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Tan Hua Lin | © chengpeng1978/Pixabay
Tan Hua Lin | © chengpeng1978/Pixabay

12 Best Things to See and Do in Wuhan

Picture of Kate Byrne
Updated: 28 May 2017

Putting together your travel itinerary for Wuhan, capital city of China‘s Hubei Province, can prove a little tricky. Impenetrable language barriers and limited English language internet resources mean that finding the best things to see and do often proves tricky. Though it’s hard to know where to start in such a big city, luckily we’ve gathered together 12 of the unmissable attractions Wuhan has to offer.

Climb the Yellow Crane Tower

Wuhan’s Yellow Crane Tower is the city’s most revered landmark. The building as it currently stands was erected in 1981; however this historical pagoda has been torn down and rebuilt more times than most people care to remember. Once a military watch tower, the five-floor structure now serves purely commemorative purposes. As a source of pride among locals, it’s a universally accepted truth that no trip to Wuhan is complete without climbing to the fifth floor and checking out the bird’s-eye view.

Watch the Han Show

Inspired by the Chu-Han Dynasty, the City of Wuhan and the spirit of the Han nationality, this theatrical, acrobatic water spectacle is a unique and unmissable experience. The show takes place inside a stadium which was custom-built to resemble a Chinese-lantern. The building itself, often described as an architectural marvel, is enough to get the crowd excited. Launched in Wuhan in 2014, this stunning performance is the brainchild of renowned theatre director, Franco Dragone, also known for his involvement in Cirque du Soleil.

Visit Baotong Temple

Despite being repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt over the years, this Buddhist shrine has managed to maintain a unique and intricate beauty. A strong aroma of incense wafts through the grounds of the fully functioning temple as monks meditate and visiting worshippers drop by and show their respects. Atop a hill behind the buildings sits Hongshan Pagoda. To top off your temple experience, be sure to take the opportunity to wend your way up the historical winding staircases to the seventh floor and take a look out over the grounds from the balcony.

Hongshan Pagoda | © Kate Byrne

Wander down Han Street

Stretched alongside the Chu River, Han Street is understandably one of Wuhan’s most celebrated attractions. The street’s lively centre is packed with snack booths, drink stalls and restaurants, all nestled under trellises of willow-like fairy lights. Walk a little further and you will discover a mix of traditional Chinese and modern architecture housing all of your favourite high-street stores. Furthermore, if the timing is right, you may even be lucky enough to catch an open-air performance taking place on the street’s very own public stage.

Grab a coffee at Tan Hua Lin

It’s hard not to be won over by Wuhan’s bohemian Tan Hua Lin pedestrian street. Packed full of boutique stores and quirky galleries, an afternoon quickly goes by roaming in and out of shops and chatting with the crafty proprietors, but make sure to leave enough time for coffee. With what seems like an unlimited selection of independent cafés and tea-houses, Tan Hua Lin is the best spot in town to nestle down with a good book or a group of friends and re-caffeinate.

Sample dining delights at TianDi

Craving international cuisine? Make your way over to Wuhan’s cosmopolitan TianDi complex. Whatever your taste buds desire: Chinese, Italian, French or Korean, you can rest assured knowing that you will find it here. The outside seating, open green spaces, chic bars and mouth-watering pizza give this foodie haven a European vibe, making it exceptionally popular with the trendy younger generations as well as Wuhan’s ever-increasing expat population. Come Friday evening, this is the place to be.

Discover East Lake

As well as being the largest scenic area in Wuhan, East Lake is the biggest inner-city lake in the whole of China. Famed throughout the city for its distinct, tranquil viewing platforms and its beautiful springtime blossoms, it certainly takes more than one day to discover what East Lake has to offer. From tea-houses and restaurants to biking and boats, there are endless surprises to be discovered on these shores. If you’re visiting in May be sure to check out the annual Dragon Boat Festival celebrations.

Head to an art exhibition

Hubei Museum of Art is a non-profit cultural institution which houses some of the finest pieces in the province. With ten exhibition halls covering 5,000 square metres of ground, the expansive galleries are home to classic Chinese watercolour and oil paintings. Those who prefer a modern twist should head straight over to the sculpture hall where the pieces range from life-like to downright surreal. The gallery also hosts an array of international displays so be sure to take note of any visiting exhibitions in town before you plan your visit.

Hubei Museum of Art | © Kate Byrne

Have a snack in Hubu Alley

Positioned in the shadows of the majestic Yellow Crane Tower, Hubu Alley is Wuhan’s most important and visited snack street. With more than 100 vendors holding permanent positions, it’s no wonder this alley is treasured by tourists and locals alike. Since the street is famed for the abundance of food on offer, it’s hard to decide what to go for. However hot dry noodles, tofu skin, duck necks and Chinese pork sandwiches are all local specialities. Braver, more daring travellers might want to have a taste of China’s infamous ‘stinky tofu’. It is massively popular on Hubu Alley, so simply follow the smell and join the queue.

Shop in style at Jianghan Street

Welcome to Wuhan’s shopping capital, an area famed for its colonial past as well as its cosmopolitan present. As a historical British concession, this street is a fascinating combination of old European style architecture and rapid Chinese consumerism. Often compared to Beijing’s Wangfujing area, Jianghan Street is a symbol of modern Wuhan. Shop in style, pick up lunch or simply grab a coffee in a trendy joint and watch as the night falls and evening dance classes begin to fill up the square.

Cycle around Wuhan

Wuhan is a city on the move – it’s developing from every angle and the only way you can get the full picture is by taking a look around. Since it’s certainly too big to explore on foot, it’s time to boycott the subway and grab yourself a bike. Thanks to China’s ever-expanding bike sharing opportunities, securing yourself a set of pedals has never been easier – simply scan the QR code and you’re off. New developments in Wuhan mean that cycling is becoming safer and ever more convenient. Cycle around East Lake, or along the banks of the Yangtze; just don’t forget your helmet.

Visit Wuhan University

Positioned on the picturesque banks of East Lake sits one of Wuhan’s most celebrated scenic areas. Come spring time, tourists flock from far and wide to Wuhan University campus to catch a glimpse of some of China’s most enviable blossom gardens. But this attraction is so much more than just a pretty face – as one of the country’s top universities, visitors can expect to bear witness to majestic architecture and delve into the history of some of the institutions most notable alumni.