Cebu City, Philippines is a very vibrant and bustling city. Located on Cebu Island, there are plenty of beaches and places to play in the fantastic waters nearby, which is a main attraction to the city.
But there are so many things to do in Cebu City that you may not make it to a beach very often. Originally being settled by the Spaniards, and also being considered the first place Christianity took root in the Far East, the history is rich and runs deep here, as is attested to with all of the museums and in their art.
Below is listed just a few of the best places to go in Cebu City.
17 Best Things to do in Cebu City
1. Basilica del Santo Nino
Basilica del Santo Nino is a very famous and historic Catholic church that dates back to the early Spanish colonial era. It was a gift from the Spanish king to the Filipino king. While the outside of the Basilica is magnificent, the interior will simply amaze you. Stunning architecture and artistic works will keep you in awe for quite a while.
The Santo Niño (baby Jesus) is very inspiring to gaze upon. Join in on one of the masses, or visit during the week for one of the most blessed things to do in Cebu City.
2. Tops Lookout
Tops Lookout is absolutely one of the best places to visit in Cebu City. It is one of the highest points in the city, and the view you get from up here is simply breathtaking.
You can see the sea around the Philippines, across the entire city and out to the city of Mactan. There are restaurants here, and the air is clear and refreshing, which makes it perfect for that romantic evening out.
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3. Cebu Heritage Monument
Cebu Heritage Monument is a beautiful sculpture and monument that is basically a mural that depicts the many stages of the history of Lapu-Lapu and Cebu. It is such a unique way to show how things in Cebu City came to be.
You can spend quite a while immersing yourself into the scenes and feeling like you are there with the country’s forefathers. Well worth the time to visit, especially if you are near Maggelans Cross or Colon Street.
4. Colon Street
If you are looking for some great shopping then Colon Street is the place to go in Cebu City. It is perhaps the oldest street in the city, and is now an eclectic mixture of old and new.
You can find anything and everything to buy here, many of which you didn’t know you needed. It is crowded with stalls and vendors, and the excitement in the air is palpable. You will enjoy haggling with the vendors, and you will end up with some terrific bargains.
5. Marcelo Fernan Bridge
Marcelo Fernan Bridge is a magnificent piece of architecture for a modern bridge. It has become a landmark in Cebu City as you travel to and from Mactan island and the airport.
If you cross it at night, you will be treated to a great view of the lights over the city from here. It is huge and impressive, and you will be able to see well before you get to it.
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6. Pamilacan Island Whales and Dolphin Watching
Pamilacan Island Whales and Dolphin Watching from Tagbilaran City is a magnificent 8-hour tour that is one of the favorite tourist attractions in Cebu City. Pamilacan Island on the Bohol Sea is where the dolphins and whales go to breed, so are many of them around.
You can even swim or snorkel while at the island, and may be surprised by what you find. Take a picnic lunch with you and watch some of these gentle giants play in the water.
7. Museo Sugbo
Museo Sugbo was once a prison, but has now been turned into a great museum. It was even a dungeon during the Spanish era. While no ghosts have been reported, you will see amazing displays from WWII, the historical significance of Spain, America and so much more.
Learn about the Marcos reign and so much more that came together to made Cebu City and all the Philippines what it is today.
8. BPI Museum
BPI Museum is another place to see in Cebu City if you enjoy history. This one focuses on the various currencies that have been used in the Philippines. It is fascinating to see all of the old coins and currency as well as old bank machines and so much more.
The top floor is a great library where you can relax and read a book or do research of your own.
9. The Jose R. Gullas Halad Museum
The Jose R. Gullas Halad Museum is a fun museum and plays to the music lover in all of us. It depicts the rich musical history of Cebu. Music has always been an important part of the culture, and this museum has it all.
The composers, artists and other memorabilia are showcased. There are even working phonographs and other types of players so you can listen to some of the best of the best. Such a fun and interesting place to visit in Cebu City.
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10. Sky Adventure at Crown Regency
Sky Adventure at Crown Regency is one of those things to do in Cebu City that everyone should take advantage of. The Skywalk is one of the most amazing things you will see.
Not only are you up high for an amazing view over the city, but it is a glass bottomed walk so you feel as if you are walking on air! Then you need to take the Coaster as it takes you out along the side of the building. You can even make the car tip so you are looking straight down the side of the building!
Not for the faint of heart! If your heart is still beating at that point, you will definitely want to take the zipline as it shoots you out across the sky from one skyscraper to another! You will be taking about this adventure for a long time!
Kartzone is definitely one of the most fun, and fastest, places to go in Cebu City! Jump into a kart and see how fast you can go. Race your friends or other people on the track for great bragging rights.
You only have 8 laps to prove you have what it takes, so tighten your helmet, take a deep seat and let her rip!
12. Casino Filipino
Casino Filipino is just as much fun but much quieter and relaxing. As part of the Waterfront Hotel, it includes hundreds of slot machines and over sixty table games including baccarat, super 6, pontoon, black jack, roulette and red-white. and seven restaurants.
Every evening there is live entertainment that makes for a wonderful break from gambling. Everything you need for a terrific night out on the town can be found in this favorite place to go in Cebu City.
L’Ananabar is a French sport bar that is a favorite hot spot and the place to go in Cebu City if you want some great food, drink and entertainment. They have some of the best, authentic French food in the Philippines, and the ambiance makes it a wonderful place to be.
With a big screen TV in the bar area, you can have a couple beers, or have the French bartender mix up something more exotic, while watching your favorite sports team.
Or take advantage of the shady terrace while having food and drinks with friends. It is inexpensive enough that you could make it a regular place to go.
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14. Oslob Whale Shark day tour
They take you out in the boat where you will see an amazing amount of these fantastic creatures. Then you can get right in the water with them! Whether you just hang onto the boat and let them come to you, or you let go and swim with them, you will have the most unforgettable time.
Something you thought was only on TV you get to actually do – and you will love it!
15. Bugoy Bikers
Bugoy Bikers is one of the premier outfits for mountain bike adventures in Cebu City. You can tailor your tour to whatever you desire, from one day to two weeks long! What an amazing way to see such sights as the Visayas, Bohol or Camotes and so much more!
See the lush landscapes, beautiful scenery and trails that are off the beaten path that most people never get to experience. Spend the nights in wonderful places you never heard of, eating some of the best local cuisine around. You will have the time of your life.
16. Magellan’s Cross
Magellan’s Cross is such a rich piece of history of Cebu City. It is believed to have been erected by order of Ferdinand Magellan, who came here in the Philippines in 1521, and marks the start of Christianity in the country.
It is now encased inside a beautiful chapel near the Sto. Niño church so as to preserve it for generations to come. Also inside this chapel, the ceiling has many panels painted on it that depict more of Cebu’s history. This is an amazing and inspirational place to visit in Cebu City.
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17. Badian Canyoneering day trip
Badian Canyoneering is also an extremely exciting attraction in Cebu City. Once you are taken to the canyon on motorcycles, you trek through the canyon and down creeks and streams.
It is an action packed day of hiking, swimming, climbing, jumping and so much more. The guides that lead you are very fun and good at their job.
This adventure was once featured on the TV show “Biyahe ni Drew” and was rated by them as one of the most exciting adventure trips in the Philippines. That alone should tell you it is well worth your time.
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With such a wide variety of places to see in Cebu City, it is hard to pick just a few. Cebu City is the hub of all of Cebu, so you are sure to stop here at some point on your trip.
No matter where you find yourself in this magnificent city you will find pieces of history, beautiful architecture and great places to eat, drink and shop. You will thoroughly enjoy every minute you spend here, and will want to stay just a little longer than planned.