There are plenty of well-known Macau attractions like the Ruins of St Paul’s and other popular areas to visit. But even though Macau is compact, there remain some hidden gems that most tourists are not aware of. Here are 10 spots you won’t find in the guidebooks or online travel websites. They are Macau attractions you’ve probably never heard of but should know about.
1-Best View You’ve Never Heard Of in Macau
Simply pay your MOP5 museum entrance, go to the second floor of the Holy House of Mercy and find the outdoor verandah overlooking the square. Odds are you’ll have the entire balcony area to yourself.
This is one of my very favourite spots in Macau, especially during the holidays when Senado Square is decorated.
2-Best Outdoor Art You’ve Never Heard Of in Macau
Art lovers and historians make your way to Cathedral Square, just a couple minutes’ walk from Senado Square. At the base of Cathedral Square is a row of lovely Portuguese style murals (circa 1835-1840) believed to be the works of the English painter, George Chinnery, who spent much time and died here in Macau.
Situated between two period wall fountains, these blue-and-white tiled images offer a glimpse into the world of early 19th century Macau as seen through the eyes of Chinnery.
The Chinnery murals are the best outdoor artwork in Macau that you’ve never heard of. They are easy to find and worth a quick detour when visiting Senado Square.
3-Best Garden You’ve Never Heard Of in Macau
Macau has lovely public gardens. One that receives little attention yet and one of my personal favorites is Jardim de San Francisco, situated just behind the Grand Lisboa Hotel, five minutes away from the Historic City Centre.
Here you’ll find a terraced public garden with pastel pink wall mounts, fountains and two historic structures that I love. These include the little round tower, which is actually a WWI monument tower found at the upper terrace of the park, as well as the cute Chinese Pavilion Library found just in front of Jardim de San Francisco.
Jardim de San Francisco is great place to take break from sightseeing. There are plenty of park benches, good free wifi service and a small playground for kids.
4-Best Child-friendly Activity You’ve Never Heard Of in Macau
Families visiting Macau should make way to Flora Garden for a fun ride on the four-seater Guia cable cars, which slowly scale Guia Hill. This is a great activity for those with little ones.
This is the best child-friendly activity in Macau that you have never heard of.
There are never queues and the ride (MOP2 one-way, MOP3 return) is a short three to four minutes only. From the upper terminus you are a six to eight-minute walk to the World Heritage attractions located on Guia Hill.
5-Best Urban Walk You’ve Never Heard Of in Macau
Along the north side of Sai Van Lake is the charming Avenida da Republica, a historical street, lined with cobble stone walkways, park benches and large trees, yet with surprisingly few cars passing by.
Avenida da Republica is also one of the best locations to see the many fireworks displays held in Macau throughout the year.
6-Best Local Shop You’ve Never Heard Of in Macau
Forget luxury brand-name shopping when in Macau and make your way to Macau Creations, a local shop where you can buy traditional gifts and creative souvenirs sourced from and created by local Macau based artists.
This is the best shop in Macau that you’ve never heard of and a great place to pick up a genuine ‘Made In Macau’ item to remember your trip.
Even if you don’t buy, there are many interesting unique things to see at Macau Creations, located at Macau Towers in the peninsula side and in the Cunha Bazaar shop in Taipa Village.
7-Best Art Gallery You’ve Never Heard Of in Macau
Tap Seac Gallery is another unknown on the Macau tourist circuit. This is a former administrative property, converted into very good art space, where visitors can enjoy several high impact (free) art exhibitions each year.
Exhibitions in recent years have included the works of British photographer Clive Barda (2012) and Czech contemporary artist Václav Jirásek (2012). In 2014, the gallery hosted the original posters (circa 1880-1980) by Dutch collector, Martijn F. Le Coultre, featuring rare posters by Klimt, Mucha and Lautrec.
It’s not bad for an art gallery most have never heard of before. Check their official website before visiting Macau to see if exhibitions are scheduled at that time.
8-Best Museum You’ve Never Heard Of in Macau
The Handover Gift Museum (free entry) is a little known gem in Macau, hosting a remarkable collection of auspicious gifts given by 56 various regions, cities and ethnic groups of China as welcoming gifts to Macau during the ceremonial handover from Portugal in 1999.
These extraordinary gifts demonstrate fine craftsmanship throughout China, oftentimes making use of materials that are unique and rarely seen outside of their regions of origin.
Located next to the Macau Museum of Art, this makes an ideal add-on attraction for those who enjoy museums and artworks. Of course, being a World Heritage-listed city, Macau has plenty of excellent museums.
9-Most Intriguing Landmark You’ve Never Heard Of in Macau
Few know that Macau was the site of the very first Chinese-American trade agreement, known as the Treaty of Mong-Ha, in July 1844. This historic event occurred in the back garden of the Kun Iam Temple where you can still see the stone desk used for signing the treaty.
Considering China and the U.S.A. are the two largest economies in the modern world, this monument makes for a significant landmark which few even know exists. Yet here it is in Macau!
10-Best Chinese New Year Spot You’ve Never Heard Of in Macau
Tam Sin Sing is a historic temple in Coloane that is a great spot to visit during Chinese New Year. Here you can join locals ward off bad luck and evil spirits as they hoist up and set off lengthy rolls of massive firecrackers. Bring your earplugs!
It is a loud and deafening experience but very interesting if you’ve never seen or heard continuous bursts of firecrackers numbering in the thousands.
These are some of the great spots to visit in Macau that you probably haven’t heard of. Most of these places are close to popular tourist attractions and can be conveniently included in your sightseeing itinerary. So why not add a few of these the next time you’re in town?
Brad Reynolds lives and works in Hong Kong but regularly spends time in Macau leisurely exploring lesser-known parts of the city.
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