Located on the East China Sea, by the large inland sea of the Bay of Jiaozhou (approximately 420 miles southeast of Beijing and 350 miles north of Shanghai), Qingdao is known for being one of China's most pleasant places in which to live — it is referred to as the Switzerland of China and has beautiful beaches, too — and for having the world's longest sea bridge, the Qingdao Haiwan Bridge, which is a staggering 17 miles in length. The city's urban and satellite areas contain almost nine million people, while the central area of the city contains about half that number. From 1894 to 1922, the city was controlled first by the Germans and then the Japanese, and remnants of the first invasion remain: The city's name is also spelled Tsingtao, which is recognizable as the name of China's most famous beer. The brewery was established here in 1903 by German settlers. Qingdao event venues include several brew-oriented properties.
Qingdao Liuting International Airport (TAO) is the city's principal entry point. Approximately 19 miles north of the city center, it is a hub of China Eastern Airlines and has service from all over China, to some other parts of Asia and to Frankfurt, Germany, on Lufthansa.
Chief among convention venues is Qingdao International Convention Center, which has 400,000 square feet of exhibit space that is able to host more than 1,500 booths.
Hotel venues in Wuxi that are able to look after groups and their events include the 709-room Shangri-La Hotel, Qingdao, which has 20 meeting rooms and a ballroom able to host 1,500 persons; the 438-room InterContinental Qingdao, which is on the city's Shandong Peninsula — where the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games' sailing events were held — and having 20 meeting rooms and a ballroom for up to 600 persons; its sibling, the very tall, cylindrical, 388-room Crowne Plaza Qingdao, which has four meeting rooms for up to 350 persons; the 322-room Holiday Inn Qingdao City Center, yet another sibling, which has two meeting rooms for up to 80 persons; and the 348-room Le Meridien Qingdao, which has six meeting rooms and a ballroom able to cater to 1,228 persons.
Unique gathering spots in the city include three interesting and different museums, the Tsingtao Beer Museum, which has an odd sculpture of a beer bottle and glasses on its lawn, as well as event space, including a large bar area; Qingdao Art Museum, which has three halls named Rome, Islamic, and Buddhist, with relevant countries' art in each; and Dozo Cuisine Art Museum, which is in a large, modern space and is part restaurant, part gallery on art and food. Two other choices include the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center Grand Theater, which was built in 2009 — it looks a bit like an insect — and is one of the new prides of the city; and, much, much older, the Qingdao Peking Opera Theater, which puts on stately performances and private events.
Restaurants that will not disappoint groups include China Gong She, in a large, round, red building reminiscent of a Mongolian yurt, albeit with very interesting architecture, a sleek, exciting interior, two restaurants — Confucian Dining Hall and Shandong — and several other event spaces; and Qihaiyusheng Restaurant, where interiors are much more welcoming than its concrete skin. Two restaurants serving Western cuisine are the Japanese-run Italian restaurant Trattoria Verde and the Zur Bierstube German Restaurant.