Things to do in Shangai. Featured photo by Romain Pontida
Shanghai has long been the gateway to China. Located on the Yangtze River delta, it is known as the city above the sea, the Paris of the East.
It is the largest economic and trade center in China, and one of the country’s biggest cultural centers. Though despite the ancient cultures we find in Beijing and Xi’an, Shanghai is a relatively young city, with a unique fusion of Eastern and Western cultures. So many places to visit in Shanghai China.
As China’s largest and richest city, Shanghai is a mega-metropolis which oozes an atmosphere on par with New York and Paris in terms of modernity; a bustling international hub with something for everyone.
Whether you’re in Shanghai for architecture, cuisine, history, shopping, or entertainment, this is a town that’s tailored just for you. The following are things to do in Shanghai for every interest – great ideas for your itinerary no matter what you like to do! The following is what to see in Shanghai.
Things to do in Shanghai …
For the History Buff
Although Shanghai doesn’t have a long history, many events in China’s modern history happened here. Many Shanghai places of interest are historical.
In terms of Shanghai points of interest, you can visit the 400 year old Yu Gardens to experience the traditional side of the city, or walk along Xintiandi, Former French Concession, Nanjing East Road and the Bund to see the charming colonial parts. A city weekend Shanghai should include history.
In Shanghai, the old and the new buildings stand side by side in contrast. The Shanghai Museum has exhibitions ranging from beautiful clothing from the Chinese ethnic minorities, a Jade collection, antique furniture and calligraphy.
For the Architecture Lover
Did you know that Shanghai is second in the world for Art-Deco style buildings?
If you enjoy architecture take a stroll along the Bund. Nanjing East Road and the neighborhoods around the Former French Concession are heaven for photographers. And one of my favorite Shanghai tourist spots.
Even Prada recently got involved with a renovation project of an old villa house, now open to visitors if you manage to book your spot well in advance.
Start your walk around Huahai Road (also good for some shopping) and wonder into the roads nearby. There are a lot of cafes too, if you want to make a stop and do some people-watching. And wondering what to do in Shanghai.
For the Traveler on a Budget
There are things to do in Shanghai for every budget, but yes – it is a more expensive destination than other places in China. Nonetheless, don’t miss it!
It’s not difficult to explore on your own using the city metro system, but maybe consider taking a guided tour just for 1 day to get a better understanding of the city. You’ll figure out the most important Shanghai must see spots.
The city has a huge range of fancy hotels, but my advice – if you’re looking to cut down on costs, book a hostel instead of a 2-3 star hotel, as hostel staff are more likely to speak English. Easier to ask Shanghai what to do!
For the Foodie
If Michelin thought Shanghai was a good enough place to start a guide here, who are we to argue! Shanghai places to visit includes food!
Chinese cuisine is very diverse, and you can find flavors from all around China – Sichuan spicy, Hunan savory and even Cantonese.
Of the best food places to visit in Shangai, the famous DinTaiFung dumplings chain has several stores in the city and there are also some cool vegetarian – Buddhist style – restaurants as well. Try the one next to Jing’an Temple for example – really nice and very fair prices!
If you would like to try some world renowned western food, Shanghai boasts well-known international chefs. Shanghai places to visit are restaurants.
➡ Book a food tour. Don’t wonder where to go in Shanghai as they cover it for you!
Photo credits: Shanghai food market by ChinaClickGo.com. Food barrels by xiquinhosilva.
For the Party Animal
The Bund provides some beautiful views and there are several bars for those looking for things to do in Shanghai at night.
If you’re looking for something less fancy, try Donghu road or Wuding Road for some local bars, or Found 158 with bars and restaurants as well.
There is a big Jazz scene in Shanghai, and Pearl, JZ club and House of Blues are great venues to catch live band performances.
For the Artistic Soul
M50 is the main area for galleries in Shanghai, located in north Jing’an district. Lots of local and foreign artists have their galleries here, and you can easily spend an entire day. There are many Shanghai tourist attractions here.
If museums are more your thing, try Rock on the Bund or the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), but make sure to check if they are exhibiting when you visit. The Power Station of Art is also a good option to look out for.
Further reading: The 12 Best Museums to Visit in Shanghai
Things to see in Shanghai includes the M50 art zone – ChinaClickGo.com
For the Shopaholic
Great shopping ranks among the top things to do in Shanghai. If you want a dress or suit made, the South Bund Fabric Market is for you – make sure to bargain! Places to go in Shanghai includes incredible shops.
Other great things to buy are silk clothing, scarves or quilts. Pearls and cashmere are also very affordable so make sure to check out the markets and ask for a good price! This is a must do in Shanghai.
Most people speak English well enough, though if not they will show you the prices as numbers on a calculator. Some great things to buy in Shanghai.
➡ Book a Shanghai shopping tour. Look for shops on the Shanghai attractions map.
Photo credits: Taikang road – ChinaClickGo.com. Shopping street by xiquinhosilva.
The Best Time to Visit Shanghai
The best times to visit Shanghai are March–May (spring) and October–November (autumn). Shanghai tourist places are less crowded then.
This is when the temperature is most comfortable, though note that there are many public holidays and festivals during spring, so Autumn is a better choice if looking to avoid the crowds. Especially if visiting Shanghai attractions top 10.
Summer in China runs from late June through to late September, and is peak tourist season. Note that it becomes very hot and humid at this time of the year, with frequent downpours of rain. Winter gets incredibly cold which can make city exploration less pleasant.
Do your best to avoid local holidays, like Labor Day (May 1-3) as the city’s main tourist sites are overrun with local tourism and hotel rates will skyrocket. Shanghai is a business-centric city, so keep in mind that hotel rates usually drop over the weekends.
Search for Cheap Hotels in Shanghai
Most Popular Shanghai Tours
Whether you’re interested in a classic tour or you’re searching for a unique experience, you can find a variety of options on ChinaClickGo.com.
Their team has personally tested great tours and activities all over Shanghai and listed them all in one place so that you can build your own ideal trip. There are food tours, night tours, walking tours, bike tours – jump on over to find things to do in Shanghai based on your interests.
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