- Nanjing Massacre Memorial—Visiting the memorial is an unforgettable experience, and learning more about one of the darkest moments in China's history is important for understanding the national psyche. Today there is still a great deal of anger in China directed at Japan because of what happened here during WWII. If you don't have much time John Rabe's house highlights some of the actions of the members of the Nanjing International Safety Zone.
- Presidential Palace—Visiting the Presidential Palace let's you check two things off of your list, since it was both a Ming Palace and served as the Capitol in the early 1900's. If you aren't so interested in history, nearby 1912 street is a Nationalist period style hangout. It has a variety of restaurants and bars making it one of the best places in Nanjing to catch some of the night life.
- Sun Yatsen's Mausoleum—This is kind of an obligatory stop for most Chinese tourists to Nanjing. Sun Yatsen was the founder of modern China, and this massive memorial is still an important part of the story of China. It does require a good amount of stair climbing, so consider this a poor choice for hot Nanjing summers. The Ming Tomb's are also nearby, which don't have any stairs. Fun fact—virtually all of the trees on the mountain were planted in the last 100 years.
- Shitoucheng Park—I wouldn't call it a must, but if you're growing tired of museums and tourist traps it's a nice change of pace. The park is between a branch of the Yangtze and the old city wall. It's a nice place to take a walk in the afternoon and watch Chinese parents chase after their children. I think it's a good place to catch a glimpse of what life is like for many people in the city.
Nanjing on the China Travel Blog