Is Shenyang, China worth a visit?

I recently spent a day in Shenyang, a huge metropolis in northwestern China above Beijing. It has been far overshadowed by superstars like Shanghai, Hong Kong, and even upstarts like Chengdu.

When it comes to Shenyang, I think there’s good reason why you haven’t heard of it. For a city of this size, there’s not a proportionally impressive amount of cultural and sightseeing outlets. Of course, that’s not to say forget about Shenyang.

If you’re on your way to the northern playground of Harbin, for instance, it might be nice to drop by Shenyang. Same if you’re off to the beach resort of Dalian. Here’s why: there’s the Shenyang Imperial Palace, which is in the same style as the Forbidden City in Beijing, and has much less foot-traffic (definitely worth a visit); a 2,000 year old pagoda right outside of town (look in Lonely Planet), and the “Strange Slope,” a bump of a hill on which gravity takes you uphills if you’re driving a car.

Of course, there’s also the ridiculous giganto monument of Mao in the center of the city that’s worth a look. Neil has the gallery below as well as a post about Mao in Shenyang.