With hundreds of bridges, dozens of canals, and numerous gardens, Suzhou is the Venice of the East. The unique landscape makes it one of the most visited tourist destinations in China.
Historically, Suzhou was a place known to attract writers, artists, and aristocrats due to its numerous traditional gardens and collections of art. Recently, the city has begone to modernize and is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world.
While you could spend your trip riding boats along the canal, there are plenty of other things to do in Suzhou.
The city has several notable museums and sprawling garden complexes that maintain its historic allure. Since it’s also a fast-growing metropolis with millions of inhabitants, you’ll find shopping malls, high-end hotels, and other modern attractions too.
Not sure where to go? Begin planning your trip with this guide to the best Suzhou attractions…
What to do in Suzhou: Top attractions and places to visit
Get lost exploring the sprawling Humble Administrator’s Garden
Deciding what to do in Suzhou is easy. Visit one of the famous gardens, starting with the Humble Administrator’s Garden. The largest classical garden in the city is divided into three distinct areas.
The eastern part contains several buildings around a large lawn and pond while the central area features scenes surrounding the Surging Wave Pond that includes three fairy islands. The western garden is smaller and includes many carefully arranged mountains and rock features.
If you’ve only got 24 hours in Suzhou, start with this garden before exploring the rest of Suzhou Old Town. It’s in the northeastern edge of the district and within walking distance of other attractions.
Enjoy the canal and nightlife on Shangtang Street
Some of the top tourist attractions in Suzhou include the canals and Shangtang Street tops the list. Also known as seven-mile Shangtang, it’s a street located just west of the downtown area and connected to the various canals and rivers that run through the city. Basically, the street is a canal with narrow cobbled streets on each side.
Shangtang Street is also among the best places to visit in Suzhou for nightlife and entertainment. The busy tourist area includes many bars, lounges, and clubs. It’s especially enchanting in the evening with the lights reflecting in the water of the canal.
Ride a boat down the canal next to Pingjiang Road
Pingjiang Road is another of the top points of interest in Suzhou and the second-most visited canal after Shangtang Street. It tends to attract fewer tourists compared to the busier canal, making for a more leisurely experience. As with Shangtang Street, it’s a well-preserved historic district with shops lining both sides of the canal.