What to do in Shanghai
Shanghai is a heckuva' big city. Luckily, there's a wide range of things to do in Shanghai all over the map, so no matter where you stay you'll you'll have no problem keeping yourself entertained in the evenings, long after the tennis matches have wrapped up for the day. Seen below are a few highlights you won't want to miss, but don't worry about cramming too many Shanghai attractions into your time—sometimes the most memorable scenes are to be found on a random street side or down a little neighborhood alley, as the slow pace of old Shanghai reveals itself amidst the neon-hubbub of this enormous city.
Top 5 must-see Shanghai attractions
- The Bund (Wàitān, 外滩): Join the throng and stroll alongside the imposing neo-classical structures of Shanghai’s old harbor front. Pose for pictures against the Lujiazui skyline and be amazed by the ornate facades of buildings little changed since the city’s concession days.
- The French Concession (Shànghǎi Fǎ Zūjiè, 上海法租界): The idiosyncratic push-pull between new and old, development and preservation, takes a special form in the French Concession, making its leafy streets and lively lanes an absolutely unique urban experience. Perfect for an afternoon exploring by foot or by bike.
- People’s Square (Rénmín Guǎngchǎng, 人民广场): Like much of today's Shanghai, People’s Square is a showcase for the city. Fortunately, it's also home to beautifully maintained gardens and parkscapes, culminating in People's Park (Rénmín Gōngyuán, 人民公园), which occupies the northeastern quadrant of this massive tract of land in the middle of Puxi (the west bank of the Huangpu River). Head there early morning to watch martial arts practitioners, tai chi enthusiasts and bird fanciers at play.
- Shanghai Museum (Shànghǎi Bówùguǎn, 上海博物馆): One of China's four largest museums, the Shanghai Museum is primarily dedicated to showcasing artifacts from China's long history, including rare specimens of jade, bronzes, ceramics, calligraphy and painting. It also exhibits major traveling exhibitions from around the world. One hall displays traditional ceremonial outfits from many of the remarkably diverse ethnic groups living within the territory governed by the People's Republic today.
- Xintiandi: (Xīntiāndì, 新天地 ): Weaving traditional shikumen buildings into the urban fabric of 21st century Shanghai, Xintiandi is a bustling pedestrian lifestyle zone. Featuring upscale shopping, dining and entertainment outlets, this is a popular spot for tourists, expats and Shanghainese nouveaux riches.
Other top Shanghai attractions
- Check out the street art and the many galleries on Moganshan Lu
- See a meticulous, annually-updated model of Shanghai at the Urban Planning Museum
- On a clear day, see the unparallelled view from the Shanghai World Financial Center's viewing deck
- Bask in the sun and forget the cityscape for an afternoon at Century Park
- Eat and shop in the remodeled shikumen buildings of Taikang Lu
- Make it to Fuxing Park in the morning to see locals dance up a storm
- Buy some knick-knacks at the Dongtai Lu Antiques Market
- Get your culture on at the Rockbund Art Museum
- Check out some fake stuff at the Nanjing Lu Fake Market
- Spend an evening at the theater at the Shanghai Culture Square
See our full list of things to do in Shanghai