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Beyond Venice: 8 must-see canal cities

By: Josh Lew on Oct. 4, 2013, 2:36 p.m.
Suzhou canal lanterns

Photo: Proggie/flickr

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Suzhou is a historic Chinese city in Jiangsu Province near the mega-metropolis of Shanghai. The city's older neighborhoods are criss-crossed by canals. Though more humble in stature than Venice's palatial mansions, the waterside buildings here are equally historic. Couple these history-infused waterways with Suzhou's many classical Chinese gardens, and visitors get a tranquil place to spend their vacation.

Smaller, narrower canals lead into more residential neighborhoods, while the Suzhou Grand Canal is wider and flows past some of the city's best sights. Streets made from paving stones dating back hundreds of years run through the Old Town alongside the waterways. These ancient streets are now lined with cafes, restaurants and shops, providing a complete canal-side experience. Along with the aforementioned gardens, Suzhou's temples, opera house and mild climate make it a popular stop in eastern China.