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Macau Beyond the Casinos

Five things to do in Macau other than gambling

A Macau Harbor Cruise, best at sunset, is a worthwhile introduction to the city.
Macau has been called the Las Vegas of China, for good reason. Several Las Vegas casino owners have launched ventures in this former Portuguese colony in the past decade, and the billion-dollar industry shows no signs of slowing. Visiting Macau only to gamble, however, would be a mistake. Here are five alternatives.

1. Macau Tower. Roll the dice on the world’s highest bungee jump from the 1,109-foot Macau Tower. You can also do the SkyJump (more like flying than free-falling), the 764-foot-high Skywalk on the tower’s exterior, or simply take an elevator to the top for fabulous views.

2. Historic Center. Among the more than twenty historic structures of this UNESCO World Heritage site are well-preserved 18th-century Portuguese-style buildings with traditional azulejo tiles, plus artfully paved squares, temples, a Moorish barracks, and a 17th-century fortress.

3. Macau Science Center. This futuristic I.M. Pei–designed building with kid-friendly exhibits and a planetarium, opened in 2009, is a modern architectural treasure.

4. Macanese cuisine. Portuguese favorites like bacalhau (salt cod) and pastéis de nata (custard tarts) are menu staples here, and nearly every restaurant has its version of spicy signature Macanese dish African chicken, whose flavors draw from Portugal’s many former colonies. The best restaurants are in Taipa Village; among them the traditional-Portuguese António, a favorite of Anthony Bourdain while filming his TV show No Reservations.

5. Wine. Like China’s other autonomous territory, Hong Kong, Macau is becoming a destination for wine, especially Portuguese varietals. This is one reason to pop into the casinos, which have some of the city’s top bars. Also pay a visit to the Macau Wine Museum, which has tastings.

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