In the early 20th-century, Russia set out to make Dalian—connected by waterways and the Trans-Siberian Railway—the “Paris of the Far East.” Explore Russia’s legacy with a stroll through Zhongshan Square and the Russian-built Gothic, Renaissance, and Romanesque structures that surround it. Walk north through the Old Russian Street (skip past vendors hawking dried seafood and Soviet tchotchkes) and head underground to Victory Square. This subterranean, local’s-only shopping mall is a labyrinth loaded with shops selling electronics, fast fashion, designer knockoffs, as well as food stalls and restaurants. To emerge from the chaotic bargain-hunting crowds, look for the exits that connect to Dalian Train Station. Cap the day with a shellfish feast at TianTian Seafoods, a Dalian institution, where you choose just-snagged seafood from the waiting tanks. Where to start? Try raw sea urchin, steamed scallops with lima beans, stir-fried sweet clams, and whole grilled abalone. The abalone’s chewy center and crisp edges with a caramelized crunch are worth the pilgrimage.
It’s a 10-minute cab ride from the hotel to Zhongshan Square. Walk a half-mile north via the Shengli Bridge (Victory Bridge), then cross the train tracks to the Old Russian Street.
VICTORY SQUARE: There are multiple entrances to this underground shopping mall in front of the Dalian Train Station, between Changjiang Road and Zhongshan Road.
TIANTIAN SEAFOODS: 10 Renmin Road, Zhongshan District, 0411-82801118