CNN picked Chengdu because of its tasty Sichuan food and the opportunity to get up close and personal with pandas, a symbol of the Middle Kingdom.
Chengdu is one of UNESCO's cities of gastronomy. If you like your food hot and spicy, you'll love the food here. When I visited Chengdu many yars ago, I had the best gongbaojiding (chicken in a spicey peanut sauce) I've ever had. It was also the spiciest and I drank four bottles getting to the last bite.
No visit to Chengdu is complete without a visit to the Giant Panda Breeding Center. I visited there in the early morning, a time when they feed the pandas. There were no babies at the time I was there, but thee are usually panda cubs there a lot, due to the success of breeding this endangered species.
Chengdu also has lots of other interesting things to see. Some of the places I visited during my week-long visit were Du Fu's thatched cottage (Du Fe was a famous poet); the Wenshu Monastery, the best preserved Buddhist temple in the city where worshippers burned red candles instead of incense whicks while "Happy Birthday" played in the background; and the old town.