The pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has posed serious challenges. It is vitally important to further clarify the epidemiological characteristics of the COVID-19 outbreak for future study and prevention and control measures. Epidemiological characteristics and spatial−temporal analysis were performed based on COVID-19 cases from 21 January 2020 to 1 March 2020 in Shandong Province, and close contacts were traced to construct transmission chains. A total of 758 laboratory-confirmed cases were reported in Shandong. The sex ratio was 1.27: 1 (M: F) and the median age was 42 (interquartile range: 32–55). The high-risk clusters were identified in the central, eastern and southern regions of Shandong from 25 January 2020 to 10 February 2020. We rebuilt 54 transmission chains involving 209 cases, of which 52.2% were family clusters, and three widespread infection chains were elaborated, occurring in Jining, Zaozhuang and Liaocheng, respectively. The geographical and temporal disparity may alert public health agencies to implement specific measures in regions with different risk, and should attach importance on how to avoid household and community transmission.