Sights in the old city, Shenhe District, can be walked between, but other areas such as those in Beiling or Dongling require transport.
The first line of the Shenyang Metro runs east-west across the city and serves the train station. The second line runs north-south.
Shenyang has a comprehensive bus system, but it can be incomprehensible if you do not read Chinese. Make sure you pick up a city bus and area map at either train station. Very handy to help get around. Buses charge ¥1-2 and major bus lines congregate around the train stations. Bus 203 travels between the two train stations.
There are plenty of taxis whose meters start at ¥8 for 3 kilometers, then ¥1.8 per kilometer. Make sure you get a taxi in which the meter is mounted on the dashboard and easily visible from your seat instead of behind the gear shift – it is possible the driver may be pulling some sleight of hand to increase your fare.
- Mukden Palace(故宫 Gugong), Shenyang Rd, Shenhe District (Bus 222 or 213 can take you there for ¥1).Former Imperial Palace – First built in 1625 for Nurhachi, and inherited by his son Abahai (Huang Taiji), the Former Imperial Palace of Shenyang is one of two royal complexes extent in China today. The splendid and distinctly ethnic Manchu architectural style of the palace, which includes Dazheng (Grand Politics) Hall, the Ten Princes’ Pavillion, Chongzhen (Golden Chimes), Phoenix Chamber and Qingning (Pure Tranquility) Pavillion, are still in perfect shape. On Saturday afternoons during the summer, the palace is the venue for a grand Imperial procession. This is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site alongside the palace in Beijing. It is also an AAAA rated tourist site on the Chinese national scale. A guidebook is available in English at the ticket office, priced ¥25, which provides a detailed explanation of the exhibits. This fascinating palace contains finer details compared to the one in Beijing, such as the exquisitely handcrafted detailed carving and painting, which are still clear after four centuries. The throne room in Chongzheng Hall has incredibly detailed scrollwork -even the columns circled by the watchful dragons and on the throne. The palace also shows a significant influence from the nomadic heritage of its builders in the cold Manchuria. ¥60 as of Dec 2013.
- Zhaoling(昭陵), Beiling Jie, Huanggu District (In the center of Beiling Park, about 1 km from the S entrance of the Park). This is the tomb of the second Qing emperor, Huang Taiji, and his consorts. It was built over a period of eight years during the mid 17th century. The buildings are currently covered with scaffolding as renovation work is undertaken. The site is a unique blend of traditional Manchu and Chinese architecture. The area is listed, along with the other imperial tombs of the Ming and Qing dynasty, as a UNESCO world heritage site and a AAAA rated tourist site on the Chinese national scale. It is one of only three imperial tombs north of the Great Wall of China. Around the tomb is set out the extensive lands of Beiling Park which includes large areas of forest and several lakes. 1 Apr- 31 Oct ¥60, other months¥30, two additional halls ¥20, park entrance ¥6, all together in off season is ¥50.
- Fuling(福陵), Dongling Rd, Dongling District (Buses 148 and 168 go here from the north station in about 1 hour). This is the first tomb of the Qing Dynasty in which Nu’erhachi, the founder of the dynasty, is laid to rest. It dates to the early 17th century and is constructed in traditional Manchu style along lines of Chinese fengshui. The area is listed, along with the other imperial tombs of the Ming and Qing dynasty, as a UNESCO world heritage site and a AAAA rated tourist site on the Chinese national scale. It is one of only 3 imperial tombs north of the great wall of China. To the east of the tomb site a large area of park land forms Dongling Park. Bus stop name is 东陵公园 ¥30.
- North, East, South and West Pagodas(北塔 Beita, 南塔 Nanta, 东塔 Dongta, 西塔 Xita), (The west pagoda is in the courtyard of a temple in the Korean quarter, whereas the other three are surrounded by small parks). Built in the 1640’s and now restored to close to original, these four pagodas stand each about 4km north, south, east and west of the Imperial Palace that was the centre of the old city. Each pagoda is almost identical to the others but the north and south pagodas are in the best condition today. Free.
- Mao Zedong’s Statue(毛泽东塑像), Zhongshan Sq, Heping District (25 km from the south train station). This is the largest statue of Mao Zedong in china. Around the base of the statue are images of workers, peasants and soldiers in heroic poses. The square is a popular place for locals to relax. Also called ‘Taxi Square’ by the locals. Free.
- Liaoning Provincial Museum(辽宁省博物馆), 26 Shiwei Rd, Shenhe district (On the E side of Government Sq beside Liaoning Theatre), ☎ +86 24 22821903.Until 16:00. A high-quality museum featuring Liaoning history from the stone age to the Qing dynasty, with many relics of China’s past found in the area (3rd floor). Also houses large collections of Chinese traditional art and calligraphy, plus temporary exhibitions. There may be queues to enter during main public holidays. Closed on Mondays. Free.
- Liaoning Industrial Exhibition Hall(沈阳铸造博物馆), Hunnan District (Near Olympic Stadium).
- 18 Memorial Museum.At 22:30 on 18 September 1931, a bomb exploded beside the Japanese run railway line near Shenyang. Though instigated by the Japanese, the Chinese were blamed for the event giving the Japanese an excuse to invade and occupy the whole of the northeast of China. Shenyang was the epicenter of that invasion, so it is most appropriate that the museum for the ‘9.18 Incident’, as it is known, is in Shenyang next to the spot where the explosion occurred. The museum, as one would expect, depicts the incident from a Chinese perspective. It is not for the faint of heart because it unflinchingly displays the atrocities of war. Only the main descriptions are available in English, but it’s enough to follow the course of events. The pictures and exhibits speak for themselves, anyway. Free.
- Shengjing Ancient Cultural Street(盛京古文化街), Shenyang Rd (Outside the Imperial Palace). Shenjing is the old name for Shenyang during the 17th century – jing meaning capital city. This street tries to recreate the architectural styles of the time. It is however only a facard over the front of relatively modern 20th century structures within which a variety of tourist orientated shops operate. Free.
- Shenyang Horticultural Exposition Garden(2006中国沈阳世界园艺博览会), Dongling District (18 km E of the north train station, about 5 km further E than Dongling Park, buses from the south bus station going to Fushun City will stop outside the park, bus 168 takes you to the park for ¥5 from Maluwan). This is the site of the 2006 International Horticultural Exposition. One of Shenyang’s main tourist attractions, it continues to operate though the expo has officially ended. It features international gardens reminiscent of Epcot Center in Disney World in the U.S, (the amusement park is really awesome compared to the gardens, which includes a roller coaster and many other fun activities!). It also features gardens for different provinces and cities within China and the expo’s most recognizable feature, the Lily Tower, a massive structure inspired by its namesake flower (for ¥30, you can take an elevator to the top of this magnificent structure). Before its transformation to the Expo Gardens, this was once the much humbler Botanical Gardens. It opens in the spring and closes in October. Most of the signs are in English and Chinese. ¥35.
- Former residence museum of Zhang Xueliang(Marshal Zhang’s Mansion), S Shuaifu Ln, Shenhe District (A short walk south from the Imperial Palace). This was the home of Zhang Zuolin and his son Zhang Xueliang during the end years of the Qing dynasty and the beginning of the Republic. Zhang became, with the fall of the Qing Emperor, the warlord in control of the northeast of China and for a short time was proclaimed president of China.
- Steam Locomotive Museum(蒸汽机车博物馆), 64 Zhonggong Bei Jie, Teixi District, ☎ +86 24 81270010. Housing 15 historical locomotives and 3 duplicated historical locomotives. It is the biggest steam locomotive museum in China.
- Shen-air Museum(沈飞航空博览园), Lingdong Jie, Huanggu District (At NE corner of Beiling Park next to Beiling Airport), ☎ +86 24 86599602. 08:30-16:30 daily.Beiling airport is the site where China produced it’s first modern jet aircraft in the early 1950’s. These were initially copies of Soviet MIG fighters but gradually Chinese designs developed. A strong focus is placed on comparing Chinese and American aircraft, in particular those involved in the Korean War of the 50’s. They also tell the history of Chinese missile development and other technologies. Civilian aircraft were also produced here and feature in the exhibits. The tour finishes with the modern J-11 fighter, China’s new passenger aircraft (ACAC ARJ21 Xiangfeng or Flying Phoenix) and the recent Chinese space flights. This is an AAAA rated site on China’s national tourist scale. ¥25.
- Xinle Site Museum,Huanggu District (Just off of Huanghenan Dajie on the W side of Beiling Park). On this location were found the remains of a 7,000-year old, stone age, village. A museum now houses the archaeological finds and the village has been reconstructed. The site is in two sections. The ticket office is on the north side of the road. You will then be directed across to the museum on the south side to view the display before returning to the north side again to enter the reconstruction area. Displays are labeled in both Chinese and English and the site is rated AAA on China’s national tourist scale. Use subway line 2 and exit at Xinle stop. The provincial museum has a large section on local stone age cultures that also contains relics from this site. ¥20.
- City walls,Shenyang Lu. The original city walls of Shenyang were destroyed in the 1950’s. Some small sections have been reconstructed to give an impression of the former city. These remains consist of two gates, Huaiyuanmen and Fujinmen, at either end of Shenyang Lu.
- The old Longkou Wine Museum(老龙口 laolongkou), Xiao Dong Lu. A small museum beside the Laolongkou distillery tells the history of Baiju production on the site which dates to the early 17th century. The display includes old maps and photographs of the area. Equipment used in the wine production and a collection of old bottles, labels and trademarks used by the company. Free entry.
- Royal Ocean World(皇家极地海洋世界; Huángjiājídehǎiyángshìjiè), Wanghua District (抚顺高湾(沈吉高速抚顺西出口)) (Off the Shenfu Hwy midway between Shenyang and Fushun. From Fushun take bus No.811. A taxi from Fushun city will cost ¥30-40 (negotiable). Bus No.2 from Shenyang South railway station or No.3 from Shenyang North railway station on route to Fushun stop on the Expressway near the park. Bus fare ¥10), ☎ +86 41 3611 8888 or +86 24 8271 1236 (email@example.com, fax: +86 41 3620 1660 or +86 24 8271 1239). Opened in 2008 and still under expansion, this claims to be the biggest aquarium in Asia. Currently there are four displays open. The Ocean World display contains sea and fresh water aquariums filled with all manor of aquatic life. The Century Forest display focuses on reptiles. There is also the Narnian Castle which is a theatre where animal shows are performed several times throughout the day (show times may vary throughout the year). Lastly there is Susu world, a soft play centre for children. Each of these displays can be purchased separately or on a combined ticket. Beside this site, in late 2009, Asia’s largest water park will open, featuring swimming pools, water flumes and other water activities. ¥70-140.
- Happy Family (兴隆大家庭 xīng lóng dà jiā ting).The Happy Family Mall (in Tiexi) has an indoor ice rink with skates you can rent and occassional specials on teachers. The other Happy Family Mall (Zhongjie) also has an ice rink (opened in 2013) and a roller rink.
There are three ski resort areas within Shenyang prefecture.
Northeast Asia Ski Resort (东北亚滑雪场 Dongbeiya Huaxue Chang), Magang, Xingchengzi District (28 km /17 mi outside of Shenyang). With 700,000 m² of skiing area, this is the biggest ski resort. Daytime skiing ¥135 for two hours and night skiing is ¥125. Discounts for groups of 15 or more are available..
Baiqingzhai Ski Field (白清寨滑雪场), Sujiatun District (40 km/25 mi out). The site includes a freestyle aerial skiing and off-piste areas. Total area is 530,000 m².Daytime skiing ¥135 for two hours and night skiing is ¥120. Discounts for groups of 15 or more are available.
Qipanshan Ice and Snow World (棋盘山冰雪大世界), (20 km outside, take bus 330), ☎ +86 24 88050020, 22723117 (fax: +86 24 22734066). 09:00-22:00 daily, winter only. Within Qipanshan Scenic Area and covering an area of 500,000 m². Daytime skiing ¥150 for two hours and night skiing is ¥130. Discounts for groups of 15 or more are available.