Dalian is a huge coastal city filled with lots to see and do. It is easy to find something to do on the weekends. A few weeks after we got to Dalian, we threw a surprise birthday party for Andrew at KTV. KTV is Chinese karaoke and it is a pretty big deal in China. KTV’s can be found all over Dalian. You can rent a private room for your group for anywhere from a few hours to overnight. For Andrew’s party, we spent three hours at a KTV close to campus. We brought a cake from a local bakery and we sang a mix of American and Chinese songs.
Along with visiting KTV, another place that’s fun to check out on the weekend is Xinghai Park. This park is on the beach so take a blanket and enjoy the sand and sun! It doesn’t cost to get into the park but it has several attractions that you can pay to do. You can bungee jump, zip line, ride a Ferris wheel, and visit an aquarium here. You can also buy some beach theme souvenirs here like key chains and wind chimes made out of seashells.
My favorite place in Dalian was the Dalian Forrest Zoo. The zoo is very large but it’s a great place to spend the day. The zoo has tons of animals and you get the opportunity to feed and pet zebras, giraffes, llamas, camels, tigers, bears, monkeys, lemurs, kangaroos, and wolves. The best part of the zoo was getting to see Giant Panda’s. The zoo has a panda pavilion with three pandas, and dozens of red pandas. Out of all the places I’ve visited in Dalian, I definitely recommend that everyone visit the zoo.
Since Dalian is such a big city that means it has many places to shop. Finding a mall in Dalian is easy because they are everywhere! Great places to shop are Wanda Plaza, Peace Plaza, Olympic Square, Xi’an Road, and Victory Plaza. These are good starting points. Victory Plaza is an underground shopping mall right by the railway station. You can find several different malls around here. One of the best places to shop for practically anything you need is the night market on Xi’an Road. It opens around 9pm and is open until 3 am. There are many different vendors selling anything from scarves to fruit and everything in between. The prices at the night market are usually pretty cheap but you can bargain with most vendors to get an even better price.
The Roosevelt Center in Xi’an Road
Being surrounded by Chinese food, you will eventually miss a taste of home. Dalian has several good western food restaurants like Brooklyn (great pizza’s and milkshakes), Unome (best pasta I’ve had in China), and Euro-Bake (best place for breads and pizza’s). Dalian also has an IKEA. I’ve never visited IKEA before coming to Dalian but it’s definitely worth a visit! I recommend going there on the weekend for lunch and then looking around the showroom afterwards. If you visit, I definitely recommend the Swedish Meatballs! You can find many little things at IKEA to make China feel like home. After IKEA, you can take a short walk to an import store called METRO. If you go to Metro, I would advise you to bring a Chinese friend with you. Metro requires a membership to go to but your Chinese friend can ask for a visitor pass. Metro is definitely the place to visit if you are looking for food from home. There are other stores that have good import sections like Carrefour and Walmart but Metro definitely has the best selection. You can find chocolate, chips, soups, tortillas, baby bell cheese, Starbucks Frappuccino’s, and pepperoni. Metro is about a 30 minutes away from campus by bus so it’s not really somewhere you would grocery shop at on a regular basis. There is a grocery store within walking distance from campus so you will be able to get most things there. Don’t be afraid to try something new while in China. I’ve found that I do not understand most of the things sold in Chinese grocery stores, but it’s pretty fun to grab a random item here and there to see what it really is.
Pizza at Brooklyn
Swedish Meatballs at IKEA