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Chongqing

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If you really, really want to try to see the real China, you must come to Chongqing. It's literally been the capitol of China during WWII, and it continues to be a boomtown thanks to its place on the Yangtze River. It's a city of great Chinese artists, major politicians, and fantastic food. Famous hot pot, famous chicken, famous for its spicy Sichuan food, period. A city of 10 million forecasted to double in population in 13 years, it really is like no place else on Earth.
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69 Zhongshan 4th Rd, DaXiGou, Yuzhong Qu, Chongqing Shi, China, 400065
This is the Spanish Villa in the former French Concession where Zhou Enlai lived in 1946. He was the first leader of the the People’s Republic of China, friends with Mao Zedong. The house has been left exactly as he left it, so it's a great museum...
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Yuzhong, China, 400065
The Hongyadong Cultural Center is actually a mall cleverly built using the traditional Chongqing Diaojiaolou architectural style and appearing to cling to the side of a hill by the Jialing River. It is a great place to stop for a photo, and even...
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Bagua Rd, Nanan Qu, Chongqing Shi, China
Meixin is an area that the Chongqing government has provided for foreigners to open shops. It's a bit hit-or-miss, but there's an upside down house, a church, and the world's largest public bathroom to see. There's also a few good expat...
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Although a little way out of the city, Jinyun Mountain is a necessary tourist pilgrimage in Chongqing. The view looks out over Chongqing, and is stunning. There are three huge Buddhas to see up there, as well as a set of hot springs. Bring a...
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China, Chongqing Shi, Jiulongpo Qu, HuangJuePing, 邮电路搬运东村10号-77 邮政编码: 400060
Chongqing commissioned over 800 students, painters, and workers to paint "Graffiti Street" over a period of 150 days. Starting at the Huangjueping Railway Hospital, the paintings extend almost a mile, covering most of the buildings. It's no...
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Bishan, Chongqing, China
Chongqing is a marvelously old and historical city, with buildings and whole urban villages that are hundreds of years old. Locals still live in them, sometimes generations and generations of families. Photo by Tauno Tõhk / 陶诺/Flickr.
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China, Chongqing Shi, Jiangbei Qu, BeiBin Lu MeiShiJie, 北滨路368号金源广场
Chongqing chicken is a very famous dish. Some people say it has two main ingredients: the first is chicken (obviously), and the second is pain! Sichuan cuisine is known for being spicy, and a good version of Chongqing chicken will leave you red...
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Wai Po Xin ( Kai Fa Lu ), Nanan Qu, Chongqing Shi, China, 400060
It seems to me that every city in China has a famous hot pot, but in the home of the Sichuan pepper, Chongqing hot pot is most definitely HOT. If you're lucky, it will be authentically ma la—numbingly spicy from real Sichuan peppers. They start to...
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Liberation Monument Shangquan, Yuzhong, China, 400065
They say that Sichuan food is the best in all of China, and that Chongqing noodles are the tastiest. It's certainly a fun rumor to try and validate. These are Chongqing hot and sour sweet potato noodles, 酸辣粉. The noodles are made from sweet potato...
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China, Chongqing Shi, Nanan Qu, 黄山风景区
As an American, I vaguely understood China's role in World War I and II. I never really got that China was essentially plunged in a violent Civil War that was only interrupted by those wars, for decades. Chiang Kai-Shek was the leader of the...
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Bu Xing Jie, JieFangBei ShangQuan, Yuzhong Qu, Chongqing Shi, China, 400065
Jiefangbei, or the People’s Liberation Monument, is the heart of downtown Chongqing. The city was the capital of China during both world wars (its location in the mountains protected it from bombing) and, like the United States, industrialized...
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Chongqing's Ciqikou, or "Porcelain Port," is a buzzy area that is a hotbed for migrants, expats, and artists. There are a lot of little shops—some more touristy than others—and eventually the road leads down to some hostels and a cool restaurant...
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236 Renmin Rd, DaXiGou, Yuzhong Qu, Chongqing Shi, China, 400015
This is a slightly odd museum because it has three seemingly unrelated topics. First, there are exhibits on the Ba culture. Next, there's information about the Three Gorges Dam. Finally, there are a series of displays showing life in Chongqing...
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Chaotianmen, Yuzhong, Chongqing, China
If you don't have the time or inclination to do a full cruise up the Yangtze River, you must take the one-hour night cruise, which shows off Chongqing in all her flaming, neon glory. Trips are very reasonably priced. All boats leave from the...
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Liberation Monument Shangquan, Yuzhong, China, 400012
A great cocktail bar is a welcome surprise in Chongqing. The owner, Jimmy Zhang, is a trained mixologist and even holds classes on mixing drinks. The service is fantastic and—needless to say—the drinks are top-notch. Try Jimmy's special cocktail,...
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China, Chongqing Shi, Shapingba Qu, ChongQing DaXue, 沙中路重庆大学国家大学科技园1楼
NUTS was the first live music venue in Chongqing, and is still the main place to go to catch some tunes. The concerts and parties can get really wild, so be forewarned. The music can be anything, from wild punk bands to a techno DJ.
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Run He Mei Shu, LongXi, Yubei Qu, Chongqing Shi, China, 401121
This is a great hot pot restaurant in its own right, but what really makes it stand out is the Chairman Mao/Military Guard theme. The waiters and waitresses all wear red guard uniforms and the walls have cool retro propaganda murals. You can't...
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414 Provincial Rd, Qijiang Qu, Chongqing Shi, China
Also known as the Black Valley, this site is both gorgeous and mysterious. It has lush vegetation and waterfalls, and air that is misty and clean; the silence inside is almost deafening. It's very easy to get to, even by public bus, although...
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Nanping E Rd, Nanan Qu, Chongqing Shi, China, 400060
Hongya Cave is 100% a tourist attraction. If you go there understanding that, then it's a fun place to go, especially with kids. The big attractions are the faux-historical Chinese architecture and a cool cave with a waterfall that you can walk...
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3 Hufang Rd, Xicheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China
While visiting Beijing on a Fulbright over the summer, we were given the opportunity to attend a traditional Peking Opera. Though the show was entirely in Mandarin, it was highly entertaining and lively. The vibrant colors of the venue, coupled...
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Min Zu Lu, Yuzhong Qu, Chongqing Shi, China, 400065
Minzu Road, just off the Liberation Square, has a cool mix of older and newer buildings and is fun to walk down. There's the standard fast food and Starbucks, but there's also cool old-style Chinese malls that will probably start dying out soon as...
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1 Minsheng Rd, JieFangBei ShangQuan, Yuzhong Qu, Chongqing Shi, China, 400065
Shu embroidery is one of the four famous Chinese embroidery styles. The level of skill required to do this kind of artistic embroidery is insane: A medium-sized, simple design of a panda might take 3–4 months of work, to give you an example. There...
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Guanyinqiao East Ring Rd, YangHe HuaYuan, Jiangbei Qu, Chongqing Shi, China, 400020
This region of China is known for textiles and embroidery, so it isn't a surprise that Chongqing has a huge selection of tailors. They can make clothing in 2–3 days, for very low prices. Some tips for tailoring clothing in Chongqing: —You usually...
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China, Chongqing Shi, Yuzhong Qu, LiangLuKou, 学田湾正街 邮政编码: 400065
Sichuan peppercorns are a big deal in Chongqing, so it's a must to buy a fresh bag before going home. Don't buy them pre-packaged at a generic tourist shop; instead, head to the Ciqikou neighborhood, which has an area packed with dozens of little...
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No one can say they've visited Chongqing if they haven't crossed the Yangtze River by cable car. The views of both the city and the river are so worth it, in my opinion—even if you are, like me, a little scared of cable cars. You can get on right...
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Chongqing, China
No matter how I try, words always fail me when I try to explain the size of China's population to people back home. A million is already an abstract number, so ten, twenty, thirty million makes now difference. A billion people? Even I can't wrap...
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Liberation Monument Shangquan, Yuzhong, Chongqing, China, 400064
At night, various makeshift stalls pop up, with vendors squatting over tables and fabric on the ground and selling everything imaginable. It might be a grandma selling a piece of paper with bobby pins for 1 RMB, a man selling handheld sewing...
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Yanghe 1st Rd, YangHe HuaYuan, Jiangbei Qu, Chongqing Shi, China, 400020
Kuai che dao means "fast lane" in Mandarin. This bar has a unique twist—each table has a telephone that can call one of the other tables. I'm not 100% sure how it works, but I think it involves a lot of alcohol. Which makes sense, because they...
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222 Xinhua Rd, JieFangBei ShangQuan, Yuzhong Qu, Chongqing Shi, China, 400010
Jin Yao Xuan Specialty Restaurant at the Westin stands out from the (many) other hot pot restaurants in Chongqing by offering fresh, organic ingredients. Really! The chef will even come out with a big chunk of earth and handpick delicate mushrooms...
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China, Chongqing Shi, Yuzhong Qu, 较场口 邮政编码: 400012
This is one of the biggest and most renowned clubs in Chongqing. They have a lot of famous DJs and groups playing there on the weekends. They also throw a ton of parties—everything from Mario theme parties to celebrations of Lantern Festival.
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Liberation Monument Shangquan, Yuzhong, China, 400065
The Cotton Club is the happening place to be, especially for the cool, young expats living in Chongqing. They have a great house band that plays swing music, giving the club an old-time American vibe. The drinks are on the expensive side, and...
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China, Chongqing Shi, Shapingba Qu, SanXia GuangChang BuXingJie, Sanxia Square Pedestrian St, 华宇广场56号附近
The Three Gorges Square in Shapingba is a great place to go on a rainy day, or when the kids are acting up. There's an enormous mall with over a thousand stores, restaurants, hotels, and entertainment such as movie theaters. There's multiple play...
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China, Chongqing Shi, Yuzhong Qu, Zhongshan 2nd Rd, 中山二路 邮政编码: 400014
Pipa is the Mandarin name for loquat, a small tree or shrub, often grown for ornamental purposes, that produces yellowish, tangy fruits. As a beautiful garden on a hill in the middle of the city, this is a must-visit in Chongqing. The top of the...
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7 Luohansi St, JieFangBei ShangQuan, Yuzhong Qu, Chongqing Shi, China, 400065
This temple was built over 1,000 years ago and it's still one of the major Buddhist temples in the region. It once housed more than 70 monks, but that number is less these days. I find the most interesting feature of this temple is the...
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Jialing New Rd, Yuzhong Qu, Chongqing Shi, China
American tourists to Chongqing have to visit this museum–non-Americans will find it interesting too, I promise! Major Joseph Stilwell was a famous advisor to the Chinese during the war against Japan. The museum is his former home during this time,...
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106 Baoshi Rd, Yubei Qu, Chongqing Shi, China
You'll probably catch this place on the way into town from the airport, there's an enormous and scary crocodile statue outside. The park offers the usual in animal parks, with a good mix of education and cool animals. The one thing that makes the...
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China, Chongqing Shi, Nanan Qu, NanPing ShangQuan, 珊瑚路2号 邮政编码: 400060
People in Chongqing are going nuts for Nova Venezia, a new Italian restaurant. It's got some great dishes, such as eggplant parmesan, lasagne, gnocchi, and mind-blowing tiramisu. Where Nova really shines is its pizza. It has the widest variety by...
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Changjiang Binjiang Rd, ChaoTianMen, Yuzhong Qu, Chongqing Shi, China
Meaning “Gate Facing Heaven,” Chaotianmen was one of the gates of ancient Chongqing. It's still incredibly important as a harbor to the Yangtze. This is where you can take a cruise up to the Three Gorges Dam. If you're not cruising, it's a great...
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Jianxin S Rd, GuanYinQiao ShangQuan, Jiangbei Qu, Chongqing Shi, China, 400020
This is a very cool new building full of all kinds of entertainment. It has saunas, night clubs, gyms, swimming pools, discos, little shops, and food court full of options. Photo by Baycrest/Wikipedia.
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160 Xinnan Rd, Yubei Qu, Chongqing Shi, China, 401122
This is by far my favorite place to get a cup of coffee in Chongqing. It's such a cozy place to curl up with a drink, and it has free Wi-Fi. If you get bored with the internet, the best part of Bridges Book House is the books. You can browse and...
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1 Huangshan Ave Middle Section, Yubei Qu, Chongqing Shi, China, 401122
Chongqing has an almost–dare I say American–obsession with having the largest things in the world. There's the longest escalator, not particularly exciting. Liangjiang Park has the largest musical fountain in West China with water shows that reach...
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236 Renmin Rd, DaXiGou, Yuzhong Qu, Chongqing Shi, China, 400015
This museum doesn't get particularly crowded, but still has plenty to offer: ancient relics from the Han Dynasty, famous paintings, porcelain, stone rubbings, and money from various dynasties. There are also exhibits from Chongqing’s ancient Ba-Yu...
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Tuwan, Shapingba, Chongqing, China
Da Rasta feels part dive bar, part college bar, part hostel. It stays open quite late, so it's a good bet to swing by after everything else winds down. They have a good beer special and a cheap "brandy" that may not be brandy, but definitely...
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The Grand Theatre was built as Chongqing's answer to the Sydney Opera House, but was greeted with a lukewarm reception. Like other controversial architectural projects, the big green theater was slow to attract fans. Designed by international...
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Yunan Rd Beibei Section, Beibei Qu, Chongqing Shi, China
Bei Wenquan Park is one of the best getaways in Chongqing: It's still in the city and easy to reach by train (take line six). The park has hot springs, and, like most natural hot springs, they're rumored to cure various ailments. They certainly...
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China, Chongqing Shi, Yuzhong Qu, JieFangBei ShangQuan, 民族路166号王府井地王小广场 邮政编码: 400065
Chongqing has been slow to adopt the sprawling neighborhoods of Western cafés and restaurants found in similarly sized cities in China. But when you're hankering for a sandwich and coffee, head to Jiefangbei. In this dense district you'll find the...
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258 Beibin 1st Rd, Jiangbei Qu, Chongqing Shi, China, 400023
Starry Street is the type of massive architecture project that China is becoming increasingly famous for. Conceptualized by 5+ Design, the six-level, 600-meter-long riverfront space houses everything from apartments to an IMAX theater. Notable...
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139 Zhongshan 3rd Rd, Yuzhong Qu, Chongqing Shi, China, 400065
Pangmei Noodle Restaurant is widely considered to have the best beef noodles in Chongqing. And because Sichuan is China's food capitol, this could be the best spot to eat beef noodles in China—maybe the world. Probably not, but if you're like me,...
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168 Bayi Rd, JieFangBei ShangQuan, Yuzhong Qu, Chongqing Shi, China, 400010
Opened as a sort of themed bar to promote Newcastle beer that's licensed and brewed in Chongqing, Newcastle Arms is a fun and jumping spot for both locals and visitors. Keeping with the motif, the servers wear tartan, while the live music tends to...
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222 Xinhua Rd, JieFangBei ShangQuan, Yuzhong Qu, Chongqing Shi, China, 400010
Discover restaurants, recreation, and a destination spa in the heart of downtown Chongqing's financial district, steps from everything.
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Wuyi Rd, JieFangBei ShangQuan, Yuzhong Qu, Chongqing Shi, China, 400010
Chongqing is the birthplace of hot pot, a welcome warming meal on cold winters in the mountain town. E Zhang Men (重庆鹅掌门) is a well-known hot pot chain that might be a good first hot pot for beginners. Its soup base is a little sour but less spicy...
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51 Minquan Rd, JieFangBei ShangQuan, Yuzhong Qu, Chongqing Shi, China, 400065
Ture Color is an upscale nightclub in Chongqing that has no rival. Every table seems to have a bottle of champagne at the elbows of Chongqing's elite, and a nightly performance is simply beyond description. The music is usually some genre of...