For a sampler of Guangzhou’s elegant Lingnan style of architecture, visit the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, now home to the Guangdong Folk Art Museum. Look up to admire the exquisite relief carvings and scrollwork in chambers that once served as study rooms for Chen clan members sitting the imperial examinations.
Join the locals for an old-school dim sum brunch at Tao Tao Ju, where dishes are still served from heated carts. In place of a menu, you’ll be given a slip of paper, which is stamped each time you help yourself to a steamer of shrimp dumplings (xia jiao), egg tarts (dan tat), or whatever takes your fancy.
Spend a morning exploring the city’s redeveloped Downtown, starting at the Guangdong Museum. Its collections include some splendid dinosaurs housed in a striking building and a geometric, tessellating box inspired by ivory-ball puzzles. Nearby, the slender Canton Tower soars 600m above the city, with cloud-level bubble-tram rides and a lofty look-out deck.
Hope & Sesame, a discreet speakeasy in Dongshankou, is regularly named one of Asia’s best cocktail bars. Obsessive mixologists dream up new creations in an on-site lab, while another door leads to a secret jazz room with nightly jam sessions. Ask the concierge to book you in at least one day in advance.