11 Free Things to Do in Shenyang, Liaoning, China
Shenyang is the largest city in North East China and it has a lot of history. There are a couple of UNESCO heritage sites and it is where the Japanese defeated the Russians. These days it is highly modernized and there are many free things to do in Shenyang. I spent 4 days there without spending a dime on entry fees to tourist attractions.
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11 Free Things to do in Shenyang
1. Food Street
The first thing on my list of free things to do in Shenyang is to eat street food, which I guess technically isn’t free because you have to pay for the food. I’m sure there are loads of food streets all over Shenyang. This one just happened to be very close to my accommodation.
Getting to the Food Street
Walk from Shen Yang Bei Zhan or Jin Rong Zhong Xin metro stations.
Bus numbers 105, 333, 503, 334 and 224 can drop you at Fang Chan Chao Shi 房产超市 which is just down the road from the Wen Xin Ru Jia Bin Guan hotel.
See the map at the end of this post.
2. Underground Fashion Mall
There is a mall underground dedicated to fashion items, mostly clothes. There is also a food court down there.
Getting to the Underground Fashion Mall
Walk there from the train station. Take the metro or a bus (206, 216 or 203) to the Shen Yang Zhan 沈阳站 stop, which is out the front of the train station.
Go south on Nan Jing Nan Jie 南京南街. This is what the entrance looks like.
3. Zhong Shan Gong Yuan
Zhong Shan Gong Yuan (中山公园) is one of quite a few free parks in Shenyang. Like most parks in China you are not supposed to go one the grassed areas, i.e., keep to the paths. I managed to find a good place for a nap on the top of a hill. It was grand.
Getting to Zhong Shan Gong Yuan
Take the metro to Tai Yuan 太原. Walk south on Nan Jing Nan Jie 南京南街 until you get to the park.
4. Statue of Mao
This statue of Mao is more interesting than the other thousand or so Mao statues in China, in particular the peasants and soldiers around the base. Apparently it is the largest statue of Mao in China.
There were some guys flying kites in the square (kite flying is really popular for middle aged / older men in China) and they got really friggin’ high. I was amazed. Imagine the pictures they could get from up there if they mounted a small time delay camera.
Getting to the Statue of Mao
The closest metro station is Shen Yang Zhan (沈阳站). Follow the map at the end of this post.
5. Shi Fu Guang Chang
Shi Fu Guang Chang 市府广场 is just a big concreted area in the middle of the city where people come to dance, jump rope, Rollerblade etc. Great for people watching especially at dusk when the pylons come to life.
Getting to Shi Fu Guang Chang
Take the metro to the Shi Fu Guang Chang station.
6. Liaoning Provincial Musuem
I was pretty impressed by the Liaoning Provincial Museum. It has three permanent exhibitions (Jade, Porcelain and Scripture) and when I was there it also had three temporary exhibitions.
No lighters or sharp objects are allowed. Water is okay.
Opening hours for the Liaoning Provincial Museum are 0900-1700 between April to October (last entry at 1600). Between November to March it closes half an hour earlier. It is also closed on Monday’s except for public holidays. It is closed on Chinese New Year Eve.
Getting to the Liaoning Provincial Musuem
This was a bit of a mission but it was worth it. I had information that the Liaoning Provincial Musuem was next to Shi Fu Guang Chang, and it used to be but now it is located out of the city.
Get the metro to Bai Ta He Zhan (白塔河站). Exit C and walk up this path.
Go to this road train stop.
Catch the Number 1 road train to Yun Xing Zhong Xin Zhan 运行中心站. Walk in this direction, which is south down 3rd Zhihui St (智慧三街).
The museum is on your left, you will not miss it.
7. Bei Ling Yuan and Qing Zhao Tomb
I stumbled upon Bei Ling Park which is pretty easy to do because it is a fairly large park.
Inside Bei Ling Yuan is also the Qing Zhao Tomb which is a World Cultural Heritage Site. You can not go into the tomb area but the stroll through the park to get to it is nice.
Near the tomb site there is a list of all the tourist things to do in Shenyang of which there are quote a few. There is a map also.
Getting to Bei Ling Yuan and Qing Zhao Tomb
Catch the Metro to BeiLing Yuan Station (北陵园站).
Bus numbers 136, 231, 213 and 217 will also go there. The bus stop is called Bei Ling Gong Yuan (北陵公园). Bus 217 and 136 can be caught from the north train station.
8. Wu Ai Market Place
The Wu Ai Market Place 五爱市场 is a mecca of stuff. I reckon you could just about get anything (legal) you wanted there. Each floor has god knows how many stores and there a five floors per building and I think there are 4 buildings. Each floor specializes in a certain type of thing, e.g., fabrics, kitchenware.
On the fifth floor in one of the buildings is a pretty good food court.
Apparently it closes at 1500.
Getting to the Wu Ai Market Place
The Wu Ai market place is on the corner of Re Nao Lu 热闹路 and Xiao Nan Jie 小南街.
You can walk there if you are in town. Check the map at the end of this post.
You can catch buses 157, 326, 134, 334, 800 and 503 to Feng Yu Tan Jie Re Nao Lu 风雨坛街热闹路 and then cross over the intersection.
Buses 117, 273, 246, 132 and 274 go to Wu Ai Shi Chang 五爱市场 which is out the front of the market.
This is what the entrance looks like.
9. Qing Nian Gong Yuan
Qing Nian Gong Yuan 青年公园 is yet another park in Shenyang. It has a few lakes and as all parks in China, is great for people watching and general relaxation in an otherwise bustling city.
Getting to Qing Nian Gong Yuan
You can walk from the Wu Ai Market Place (#8 on this list of free things to do in Shenyang).
Buses 212, 222, 224, 333, 134, 173, 117, 132, 334, 800, 126 and 291 can drop you at Feng Yu Tan Jie Xi Bin He Lu 风雨坛街西滨河路 which is out the front of the park. I am sure there are other buses that go to other sides of the park.
For some reason bus 212 calls the stop by a different name.
10. The September 18 Memorial Museum
This was one of my favorite free things to do in Shenyang.
From what I gathered it seems that a short time after WW1, on September the 18th (I’m not sure of the year) the Japanese decided to try to take over the world and figured that they first needed to take China. They did something and blamed it on the Chinese (what that something was I must have missed) which gave them a good excuse to invade. After a little bit, the Northern Chinese decided to revolt. Sometime later the rest of the nation decided to help. In the end, the Russian’s stepped in which I think ended the war within a few days. The war lasted fourteen years.
Why didn’t the whole of China join the rebellion from the start?
China is massive and has bucket loads of people. I think if the whole country joined forces surely they could have fought the Japanese off pretty quickly.
A One-Sided Story
What was especially interesting was how blatantly one sided the story they tell is. I’m not saying that the information is false, actually I believed most of it. It is also quite clever how they slag off the Chinese government that I guess was in charge of the country at that time. They are sure to mention that it was the Communist Party that encouraged the revolt. At the end they say how the two countries are now friends, but since they Japanese haven’t changed their history books (meaning that the Japanese do not teach about these events in their schooling. etc.) they still need to be careful not to let the Japanese imperialism rise again.
Hypocrisy at its Worst
What’s funny to me is that there are many things that they Chinese government did/do to their own people that they make a massive effort to censor from the public, Tianmen Square being a very good example. Hypocrisy is the point I am getting at.
In any case, this was a good museum and it has enough English so you can follow along the time-line.
Getting to The September 18 Museum
The 18 September memorial museum is easier to get to than the Liaoning Provincial Museum (#6 on this list of free things to do in Shenyang) and in my mind it more interesting.
Bus numbers and 212, 253, 299, 325, 328, 399, 163 and K106 will drop you at Jiu Yi Ba Li Shi Bo Wu Guan 九一八历史博物馆, which is out the front of the museum. If you came from town you will have to cross the road.
Here’s what you see out the front.
11. Night Market
The last thing on my list of free things to do in Shenyang is the night market which was near my accommodation. It is a small night market but there it is nice for a night stroll and also has a good amount of street food.
Getting to the Night Market
Walking from Shen Yang Bei Zhan or Jin Rong Zhong Xin metro stations.
Bus numbers 105, 333, 503, 334 and 224 can drop you at Fang Chan Chao Shi 房产超市 which is just down the road from the hotel.
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Shenyang is huge and there are many more things to do there. I think I could have stayed for more than a month without getting bored.
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