Best Cities and Places to Visit in China for First-timers

China is one of the largest country in the world, the country is full of history and cultures, as well as numerous attractions for travelers.
There are too many cities and natural sites to visit, many travelers visit the country multiple times to have all those interesting places visited.
Different people have different preferences as to which city to visit, however there are some must-visit cities, which are Beijing, Shanghai and Xi'an, if you have never visited China before, I recommend you start from these three cities, it could be said that without visiting these cities you have not visited China, as these three cities are best representatives of both ancient China and modern China, each of them has lots of tourist destinations worth to visit, read on for the details of each city.


Beijing is the capital city of China, it also had been the capital city in ancient time for hundreds of years. As such a historic city, Beijing has many tourist attractions worth to visit, including some most notable sites like the Great Wall, Forbidden City and Summer Palace.

Summer Palace

Aside from these sites you can also try to visit Wangfujing Street, a place similar to the Times Square in New York City but with some unique Chinese elements like the Snack Street, where visitors can taste a variety of Chinese special foods.

Wangfujing Walking Street
Wangfujing Snack Street
Wangfujing Snack Street

Beijing is not just a historic city, the city is rapidly becoming a very futuristic city with the development of numerous modern buildings in the city, some representatives are CCTV Headquarters, Galaxy SOHO, Wangjing SOHO and China Zun Tower.

CCTV Headquarters
CCTV Headquarters lookup

Galaxy SOHO
Galaxy SOHO at dusk

Galaxy SOHO
Inside Galaxy SOHO complex


Shanghai is the largest city in China by population, and is considered the most developed city in China, the city was known as Paris of the East during 1920s and 1930s, as by that time a large amount of western style buildings were built near the Huangpu River, now those buildings are still well preserved, they are an indispensable part of the cityscape of Shanghai and the city's most visited tourist destination.

Shanghai is well known for its modern skyscrapers, the skyline of the city always reminds people of some fictional future cities depicted in science fiction films like Blade Runner, the Shanghai Tower in Pudong district is the nation's tallest building, the skyscraper is accompanied by two other supertall towers, forming an impressive view of Giant Three. Shanghai also has the only Disneyland Park in mainland China.

Check this post to learn more about the attractions in Shanghai.


Xi'an is located at the starting point of Silk Road, it's one of Four Great Ancient Capitals of China, the city was the capital city of many dynasties, one of which is Qin, in which the famous Terracotta Army was built, and the most important dynasty had Xi'an as the capital is Tang Dynasty, which is seen as the most prosperous era in the history of China.
One of the most visited attractions in Xi'an is the City Wall that surround the old city area, the city wall was built in Ming Dynasty over a previously existed palace wall of Tang Dynasty, the City Wall is 12 meters in height and 14 kilometers or 8.7 miles long, enclosing an area of about 14 square kilometers, the wall has 18 city gates and 98 ramparts.
Along the top of the wall is a walkway with a width of 12 meters, visitors can walk or cycle above the city wall and enjoy the city view from above.

And also visit the Bell Tower and Drum Tower, these two ancient towers are the symbols of Xi'an, they are located in the heart of the city and look very imposing.

Bell Tower at night
Bell Tower at night

Another tower worth to visit is the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, it is often seen as the icon of Xi'an, the tower stands 64 meters and stores the Buddhist scriptures that were brought from India by the Buddhist monk and traveler Xuanzang of Tang Dynasty.

The most famous point of interest in Xi'an is no doubt the Terracotta Army, the thousands of clay warriors seen on the site were created as part of the funerary goods for the first emperor of Qin Dynasty, watching at these clay warriors you will feel like standing on an ancient battle field.

Above are places in China for first-timers to visit, once you have visited those places or you're just don't interested in those places, check out these best tourist destinations in China.

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