Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Suzhou

  • Published 2021/11/10

Suzhou is a city in China that embraces culture, history, and elegance, where thousands of years of artistry dwells.

Situated west of Shanghai in China, this ancient city is a popular attraction for its meandering canals, historic structures, and intricately-designed world heritage gardens.

If you’re looking to spend a weekend getaway in a charming city offering a plethora of exploration opportunities, then Suzhou is the ideal place for your trip.

Curious about what awaits on your trip to the ancient city?

Read on to discover the 15 best things to do on your trip to Suzhou, China.

See the Skyline View of the City at Jinji Lake

Jinji Lake

Weiming Xie /

Jinji Lake is the perfect place if you’re looking for a romantic night out and be surrounded by the serene view of city lights reflecting in the calm waters of the lake.

You can stroll along the walkway to appreciate different views of the city’s skyline or chill on a bench where you can stare at the beauty of the lake for hours.

Jinji Lake

Weiming Xie /

Don’t miss out on the breathtaking light shows at nighttime and the breathtaking Ferris Wheel ride nearby overlooking Jinji Lake.

Jinji Lake is Suzhou’s gem, so make sure to spend the perfect getaway with loved ones at Jinji Lake.

Visit the Famous Humble Administrator’s Garden

If your ideal day trip is to visit one of the beautiful heritage sites in Suzhou to spend a serene time, then stop by the Humble Administrator’s Garden.

The Humble Administrator’s Garden is the largest among other gardens in Suzhou; it is also recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its cultural and historical significance.

There is a number of traditional pavilions and bridges connected along a maze of lakes; you’ll indeed be fascinated by the intricately designed structures built during the Shaoxing Period (1131-1162).

Humble Administrator's Garden

Lukiyanova Natalia frenta /

Marvel on the beautifully-designed garden as you stroll along the well-paved walkways surrounded by the combination of rock formations, seasonal plants, architecture, and calm waters.

Make sure to visit the Humble Administrator’s Garden and don’t miss out on an opportunity to see the beauty of Suzhou’s culture and heritage.

See Classical Chinese Garden Art at Master of the Nets Garden

Master of the Nets Garden

Stefano Zaccaria /

The Master of the Nets Garden is another World Heritage Site located at Gusu District in Suzhou.

Appreciate the beautiful harmony of art, nature, and architecture embodying thousands of artistic, cultural significance.

Interior at Master of the Nets Garden

Dr. Victor Wong /

This hidden gem features classical Chinese garden architecture, abundant greeneries, a pond, and beautifully-curated rock formations.

This garden is worth the visit if you plan to add a short relaxing trip to your itinerary.

Master of the Nets Garden


Try Local Snacks Along the Ancient Shantang Street

Do you want to get to know more about the city’s history and people?

Then, make sure to spend a day strolling along Shantang Street, located in the northwest of Gusu District in Suzhou.

A walk along the scenic seven-mile street is filled with more than a thousand years of rich history.

This riverside street lies on the banks of Shantang River, boasting a calm river meandering along the bustling Shantang Street.

Shantang Street

Meiqianbao /

Wander along the street lined with historic structures, such as ancestral temples, memorial archways, guild halls, and a few modern buildings, for a quick snap back to modern times.

Experience more of Suzhou culture through your taste buds, so make sure to grab some local snacks, like the delightful pan-fried bun, sweet and sour mandarin fish, and so much more.

Enjoy the reflection of beautiful lights on a night’s stroll or get acquainted with the locals during the day, so make sure to include a walk to Shantang Street on your trip to Suzhou.

Spend a Tranquil Time at the Lingering Garden

If you can’t get enough of the beautiful sceneries offered by gardens in Suzhou, don’t forget to visit the Lingering Garden along Liuyuan Road.

Also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Lingering Garden is one of the popular tourist attractions in Suzhou with its captivating scenery and architecture.

Lingering Garden

walkdragon /

Built during the Ming Dynasty in 1593, this garden boasts a magnificent ensemble of historic Qing-style structures.

You can walk along a covered walkway that will lead you to the exquisite pavilions, towers, and rock formations.

Make sure to make the most out of your trip to Suzhou by visiting the famous Lingering Garden.

Hear About Some of Suzhou’s Legends at Tiger Hill

If you’re planning a day trip filled with stories and experiences, make sure to spend a day discovering the history of Tiger Hill.

The first stop should be one of the cultural symbols in the city, the Tiger Hill Pagoda or the Yunyan Ta.

This 7-story pagoda stands with 2,500 years of history, sometimes coined as the ‘Leaning Tower of Pisa in China’ for its 4-degree tilt towards the north.

Tiger Hill Pagoda

Thewaylsee /

You’ll be fascinated with the intricate design of this 8-sided tower, so make sure to snap some selfies with the magnificent structure.

Make sure to stop by other scenic spots, like the Thousand People Rock, located at the bottom of the leaning tower, or learn about the legend of the extraordinarily sharp sword leaving a cleaved sword-testing rock.

You can also stop by the Wanjing Villa to marvel at magnificent bonsais, see the Spring of Simplicity and Honesty, or visit the Sword Pond, where 3,000 swords are believed to have been buried.

There are a lot of tourist spots just located in Tiger Hill, so your day trip will be filled with learning about Suzhou’s legends and great experiences.

Experience a Hearty Visual Feast Watching the Historic Kunqu Opera

Kunqu Opera

Jack.Q /

Enjoying an ancient performance is one of the must-do when visiting Suzhou.

Appreciate the graceful movements of talented Kunqu Opera performers showcasing traditional music, delicate stories, and refined actions.

Kunqu Opera

Teow Cek Chuan /

The Kunqu Opera is listed as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO; it represents the traditional performing arts and reflects the rich artistic culture of Suzhou.

You can watch Kunqu Opera in any local teahouses or theaters, so make sure to catch a show for a hearty highlight on your trip to Suzhou.

Stroll along the Historic Pingjiang Road

An ideal trip to Suzhou means having to stroll along its historic streets and getting to know the community, so head out to Pingjiang Road for a unique experience on your trip.

Pingjiang Road is located in the northeast of the ancient city; it is a historical street that features well-preserved structures meandering along the Bai Ta Dong Lu and the Ganjiang Canal.

Pingjiang Road

Ilias Kouroudis /

You can try plenty of local delicacies and grab some traditional souvenirs to commemorate your stay in Suzhou.

If taking a long walk seems daunting to you, there are gondolas in the canal that will take you on a short trip around Pingjiang Road for relaxed sightseeing.

A stroll along Pingjiang Road is another memorable experience that you should never miss out on, so make sure to snap some selfies in the quaint alleys along the picturesque canals.

Discover the Ancient Art of Silk Production at Suzhou Silk Museum

A culturally-rich city like the ancient city of Suzhou has a lot of ancient craft practices to boast.

Learn about the cultural history of silk production at Suzhou Silk Museum that showcases documents of silk history, ancient silk patterns, old looms, and silk-making demonstrations.

Suzhou Silk Production

Hung Chung Chih /

History buffs and art enthusiasts will surely appreciate the intricacy of ancient silk making and enjoy a lot of historical facts in the area, and you can also buy some silk from their gift shop to bring home a piece of traditionally-made silk.

Don’t forget to include the Suzhou Silk Museum in your itinerary to discover more about the culture in Suzhou.

Go on a Short, Peaceful Hike at Lingyan Mountain

Lingyan Temple

Jikai.Z /

If you’re looking for a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, then you should visit the historic Lingyan Mountain.

A short steep hike along a tree-lined walkway will lead you to several attractions in the park, like numerous Buddhist temples, ancient towers, Wugong ruins, and pavilions.

The climb to the peak may seem daunting for some, but it’s definitely worth it once you see the breathtaking views of Suzhou.

A trip to Lingyan Mountain will fill your trip with peace and serenity, surrounded by the beautiful landscape of the place.

Lingyan Mountain

NG-Spacetime /

Visit the Zhouzhuang Water Town

Zhouzhuang Water Town

Weiming Xie /

Experience Venice in China only at the Zhouzhuang Water Town and explore the town on a gondola ride.

Another popular destination is the Zhouzhuang Water Town, located southeast of Suzhou’s city center.

This water town will amaze you with the scenic views of the meandering canal along the line of ancient residential houses connected by a few beautifully-designed bridges.

Gondola ride in Zhouzhuang

anek.soowannaphoom /

Architecture enthusiasts will surely appreciate the intricate designs of well-preserved houses sitting in the town.

You can also visit the Chengxu Temple in Zhouzhuang or grab some hearty local snacks like the famous Wansan pork or the Sanwei Glutinous rice balls.

A trip to the ancient city wouldn’t be complete without visiting the scenic town of Zhouzhuang.

Appreciate Natural Rock Formations at Lion Grove Garden

Another heritage site in Suzhou listed by UNESCO is the Lion Grove Garden, located along Yuanlin Road.

If you want to spend a day trip on a tranquil escapade, the Lion Grove Garden is the idyllic destination in Suzhou.

Lion Grove Garden

Travel-Fr /

Stroll along the garden’s walkways featuring different sights of the central pond, ancient structures, and lush greeneries.

The Lion Grove Garden holds thousands of history upon its establishment in 1342; it is famous for the large, labyrinthine grotto of Taihu rocks with a shape resembling a lion.

Make the most out of your trip by taking a guided tour where you can learn about the legend of Lion Grove Garden.

Explore the Suzhou Taihu National Wetland Park

The Suzhou Taihu National Wetland Park is ideal for some outdoor fun that you should never miss on your trip to Suzhou.

This national park features a scenic view of the pristine Taihu Lake surrounded by lush trees.

A day trip to Suzhou Taihu National Wetland Park is ideal for families traveling together to do fun activities.

You can explore the scenic park, meet friendly native animals in their habitats, and participate in educational activities about the environment.

Make sure to prepare your photography skills because you’ll surely appreciate the breathtaking views around the park.

Learn About Suzhou’s Rich Cultural History at Suzhou Museum

Suzhou Museum

WaitForLight /

A trip to Suzhou wouldn’t be complete without learning about its roots and the ancient city’s progress towards modern times.

The Suzhou Museum is home to many ancient Chinese arts like paintings, calligraphy, silk, and traditional handmade crafts.

You can have a glimpse of thousands of years of history all inside the Suzhou Museum.

Suzhou Museum

Weiming Xie /

Aside from the exhibits, you’ll also appreciate the traditional Chinese architecture of the building and beautiful landscaping.

A tour around the museum is free, and you can reserve ahead to skip the queue, so don’t miss out on an opportunity to see the incredible artistry in Suzhou.

Climb to the Top of Ruiguang Tower

Ruiguang Tower /

This hidden gem in Suzhou is one of the earliest pagodas built in China, standing since 247 CE.

Located in the Panmen Scenic Area, the Ruiguang Tower stands with thousands of years of history.

You can climb up to the seventh floor of the tower, where you’ll be welcomed by the view overlooking the old city.

This place is not overly crowded, so you have the chance to have a peaceful stroll along the meandering waterways teeming with lush gardens and beautiful temples.

Escape the hustle and bustle of downtown Suzhou and head out for a quick escape at Ruiguang Tower.

Ruiguang pagoda park

Amehime /

Final Thoughts

Suzhou is one of the best places in the world, offering unique experiences and fantastic exploration opportunities.

If you’re planning a trip to Suzhou, make sure to reference this list and visit every beautiful destination on your itinerary.

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