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“Nice square to get your bearings”

Largo do Senado (Senado Square)
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US$ 139.00*
and up
Day Trip to Macau from Hong Kong
Ranked #6 of 243 things to do in Macau
Certificate of Excellence
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
123 reviews
55 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
“Nice square to get your bearings”
Reviewed 3 August 2012

The mosaic of black and white undulating waves is quite a feat in this courtyard that feels like it's right out of Lisbon. Visit the nearby Tourist Information center for a clear map and use the square to get your bearings. When you're ready - the city awaits! Have fun exploring the sites!

Visited July 2012
Thank CharityK13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
126 reviews
69 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
“Not quite Portugal but still great”
Reviewed 2 August 2012

Largo do Senado was packed full of people, and whilst it was not quite what we imagined we still enjoyed the beautiful architecture of the historic buildings. We would have loved to have been able to sit at a cafe, rest our weary feet and have a coffee but alas not a cafe insight....apart from Starbucks which didn't really suit the atmosphere.

Visited July 2012
Thank AussieElla
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
102 reviews
87 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 420 helpful votes
“In Macau, all roads lead to Senado Square”
Reviewed 29 July 2012

Largo do Senado (Senado Square) is the focal point of all that is happening in Macau. Always crowded with good natured people, tourists and locals alike, it has a lively buzz about it day or night. For sheer “atmosphere”, Senado Square gets our top vote. A Portuguese style piazza with a distinctive wave patterned mosaic floor, dotted with and surrounded by heritage buildings, its gravitas is relieved by the fact that it is also home to numerous restaurants, coffee shops, market lanes (with shops selling garments, lingerie, kids clothes, accessories, sportswear, shoes and more). The unpretentious, elegant fountain which is the Square’s focal point, adds to the overall restful air.

This is the most popular place in Macau and it is easy to see why – the feel of the place is Europe, not China – with its Portuguese style, pastel neo-classical buildings and cobbled stone alleys, Senado Square has a Mediterranean ambience. As part of the ‘Historic Centre of Macau’, the Square is a UNESCO World Heritage site. And whoever said that in Macau, all roads lead to Senado Square certainly wasn’t exaggerating.

At Senado Square you will find a sampler of some of the best shopping in Macau. Apart from the dining and shopping, this square is also the venue for firework displays, lion and dragon dances on special occasions such as the Chinese Spring Festival, Easter and Christmas. Avenida De Almeida Ribeiro (called San Ma Lo by the Chinese), has long been Macau's main thoroughfare – it borders Senado Square and is a prime shopping locale of Macau.

Senado Square takes its name from the neo-classical Leal Senado building which dates back to 1784! Leal Senado is apparently Portuguese for “Loyal Senate” – as recognition of Macau's loyalty to Portugal, this title was bestowed on the government of Macau by Prince-Regent João, who later went on to become King John VI of Portugal. This building has been the home of the Macau municipal chamber right through its two hundred and thirty years of existence. After Macau was handed over to China in 1999, it was rechristened as the Institute of Civic & Municipal Affairs.

Senado Square has other landmark buildings apart from Leal Senado:
- Santo Domingo Church or St. Dominic’s Church – of four hundred year vintage it is located east of Senado Square and still conducts weekend mass in Cantonese. With a cream façade this church with the bright green louvers, is one of Macau's most beautiful churches.
- Santa Casa da Misericordia or Holy House of Mercy – adjacent to Leal Senado, it was established by the first Bishop of Macau, modelled after one of the most prominent charitable organizations in Portugal, to provide medical services and charitable services to the community. It was also the very first western-style hospital in China. Its distinctive appearance owes much to its bright white façade topped by a Roman-style triangular pediment.
- Sam Kai Vui Kun (Kuan Tai Temple) – dedicated to Kuan Tai, the Chinese god of war. This area was apparently erstwhile home to the local traders’ guild, and so this temple was closely associated with Chinese commerce in Macau, a sort of fore-runner to the present Chinese Chamber of Commerce in the city. This Chinese style construction right in the middle of the many Portuguese buildings is archetypal Macau – the mix of East and West with neither overpowering the other, indeed each respecting the other.
- Macao Business Tourism office – stop here to meet friendly staffers who give useful tips about getting around in Macau plus free wi-fi connectivity, which is a real boon for tourists like us.

Within an easy walk of Senado Square are:
- The Cathedral located at Largo da Se (Cathedral Square), east of Senado Square – noted for its beautiful stained glass windows – don’t miss the fountain near the Cathedral.
- Lou Kau Mansion – if you walk past St. Dominic’s Church and turn right, you will find yourself in Travessa da Sé, which is where Lou Kau Mansion is located. The residence of one of Macau's wealthiest traders, this court-yard house features typical Chinese architecture with wood screens, but also borrows stained-glass windows from the Portuguese style.
- Ruínas de S. Paulo (Ruins of St. Paul) –to the north of St. Dominic’s Church, this is far and way the most recognizable landmark of Macau.
- Monte Fortress – adjacent to the Ruins of St. Paul’s, this fortress is the largest in Macau and serves as a reminder of Macau’s military past.
- Museu de Macau (Macau Museum) – close to the Ruins of St. Paul’s and home to historic relics of Macau.
- Grand Lisboa – a little further down Avenida De Almeida Ribeiro (San Ma Lo) this is a modern landmark of Macau, a casino hotel renowned for its opulence.

Food in and around Senado Square:
- Leiteria E Son, which is right on Senado Square is famous for its milk puddings and desserts - their pork chop buns are pretty good too.
- Above McDonald's in Senado Square is a restaurant called Macau Recipes where we had lunch – it serves good, reasonably priced food. Spoken English is a problem here but their menu in English helps. At the end of your meal don’t miss out on their chrysanthemum tea – it’s a scintillating pick me up!
- On Senado Square, Long Kei is one of Macau's best Cantonese eateries noted for its yum-cha and dim-sum, while Wong Chi Kei is famous for its Cantonese noodle dishes.
- Lemon Cello Gellato, on Travessa da Sé (see Lou Kau Mansion above), is reputed to sell the best Italian ice cream in Macau.
- Travessa de Sao Domingos, boasts of a few really good dining options – Boa Mesa is a café that serves excellent Portuguese fare. Platao, has a nice outdoor courtyard for "alfresco" dining, and La Bonne Heure is a bistro-style place serving good French cuisine.

Visited March 2012
3 Thank TMenon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manila, Philippines
Level Contributor
101 reviews
43 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 124 helpful votes
“Center of Macau”
Reviewed 29 July 2012

The Senado Square is a pciture of what Macau is all about.
Historic and preserved buildings, restaurants, shops, small markets, bus stations, money changers malls and hotels.

From the Senado Square, you can reach the Ruins of St. Paul's and Macau Museum by walking.

Visited August 2011
1 Thank msCharrie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City
Level Contributor
913 reviews
477 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 577 helpful votes
“Good spot to start your Macau walking tour.”
Reviewed 21 July 2012

This is the base for any walk about the historic heart of Macau. Pretty pastel buildings abound. Definitely check it out. Free internet is available in the information center there.

Visited July 2012
1 Thank Brooklynite_Abroad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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