Hanoi, located in northern Vietnam on the banks of the Red River, is a stunning city with a rich historical and cultural heritage. The city’s history spans centuries. Discover the Top 14 Things To Do in Hanoi!
14 Best Things To Do in Hanoi, Vietnam
The city is home to quite a few impressive historical buildings, landmarks, and museums. The Old Quarter of Hanoi retains many architectural examples of old Hanoi.
During the French Colonial times, the French built many structures in Hanoi, including government building, hotels, mansions, palaces, churches, and schools. Some of the most notable French colonial style buildings include Grand Opera House, the Presidential Palace, and St. Joseph Cathedral.
Hanoi is also famous for its spectacular lakes, including West Lake, Hoàn Kiếm Lake (Sword Lake), and Bảy Mẫu Lake.
1. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is the resting place of Vietnamese Revolutionary Leader Ho Chi Minh in Hanoi. The building is located in the center of Ba Dinh Square. Ho Chi Minh read the Proclamation of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on September 2, 1945, in this square.
2. Ho Chi Minh Museum
Ho Chi Minh Museum is dedicated to Vietnamese Revolutionary Leader Ho Chi Minh. The museum includes exhibits depicting the life of Ho Chi Minh, including his upbringing, youth, his travels through the world, and his political life.
3. St. Joseph’s Cathedral
St. Joseph’s Cathedral is a stunning Roman Catholic church within the Old Quarter of Hanoi. It is located on Nha Tho Street, in the Hoàn Kiếm District, in Hanoi, Vietnam. There are numerous restaurants and shops in the immediate vicinity of the church.
The church was built in 1886 by the French colonial government and features a Neo-Gothic architectural style. It is the oldest church in Hanoi.
4. Hanoi Opera House
Hanoi Opera House (also known as the Grand Opera House) was built in the early 1900’s by the French colonial government. The opera house features Neoclassical architectural style.
5. Old Quarter
The Old Quarter is one of the most popular parts of Hanoi. This area is home to many historical landmarks, such as temples, pagodas, and old houses with slanted tile roofs.
The Old Quarter is also known for its many examples of typical French Indochina architecture. St. Joseph’s Cathedral built by the French colonists is located in the Old Quarter.
6. Presidential Palace
Presidential Palace is located in the Ba Đình District, Hanoi, Vietnam. It was built in the early 1900’s for the Governor-General of French Indochina.
The building was built by Auguste Henri Vildieu, the French architectural adjutant in Hanoi. He also constructed several other buildings for the colonial government in Hanoi, including the Tonkin Palace (Vietnam’s State Guest House).
7. Hoàn Kiếm Lake
Hoàn Kiếm Lake is a freshwater lake in the historical center of Hanoi. Hoàn Kiếm Lake is often called the Sword Lake (translated from Vietnamese). It’s a popular spot in Hanoi, with lots of people strolling along the lake. The Turtle Tower is located in the middle of the lake on a small island.
8. Turtle Tower
The Turtle Tower was built on the small island in the middle of Hoàn Kiếm Lake (Sword Lake) in the historical center of Hanoi, Vietnam. The island where the tower was built is called the Turtle islet, and the islet used to be the fishing site of King Le Thanh Tong.
9. Hoa Lo Prison Memorial
Hoa Lo Prison was used both by the French colonists during the French Indochina period and by North Vietnam during the Vietnam War. The prison was also called the Hanoi Hilton.
The prison was built by the French in the late 19th – early 20th century. That’s why you can see the French name “Maison Centrale” (Central House) above the prison gate.
10. Lenin Park
Lenin Park is a small park in Hanoi with the Statue of Lenin. The park is located on Dien Bien Phu Street, a busy multi-lane road on the way to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
It’s a popular park among the locals, with people strolling, exercising, and enjoying their day, away from the city noise. The park is a great place to escape the crowds and enjoy nature and quiet time.
11. Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square
Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square is a popular gathering place in Hanoi, Vietnam. There are numerous restaurants, bars, cafes, and shops in this lovely and busy square overlooking the lake. This square is often busy with people enjoying their day, strolling with kids, enjoying their day, or eating at the restaurants.
12. Quan Thanh Temple
Quan Thanh Temple is a Taoist temple, dating back to the 11th century. The temple is located near West Lake in Hanoi.
13. Trang Tien Plaza
Trang Tien Plaza is a popular and vast shopping plaza in Hanoi, Vietnam. The plaza opened in 2001 and its total retail floor area is about 20,000 square meters (220,000 square feet). The plaza houses grocery stores, apparel retailers, household equipment stores, restaurants, and offices.
14. Cuisine in Hanoi
Hanoi is known for its delicious cuisine. It is believed that phở, one of Vietnam’s most famous dishes, originated in Hanoi. Phở is a Vietnamese soup made with broth, rice noodles, and meat. It is usually eaten as breakfast. When in Hanoi, be sure to try Phở Bò (rice noodle soup with beef) and Phở Gà (rice noodle soup with chicken).
Where To Stay in Hanoi
The Apricot Hotel is strategically located on Hang Trong Street in the Old Quarter of Hanoi. Hoàn Kiếm Lake (Sword Lake) is in the front of the hotel. The hotel is beautifully designed in Neo-Classical style and showcases spectacular artwork by Asian artists within the hotel premises. The staff is great: friendly, professional, and very helpful.
And, you can’t beat the location. The hotel is a walking distance to many great restaurants and bars in the Old Quarter, and one of the most spectacular lakes in Hanoi, Hoàn Kiếm Lake, is right in front of the hotel.