage. 

3. A look from the Nanjing Purple Mountain

Purple Mountain Observatory is the most famous Observatory in China, which was built in 1934. It is also called the ‘Bell Mountain’. A small mountain spread over an area of 20 square kilometers, away from the polluted city and surrounded by forest which provides fresh and cool air. It is quite adventurous. If someone likes hiking then that can be done here with various others scenic spot that one can see.

4. Enjoy an evening walk near the Qin Huai River

The Qin Huai River is the largest river in Nanjing. It is one of the branches of Yangtze River. The river looks ravishing in the evening and it carries an essence of history and tradition. The Confucius Temple, Zhonghua Gate, Zhanyuan Garden are situated along the side of the river. Old stone bridges, display of lanterns on the street, plenty of shops where local visitors come and shop, all these have made the place perfect for an evening stroll. The evening does create an impressive and colorful scene which is worth a photograph. The whole area is lit up and people love to stroll, shop and eat. This is a place which a visitor must see and enjoy.

5. An Amazing tour of the Nanjing Museum

The Nanjing Museum exhibits one of the most extensive collections of the Ming and Qing dynasties in the world. It displays everything from the ancient civilization to the early days of the Republic. The museum has over 400,000 artifacts that depict the Chinese culture and its tradition over the decades. It is situated inside the Zhongshan gate and was built in 1933. It has an extraordinary collection of ancient calligraphy and painting masterpieces of some ancient Chinese dynasties. The Nanjing Museum is a treasure of art and culture. One mustn’t give it a miss. It is not only educational but also one can learn so much about the Chinese tradition and heritage.

6. One of the happiest spots is Lingu Temple

It is a Buddhist temple and is situated in the Purple mountain scenic area. It was built in 514 during the Liang Dynasty and it is considered as the ‘best Buddhist temple in the world’. The name Lingu temple was given by the emperor Zhu Yuanzhang of the Ming Dynasty. The architecture of the temple is unique and is famous. Visitors love to come here because of its peaceful environment. It is surrounded by large green trees and flowers. The temple has a great significance in the Chinese history. The place also lets you see the panoramic view of the Purple Mountain.This pace is popular for their vegetarian food. So, if you come here then don’t leave without having the meal. Shensong House is the only famous vegetarian restaurant in the temple. You will get the most amazing and delicious vegetarian food.

7. Don’t miss Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum

It is the tomb of the emperor Zhu Yuanzhang, who was the founder of the Ming dynasty and of Queen Ma. It is located in the south of Purple Mountain. It took 25 years to complete the construction and it is said that 100,000 laborers were involved. It started in 1381 and finished in 1405. The tomb represents the heritage of the Ming Dynasty. There are many carved animals like a Stone Lion in a sacred way and many others. Each animal signifies a meaning to state the royalty of the dynasty. Xiaoling Mausoleum in Nanjing is known widely for its architecture, design and for its beauty. It is also listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Si te.

8. Experience Authentic Chinese and Local food 

Chinese cuisine is ruling the world and it is obvious to get that opportunity of tasting the ancient and most authentic Chinese food here in Nanjing. Like its rich culture and heritage, the local food of Nanjing is also rich and delectable. There are few special Chinese dishes which one can only and truly experience here. The most popular among them is the ‘Salted Duck’ and the best restaurant to try this is the ‘Jinling Restaurant’. Who doesn’t love dumplings but ‘Pan-fried beef dumplings’ are the pride of Nanjing.

The food isn’t limited to these two but there are plenty of other options and it would be heaven for a  Chinese food lover.

9. Spend some time at the Xuanwu Lake

Situated in the heart of Nanjing, it is a good idea to spend few hours by sitting and relaxing. It is a myth local people say that the there was a black dragon in the lake and so it gained the named ‘Xuanwu’. The lake is blessed with plenty of blossomed flowers like lilies, maples, and several others. A quiet place where people enjoy with family and friends amidst fresh air and beautiful lake view.

10. Photography lover go on an early morning tour

Photographers love to capture the historical and cultural richness of China. Many want to visit China once in their life to know their history and want to show their tradition through their work out in the world. Nanjing can offer amazing scenic landscape, monuments, architecture, and street as a subject for photography. An early morning walk along the riverside, and to the villages will definitely catch any photographer’s eye.

11. Visit the City’s Classical Chinese Garden 

Things to do in Nanjing - ImageImage Source: wikimedia.org

Zhanyuan garden is one of the most famous Chinese gardens in Nanjing. It is the oldest garden and it is well-preserved. The architecture of the garden is the ancient Ming and Qing dynasties style which is magnificent yet complex. The inside of the garden is elegant, neat and clean. It is almost 600 years old and the first garden built during the Ming dynasty. The government has taken the responsibility of maintaining the garden. The architecture involves many layouts and made up of huge stones. A visitor must stop here and see the garden and learn why this garden is so precious in the Chinese history.

12. Enjoy the International Festivals in Nanjing 

You won’t ever get bored in Nanjing. This place is so lively and vibrant during the festive seasons. The festival times are the busiest. One can have the pleasure of attending the gorgeous Qin Huai International Lantern Festival which held each year in the month of January. A traditional festival of Nanjing which is successfully running for almost 26 years. 

There is also Plum Blossom Festival a festival of flowers.

Tangshan International Hot Spring Culture Tourism Festival.

These are the few but there are many more, that a visitor can consider spending and experience something new.

13. Awesome Nightlife for Party lovers 

Nanjing is a very much alive city which can offer plenty of bars and nightclubs with music, dancefloor and beverages. If you are a party lover, want a Saturday night on the dance floor then the city will give you that.

14. A solo bullet train ride 

A solo journey can be fun just take your backpack and roam around the world. Sounds good, isn’t it? Yes, a solo ride on a bullet train from Nanjing to Shanghai is worth of money. It will not only give you the freedom of traveling but also one of the most happening experiences of riding the bullet train. 

15. Go for a walk or jog around the Nanjing City Wall 

Nanjing ciy wall - ImageImage Source: pixabay.com

An early morning or an evening walk around the longest Nanjing City Wall makes a great deal. This wall has a story indeed. The beautiful inscription has an important cultural relic. Again, a masterpiece of Chinese architecture. 

After five years of her teaching career, Shraddhanvita decided to make 'travel' her passion. For her 'a rolling stone does gather moss'. She is a wanderlust driven soul, a poet, a pluviophile, and a humanist. Fascinated by nature's bounty, she finds ...

Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Nanjing

Check out the list of top tourist attractions in Nanjing! These are some inspiring things to do in Nanjing to create a wish list of your dream destinations.

  1. #1 of 121 Things To Do in Nanjing
    - Used in 455 itineraries
    Sun Yatsen Mausoleum

    Tags: Mountain, Statue

    Address: No.2 Sifangcheng, Zhongshanling Road, Xuanwu District, Nanjing 210009, Jiangsu, China

    Timings: 08:30 am - 05:00 pm Details

    One of the most revered tourist attractions in Nanjing, the Sun Yatsen mausoleum pays homage to the founding father and the first President of the Republic of China. Situated on the Zhongshan (or Ziji...Read more

  2. #2 of 121 Things To Do in Nanjing
    - Used in 458 itineraries
    Confucian Temple Area

    Tags: Temple, River, Restaurant, Specialty Shop

    Address: Qinhuai, Nanjing 210001, Jiangsu, China

    Timings: 08:00 am - 10:00 pm Details

    Directly facing the Northern bank of the Qinhuai River, thisConfucius temple (originally built in 1034) now sits quaintly amidst the souvenir shops and restaurants of the Fuji Miao Pedestrian Street. ...Read more

  3. #3 of 121 Things To Do in Nanjing
    - Used in 352 itineraries
    Presidential Palace Of Nanjing

    Tags: Art Gallery, History Museum, Historical Site, Exhibition

    Address: No.292, East Changjiang Road, Baixia District, Nanjing 210018, China

    Timings: 07:30 am - 06:00 pm Details

    China’s largest modern history museum, this historical palace is a pure treat to history lovers. It used to be a prince dwelling and government office, home to national leaders like Dr.Sun Yat-s...Read more

  4. #4 of 121 Things To Do in Nanjing
    - Used in 258 itineraries
    The Memorial Of The Nanjing Massacre

    Tags: Historical Site, Memorial, Statue, Exhibition

    Address: 418, Jiangdongmen Street, Nanjing 210009, Jiangsu, China

    Timings: 08:30 am - 04:30 pm Details

    In December 1937, the Japanese army occupied Nanjing city and committed horrific acts of violence on its men, women and children. Built on the burial site of the victims of the Nanjing Massacre, a vis...Read more

  5. #5 of 121 Things To Do in Nanjing
    - Used in 403 itineraries
    Xuanwu Lake

    Tags: Play Ground, Walking Area, Entertainment, Water Sport

    Address: No.1 Xuanwu Road, Xuanwu District, Nanjing 210042, Jiangsu, China

    Timings: 06:00 am - 08:00 pm Details

    Situated at the foot of Mt. Zhongshan, it is one of the most famous and protected lakes in Nanjing. The lake gained the name ‘Xuanwu’ because a black dragon was said to live in the lake. T...Read more

  6. #6 of 121 Things To Do in Nanjing
    - Used in 444 itineraries
    Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum

    Tags: Educational Site, Square, Tomb, Unesco Site

    Address: Wengzhong Road, Xuanwu District, Nanjing 210018, Jiangsu, China

    Timings: 06:30 am - 06:00 pm Details

    You will truly experience imperial China when you visit the mausoleum of the Hongwu Emperor and his wife, the founder and first emperor of the Ming Dynasty of China. During his reign, the Hongwu emper...Read more

  7. #7 of 121 Things To Do in Nanjing
    - Used in 394 itineraries
    Nanjing City Wall

    Tags: River, Architecture

    Address: Fengtai Rd Qinhuai, Nanjing 210001, Jiangsu China

    Timings: 08:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    Nanjing is one of the few cities in China to have a surviving ancient wall. Located on the southern bank of the Yangtze River, this masterpiece of Chinese architecture was built by the Hongwu Emperor ...Read more

  8. #8 of 121 Things To Do in Nanjing
    - Used in 230 itineraries
    Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge

    Tags: River, Bridge, Historical Site, Architecture

    Address: PukouQu, Nanjing Shi 210000, Jiangsu, China

    Timings: 07:30 am - 06:00 pm Details

    This impressive road-rail bridge is a source of great Chinese national pride. Built in the 1960s, it is the first bridge solely designed by using Chinese expertise, connecting the two banks of the Yan...Read more

  9. #9 of 121 Things To Do in Nanjing
    - Used in 399 itineraries
    Purple Mountain

    Tags: Art And Culture, Mountain, Garden, Park

    Address: Outside Zhongshanmen, Xuanwu District, Nanjing 210018, Jiangsu, China

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    Originally called Jiangshan Mountain, it was renamed to the ‘Purple Mountain’ in the Eastern Jin Dynasty, owing to its purple shale rocks. Highlights include: At the Centre, the national ...Read more

  10. #10 of 121 Things To Do in Nanjing
    - Used in 316 itineraries
    Jiming Temple

    Tags: Religious Site, Temple

    Address: No.1 Jiming Temple, Xuanwu District, Nanjing 210008, Jiangsu, China

    Timings: 08:00 am - 05:30 pm Details

    The Jiming Temple is an active Buddhist temple that overlooks the City Wall and Xuanwu Lake. One of the oldest temples in the city, it was established in 300AD during the Eastern Jin dynasty. Destroye...Read more

  11. #11 of 121 Things To Do in Nanjing
    - Used in 273 itineraries
    Qinhuai River

    Tags: River, Ancient Ruin

    Address: Qinhuai District, Nanjing 210001, Jiangsu, China

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    Your Nanjing experienceis incomplete without seeing the Qinhuai River. The largest river in the city, its banks bustle with markets and street vendors. It is divided into two parts: The Inner river r...Read more

  12. #12 of 121 Things To Do in Nanjing
    - Used in 208 itineraries
    Nanjing Museum

    Tags: Art And Culture, River, Historical Site, Archaeological Site

    Address: No.321 Zhongshan East Road, Nanjing 210004, Jiangsu, China

    Timings: 09:00 am - 04:30 pm Details

    CaiYuanpei, a modern democratic revolutionary and educationist established the Nanjing Museum in 1933. It is the first large-size national museum in China and is a must see for history lovers. Exhibit...Read more

  13. #13 of 121 Things To Do in Nanjing
    - Used in 270 itineraries
    Zhonghua Gate

    Tags: Castle, Military Area

    Address: Qinhuai District, Nanjing 210000, Jiangsu, China

    Timings: 08:30 am - 08:30 pm Details

    A fine work of military construction, this gate is part of a defensive complex that has made it the world’s most complicated castle. Built in the Ming dynasty, this gate was built on the South w...Read more

  14. #14 of 121 Things To Do in Nanjing
    - Used in 69 itineraries
    Pearl Spring Tourist And Holiday Resort

    Tags: Waterfall, Leisure, Resort

    Address: No.182 Xinma Road, Pukou District, Nanjing 210031, Jiangsu, China

    Timings: 10:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    Desire a relaxing get away from the city? Pearl Spring offers that peace and other attractions in its 3,700 acre resort. Supposed to bring luck, throw pennies into the Pearl Spring. Camping and barbeq...Read more

  15. #15 of 121 Things To Do in Nanjing
    - Used in 76 itineraries
    Tangshan Regalia - Hot Spring & Spa

    Tags: Hotel, Mountain, Play, Spa

    Address: No.8 Quanyun Road, Tangshan Hot Spring Resort, Jiangning District, Nanjing 211131, Jiangsu, China

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    The Tangshan Regalia - Hot Spring & Spa is located just a few minutes from must see attractions such as the YangShan Scenic Area, Tangshan Mountain, Ape Caves and Tangshan Qifang where one can see...Read more

Activities And Tours

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  • Is the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall opened on the 4th Dec 2018?

    Answer Report Abuse
    • Hi,

      The Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall is open from 8:30 to 16:30, and usually closed on Monday for maintenance. It is available for visit during all statutory holidays even in Mondays.

      There are many more things to do in Nanjing! Check them out :)

      Report Abuse