shanghai travel guide

53 Best Things to Do in Shanghai, China in 2024

You’ve got the makings of a seasoned traveler! Some of my most incredible adventures were in Shanghai, and I’m sure you’ll have equally fantastic experiences. So, let’s begin our exploration by uncovering the 53 best things to do in Shanghai, the largest city in China and renowned globally.

Shanghai, a captivating city in China, offers a fantastic blend of travel, culture, and economics. As a traveler’s paradise, you’ll be awestruck by the iconic Bund, modern skyscrapers like the Shanghai Tower, and the serene Yu Garden. The city’s vibrant culture shines through traditional festivals, art exhibitions, and a thriving theater scene.

Economically, Shanghai is a powerhouse. It serves as China’s financial hub, attracting global businesses and investments. With its strong industrial and technological sectors, the city has become a driving force in China’s economic growth. Its strategic location along the Yangtze River Delta boosts international trade, making it a crucial player in the global market.

This article is your ultimate guide to visiting Shanghai, China. Whether it’s your first time in Shanghai or not, you’ll soon become a China travel expert with the information provided here. Let’s dive right in and get you prepared for an incredible Shanghai adventure!

You might also be interested in:
🔍 Traveling to Beijing, China: Your Ultimate Travel Guide [2023]
🏰 The Ultimate Guide for Shanghai Disneyland Travel Guide 2023

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking one of these links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can learn more about this in my disclosure policy.

🌟Shanghai Travel Planning Guide

Considering a last-minute trip to Shanghai?

Check out the finest tours, hotels, and more below! Remember to plan in advance for the top attractions in Shanghai!

🇨🇳 Top Activities and Tours in Shanghai:

1. Shanghai Private Full-Day Tour: Explore both the old and modern sides of Shanghai with a private tour. Your personal guide will show you top attractions like The Bund and Yu Garden.
2. Zhujiajiao Water Town and Shanghai City Private Day Tour: Experience Zhujiajiao water town by boat and foot, enjoy a local lunch, and later explore Shanghai’s attractions like Yu Garden and Shanghai Tower.
3. Authentic Local Food Tour in Central Shanghai: Indulge in authentic Chinese cuisine on a culinary tour in Shanghai, sampling classic Shanghainese dishes like steamed buns and soup dumplings.

🏨Top Hotels in Shanghai:

Fairmont Peace Hotel (luxury)
Radisson Blu Hotel Shanghai New World (mid-range)
Jinglai Hotel (budget-friendly)

🌐Make sure to install ExpressVPN in advance for unrestricted internet access during your stay in China!

🌏 Where is Shanghai China Located

Shanghai is a sprawling metropolis situated on the eastern coast of China. Positioned at the mouth of the Yangtze River, the city is part of the Yangtze River Delta region and faces the East China Sea. Its strategic location has contributed to its historical significance as a major port and trading hub, making Shanghai one of the most influential cities in China and the world.

👑 Top Must-Visit Places in Shanghai

Shanghai’s must-visit attractions are clustered along both sides of the Huangpu River, dominated by Puxi’s Bund and Pudong’s Oriental Pearl. Notably, Pudong flaunts four landmark structures – Oriental Pearl Tower, World Financial Center, Shanghai Tower, and Jinmao Tower, standing tall on its east bank. Puxi impresses with attractions like the Bund, Nanjing Road, Yu Garden, and City God Temple, conveniently aligned. A prominent modern symbol, Shanghai Disneyland has swiftly become the city’s iconic hallmark ever since its establishment.

1. The Bund

the bund

The Bund, also known as “Waitan”(外滩), stands proudly as a renowned waterfront on the west bank of the Huangpu River, serving as a majestic symbol of Shanghai’s beauty and heritage. Stretching for 1.5 kilometers, it gracefully embraces the river on its east side and the historic Shanghai financial and foreign trade institutions on its west.

At the heart of the Bund’s charm lies a stunning collection of 52 buildings, each showcasing diverse architectural styles, earning it the title of the “Exhibition of the World’s Architecture.”

Among the captivating structures are the Bank of China building, the Peace Hotel, the Customs Building, and the HSBC building – they’re like throwbacks to the “Far East Wall Street” era. It’s wild that they weren’t designed by the same person or built at the same time, but they still have this rad architectural harmony going on with similar colors and overall look.

The Bund got some seriously chic hotels with swanky decor and a fantastic ambiance. If you’re looking for a cool place to stay or visit, that’s the spot! And at night, the Bund transforms into this magical wonderland that you absolutely have to see. From Chen Yi Square, you can catch a glimpse of the Oriental Pearl Pearl across the river – loads of people love to watch it from there!

🌷 Insider Tip: Discover the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel—your fast track from East Nanjing Road to the dazzling Oriental Pearl Tower in Pudong, a mere few minutes away! Just CNY 50 for a one-way trip!
Dock at the Bund and Dongchang Road Ferry Dock in Pudong. Only CNY 2, a 10-minute scenic ride awaits!

2. Nanjing Road

Nanjing Road

If you’re new to Shanghai, there’s this super popular walking street that’s like one of the top ten in all of China. It’s a shopaholic’s dream ’cause it’s got a bunch of department stores and loads of stuff to choose from.

You can also get your hands on some legit snacks from famous old-school brands. It’s like a time warp, giving you a taste of the past and today, all on Nanjing Road.

There’s a crazy mix of all kinds of buildings here – a mashup of Chinese and Western styles. And get this – some of the original Concession buildings are still standing! So, you’ll feel like you’re stepping back in time while checking out these cool old shops that have that classic old Shanghai vibe.

Notably, the renowned Shanghai First Food Hall, established in 1954, dishing out the yummiest local snacks like traditional cakes, chocolates, preserved fruit, and dried pork slices.

Another gem among the time-honored snack shops is Zhen Lao Da Fang, where you can savor the most authentic smoked fish and delectable moon cakes filled with meat.

For some high-end shopping action, swing by Wing On Department Store. They’ve got top-notch stuff that shoppers go crazy for – seriously beautiful and high-quality goods all around.

As you meander through Nanjing Road’s pedestrian streets, you might spot this old-style Dangdang sightseeing tram making its way back and forth. It’s like a nostalgic throwback to old Shanghai – pretty darn cool!

3. City God Temple of Shanghai

City God Temple of Shanghai

Shanghai City God Temple holds a fascinating history dating back almost 600 years, having been built during the Ming Dynasty’s Yongle period (1403-1424). It stands proudly as a significant Taoist temple in the Shanghai area, steeped in cultural and religious importance.

It’s spread over a cool 2,000 square meters (2,390 square yards) and packs a punch with nine palaces inside. When the sun calls it a day, the whole pedestrian street around the temple glows with a golden charm.

Now here’s a cool combo – right next door, you got the famous Yu Garden. So, if you’re up for some delicate Shanghai garden feels, just take a walk from the temple and soak it all in.

The City God Temple has got your taste buds covered with a mouthwatering spread of local snacks. You name it – Nanxiang steamed stuffed buns, chop rice cakes, and crab-yellow pastries – it’s all here waiting to be devoured!

Around the temple, you’ll find some seriously cool stuff – small commodity wholesale malls, comprehensive shopping centers, and a whole bunch of gold and jewelry stores! You can even snag some awesome Shanghai local specialties while you’re at it.

🔴Chinese: 城隍庙, Chenghuangmiao
🎫Admission ticket: CNY 10
⏰Opening hours: 08:00 – 16:30

4. Yu Garden

yu garden

Yu Garden, a centuries-old private oasis from the Ming Dynasty, has a fascinating history of over 450 years, making it the sole surviving Ming garden in Shanghai—a true treasure!

Today, Yu Garden spans about 2 hectares and is a delightful blend of beautiful halls, intricate pavilions, shimmering pools, zigzag bridges, and stunning rockeries.

Intriguing couplets and inscriptions by ancient masters grace the garden, but it’s the prominent variety of good-looking dragons that steal the spotlight.

There’s a whole bunch of sights and buildings worth checking out. One standout is the Great Rockery in Sansui Hall, crafted from thousands of tons of rare yellow stone. It is a unique work of art dating back to the Ming Dynasty.

Yet, the real gem of Yuyuan is the Exquisite Jade Rock, an impressive 3.3-meter tall sculpture with 72 holes, revered as the most celebrated stone artwork in the garden.

Don’t miss the breathtaking views from Jiu Qu Bridge and the relaxing delights of sipping tea or playing chess at the Mid-Lake Pavilion Teahouse.

🔴Chinese: 豫园, Yuyuan
🎫Admission ticket: Apr 1 to Jun 30: CNY 40 | Sep 1 to Nov 30: CNY 30
⏰Opening hours: 09:00 – 16:30

5. Longmencun

Longmencun

Explore the captivating charm of Shanghai’s historic lanes, starting with the Xiaonanmen in the Old City Area. Strolling from Laoximen to Xiaonanmen, you’ll be immersed in the nostalgic atmosphere of traditional old houses lining the streets.

Longmencun, the longest new lane in Shanghai, has a fascinating history. Originally purchased as private gardens during the Qing Dynasty’s Qianlong reign, it was transformed into the Longmencun in 1935.

Unlike other old lanes, Longmencun boasts a wider road and neatly laid-out houses that have impressively retained their former appearance, including intricately carved door heads. Keep an eye out for the beautifully preserved No. 10 and No. 30 houses, which are a true delight to explore.

Longmencun’s uniqueness lies in its emphasis on Chinese elements, providing a more authentic glimpse into Shanghai’s bygone era compared to other Shikumen neighborhoods with more Western influence.

A few residents still reside in Longmencun, so it’s crucial to be considerate and respectful during your visit.

For an extended exploration of Shanghai’s alleys, consider visiting Dahuali, Fuqingli, and Yongyeli near the Laoximen subway station.

Alternatively, venture to Shikumen, close to Xintiandi, to observe the layout and artifacts from the 1920s, and gain insight into the lives of old Shanghai residents.

🔴Chinese: 龙门邨, Longmencun

6. Shanghai Oriental Pearl Tower

Shanghai Oriental Pearl Tower

Discover the iconic Oriental Pearl Tower, a cultural landmark representing the vibrant spirit of Shanghai. Nestled in the picturesque Pudong Park, Lujiazui, Pudong New Area, the tower enjoys a prime location, surrounded by the Yangpu Bridge in the northeast and the Nanpu Bridge in the southwest.

Prepare to be enchanted by the three magnificent spheres that grace the Oriental Pearl. For most visitors, the second sphere, known as the Sky Galleria, is a top choice. Standing 263 meters high, this transparent glass viewing platform offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city.

For those who harbor a fascination for the universe and stars, the third sphere, named Space Capsule, awaits at a height of 351 meters, providing a unique opportunity to capture the beauty of the celestial skies.

Thrill-seekers will be delighted by Game City, home to China’s first indoor VR roller coaster and the highest in Shanghai. This exhilarating ride takes you on a virtual journey over Shanghai’s intercity altitude, breaking through the visual and sensory boundaries of traditional roller coasters.

Delve into Shanghai’s captivating history at the Shanghai History Museum, where you can capture moments from the city’s founding to its liberation in 1949. Adjacent to the museum, a charming Coca-Cola-themed restaurant invites you to savor delightful culinary delights.

🎫Admission ticket(package price): CNY 199
⏰Opening hours: 08:00 – 21:30

7. Shanghai World Financial Center

Shanghai World Financial Center

Step into the extraordinary Shanghai World Financial Center, proudly ranking as the world’s fifth tallest building. Ascend to the 474-meter-high sightseeing pavilion, where you’ll feel like you’re strolling among the clouds, beholding the breathtaking panorama of Shanghai with the Huangpu River gracefully flowing on both sides.

The excitement awaits on the 94th, 97th, and 100th floors, where you can reach a soaring 430 meters in just 66 seconds.

Take in the splendor of Shanghai from the Sightseeing Arena on 94F (423 meters / 1,388 feet), spanning 760 square meters and 8 meters in height.

Take a surreal stroll on the 97th floor at the Sightseeing Observatory (439 meters / 1,440 feet), giving you the sensation of walking amidst the sky, as if on a floating bridge.

Prepare to be awe-struck at the Sightseeing Skywalk on the 100th floor (474 meters / 1,555 feet), once the highest point in Shanghai. An extraordinary suspended sightseeing corridor, about 55 meters long, offers a world record-breaking experience. With three transparent glass floors, you can vividly observe cars and pedestrians moving beneath your feet.

🎫Admission ticket: CNY 120 (for 94F, 97F and 100F)
⏰Opening hours: 08:00-23:00

8. Shanghai Tower

Shanghai Tower proudly stands as China’s tallest building, and it’s second to none in the world!

Hop on the world’s fastest elevator and zoom up to the incredible 546-meter high Shanghai Tower Observation Deck, where you’ll be treated to breathtaking 360-degree views of Shanghai’s urban splendor and its famous landmarks.

On the B1 floor, get ready for an exciting exhibition hall featuring seven expansive areas. Dive into the captivating world of multimedia interactions and cutting-edge displays that showcase the building’s greatness with stunning visual effects.

🎫Admission ticket: CNY 180
⏰Opening hours: 8:30-22:00

9. Jin Mao Tower

Jin Mao Tower

Completed with pride in 1999, the awe-inspiring Jin Mao Tower soars 420.5 meters (nearly 1,380 feet) above the ground, standing tall as the third tallest building in Shanghai, outmatched only by the Shanghai Tower and Shanghai World Financial Center.

The 88th floor is a sightseeing paradise, offering a spacious area of 1520 square meters, while its open and rail-free skywalk stretches an impressive 60 meters in length, 1.2 meters in width, and hovers 340.6 meters above the bustling city below. From this breathtaking vantage point, you can take in the mesmerizing beauty of the vibrant international metropolis at your feet.

A delightful surprise awaits on the same floor—the world’s highest love-themed post office, the Jinmao Tower Love Post Office.

🎫Admission ticket: CNY 180
⏰Opening hours: 09:00-20:30

10. Xintiandi

Xintiandi

Xintiandi(Chinese: 新天地) is a super cool pedestrian street in Shanghai, revamped from the city’s iconic Shikumen architectural area. You’ve got the south block with its modern buildings and the north block holding onto those vintage Shikumen gems.

The Shikumen complex is like a time machine, rocking original brick walls and roof tiles, whisking visitors back to the roaring 1920s in Shanghai.

And that’s not all – every single building houses amazing international galleries, hip fashion stores, and top-notch restaurants and coffee bars.

🗺Shanghai Shikumen is a traditional architectural style in Shanghai, China, featuring stone-gated houses with a blend of Western and Chinese elements. It emerged during the colonial era, reflecting a fusion of red-brick structures, communal courtyards, and narrow lanes.

11. Tianzifang

Tianzifang

Tianzifang(Chinese: 田子坊) is like the heart and soul of vibrant Shanghai – friendly, warm, and buzzing with life! Just take a leisurely stroll along its charming lanes, and you’ll instantly soak in the unique literary vibe it offers.

It’s a delightful maze where you’ll stumble upon quirky specialty shops and inspiring art workshops at every turn. Treat yourself to a variety of experiences – from teahouses, restaurants, and cafes to galleries, home decor, handicrafts, and famous creative studios from Shanghai.

What’s truly fascinating is the more than 20 well-preserved shikumen buildings, standing tall and proud, while some of the original residents continue to reside in these narrow and picturesque lanes.

12. Shanghai Disneyland

Shanghai Disneyland

Shanghai Disneyland is the ultimate Disney dream come true in mainland China! Since it opened in Shanghai, it’s become THE must-visit spot and one of the hottest attractions in the whole city.

You’ll be thrilled to find seven themed lands waiting for you: Mickey Avenue, Gardens of Imagination, Fantasy World Fantasyland, Adventure Isle, Treasure Bay Cove, Tomorrowland, and Disney Pixar Toy Story Land – each more amazing than the last!

Don’t miss Fantasyland, where you’ll find the gigantic Enchanted Storybook Castle – the biggest Disney Castle in the world!

What’s extra special about Shanghai Park is how it blends classic Disney magic with fantastic Chinese vibes, including performances, yummy food, and even the fastest roller coaster ever, the “Tron Lightcycle Power Run” – totally epic!

This place is pretty huge, but if you’re on a tight schedule, you can hit all the best spots in just one day with some smart planning. And if you’ve got plenty of time, why not stay overnight? The resort hotels, Wishing Star Park, and Disneytown are like living in a fairytale dream.

💡Shanghai Disneyland Tips: Before heading to the Shanghai Disney resort area, it’s a great idea to get the official apps downloaded. You can check out the park map, ride waiting times, attractions schedule, performance timings, and even the Fastpass options.

🎫Admission ticket: around CNY 399 ~ CNY 699

🏠 Best Ancient Towns in Shanghai

13. Zhujiajiao Water Town

Zhujiajiao Water Town

Zhujiajiao Water Town, the most charming water town near Shanghai! It’s actually one of the four famous historical and cultural towns in the region, boasting a perfect blend of ancient charm and trendy vibes.

You’ll be amazed at the more than 20 scenic spots they’ve developed and opened up for visitors, like the Zhujiajiao Kezhi Garden and the Daqing Post Office. And don’t miss out on the fascinating temples, such as the Zhujiajiao City God Temple and Guanwang Temple.

As you stroll through the town, you’ll be captivated by the picturesque old streets along the river, with over a thousand charming houses lining the water’s edge. Bridges, they’re a sight to behold! There’s a diverse array of them, from porous to single-hole bridges, built with stone, wood, brick, and more.

The icing on the cake is the renowned Fangsheng Bridge, the grandest arch stone bridge with five holes in all of Shanghai. It’s the perfect spot to catch breathtaking sunrises and sunsets. Though the magic happens around 4 to 5 p.m., I must warn you, it can get a bit crowded.

Exploring the local cuisine, especially along North Street, is an absolute must. Imagine a food paradise with braised pork leg, pickles, zongzi (a traditional Chinese rice-pudding), wonton, and countless other delectable delights!

⏰Opening Hours: 11:00 – 14:00 16:30 – 21:00
📍Address: No.30 Qianmen Street, Dongcheng District

14. Jinze Ancient Town

Jinze Ancient Town

Jinze Ancient Town retains its authentic charm, unspoiled by commercial development. Here, you won’t find bustling crowds or a strong commercial atmosphere. Instead, it’s a peaceful and quaint old town with a rich history spanning over 1,300 years.

The majority of its residents are the wise elders who have called this place home for generations. One of the town’s highlights is the Yi Hao Temple, a sacred place frequented by devoted worshippers, mostly elderly locals from nearby areas.

The bridges in Jinze are unlike anything you’ve seen before. Not only are they numerous, but most of them also hold historical significance. Many of them date back to the Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties.

Among them, the Puji Bridge, constructed during the Song Dynasty’s third year of Xianchun, holds the distinction of being Shanghai’s oldest stone arch bridge.

As you stroll through this tranquil water town, you’ll be captivated by the ancient arch bridges and the enchanting melodies of a barge-woman singing gentle Jiangnan ditties.

The town is beautifully adorned with lakes and ponds, all connected by a serene north-south river flowing gracefully through its heart.

15. Liantang Water Town

Liantang Water Town, tucked away in Qingpu District’s countryside, is a hidden gem far from the city’s hustle and bustle. It’s a lesser-known spot, which means it’s delightfully tranquil with only a few visitors around.

The heart of the town is livened up by the famous “Sanli Tang” river, meandering gracefully from east to west. Two charming stone roads, Shangtang Street and Xiatang Street, span across the river, each with its unique character.

On Shangtang Street, you’ll find quaint two-story buildings that once housed bustling shops. These days, they’ve retained their old-world charm, with the top platforms serving as both storage and a cool hangout spot.

Xiatang Street, on the other side, boasts an array of picturesque residential houses in the traditional Sanheyuan and Siheyuan style, all adorned with charming white walls and black tiles.

For a truly magical experience, take a boat ride through the willows, and you’ll discover over ten enchanting stone bridges. You’ll encounter gentle wooden boats gracefully passing by. During the summer, the place is famous for its wild rice stems – a real treat to savor!

16. Qibao Ancient Town

Qibao Ancient Town

Qibao Ancient Town is like the closest getaway from the bustling city, just 18 kilometers (11.18 miles) from downtown. Locals love escaping the high-rises for a leisurely stroll along the old streets, capturing the beautiful night scenes, and of course, indulging in some delicious food!

The town is not massive, making it super easy to explore. You’ll find two main streets – one filled with delightful snacks and the other selling all sorts of charming small goodies. The souvenir shops here are something else! You can pick up some unique and memorable gifts to share with your loved ones.

While the town has a touch of modernity due to its proximity to the city, the buildings have managed to retain their old-world charm. And people flock here for the food!

When you’re here, you absolutely have to try the famous dumplings from Qibao Ancient Town Tangyuan shop. These dumplings come in various flavors like peanuts, bean paste, fresh meat, and the all-time favorite, sesame stuffing.

You can’t leave without trying the handmade tuanzi sold in town. These sweet green rice balls are divine, especially the ones made with wormwood and Chinese mustard.

17. Xinchang Ancient Town

Xinchang Ancient Town used to be a place for soaking salt in the sea, but over time, the beach filled up, turning it into a lively spot for people to live and trade goods. Back in the day, it had the most bustling town on the Pudong Plain!

Xinchang has preserved over 100 ancient houses from the Ming and Qing dynasties. These houses are a real treat to the eyes with their classic white walls, black tiles, and beautifully carved doors and windows. Two must-see spots are the charming tea house and Zhang’s Residence.

For a more peaceful stroll, you can wander off the main road, especially towards Nanshan Temple direction, where you’ll find fewer tourists and enjoy a more tranquil experience.

Even though the town has some commercial development, it still retains that natural and simple vibe. It’s a fantastic blend of history, local dwellings, and a touch of modern life.

🏟️ Best Museums in Shanghai

18. Shanghai Museum

Shanghai Museum

The Shanghai Museum near Nanjing Road is a truly exceptional national treasure, housing an impressive collection of nearly one million artifacts that encompass the rich tapestry of ancient Chinese art.

A source of immense pride, the first floor houses the Ancient Chinese Bronze Gallery. Here, over 400 exquisite bronzes are arranged chronologically, chronicling the wondrous journey of ancient Chinese bronze art. Witness history unfold as you explore the initiation, evolution, prosperity, and innovation of this ancient craft.

As you venture further, the Ancient Chinese Sculpture Gallery beckons. Over 120 exhibits, spanning from the Warring States period to the Ming Dynasty, grace this gallery. Marvel at the intricate stone sculptures, wood creations, and majestic bronze statues, including the renowned Chinese Buddhist sculptures.

A captivating journey through time awaits on the second floor at the Ancient Chinese Ceramics Gallery. Spanning millennia, it showcases the evolution of Chinese ceramics. From the humble colored pottery of the Neolithic Age to the resplendent celadon of the Shang and Zhou Dynasties, and the Tang tri-colored pottery, culminating with the exquisite Guan Kiln of the Yuan and Ming Dynasties.

Ascend to the third floor, where the ancient Chinese Calligraphy Gallery, the ancient Chinese Painting Gallery, and the Imperial Seal Gallery await. Witness the evolution of calligraphy and painting, as the halls are frequently refreshed with new captivating works. Meanwhile, the Seal Gallery stands as a testament to China’s rich seal-cutting heritage, housing a collection of priceless seals.

Finally, on the fourth floor, the Ming and Qing Furniture Gallery transports you to a bygone era. Here, a curated collection of over 100 exquisite pieces of furniture from these dynasties adorns the halls, study rooms, and bedrooms.

🎫Admission ticket: free
⏰Opening hours: 09:00-17:00, closed on Monday

19. Shanghai History Museum

Shanghai History Museum

If you’re eager to dive deep into the heart and soul of Shanghai’s vibrant history, then the Shanghai History Museum is the place to be! With a whopping 110,000 exhibits, this awesome museum takes you on a thrilling ride through the city’s past, from its ancient beginnings to the bustling metropolis it is today.

You’ll find this gem spread across five floors of pure awesomeness. First up is the preface hall and special exhibition zone, where they’ve got this epic multimedia interactive exhibition wall. It’s like a time machine, zapping you through the incredible urban evolution of Shanghai in no time!

Head on up to the second floor, and it’s like stepping into ancient Shanghai. They’ve got a bunch of cultural relics on display, each one telling a cool story from the city’s early days.

The third and fourth floors pull you into the modern age, showcasing historical incidents and events that totally shaped Shanghai’s destiny.

On the fifth floor, they’ve got a sweet restaurant and a chill roof garden where you can kick back and relax. Take a breather, enjoy the view of People’s Square and Nanjing West Road—it’s a treat for the tired feet!

🎫Admission ticket: free
⏰Opening hours: 09:00-17:00, closed on Monday

20. Shanghai Astronomy Museum

Shanghai Astronomy Museum

The Shanghai Astronomy Museum, the world’s largest astronomy museum, officially opened its doors to the public on July 18, 2021. The building design alone is a sight to see, but wait till you step inside the exhibition halls and witness the mind-blowing exhibits!

One thing that sets this museum apart is its focus on interactive experiences. You can dive headfirst into the vast ocean of astronomical knowledge and popular science. It’s truly an immersive adventure.

The performances have specific timings, so consider getting a tour guide at the entrance for the best experience. Plan for around 2-3 hours to explore the exhibition hall, but hey, there’s so much to see and do that you might want to dedicate a whole day to it!

The museum has restaurants with a simple variety of food options, so you can refuel and keep exploring.

💡Tips: It’s a bit far from the city, but you can easily reach it by hopping on Metro Line 16 and getting off at Dishuihu Station (Exit 1). From there, it’s a short 1.4 km walk or a quick taxi ride to an out-of-this-world experience!

🎫Admission ticket: CNY 30
⏰Opening hours: 09:30-16:00, closed on Monday

21. Shanghai Post Office Museum

With over 90 years of history, Shanghai Post Office Museum showcases the evolution of communication from ancient times to the present, brimming with valuable cultural relics.

Embracing an eclectic European style, the building’s tower features intricately carved bronze statues of Greek mythology, lovingly restored in 2005 after being damaged during the Cultural Revolution.

Stepping inside, you’ll be greeted by a grand sight—a massive double-sided marble escalator and a stunning chandelier hanging from the roof. It’s a favorite spot for visitors to capture beautiful photos due to its unique perspective.

As you ascend to the second floor, you’ll find the Shanghai Post Hongkou branch business hall, while the third floor serves as the museum’s starting point. Here, you can explore fascinating artifacts like ancient oracle bone inscriptions, China’s first postage stamp, and even exam papers of past Shanghai postmen.

Follow the marked tour route, and you’ll arrive at the “First Hall of the Far East,” an impressive hollow interior designed for efficient letter transportation. Step inside a green car, reminiscent of the Republic of China Post sorter’s work, and experience their job firsthand, completely free of charge.

🎫Admission ticket: free
⏰Opening hours: 09:00-17:00, closed on Monday, Tuesday and Friday

22. China Art Palace

China Art Palace

China Art Palace is a delightful free museum in Shanghai that was once the China National Pavilion during the Shanghai World Expo. Discover the captivating journey of modern Chinese art with a rich collection of art treasures, including oil paintings, prints, Chinese paintings, and sculptures.

Explore the four main themes of the museum: the Origin of Chinese Modern and Contemporary Art, Artworks depicting Shanghai’s Historical and Cultural Development, the Artworks of Renowned Painters, and the Arts Development in the New Century.

A must-see highlight is the captivating multi-media exhibit “Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival,” housed in Hall 5 on the 49-meter floor. Please note that tickets are required for this specific exhibition.

Also, indulge in the fascinating Shadow Play Art Exhibition, Modern Art Exhibition, and Shanghai Artist Invitation Exhibition in various halls for an enriching experience.

🎫Admission ticket: CNY 20
⏰Opening hours: 10:00-18:00, closed on Monday

23. Shanghai Arts and Crafts Museum

Built in 1905, this old building has a history of 100 years and was originally built as the residence of an official in the French Concession.

The three-story symmetrical garden villa has a strong French post-Renaissance style, with two floors on the ground and a semi-basement on the first floor. From both sides of the staircase to the viewing platform, you can have a glance at the large grass and garden in front of the villa, which has the reputation of “Little White House of Shanghai“.

The interior of the building is also beautifully decorated, with the winding staircase connecting the three floors, the pink relief on the dome and the arched porch on the second floor all finishing touches on the details.

In 2002, the villa was converted into a museum. It is worth mentioning that this museum gathers many traditional handcraft masters from Shanghai. Visitors can see the making process of handicrafts such as lanterns making, jade carving and Gu embroidery, and have a deeper understanding of the intangible cultural heritage of old Shanghai.

🎫Admission ticket: CNY 8
⏰Opening hours: 09:00-11:00, 13:00-16:00

🏰 Best Aged Villas in Shanghai

24. Sinan Mansion

Sinan Mansion

The name “Sinan Mansion” originates from Sinan Road, which was formerly known as Route Massenet during the time of the French Concession in Shanghai.

Sinan Mansion comprises more than 20 houses, each showcasing various architectural styles, such as independent garden houses, townhouse buildings, porch buildings, garden lanes, and new lanes. All these buildings are adorned with cobblestone walls and adorned with orange brick doors and windows.

The exceptional environment of Sinan Mansion has attracted numerous military and political dignitaries, entrepreneurs, professionals, and renowned artists to reside here.

Apart from the diverse architectural styles of the buildings, visitors will find it intriguing to explore the interiors of the former residences as well.

The area situated north of the business district and south of the hotel garden is highly favored and known for its sophisticated ambiance. It features a variety of establishments, such as Chinese and Western restaurants, bars, bookstores, charming cafes, upscale retail stores, and more.

Additionally, art exhibitions are regularly held in this area, which are immensely popular among the locals in Shanghai.

25. Blackstone Apartments

Blackstone Apartments

Situated on the serene Fuxing Road in Xuhui District, Blackstone Apartments was once renowned as one of the most prestigious residential complexes in the city.

In 1924, the visionary American missionary James Harry Blackstone envisioned constructing China’s most luxurious and upscale apartment building in Shanghai, and thus, the Blackstone Apartments came into existence, nestled in the heart of the French Concession.

Even before its completion, the opulence of these apartments garnered significant media attention. The residence boasted 20 spacious suites, 3 medium-sized suites, and 8 smaller suites. It also offered other amenities such as a heated swimming pool, a tennis court, and a dance hall. The apartment’s rooftop garden provided a captivating view of most of the French Concession.

Today, many years later, numerous residents still occupy the Blackstone Apartments. To preserve a secure and peaceful living environment, the complex does not permit visitors.

However, the bookstore on the first floor retains the charming architectural elements of the original Blackstone Apartments, featuring arched corridors and exquisite mosaic tiles that serve as a tribute to its past grandeur.

26. Hengshan Moller Villa

Hengshan Moller Villa

Located at the end of Shanghai’s Shan Xi S. Road stands a castle that appears to be straight out of a fairy tale – the Nordic-style Villa Mahle, now known as Hengshan Moller Villa.

The story of this dreamy villa dates back to 1926 when a young English girl in Shanghai had a dream about Andersen’s fairytale castle. Her father, Moller Eric, a British businessman, was inspired to turn her dream into reality. In 1936, he built the castle with a Nordic roof adorned with Chinese glazed tiles.

Today, the enchanting Hengshan Moller Villa welcomes visitors through a small door, leading them into a world of vibrant colors and fairytale charm. Inside, the villa boasts three-tiered wooden stairs, a Norwegian minaret, dormer windows, colored tiles, and Buddhist niches, and even the interior domes are adorned with stained glass.

The walls of the hotel still proudly display photographs of the villa’s original owner, Mahler, and his staff, preserving the rich history of the place. A must-try experience at the Hengshan Moller Villa is the authentic English afternoon tea, which adds to the magical atmosphere of this delightful retreat.

27. 1933 Old Millfun

1933 Old Millfun

Compared to the preceding French concession buildings I mentioned, this aged structure located in the British Concession showcases a strikingly different architectural style and, at its inception in 1933, was renowned as one of the largest slaughterhouses globally.

Covering an extensive area of over 30,000 square meters and boasting five floors, this architectural marvel was designed and constructed by the renowned British architect Balvers.

It showcases a captivating fusion of Chinese and Western elements, incorporating the concept of Oriental feng shui, while its overall architecture exudes an ancient Roman influence.

The presence of numerous umbrella columns and intersecting covered bridges not only adds to its charm but also serves practical purposes, forming pedestrian staircases and pathways for animals.

In the present day, this magnificent slaughterhouse has been artfully repurposed into a vibrant creative park, offering a home to various specialty shops and restaurants. Moreover, it has become a beloved venue for hosting diverse artistic activities such as fashion shows and drama performances.

🏨 Best Aged Villa Hotels in Shanghai

28. Hotel Massenet

Hotel Massenet

As mentioned earlier, Sinan Mansion is a remarkable complex of garden bungalows that holds a special place in Shanghai. Among them, Hotel Massenet is a significant component, being a distinctive boutique hotel in the heart of Shanghai, designed in the garden bungalow style.

Established in 2010, the hotel comprises 19 garden bungalows from the 19th century and 2 veranda-style buildings.

The entire hotel has been meticulously restored to its former glory, exuding the nostalgic ambiance of old Shanghai bungalows with cobblestone walls, chimneys, stoves, and traditional stair railings.

Each room in the hotel is a separate villa, complete with a private courtyard and personalized butler service. However, reservations must be made by phone a month in advance. The hotel’s front desk is located in Villa 53, where check-in and checkout procedures are conducted.

Every villa can accommodate up to 8 guests per night and is equipped with various facilities and amenities. Guests are required to personally sign in for the hotel’s items upon arrival. A maximum of 8 breakfasts are provided every morning for each villa, with two packages (AB) to choose from. The butler ensures the delivery of breakfast directly to the villa.

Additionally, each villa offers two free parking spaces, three rooms, seven bathrooms, a study, a garage, and a courtyard, occupying an area of 400-500 square meters.

📍Location: No.53 Sinan Road
💰Price: around CNY 43700 / one night
📞Phone: 021-34019998

29. Pei Mansion Hotel

In the heart of Jing’an District lies Pei Mansion Hotel, established in 1934. The hotel’s design was influenced by the Suzhou Garden style, characterized by its grand pavilions and meandering pathways, exuding the simple yet elegant charm of old Shanghai.

Upon entering the hotel lobby, visitors are greeted by an array of antique displays. One of the standout features is the earliest appearance of an OTIS elevator in Shanghai, along with a distinctive spiral staircase that exudes the opulence and grandeur of 1930s Shanghai.

Pei Mansion comprises 25 rooms, with its most prominent offering being the Pei Mansion Suite.  They went all out and rebuilt it from the original master bedroom, and it’s got that simple and elegant vibe. Picture this: white rooms, black windows, and they even kept this awesome antique glass bathtub in perfect condition.

📍Location: No.170 Nanyang Road
💰Price: around CNY 1000 / one night

30. Mansion Hotel Shanghai

Originally crafted by French architect Lafayette in 1932, this boutique hotel proudly stands as China’s first deluxe City Heritage Boutique Hotel. Its enchanting charm lies in the perfect blend of French classic elegance and the dignified Chinese atmosphere.

Despite having just 30 rooms, this place feels like a charming little historical museum. When you step into the lobby, you’ll be surrounded by over 300 historical treasures – think hand gramophones, original records, a fascinating collection of financial products from the 1930s, movie projectors, and a treasure trove of precious group photos.

And here’s a fun fact: even the lobby tables are British antiques brought to Shanghai by missionaries in 1910.

📍Location: No.82 Xinle Road, Xuhui District
💰Price: around CNY 1000 / one night

31. Le Sun Chine

Le Sun Chine is like this hidden gem, tucked away at the end of a random alley. It used to be a residence of celebrities, and it’s got that mysterious and low-key vibe.

Today, it’s still rockin’ the look of the original British bungalow from back in the day, both inside and out. You’ll find classic wooden furniture all jazzed up with fancy European ornaments, a chill terrace, and a peaceful garden all blending together with the winding paths.

With 17 rooms in the mix, not a single one is a copy-paste job. Each room has its own little quirks and styles, and they even gave ’em names like Xiafei Road and Hager Road, to keep that old Shanghai spirit alive.

Inside the rooms, you’ll find some vintage treasures like gramophones, typewriters, electric fans, antique porcelain, and old-school fireplaces. Those records on the phonograph ain’t just there for looks, they’re the real deal!

📍Location: No.6, 1220 Lane, Huashan Road
💰Price: around CNY 600 / one night

32. Bamboo Retreat

Bamboo Retreat – it’s like a Spanish-style private pad! The whole building is made of brick and wood, with a simple three-floor setup and a cool double pitch roof.

It’s a historic preservation building, so they’ve kept the original architecture intact, just beefed it up a bit. That means the 15 rooms in Bamboo Retreat still have that old-school design flair. Each room has its own layout and a super unique name. They’ve decked out every room with some swanky home artwork from top-notch international brands.

Almost every room comes with a chill balcony, so you can soak in the beautiful and peaceful outdoor views.

📍Location: No.83, Wuxing District
💰Price: around CNY 1000 / one night

🍻 Best Restaurants & Bars in Shanghai

33. Dahuchun

Dahuchun

Dahuchun(Chinese: 大壶春) is a restaurant established in 1932, renowned for its Shanghai’s oldest shēngjiān mántou (生煎馒头) – a classic pan-fried bun in traditional old Shanghai style.

The bun features a crispy golden bottom and a delightful top half garnished with sesame seeds and chives, emitting an irresistible aroma.

Shengjian mantou is a famous snack originating from Shanghai with nearly a century of history. Its popularity lies in the hot and crispy skin, rich juice, and flavorful filling, often consisting of pork, though variations like shrimp and chicken are now available and enjoyed by the locals.

34. Nanxiang Xiaolongbao

Nanxiang Xiaolongbao

Nanxiang Xiaolongbao(Chinese: 南翔小笼包) in Nanxiang Ancient Town holds the title of the most renowned place for Xiaolongbao (soup dumplings) in Shanghai. These delectable dumplings are typically filled with pork or crab and enveloped by a delicate flour wrapper. When served in a bamboo steamer, the steam’s heat causes the aspic to liquefy, resulting in a flavorful soup inside the dumpling.

The popularity of Nanxiang Xiaolongbao has soared, making it a must-try delicacy for tourists. Consequently, a long queue forms in front of the store every day, with people eager to savor the fresh and hot Nanxiang Xiaolongbao.

Nonetheless, if you wish to savor delicious Xiaolongbao without venturing to Nanxiang Ancient Town, numerous other establishments in Shanghai also offer this delightful treat.

35. Zhen Lao Da Fang

Zhen Lao Da Fang

Zhen Lao Da Fang(Chinese: 真老大房小吃店) is a renowned local snack shop where you can relish authentic smoked fish and delightful moon cakes filled with meat. Among its many branches in Shanghai, the one located on Nanjing Road is the most popular.

Their signature moon cakes, filled with savory meat, are available throughout the year. This delectable snack holds special significance in the Jiangsu-Zhejiang-Shanghai region. The moon cake’s pastry is crispy and flaky, while the juicy ground pork filling bursts with delicious flavors.

These mouthwatering moon cakes are commonly enjoyed by Chinese people during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

36. Laobanzhai

Laobanzhai

Laobanzhai(Chinese: 老半斋), with a history spanning a century, is renowned as the go-to place for indulging in knife-fish noodles in Shanghai.

Interestingly, the noodles served here are technically called “knife-fish juice noodles” because they contain no fish pieces; rather, the bowl is filled with the flavorful essence extracted from the knife-fish. The soup boasts a rich and creamy texture, resembling the whiteness of milk, and although no fish is present, the delightful taste is thoroughly infused into the noodles.

In Jiangyin, the most famous local delicacy is the “Three Yangtze Delicacies” (comprising Yangtze hilsa herring, knife fish, and balloon fish), with knife-fish being the first fresh fish available during the year.

Therefore, savoring a bowl of delectable knife-fish noodles before or after the Qingming Festival becomes a supreme pleasure for food enthusiasts.

37. Chameleon

Chameleon is a popular western restaurant and cocktail bar, co-owned by the legendary bartenders Eddy and Carson, who are highly esteemed in the bartending community and have earned numerous awards for their exceptional skills.

The name “Chameleon” aptly reflects the ever-changing nature of the establishment. From the menu to the wine list, music, and even the decor, everything undergoes frequent updates. The inspiration for these changes is drawn from the owners’ extensive travels, during which they explore local food and wine cultures and bring back their newfound experiences to infuse into the venue.

The ambiance is thoughtfully designed, resembling a cozy “travel apartment” with distinct sections like living rooms, dining rooms, lounges, and a balcony. It exudes the comfort of being at home while also offering an elegant and inviting social space.

While Chameleon attracts many wine enthusiasts, the food is equally outstanding, featuring a fusion of French-inspired dishes that perfectly complement the diverse drinking experience.

38. SUZU BAR Shanghai

SUZU BAR Shanghai

Originating from Tokyo’s Ginza district, renowned for Japan’s most famous bars, SUZU holds a perennial top-three position on TABELOG, a popular Japanese bar ranking.

SUZU impeccably masters the meticulous attention to detail characteristic of Japanese mixology. A notable feature rarely seen in China is SUZU’s fresh fruit cocktail of the day, an integral part of Japanese mixology. This unique approach, prevalent in Tokyo’s Ginza and Sapporo, involves bars offering a list of recommended fruits of the day, from which bartenders skillfully craft cocktails, often using a minimalist approach.

Creating these fruit-based cocktails demands high requirements for fruit freshness and aroma, leading to increased costs and time consumption. Consequently, many Chinese bars boasting of “Japanese mixology” fail to deliver fresh fruit cocktails, setting SUZU apart in its commitment to authentic Japanese mixology.

39. LAB whisky& cocktail

The moment you step into LAB, the wine cabinet positioned behind the bar might take you aback, and upon opening the wine list, you’ll be greeted with an extensive selection of Scotch whisky, spanning over 10 pages.

Whisky enthusiasts will find themselves delighted by the array of choices, including limited editions, special editions, and independent bottlings, making it a challenging task to make a decision.

The industrial-style decor, complemented by the warm illumination on the mantelpiece and in the gallery cabinet, offering a serene and relaxed ambiance for patrons.

40. TAXX

TAXX

A renowned nightclub brand in Shanghai boasts a vast space, capable of accommodating around 3,000 people, encompassing a diverse range of venues, including a club, lounge bar, art zone, and indoor concert area. The establishment is equipped with state-of-the-art international-standard sound and lighting equipment.

Famous DJs are regularly invited to perform, and the venue also hosts periodic chamber music festivals. Notably, the bathrooms are extraordinary, offering a wide array of amenities, such as lipstick, eyeshadow trays and perfumes, including luxury brands like Zumalone and Guerlain.

🏛️ Best L. E. Hudec’s Architecture in Shanghai

41. Chinese American Bank of Commerce

Chinese American Bank of Commerce

In 1915, at the age of 25, Hudec was banished to Shanghai, and to earn a ferry ticket back home, he decided to work at a Shanghai company. The Chinese American Bank of Commerce, previously known as Meifeng Mansion, situated on Ningbo Road, became his first work in Shanghai.

Built in 1920, this four-story corner house may not appear extraordinary from a distance, lacking elaborate baroque decorations or grand Ionic columns. However, the unassuming building has seamlessly blended into the lives of nearby residents, with bustling shops downstairs and a lively lane adjacent to it.

This relatively unknown structure marks the beginning of architect Hudec’s “Hudec era” in Shanghai’s architectural scene, even though it is often overlooked.

42. Wukang Mansion

Wukang Mansion

Being one of the few red-brick buildings in the French Concession, the Wukang Mansion has held its place as an iconic landmark in Shanghai. Originally named the Normandie Apartments, it was constructed in 1924 as a tribute to the renowned French battleship from World War I, and it stands as one of Hudec’s early architectural achievements.

The Wukang Mansion consists of 60 apartments, which have been home to numerous historical figures and movie stars over the years. Even today, it remains a symbol of Shanghai, frequently making appearances in Chinese films and television dramas.

Hidden under the arched porch of the Wukang Mansion, you’ll find an array of shops worth exploring. Notably, the beloved local café, Lao Mai Coffee, and the serene and literary bookshop offer a charming and inviting experience for visitors.

43. Park Hotel

Park Hotel

After establishing his independent office and gaining widespread recognition, Hudec created his masterpiece, the Park Hotel Shanghai.

Completed in 1934, this colossal structure boasts a design characterized by clean and smooth straight lines, adorned with brown and red tiles and a glass curtain wall, evoking a classic American old-fashioned skyscraper style.

With an impressive height of approximately 84 meters and 24 floors, the building held the distinction of being the tallest in China until 1966 and remained the tallest in Shanghai until 1983.

For those intrigued by the skyscraper’s rich history and contemporary life, there is an on-site museum available for exploration within the building.

44. Hudec’s Memorial Hall

To delve into the life and legacy of the renowned architect closely linked to Shanghai, a visit to Hudec’s former residence on Panyu Road is a must.

Constructed in 1931, this English country house-style abode was personally designed and built by Hudec himself. Its striking Tudor architecture showcases exposed wooden elements and a steep roof.

The first floor of the villa houses the Hudec’s memorial hall, which has been preserved to reflect Hudec’s living quarters. It features various design drawings and photographs on display, offering insights into his work and life.

However, currently, the second floor of the villa is not accessible to the public.

45. The Green House

The Green House

Hudec’s final gift to Shanghai was the Green House on Tongren Road, an exemplar of the classic private villa style, earning its moniker “Green House” due to the presence of green mosaic tiles adorning its exterior.

Spanning four floors, each level of the villa boasts expansive terraces that face south, overlooking the lush garden. Throughout the Green House, a plethora of curved designs can be observed, evident in the rounded and curved corridors, staircases, and suspended ceilings.

This architectural marvel also holds the distinction of being the first private mansion in Shanghai to feature an elevator installation.

🌇 Best Streets in Shanghai

46. Sinan Road

Sinan Road

Constructed in 1912, Sinan Road once belonged to the French concession, featuring over 20 garden bungalows with diverse and captivating architectural styles from all around the world.

Strolling along the road, you can explore the former residences of numerous celebrities, such as the Zhou Residence, where a treasure trove of precious cultural relics is on display.

If you’re enamored with the ambiance of old Shanghai streets, consider lodging in the opposite Fuxing Fang, a modern lane designed to capture that vintage charm.

Sinan Road also hosts a range of specialty shops, inviting you to visit coffeehouses or peruse antique stores, providing an opportunity to immerse yourself in the city’s history and romance.

47. Duolun Road

Duolun Road

As a tribute to the renowned Chinese writers of the past who once resided here, this unique road was not subjected to demolition and reconstruction but has been meticulously preserved.

As you journey along the road, you will encounter charming small retro houses and artistic figure sculptures. The area also boasts churches, bell towers, memorials.

Immerse yourself in the cultural ambiance by visiting the numerous art galleries, including the Duolun Modern Art Museum and Shanghai Newspaper Museum.

Moreover, you’ll find distinctive old book stalls, antique shops, and a renowned old movie café.

48. Anfu Road

This peaceful little street in Shanghai might not be well-known among tourists, but it holds a special place in the hearts of the city’s residents. Lined with numerous old houses and charming small shops, it boasts an array of unique restaurants that are real gems.

Notably, it has a great significance as a favored gathering spot for old Shanghai coffee aficionados. Additionally, this area has become a favorite among many foreigners living in Shanghai.

49. Yuyuan Road

Yuyuan Road

This road has a fascinating hundred-year history and used to be home to cultural celebrities, businessmen, and politicians. Despite various renovations over time, the houses, whether Spanish style, Italian neoclassical, or hidden in Yuyuan Road’s alleys, have remained unchanged.

Covering a length of about 2.7 km, it is one of Shanghai’s busiest roads, where trams, cars, bicycles, and pedestrians all coexist. The street is bustling with shopping malls, restaurants, cafes, and life houses. Meanwhile, alleys host regular residences, former celebrity homes, memorials, and library collections, making it unique as it blends the old urban style with the latest lifestyle trends.

Yuyuan Road proudly displays historical treasures like Wang Mansion, Yongquan Pavilion, and Paramount Ballroom, among others, all of which are remarkable buildings.

50. Shaoxing Road

Shaoxing Road, originally called Route Victor Emmanuel III, was established in 1926 and named after the King of Italy.

Spanning less than 500 meters, this road exudes a serene and artistic ambiance, with an abundance of elegant coffee shops contributing to the tranquil environment.

Moreover, Shaoxing Road is home to numerous prestigious publishing houses and magazines, alongside renowned bookstores and galleries. Consequently, it has earned the reputation as one of the most “bookish” roads in Shanghai.

51. Tian’ai Road

Tian'ai Road

Tian’ai Road is renowned as the most romantic love street in Shanghai, stretching approximately 600 meters. Local legend suggests that couples strolling hand in hand along this path will be blessed with everlasting and joyful love.

Wooden frames grace both sides of the road, spaced every two meters, showcasing a total of 28 famous Chinese and foreign love poems, forming a charming “love wall.”

Given the road’s relatively small size, it is best experienced on foot, especially during the evening when dim lighting creates a more enchanting atmosphere.

A distinctive feature of Tian’ai Road is the LOVE post box, where every letter posted receives a special English “love” postmark. During Valentine’s Day, a long queue often forms in front of the window, as people eagerly seek the love stamp for their heartfelt messages.

52. Wukang Road

Wukang Road

Wukang Road, a vibrant center in old Shanghai, boasts an array of former residences belonging to renowned personalities, totaling around 37 in count.

These residences showcase distinctive architectural styles such as Spanish and French Renaissance, making it one of the most European-inspired neighborhoods in the heart of Shanghai.

The Wukang Building, an iconic structure designed by Hungarian architect Hudec, stands as a landmark on Wukang Road, resembling a majestic ship poised to embark on a journey. Over the years, this road has been home to numerous political leaders, business tycoons, and celebrities, with many of their historic houses still standing to this day.

Wukang Road also boasts an array of charming small shops, cafes, and restaurants. Exploring the alleyways allows you to catch a glimpse of the living environment of the people in old Shanghai.

53. Daxue Road

This road earned its name as “Daxue Road” or “University Road” due to the concentration of many universities in Shanghai, including Fudan University and Tongji University.

Regardless of the time of your visit, you’ll find numerous college students hanging out here, with an abundance of restaurants, boutiques, and inviting outdoor cafes, perfect for leisurely afternoons. The surrounding boutiques offer an excellent selection of affordable yet creatively designed items.

When it comes to food, my personal favorite is TOGO TACO, a delightful Mexican restaurant with an authentic Mexican ambiance. Their tender grilled chicken breast TACO is particularly exceptional, making it a must-try dish if you decide to dine at this restaurant.

🛫 How Do I Travel to Shanghai

By Plane

Shanghai has two major airports, namely Hongqiao International Airport and Pudong International Airport, which are also the main base of China Eastern Airlines. The two airports are located in the east and west of Shanghai respectively, with a distance of about 50 kilometers between them.

Shanghai Pudong International Airport

Shanghai Pudong International Airport is situated in Pudong, approximately 30 km from the city center. It serves as the primary hub for international flights, with connections to 73 cities worldwide and 62 cities within China.

For convenient travel to the downtown area, the recommended option is to take the line 2 subway, accessible from Terminal 2’s basement floor at the airport.

Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport

Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport is situated in Puxi, closer to the city center than Pudong Airport. It mainly serves domestic flights, with only a limited number of international routes to Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan.

The easiest way to reach the city from the airport is by taking Metro Line 10 and Line 2. Line 2 stops at Terminal 2, while Line 10 serves both Terminals 1 and 2.

Additionally, Hongqiao Airport is conveniently located near the city center and Hongqiao Railway Station.

By Train

In Shanghai, there are four main railway stations: Shanghai Railway Station, Shanghai South Railway Station, Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station, and Shanghai West Railway Station.

  • Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station: This is the largest railway station in Shanghai, serving trains from Guangzhou, Beijing, Nanjing, and Hangzhou bound for Shanghai. Passengers can transfer between Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station and Shanghai Hongqiao Airport.
  • Shanghai Railway Station: As the primary passenger station, Shanghai Railway Station operates over 70 trains daily, connecting major cities across China. It offers services such as the sleeper train to Beijing, direct special express trains to Tianjin, and express trains to Hong Kong.
  • Shanghai South Railway Station: This station operates over 30 pairs of trains daily, mainly serving long-distance routes to the south and short-distance routes within Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces. There are also a few trains to destinations like Yantai, Baotou, and Lanzhou.

By Ship

Shanghai plays a significant role as a port for both domestic passenger ships and international cruise ships. Currently, there are two international passenger terminals in the city: the Shanghai International Passenger Transport Center and the Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal.

The Shanghai International Passenger Transport Center offers routes to Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Europe, and Southeast Asia for international travel. For domestic routes, it connects to ports like Dalian, Ningbo, Hankou, and others.

🚗 How to Get Around Shanghai

Subway: Shanghai’s transportation options are diverse and convenient. The city boasts an extensive metro system, including 17 subway lines and the Pujiang line. The metro operates from around 5:25 to 6:00 in the morning, with the last train departing between 22:00 to 22:30. Ticket choices include one-way fares, costing CNY 3 to 7, and special tickets like the one-day pass priced at CNY 18.

Bus: Shanghai’s bus network is highly accessible, covering various routes, including regular lines, special routes, and tourist lines. The standard fare for buses is CNY 2, while suburban routes may range from CNY 1 to CNY 11.

Taxi and bike: For those preferring online car-hailing or taxis, Shanghai offers excellent services through various platforms. Bike-sharing programs are also prevalent throughout the city.

City sightseeing bus: To explore Shanghai’s attractions, visitors can opt for the city sightseeing bus, which is a double-decker red bus with an open top. The tour buses come in different numbers (1, 2, 3, and 5) and stop at more than 30 locations, connecting various famous landmarks. The service operates from May 1 to October 31 and November 1 to the following April 30, with ticket prices set at CNY 40 for a one-day pass and CNY 50 for a two-day pass.

Ferry: Although the ferry is not the primary mode of transportation nowadays, Shanghai still offers several ferry crossings along the Huangpu River, with 17 active routes. Taking the ferry can be a unique way to travel around Shanghai, and the ticket price is CNY 2.

☀️ Best Time to Visit Shanghai

As a global metropolis, Shanghai doesn’t have strict seasonal limitations, but Spring (March to May) showcases the beauty of wintersweet, cherry blossoms, and magnolia in full bloom. In Autumn (September to November), it’s the perfect time to relish hairy crabs with their delicious crab roe and succulent meat.

Both Spring and Autumn offer pleasant weather, making it an ideal time to enjoy the city’s outdoor attractions comfortably.

However, I would advise against visiting Shanghai during the peak of summer (June to August) as it can get hot and humid, making outdoor activities less enjoyable. Additionally, Shanghai experiences typhoons during the summer season, which might disrupt travel plans.

Winter (December to February) can be chilly, but it is generally less crowded, and you can experience the city’s festive atmosphere during Chinese New Year celebrations in late January or early February.

⭐ Where to Stay in Shanghai

People’s Square& The Bund Area

People’s Square Station serves as a convenient transfer hub for both Metro Line 1 and Line 2, making it easy for travelers to get around in Shanghai. During the day, visitors can explore the city by taking either subway line to various attractions. At night, they can enjoy a stroll to must-visit tourist spots like Nanjing Road and the Bund.

The area around People’s Square Station offers a wide range of accommodation options. From luxurious star-rated hotels to budget-friendly youth hostels, there is something to suit every visitor’s budget and preferences.

Xujiahui Area

Xujiahui area is a shopper’s paradise with numerous shopping malls offering a variety of options for food, shopping, and entertainment. Each mall is located within a short walking distance of less than 10 minutes. Additionally, the presence of nearby subway line 11 ensures easy and efficient transportation.

The area also provides plenty of cost-effective hotel options, making it a favorable choice for visitors seeking comfortable and affordable accommodations.

Lujiazui Area

Choosing to stay in Lujiazui offers a fantastic opportunity to admire iconic landmarks such as Jin Mao Tower, Shanghai Tower, and The Oriental Pearl Tower up close.

Lujiazui has an impressive concentration of upscale hotels, making it a desirable choice for discerning travelers seeking luxurious accommodations. Additionally, the convenience of having Metro Line 2 nearby ensures easy access to transportation for exploring the city.

Jin’ an Temple Area

Jing’an Temple is located in Shanghai’s up-and-coming business district, where numerous shopping malls are clustered together. It has become a popular destination for young shoppers due to its diverse selection of trendy boutiques and popular internet-famous stores.

The convenience of living in this area is enhanced by its proximity to Jing’an Temple Station, which serves as a transfer point for Metro Line 2 and Line 7, making it extremely accessible.

For travelers with sufficient budgets, there are plenty of nearby hotels, though they tend to be on the expensive side.

Yuyuan Road & Wukang Road Area

Residing in this area provides a sense of the vibrant ambiance of old Shanghai, with numerous historic old bungalows alongside unique small bars, western restaurants, art galleries, and dessert shops.

There are many special B&B accommodations in the vicinity that offer good value for money. However, the nearest subway station is quite far, making it inconvenient to access other attractions. One can either opt to walk to the nearest subway station or take a taxi.

  • Looking for luxury: Lujiazui Area
  • Craving a shopping spree: Xujiahui & Jin’ an Temple Area
  • To experience the local Shanghai life: Yuyuan Road, Wukang Road
  • For convenient transportation: People’s Square Area

🏨 Best Hotels in Shanghai

Similar to most city centers, Shanghai caters to all types of visitors, offering a wide range of accommodations to suit every budget. Whether you seek the finest luxury hotels, affordable budget options, or cozy hostels, Shanghai has it all.

  • Capella Shanghai Jian Ye Li ($$$)One of Shanghai’s most exquisite luxury hotels is a converted authentic Shanghai shikumen cluster, comprising 55 villas.
  • Radisson Blu Hotel Shanghai New World ($$$) Best mid-range hotels, ideally situated just a brief one-minute walk from People’s Square Subway Station.
  • Fairmont Peace Hotel($$$) A premier luxury hotel in Shanghai, renowned as an iconic and historic landmark of the city.
  • Campanile Hotel($$)Among the best hotels in Shanghai, this hotel offers delectable cuisine, a convenient location, and exceptional value for your money.
  • InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland ($$$) The world’s pioneering eco-hotel, ingeniously constructed within a rock pit, providing each room with a terrace and stunning views.
  • Jinglai Hotel ($$) One of Shanghai’s top budget hotels, boasting an elegant atmosphere and welcoming customer service.

🌸Final Thoughts: Traveling to Shanghai

As you can see, Shanghai, China, offers a myriad of activities to cater to every traveler’s interests.

If you’re drawn to the allure of Old Shanghai, a delightful journey awaits you as you venture off the Bund, the iconic waterfront, and delve into the enchanting ancient towns. With their timeless charm, places like Zhujiajiao provide a captivating glimpse into the city’s rich history and cultural heritage.

Whether you seek historical exploration, stunning landscapes, or a taste of modernity, Shanghai has it all. The bustling markets, delectable cuisine, and harmonious blend of tradition and innovation ensure an unforgettable experience.

I hope this comprehensive guide has addressed all your queries about visiting Shanghai, leaving no stone unturned in explaining the diverse range of options available to you. Embrace the spirit of adventure, let Shanghai’s allure captivate you, and create lasting memories in this vibrant city.

China Travel Planning Guide&FAQ

🎫Do I need a visa for China?

Yes. Most visitors to China will need a visa to enter the country. The type of visa you need will depend on the purpose and duration of your trip, as well as your nationality. If you are a resident of the US, you must apply for a Chinese visa at the Consular Office in the country. On the other hand, inhabitants of countries like Japan, Canada, and the UK can request a visa through the Chinese Visa Application Service Center.

🤔Why is it necessary to install a VPN in China?

In China, the government has strict regulations on internet access, leading to the blocking of popular websites and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, and YouTube. To access these sites, a VPN is suggested as a means of bypassing the restrictions. It is important to choose a reputable VPN provider and use caution while doing so. ExpressVPN has been historically deemed the most reliable VPN for this purpose, despite being heavily targeted by China’s censors. Nevertheless, it is still a widely preferred option owing to its ease of installation and user-friendliness.

📲Is it necessary to have a Chinese SIM card while in China?

Yes. It is crucial to acknowledge that accessing the internet in China may pose limitations due to certain websites being prohibited or filtered. To ensure uninterrupted connectivity while staying in China, purchasing a local SIM card is advisable. For optimum results, acquiring SIM cards from either China Unicom or China Mobile is recommended. While China Mobile has the most comprehensive coverage in China and is a market leader, China Unicom is more compatible with foreign phones, enabling 3G and 4G services. Or you can purchase a SIM card online.

🔮Should I buy China travel insurance?

Yes. Although China is generally a safe country for travel, it is still possible to encounter accidents or other unexpected occurrences. Therefore, obtaining travel insurance can provide a sense of security and financial protection. In my research, I have found that World Nomads is a reputable travel insurance provider that covers a wide range of activities and is recommended for the average traveler. Nevertheless, I advise you to compare insurance quotes from various providers before making a decision.

🚙Can you rent a car in China?

Unfeasible. Obtaining a Chinese driver’s license to rent a car and self-drive may seem like an option, but it is not a practical choice for most foreigners. Therefore, many prefer to opt for a driver or public transportation when navigating China, as it proves to be more convenient.

✈️What’s the best site to purchase flight tickets for China?

I suggest using Trip for affordable flights to China. As a China-based company, they often offer lower prices compared to foreign companies. Additionally, they offer English-speaking phone support in case of any issues.

🏡What is the best way to book hotels in China?

Not only does Trip offer a wider range of flight options, but it also provides a greater selection of hotels to choose from. Moreover, Agoda is a reliable resource for hotels throughout Asia.

🎒What do I pack for China?

Travel adapter and converter: China uses a different electrical system than many other countries, so it’s important to bring a travel adapter and converter if you plan to use electronic devices such as phones, cameras, and laptops.  
Sunscreen: The UV index in China can be high, particularly during the summer months, and prolonged exposure to the sun without protection can cause skin damage and increase the risk of skin cancer.
Deodorant: It should be noted that finding deodorant in China may not be a simple task.

📚Can a guidebook for traveling to China be useful?

Yes. If you’re planning to travel to China for the first time, a travel guidebook can be a valuable resource, and Lonely Planet is one of the most reputable guides available globally. Its comprehensive itineraries and recommendations take into account your personal preferences and can save you both time and money. The insider tips are also extremely helpful in navigating China’s unique cultural landscape like a local.

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