Macau is a vibrant city of incredible food, ancient history, beautiful colonial architecture, and winding narrow streets. So even if you’re not into gambling, you’ll still have plenty to do in the Vegas of the East. Once you’ve stuffed yourself with all the Portuguese egg tarts you can handle, of course…
SEE ALSO: 29 Iconic Macau Foods You Have To Eat
Wonderfully photogenic and colorful, you’ll find temples, markets, and even parks (with pandas!) on this little peninsula. But after you’ve finished sightseeing, you’ll probably be hungry for some local snacks. From afternoon tea at high-end hotels to tiny shophouses that have been serving authentic Macanese cuisine for generations, there’s no shortage of places to have an amazing meal. Here are 19 things to do in Macau!
1. MACAU THINGS TO DO: RUIN OF ST PAUL’S
I’m starting this Macau things to do blog post with the Ruin of St Paul’s. The facade of this gorgeous 17th-century church is all that remains, but it’s still a pretty fantastic spot for a photo. Come at sunset and climb the steps for some beautiful views of the intricate stone carvings. It’s a great place to start exploring the historic center of Macau.
2. MACAU THINGS TO DO: TRAVESSA DA PAIXAO
From St. Paul, walk down the street to Travessa da Paixão, also known as lover’s lane 戀愛巷. It’s a short cobblestone street lined with brightly colored buildings and it’s definitely worth a quick peek or a photo!
Travessa da Paixão, Macau
3. MACAU THINGS TO DO: SEDENO SQUARE
From Travessa da Paixão walk to Senado Square – you’ll work up an appetite with all that walking and luckily the streets around Senado Square are filled with food stalls. Since it’s a touristy area, you’ll find lots of shops and bakeries where you can buy jerky and almond cookies to take home. And there are restaurants like Wong Chi Kei serving up traditional Chinese foods like dumplings and their famous braised egg noodles with shrimp roe. A couple blocks away, Cafe Kam Ma Lon serves egg tarts and the very Macanese pork chop bun.
Largo do Senado
4. MACAU THINGS TO DO: STREET OF HAPPINESS
Also known as Rua da Felicidade, the Street of Happiness used to be Macau’s red-light district, but now it’s a quiet street with shuttered terraces and a popular shark fin soup shop.
Rua de Felicidade
5. MACAU THINGS TO DO: THE RED MARKET
If you want to explore a new city, go to the markets to see what the locals do and buy. The Red Market is a historic indoor wet market built in the 1930s that are filled with the freshest fish, meats, and produce in the city. Check out the teahouse across the street, Lung Wah. It’s third generation owned and Michelin recommended.
125 Av. do Alm. Lacerda
6. MACAU THINGS TO DO: EAT MACANESE FOOD
Macanese food is a unique blend of Portuguese and Southern Chinese cuisines that you won’t find anywhere else. It incorporates spices, slow cooking, seafood, pork, and chicken. After you’ve tried the famous egg tarts and pork chop buns, try other Macanese classics like minchi, which is a dish of ground pork or beef seasoned with molasses and soy sauce and served over rice with a fried egg. There’s also African chicken which uses lots of piri piri peppers and bacalhau balls filled with traditional Portuguese salted cod. If you can find them, tacho is a Macanese stew that uses Chinese cured meats, and cappela is like a crazy meatloaf with bacon, cheese, and spices.
7. MACAU THINGS TO DO: GRAND LISBOA HOTEL
Hotel Lisboa is the oldest casino hotel in Macau, built in 1970 and now home to four Michelin-starred restaurants. In 2008, Grand Lisboa opened across the street and it’s still the tallest building in Macau. I skipped the tables and headed straight to the LISBOA Spa by CLARINS for a deep tissue massage. They have 13 private treatment rooms for individual and couple of spa treatments.
2-4 Av. de Lisboa, Macau
8. MACAU THINGS TO DO: GO UP THE EFFIFEL TOWER
Located at The Parisian Macao, this brightly lit Eiffel Tower might remind you of Paris... or at least Vegas. You can head up when the weather is nice for views of the city and the strip from two different observation decks. Tickets: 100 MOP, 12.40 USD, buy here Lote 3, Strip, SAR, PR China, Estr. to Istmo, Macau
9. MACAU THINGS TO DO: AFTERNOON TEA
If you’re feeling fancy, there are so many hotels in Macau that do a great afternoon tea. Try the Ritz Carlton Cafe, the St. Regis Bar, the Lobby Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental, or the Grande Praca Café at MGM Macau.
10. MACAU THINGS TO DO: A-MA TEMPLE
Roam around the oldest temple in Macau where you can observe the mesmerizing altars topped with coiled sticks of burning incense. Make a wish by hanging a red prayer charm or climb the steps of this Taoist complex for views of the harbor. When you’re finished sightseeing, buy an ice cream for only MOP 15 from the old man standing outside the A-Ma temple. His father started that ice cream cart 70 years ago.
São Lourenço, Macau
11. VISIT COLOANE VILLAGE
Wander the narrow streets next to candy-colored colonial homes in the quaint Coloane Village. Take photos of the beautiful Buddhist temples and the yellow Chapel of St. Francis before stopping to visit the shops, sample the seafood, and trying the egg tarts at Lord Stow’s Cafe. You can even visit a couple of great beaches – Hac Sa and Cheoc Van – while you’re taking a break from the busy city center of Macau in this quiet little village.
Coloane Village, Macau
12. EAT PORTUGUESE EGG TARTS
This is the number one food item to eat in Macau. It’s on my 29 Iconic Macau Foods You Have To Eat but it deserves it’s own spot on this Things to Do in Macau guide!
13. PANDA PAVILION
Go visit the pandas at the Macau Giant Panda Pavilion in Seac Pai Van Park where you can watch them play, eat, and sleep… but mostly eat and sleep. The giant pandas are super cute, but you can also see red pandas, flamingos, monkeys, and parrots.
Tickets: 10 MOP or 1.24 USD, more info
Estrada de Seac Pai Van, Coloan
14. EAT ON CUNHA STREET
Located in Taipa Village, Cunha Street is one of the most important food streets in all of Macau. This tiny pedestrian road contains lots of places to buy iconic Macanese dishes and shop for souvenirs. Wander the little alleys and you’ll find dried meats, desserts, and tons of Portuguese food. Stop into Koi Kei Bakery for the famous almond cookies, Fong Kei Bakery for the meat-filled cookies, and Gelatina Mok Yi Kei for durian ice cream. Add Cunha Street to your things to do in Macau list! Rua do Cunha, Taipa
15. WALK AROUND TAIPA HOUSES MUSEUM
If you’re a fan of architecture or history, check out these beautiful pastel-colored colonial houses which have been converted into a free museum for the public. You’ll get an interesting look into Macau’s Portuguese heritage as you walk through the five old homes and surrounding gardens.
Tickets: Free, more info
Av. de Praia, Carmo Zone, Taipa
16. RIDE THE STUDIO CITY FERRIS WHEEL
For great views of the area around the Cotai Strip, take a ride on the Golden Reel, the world’s highest figure-8 ferris wheel. Built to resemble a film reel, these air-conditioned glass cabins head up and down between the towers of this impressive art deco style hotel.
Tickets: 100 HKD or 103 MOP or 12.81 USD, buy here.
Studio City Macau, Av. de Cotai and Estr. Flor de Lotus
17. TAKE A PICTURE IN FRONT OF ST. DOMINIC’S CHURCH
St. Dominic’s Church located at Largo de Sao Domingos is a 16th-century Baroque-style church. Stop and take a photo outside its colorful exterior before heading inside.
Tv. de São Domingos & Largo de São Domingos, Macau
18. MUNICIPAL COUNCIL OF MACAU
Located across from Sedona Square, Municipal Council of Macau (also known as Leal Senado) was the local government structure in Macau during the Portuguese colonial rule. The architecture of the blue tiles is stunning!
No. 163 Av. Almeida Ribeiro
19. MACAU TOWER
For an incredible view of Macau, take the 60-second elevator ride up 223 meters at the Macau Tower. You can even drop off the edge with the Skyjump or bungy off the top!
This things to do in Macau post is brought to you in collaboration with Macau Tourism. Thank you for supporting the brands that support A Taste of Koko!