Chengdu city center is laid out in a series of concentric circles that fan out and eventually reach the outer
expressway ring roads. This is the heart of China’s fifth-biggest city, but it still has plenty of old-world
charisma – a commodity that’s increasingly difficult to find today in major Chinese cities.
A small river cuts through the central district, marking one of the most attractive areas to book hotels in the city
center. From here, guests enjoy walking tours of the city center, or better yet, they can rent a bicycle from their
hotel or guesthouse and explore the community in local fashion. Chengdu is the type of city that encourages
visitors to stay on an extra day or two, taking second and third trips to the local hot pot restaurant or teahouse.
A key sightseeing district is Jinli Ancient Street. It has been recently redeveloped to capitalize on its
old-world charms, so it has more old-fashioned shops, restaurants and bars than ever before. Those who want to avoid
kitschy Chinese ‘old towns’ are delighted when they see Jinli Ancient Street, which remains true to its roots and
caters to locals rather than package tourists. At the far west end of the street is Wuhou Temple, which is
worth including in a walking tour.
Booking accommodation in the city center is highly recommended, as there’s plenty to do after the sun sets. Visitors
can easily connect to main sites, and in the evening they can take in Sichuan opera performances or stop by a
traditional courtyard restaurant and bar without fretting over public transportation.