Macau at Dawn | Source: Unsplash
Introduction of Macau
Welcome to Macau, a tireless, fascinating city nestled snugly on the southeastern coast of Guangdong province in China that is fondly dubbed as the "Las Vegas of Asia".
Macau is infamous for its glitzy casinos, rambunctious nightlife, and a beguiling mishmash of cultures owing to its Portuguese colonial past and Chinese heritage.
But Macau has so much more to offer than just its swanky gambling scene. It's a compact melting pot of experiences, effortlessly blending the historical with the conventional, all the while captivating visitors with its splendid architecture, heavenly cuisine, and an array of sights to see.
Whether you're an adventurous soul seeking new experiences in the Pearl River Delta expanse, a culture enthusiast eager to uncover the gems of Macau's formation, or a food lover keen to savor a miscellany of Chinese-Portuguese dishes, there are things to do in Macau for every traveler (especially casino lovers!).
To that end, we'll highlight the twenty best things to do in Macau, including some attractions you would never have assumed could be found amid the high-roller nightclubs and gorgeous ocean views. Without any further ado, let's get right into it!
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20 Best Things to Do in Macau
Within the surprisingly dynamic tapestry of Macau's confines, a wealth of experiences lies in store for you, however long you plan to stay.
Your journey begins at the Ruins of St. Paul's, an iconic facade that echoes centuries of history, followed by a laidback stroll through Senado Square, where the combination of Portuguese and Chinese influences creates a captivating atmosphere for any visitors.
Later, you can immerse yourself in tradition at the A-Ma Temple, the oldest one in Macau, before ascending the Macau Tower for a breathtaking panorama and heart-pounding bungee jump (not for the weak at heart!).
The Venetian Macau soon beckons you with its grandeur, combining high-end shopping, gondola rides, and casino ware in a Venetian-inspired oasis. Just be careful how much you decide to drop in your baccarat game!
If you're seeking a deeper connection with Macau's roots, however, the Macao Museum proposes a compelling narrative, while Coloane Island gives you a serene escape to Hac Sa Beach and the A-Ma Cultural Village.
Taipa Village, on the other hand, captures the lively spirit of Macau's cultural mix via its historic streets and flavorful local snacks.
Adrenaline junkies and motorsport enthusiasts alike will relish the Macau Grand Prix Museum's iconic race car exhibits, while Fisherman's Wharf presents an amusing blend of themed zones designated for shopping and plush dining options.
Historical and scientific enthusiasts are also catered for, with the inclusion of the Guia Fortress and the Macau Science Center, a modern hub of scientific exploration, rendering it a terrific option for family visits.
Wine enthusiasts can also imbibe in some history at the Macau Wine Museum, while the Macau Eiffel Tower at The Parisian Macao provides you with an exquisite finale, capturing the fiery spirit of France amid Macau's gripping skylines.
These are just a sliver of the 20 best things to do in Macau, and they form a vibrant mosaic of experiences for you to enjoy, whether as a solo traveler or traveling with family. Below are some detailed descriptions for your reference, in no particular order.
1. Explore the Ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral
St. Paul's Cathedral, Macau | Source: Trip.com
Located in the Santo António area on the Macau Peninsula, the Ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral is one of the iconic landmarks in Macau that presents a hauntingly beautiful spectacle. The remains from this 16th-century church allow you to explore the intricate façade and enjoy panoramic views of the city.
The church's blend of Christian and Asian motifs adorning the façade is a testament to Macau's rich cultural heritage. Entrance to this site is free, and it opens 24/7, making it a must-see destination for history enthusiasts and photography aficionados alike.
Chinese characters alongside icons from the past reflect the city's harmonious coexistence between Eastern and Western civilization, exemplifying Macau's historical role as a vibrant crossroads of cultures. As far as first impressions go, this site is a perfect start to immerse yourself in the authentic Macanese experience.
2. Enjoy the Rustic Charm of Senado Square
Senado Square, Macau | Source: Trip.com
At the heart of the Macau Peninsula in Sé, Senado Square is a lively center of activity that offers plenty of opportunities for tourists to admire its impressive array of colonial architecture, especially if one is interested in European-style architecture in the vicinity.
What's more, you can buy some keepsakes for your loved ones by perusing the many souvenir shops that line the square while sampling the delicious local snacks available during your Macau food crawl. Egg rolls and Portuguese egg tarts alike will undoubtedly draw you back for more!
One of the first things you'll notice in Senado Square is its wave-patterned mosaic ground, which adds a unique touch to the square's charm. This elaborate design is not only visually stunning but also holds significant historical value.
The square is a tribute to the artistry of the traditional Portuguese pavement that is famous for its iconic sidewalks throughout Portugal. The mosaic serves as an ingenious representation of the strong ties that bind Macau to its Portuguese colonial heritage, thereby adding an additional layer of charm to the square's bustling atmosphere.
Anyone is free to explore Senado Square at their own leisure, as it is accessible 24/7. With its rustic blend of culture and bustling commerce, it's no wonder that this vibrant hub is hard to resist for so many travelers.
3. Breath in the Sea Air at A-Ma Temple
A-Ma Temple, Macau | Source: Trip.com
Located in São Lourenço, the A-Ma Temple stands tall as the oldest temple in Macau. It was built in veneration of the goddess for seafarers, thus getting its name. This sacred site attracts many visitors to its prayer halls with the promise of remarkable sea views from its hilltop position.
A-Ma Temple holds a special place in the hearts of the locals, not merely serving as a place of worship but also acting as the source of inspiration for Macau's name.
When Portuguese sailors sailed to shore and inquired about the name of the land, the locals misunderstood them and assumed they were referring to the temple itself. Over time, the term "A-Ma-Gau" (A-Ma Temple) evolved into "Macau," and the temple remains a testament to the city's maritime roots.
Admission to A-Ma Temple is free, and you can visit it anytime between 7:00AM and 6:00PM. The sanctuary is one of the places in Macau if you are keen on learning more about its maritime history and spiritual practices. Plus, nothing beats the fresh sea air, so you can experience it atop its walls!
4. Get Your Adrenaline Rush at Macau Tower
Macau Temple, Macau | Source: Trip.com
The Macau Tower is the landmark of the city. Its observation deck offers a glorious view of the cityscape. At the same time, the succinctly titled 'Skywalk X' provides a distinctive perspective for those unafraid of heights.
And for the intrepid, the tower serves as a premier destination for bungee jumping. Nothing beats the rush of taking a plunge from atop the world's highest commercial bungee jumping spot with the Macau Peninsula in your eyesight.
Apart from its appeal as a viewing point and bungee site, Macau Tower is also an impressive feat of human ingenuity. With a stunning design towering at a height of 338 meters (1,109 feet), it is still one of the tallest self-supporting structures to be found anywhere in the world. And while you are there, it will be pretty hard to run short on things to do in Macau.
Admission to the observation deck starts at US$22, and the tower operates daily from 10:00AM to 9:00PM, so daredevils and sightseers alike can take the plunge (no pun intended) and cross it off of their bucket list in Macau.
5. Go All in at the Venetian Macau
The Venetian Macau, Cotai Strip, Macau | Source: Trip.com
Situated on the Cotai Strip, The Venetian Macau is an internationally-known entertainment destination that always comes highly rated for any first-timers of the city, as it covers a wide range of things to do in Macau.
A relaxing stroll through the Grand Canal's shopping area is one of the best things to do in Macau on a sunny morning before indulging in a gondola ride. Once night falls, you can partake in the casino's gaming offerings if your wallet is so inclined.
With the distinction of being the largest casino in the world, the Venetian boasts over 3,400 slot machines and 800 gambling tables for gamesters.
To some, it's a haven for those seeking their fortune. For others, the resort's intricate Venetian-themed architecture and stunning canals evoke the ambiance of the romantic Italian city that gives its name.
Needless to say, as a casino, The Venetian Macau's amenities and room service are available 24/7. Anyone staying there can enjoy a seamless blend of luxury, entertainment, and excitement in a whole package.
6. Get Closer to Harmony at the Macau Museum of Art
Macau Museum Of Art, Macau | Source: Trip.com
Art lovers can rejoice in the Macau Museum of Art's extensive collection of Chinese and Western art pieces, giving visitors the opportunity to observe the city's leading artistic features and notable designs.
In addition, the museum's architecture is largely inspired by the traditional Chinese design philosophy centering on Feng Shui, which is a marvel to behold, harmoniously blending the modern and cultural elements into a cohesive unity.
The museum is located on Macau's Xi'an Xinghai Avenue, and admission costs US$5. You can stop by for a visit from 10:00AM to 7:00PM every day of the week except for Mondays.
7. Amble Around Taipa Village
View in the Taipa Village, Macau | Source: Trip.com
Located on Taipa Island, Taipa Village is a welcome respite after a day or two wandering in the bustling city. The local cuisine, the narrow streets, and the charming art spaces all lend themselves to being one of the best things to do in Macau on a quaint afternoon's exploration.
The village's unique atmosphere results from the Portuguese influence, which is more than evident in the pastel-hued buildings you can spot anywhere around here.
With each business in the village offering varying operating hours (though most operate between 09:00AM to 6:00PM), Taipa Village grants you a leisurely exploration of Macau's multicultural essence any time you want.
8. Unwind at Coloane Village
Coloane Island, Macau | Source: Trip.com
Offering a similar experience to Taipa Village, Coloane Village, situated on Coloane Island, is another serene retreat for tourists. The village boasts pristine black sand beaches (yes, you heard that right), providing a tranquil yet unique visual feast.
The beaches aren't just a source of relaxation, however, they also hold ecological significance. Hac Sa Beach, with its unique black sand, is a result of the mineral-rich volcanic soil native to the area.
This natural phenomenon adds a tinge of mystery to the seaside and serves as a reminder of Macau's geological diversity despite its modest size.
During your stay, why not check out the Chapel of St. Francis Xavier and Matsu Cultural Village and add them to your list of things to do in Macau while indulging in some fine local cuisine? The village's establishments operate on different schedules, so feel free to explore at your own pace.
9. Ascend the Guia Fortress and Lighthouse
Guia Fortress, Macau | Source: Trip.com
The Guia Fortress and Lighthouse in São Lázaro offer an insightful historical journey within its unique confines. A 17th-century military fortress probably wouldn't be one of the first things to do in Macau that comes to mind, but it is well worth visiting.
You can explore the intricate military complex and ascend to the top of the lighthouse for a fantastic view on a clear day while picking up some valuable tidbits into Macau's past.
It's worth noting that the lighthouse, dating back to 1864, is the oldest of its kind in China and one of the oldest buildings to be found in Macau.
Admission to the fortress and lighthouse is US$3, and opening hours are from 9:00AM to 6:00PM, making it an ideal afternoon pit stop for history enthusiasts and sightseers, especially on a clear, bright day.
As an aged sentinel overlooking the city, the Guia Lighthouse is proof of Macau's enduring resilience and evolution that have witnessed the city's transformation throughout the centuries.
10. Get One Step Closer to Enlightenment at the Macau Science Center
Macau Science Center, Macau | Source: Trip.com
Situated on Avenida Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, the Macau Science Center is a veritable sanctuary for inquisitive minds. Filled with interactive exhibits, the center includes an impressive planetarium, making it a terrific destination through interactive learning and one of the best things to do in Macau for those traveling with children.
The Macau Science Center's lotus-inspired façade also exudes an air of sophistication. The lotus, revered in Eastern cultures for its purity and growth from murky waters, represents the unwavering pursuit of knowledge and enlightenment, making its inclusion in the building's design all the more appropriate.
This architectural nuance reflects the Science Center's mission to foster curiosity and scientific exploration among visitors of all ages. Admission fees start at US$5, and the center is open from 10:00AM to 6:00PM, except for Thursdays when it's closed.
11. Speed Things Up at the Macau Grand Prix Museum
Macau Grand Prix Museum, Macau | Source: Trip.com
Located in the Sé district, the Grand Prix Museum is a distinguished institution that celebrates Macau's illustrious racing heritage. The museum boasts an impressive collection of race cars, trophies, and memorabilia, providing an immersive experience commemorating the city's passion for motorsport.
Even those with a casual interest in motorsport will find value while visiting the Grand Prix Museum. Since its inception in 1954, Macau's Grand Prix has been one of the most intimidating street circuits globally, attracting renowned drivers and teams worldwide.
The museum's collection of relics pays homage to the event's long line of history, solidifying Macau's position as a leading destination on the global motorsport map for racing enthusiasts.
Admission to the museum is priced at just US$2, and it's open from 10:00AM to 6:00PM every day of the week except Tuesdays.
12. Travel the World Inside Fisherman's Wharf
Fisherman's Wharf, Macau | Source: Trip.com
Fisherman's Wharf is a captivating entertainment complex on the Macau Peninsula that offers a diverse range of shopping-related things to do in Macau.
The complex contains themed sections representing cultures from around the world; try to spot your home country while engaging in some international shopping, and enjoying the wide array of excellent seafood on offer will make you feel right at home.
Each themed section within the complex is meticulously constructed to transport you to a different cultural pocket of the world. From the romantic trappings of New Orleans to the mystique of Ancient Rome, Fisherman's Wharf embodies the lighthearted spirit of cultural exploration, providing a unique blend of escapism within the borders of Macau.
The outdoor areas of the complex are accessible 24/7, while indoor attractions follow varying schedules (generally from 10:00AM to 6:00PM), thereby providing a comprehensive (and air-conditioned) global experience for a relaxing afternoon in Macau.
13. Embrace Your Inner Sommelier with Wine Tasting at Macau Wine Museum
Macau Wine Museum, Macau | Source: Wikimedia commons
Among all the things to do in Macau, wine tasting surely tops the list. What could be better than sampling a diverse selection of wine while learning about the rich history of winemaking?
These guided tastings not only bring you closer to your inner sommelier, the museum's location lies within an 18th-century fortress that effortlessly blends the past with the present, making it even more sophisticated than your wildest imagination.
Admission to the museum is priced at US$5, open to visitors from 10:00AM to 6:00PM, and close on Tuesdays.
Beyond its obvious appeal to wine aficionados, the Macau Wine Museum is a valuable historical resource, providing insight into the layered colonial past of Macau and its substantial role in maritime trade and cultural exchange.
14. Experience Black Sand at Hac Sa Beach
Hac Sa Beach, Macau | Source: Wikimedia commons
Situated on the aforementioned Coloane Island, Hac Sa Beach never ceases to wow visitors with its distinctive black coastline, where it remains one of the things to do in Macau for leisure.
Its relaxing shores provide a respite from Macau's urban hustle, giving you precious time to relax amid its obsidian sands, take a refreshing swim, and spoil yourself with barbeque delights at nearby eateries.
The tranquility of Hac Sa Beach is also deeply rooted in Macau's cultural inheritance. The beach's name, "Hac Sa," derives from the Cantonese phrase for "black sand," as an obvious reflection of the bay's unique shoreline.
Beyond its composed beauty, the beach carries the echoes of generations of settlers, allowing you to connect with Macau's natural landscape while wandering along its shores.
15. Brush up on History at the Macau Maritime Museum
Macau Maritime Museum, Macau | Source: Trip.com
The Macau Maritime Museum is the epitome of the city's marine heritage. The institution lets you delve right into the fascinating history of Macau's seafaring past via its intricate model ships, helping you gain a deeper appreciation for the city's maritime connections.
The museum's architecture itself is rich in innovation as well. It was built inside a repurposed shipyard building. The surrounding could further enhance its allure for those attracted to all things contemporary. Kids will also enjoy the ship models on display.
Admission to the museum is US$3, and it operates from 10:00AM to 6:00PM every day, except Tuesdays when it remains closed.
16. Sample Parisian Life at the Macau Eiffel Tower
Macau Eiffel Tower, Macau | Source: Trip.com
Found within the somewhat dubiously named Parisian Macao on the Cotai Strip, the Macau Eiffel Tower is nonetheless a remarkable architectural feat in its own right, boasting a half-scale replica of its famous French counterpart.
The tower is a landmark, presenting a contemporary fusion of cultures, merging the elegance of Paris with Macau's unique flair.
Beyond its superb views, the Macau Eiffel Tower also symbolizes a crossroad where the West and East meet, inviting you to experience the romance of France in a distinctively subtropical setting.
Tickets for this remarkable attraction start at US$17, and it's open from 10:00AM to 10:00PM, providing a touch of Parisian charm in the heart of the Macau Peninsula.
17. Clown Around with Pandas at the Macau Giant Panda Pavilion
Giant Panda Pavilion, Macau | Source: Wikimedia commons
The Macau Giant Panda Pavilion on Coloane Island takes precedence for all things to do in Macau that are panda-related.
Enjoy the clownish antics of the giant panda Kai Kai and Xin Xin while learning all about the local conservation initiatives and exploring the bamboo garden established within the pavilion.
These charming giant pandas are not only captivating creatures but also serve as ambassadors for conservation. They are part of a worldwide endeavor to safeguard and preserve these endangered species.
By snapping a pic or two while observing their playful behavior, you're also raising awareness about the importance of biodiversity and the need to protect our planet's valuable wildlife.
The admission fee to the Panda Pavilion only costs US$2, and the center operates from 10:00AM to 1:00PM and 2:00PM to 5:00PM, except for Mondays when it is closed.
18. Lose Yourself in Macau's Street Food Adventures
Rua de S. Paulo (Dasanba) Street, Macau | Source: Trip.com
The culinary excursion offered by Macau's street food is close to unparalleled and can be discovered wherever you find yourself in the city. Iconic Macanese staples such as egg tarts, pork chop buns, and almond cookies are ubiquitous, reflecting the sweet-leaning influences that have shaped Macau's gastronomy scene.
The city's street food scene isn't just a means of satisfying cravings, however. It's practically a cultural melting pot on a plate. Each salivating bite reveals a trace of Macau's tapestry in history.
The rich-tasting fusion of Portuguese custard and Chinese flavors in egg tarts, for example, embodies the city's balanced blend of cultures.
In a similar sense, the delectable pork chop buns in just about every food corner on the street pay their homage to Macau's colonial past and serve as a culinary tribute to the Portuguese Bifana pork sandwiches.
19. Shore up Your Swing at the Macau Golf & Country Club
Macau Golf & Country Club, Macau | Source: Trip.com
Situated on the picturesque shores of Coloane Island, the Macau Golf & Country Club promises an idyllic time for golf enthusiasts.
You can tee off on this 18-hole course against the backdrop of lush landscapes and sparkling vistas of the peninsula, a sensory experience that deftly combines sport with nature's grandeur.
Whether you're aiming to perfect your swing or simply admire the scenery, every moment on the course is a celebration of Macau's natural beauty. The club has even hosted several international tournaments, adding to its prestige as a golfing destination.
Prices vary depending on the golfing package of your selection. The club operates from 7:00AM to 9:00PM, giving all players ample time to hone their skills.
20. Get Dazzled at a Cotai Strip Entertainment Show
Historic Centre of Macau, Macau | Source: Trip.com
No list of things to do in Macau is ever complete without its infamous entertainment show scene. There's everything from concerts to theater productions, and even magic shows highlighting every strain of local artistic brilliance. Just step foot in Macau's Historic Centre, and let your mind of curiosity take you towards wherever the crowd is thickest.
No matter what your preference is like, the Cotai Strip guarantees a diverse range of performances, creating an endorphin rush for culture enthusiasts and entertainment aficionados alike.
Experiencing these dazzling spectacles will let you see firsthand the unwavering dedication of performers who bring stories to life on these grand stages.
Embrace the Allure of Macau
Macau Peninsula, Macau | Source: Unsplash
As the exhaustive list above demonstrates, Macau, with its opulent history, multifaceted cultural milieu, and contemporary charm, is proof of the seamless coalescence between tradition and modern advancement.
The glut of experiences and things to do in Macau, humoring both spiritual virtues and monetary vices, offers something to every traveler's preferences.
Whether you're exploring the vestiges of colonial heritage or indulging in a culinary odyssey through its crowded streets, Macau guarantees an unforgettable journey that will leave you captivated and motivated to return for more action in the future.
So, pack your luggage, clear your calendar for the "Pearl of the Orient," and immerse yourself in Macau's grandeur!
What are some of the must-see landmarks in Macau that are full of historical interests?
The historical attractions in Macau include the Ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral, A-Ma Temple, and Guia Fortress, each offering a glimpse into Macau's rich cultural and architectural heritage.
What are some other places tourists can go besides casino gambling?
Macau offers a diverse range of experiences beyond casinos, such as Senado Square, Taipa Village, and Coloane Village, for cultural, culinary, and scenic appeal.
Are there family-friendly venues in Macau that are both fun and educational?
Absolutely! The Macau Science Center, Macau Maritime Museum, and the Macau Giant Panda Pavilion offer great experiences for families with children.
What’s unique about Macau’s culinary scene?
Macau's culinary scene blends between the East and the West. Well-known street food like egg tarts can co-exist alongside upscale dinners that reflect the city's multicultural influences.
What are the popular outdoor activities in Macau?
Yes, Macau offers many fun outdoor sports, such as enjoying a stroll through Fisherman's Wharf and a round of golf at the Macau Golf & Country Club.