10 Things to do in Shanghai – 2024 Ultimate Guide

Table of Contents


Welcome to Shanghai, a vibrant metropolis that offers a perfect blend of traditional Chinese culture and modernity. With a plethora of things to do in Shanghai, this bustling city is a must-visit destination for travelers seeking an unforgettable experience. From exploring historic neighborhoods like the French Concession and the Bund to indulging in mouth-watering street food at local markets, Shanghai has something for everyone. Join us as we uncover the top attractions and hidden gems that make Shanghai a truly captivating destination for your next adventure.

Popular Experiences and Attractions

The Bund

Guide to The Bund: A Must-See Place

The Bund in Shanghai is a picturesque waterfront promenade that stretches along the Huangpu River. This iconic landmark is a perfect blend of historical architecture and modern skyscrapers, offering visitors a glimpse into the city’s past and present. The best time to visit is in the evening when the buildings light up, creating a stunning skyline. Don’t miss the opportunity to take a leisurely stroll along the promenade, admiring the colonial-era buildings on one side and the futuristic skyscrapers on the other. The Bund is not only a popular tourist spot but also a significant cultural and historical symbol of Shanghai.

Ideal Visitors for The Bund: Is It for You?

– History enthusiasts who appreciate colonial architecture
– Photographers looking for the perfect cityscape shots
– Travelers interested in experiencing the fusion of old and new in Shanghai

Expert Tips for Visiting The Bund

– Visit during the evening to witness the stunning light show on the buildings
– Take a river cruise along the Huangpu River for a different perspective of The Bund
– Explore the side streets for hidden gems and local eateries

Yu Garden

Guide to Yu Garden: A Must-See Place

Yu Garden, also known as Yuyuan Garden, is a stunning classical Chinese garden located in the heart of Shanghai. This historic garden dates back to the Ming Dynasty and is a true oasis in the bustling city. Visitors to Yu Garden can explore traditional Chinese architecture, serene ponds, intricate rockeries, and beautiful pavilions. The garden is divided into six main areas, each offering its own unique charm and beauty. One of the highlights of Yu Garden is the Exquisite Jade Rock, a prized rockery that is said to have healing properties. As you wander through the garden, you’ll be transported back in time to ancient China, making it a must-see destination for history buffs, nature lovers, and anyone looking for a peaceful escape in the midst of a vibrant city.

Ideal Visitors for Yu Garden: Is It for You?

– History enthusiasts who appreciate Ming Dynasty architecture
– Nature lovers seeking a tranquil escape in the heart of Shanghai
– Tourists looking to immerse themselves in traditional Chinese culture
– Photographers wanting to capture the beauty of classical Chinese gardens

Expert Tips for Visiting Yu Garden

– Visit early in the morning to avoid crowds and experience the garden in a peaceful setting.
– Don’t miss the Huxinting Teahouse located within the garden for a traditional Chinese tea experience.
– Take your time exploring each area of the garden to fully appreciate its beauty and historical significance.

Oriental Pearl Tower

Guide to Oriental Pearl Tower: A Must-See Place

The Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai stands as an iconic symbol of the city’s modernity and progress. This architectural marvel, soaring 468 meters high, offers visitors a panoramic view of Shanghai’s stunning skyline. Built in 1994, the tower’s unique design features spheres of varying sizes linked by futuristic columns, creating a distinctive silhouette against the cityscape. A visit to the Oriental Pearl Tower is a must for anyone exploring Shanghai, offering a blend of history, technology, and breathtaking views.

Ideal Visitors for Oriental Pearl Tower: Is It for You?

– Travel enthusiasts seeking a bird’s eye view of Shanghai
– History buffs interested in the evolution of Shanghai’s skyline
– Families looking for a fun and educational experience

Expert Tips for Visiting Oriental Pearl Tower

– Visit during sunset for a magical view of the city lights coming to life
– Purchase tickets online in advance to skip the long queues
– Don’t miss the glass-bottomed observation deck for a thrilling experience

Shanghai Museum

Guide to Shanghai Museum: A Must-See Place

Shanghai Museum, located in the heart of the city, is a cultural gem that showcases over 120,000 precious artifacts spanning thousands of years of Chinese history. This world-class museum is renowned for its stunning collection of ancient Chinese art, including ceramics, calligraphy, paintings, and sculptures. The museum’s distinctive architecture, with its round top and square base symbolizing the ancient Chinese perception of the world, is a sight to behold in itself. A visit to the Shanghai Museum offers a fascinating journey through China’s rich cultural heritage, making it a must-see destination for history buffs, art enthusiasts, and curious travelers alike.

Ideal Visitors for Shanghai Museum: Is It for You?

– History enthusiasts keen on exploring ancient Chinese artifacts
– Art lovers interested in traditional Chinese paintings and calligraphy
– Travelers looking to delve into the rich cultural heritage of China

Expert Tips for Visiting Shanghai Museum

– Arrive early to avoid crowds and have ample time to explore the exhibits
– Take advantage of the free guided tours to gain deeper insights into the artifacts
– Don’t miss the museum’s gift shop for unique souvenirs to take home

Nanjing Road

Guide to Nanjing Road: A Must-See Place

Nanjing Road, located in the heart of Shanghai, is a bustling pedestrian street that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and modernity. Stretching over 5 kilometers, Nanjing Road is one of the world’s busiest shopping streets, lined with a plethora of shops, boutiques, restaurants, and entertainment venues. The street is divided into two sections, Nanjing Road East and Nanjing Road West, each offering its own charm and attractions.

Visitors to Nanjing Road can immerse themselves in the vibrant atmosphere of Shanghai, experiencing the city’s dynamic energy and diverse offerings. From luxury brands to local souvenirs, there is something for every shopper along this iconic street. The historical significance of Nanjing Road dates back to the 19th century when it was a major hub for international trade, and remnants of its storied past can still be seen today.

Whether you’re a history buff, a shopaholic, a foodie, or simply looking to soak in the sights and sounds of Shanghai, Nanjing Road is a must-see destination that encapsulates the essence of this vibrant city.

Ideal Visitors for Nanjing Road: Is It for You?

– Shopaholics looking for a wide range of shopping options, from luxury brands to local goods
– History enthusiasts interested in exploring a street with a rich cultural heritage
– Food lovers eager to sample a variety of local and international cuisines
– Travelers seeking a vibrant and bustling atmosphere to immerse themselves in the essence of Shanghai

Expert Tips for Visiting Nanjing Road

– Start your visit early in the day to avoid the crowds and make the most of your shopping experience.
– Take breaks at local cafes or restaurants to rest and recharge before continuing your exploration of the street.
– Don’t forget to bargain when shopping at smaller stores or street vendors to get the best deals and immerse yourself in the local shopping culture.

Jing’an Temple:

Guide to Jing’an Temple: A Must-See Place

Jing’an Temple, located in the heart of Shanghai, is a cultural and historical gem that attracts visitors from around the world. This ancient Buddhist temple, with a history dating back over 800 years, offers a serene escape from the bustling city life. The temple’s stunning architecture, intricate carvings, and peaceful ambiance make it a must-see destination for anyone visiting Shanghai. Whether you are a history buff, a spiritual seeker, or simply a traveler looking to immerse yourself in the local culture, Jing’an Temple has something to offer everyone. Don’t miss the chance to explore this iconic landmark and discover the rich heritage and spiritual significance it holds.

Ideal Visitors for Jing’an Temple: Is It for You?

– History enthusiasts who appreciate ancient architecture and cultural heritage
– Spiritual seekers looking for a peaceful and contemplative environment
– Travelers interested in exploring the religious traditions of China
– Photography enthusiasts capturing the beauty of traditional Chinese temples

Expert Tips for Visiting Jing’an Temple

– Visit early in the morning to avoid crowds and experience the temple in a more tranquil setting.
– Respect the local customs and traditions by dressing modestly and behaving respectfully within the temple grounds.
– Take your time to explore the intricate details of the temple’s architecture and immerse yourself in the serene atmosphere for a truly memorable experience.


Guide to Tianzifang: A Must-See Place

Tianzifang, located in the heart of Shanghai, is a charming labyrinth of narrow alleyways filled with boutiques, cafes, art galleries, and traditional Chinese architecture. This historic area dates back to the 1930s and was once a residential neighborhood. Today, it has been transformed into a bustling hub for artists, designers, and tourists alike. The maze-like layout of Tianzifang adds to its allure, inviting visitors to explore its hidden gems around every corner. With its unique blend of old-world charm and modern creativity, Tianzifang is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Shanghai.

Ideal Visitors for Tianzifang: Is It for You?

– Art and culture enthusiasts looking for a unique shopping experience
– History buffs interested in exploring Shanghai’s traditional architecture
– Food lovers eager to sample local delicacies and international cuisine
– Photographers seeking picturesque spots for capturing the essence of Shanghai

Expert Tips for Visiting Tianzifang

– Visit during weekdays to avoid the crowds and fully immerse yourself in the local atmosphere.
– Wear comfortable shoes as the alleyways can be narrow and uneven.
– Don’t miss the opportunity to interact with local artists and shop owners to learn more about their craft and the history of Tianzifang.

Shanghai Disneyland:

Guide to Shanghai Disneyland: A Must-See Place

Shanghai Disneyland, located in Pudong, Shanghai, is a magical destination that offers a unique blend of traditional Disney charm and Chinese culture. Opened in 2016, this enchanting theme park spans over 963 acres and is the first Disney park in mainland China. Visitors are greeted with the iconic Enchanted Storybook Castle, the largest castle in any Disney park worldwide. The park is divided into several themed lands, including Adventure Isle, Gardens of Imagination, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, and Treasure Cove. Each land offers a diverse range of attractions, entertainment, and dining options that cater to visitors of all ages. From thrilling rides like TRON Lightcycle Power Run to enchanting experiences like the Voyage to the Crystal Grotto, Shanghai Disneyland promises a memorable adventure for everyone. The park also hosts spectacular parades, live shows, and character meet-and-greets, adding to the magical atmosphere. With its perfect blend of Disney magic and Chinese influences, Shanghai Disneyland is truly a must-see destination for travelers seeking a whimsical and unforgettable experience.

Ideal Visitors for Shanghai Disneyland: Is It for You?

– Families with children
– Disney enthusiasts
– Adventure seekers
– Those interested in Chinese culture and Disney fusion

Expert Tips for Visiting Shanghai Disneyland

– Arrive early to beat the crowds and make the most of your day.
– Download the official Shanghai Disneyland app for real-time ride wait times and show schedules.
– Don’t miss the nighttime spectacular, “Ignite the Dream – A Nighttime Spectacular of Magic and Light,” for a magical end to your day.

Zhujiajiao Water Town:

Guide to Zhujiajiao Water Town: A Must-See Place

Zhujiajiao Water Town, located in the Qingpu District of Shanghai, is a charming ancient water town that dates back over 1,700 years. Known as the “Venice of Shanghai,” this picturesque town is famous for its well-preserved Ming and Qing dynasty architecture, stone bridges, and tranquil waterways. Visitors can explore narrow lanes, traditional buildings, and experience a glimpse of old China. The town is surrounded by beautiful natural scenery, making it a popular destination for both domestic and international tourists. With its rich history and unique atmosphere, Zhujiajiao Water Town is a must-see place for anyone visiting Shanghai.

Ideal Visitors for Zhujiajiao Water Town: Is It for You?

– History enthusiasts who appreciate ancient architecture and cultural heritage.
– Nature lovers who enjoy scenic landscapes and peaceful surroundings.
– Photographers looking for picturesque spots and unique photo opportunities.
– Travelers seeking a break from the bustling city life and a taste of traditional Chinese culture.

Expert Tips for Visiting Zhujiajiao Water Town

– Visit early in the morning to avoid crowds and experience the town in a more peaceful setting.
– Wear comfortable shoes as you will be walking on uneven stone paths and bridges.
– Try the local delicacies such as sticky rice dumplings and sweet lotus root during your visit to immerse yourself in the town’s culinary delights.

Shanghai World Financial Center:

Guide to Shanghai World Financial Center: A Must-See Place

Shanghai World Financial Center, located in the heart of Lujiazui in the Pudong district of Shanghai, is a towering symbol of modern architecture and economic prowess. Standing at 492 meters tall with 101 floors, this iconic skyscraper offers visitors a breathtaking panoramic view of the city from its observation deck on the 100th floor. The building’s distinctive trapezoid aperture at the top has earned it the nickname “The Bottle Opener.”

Visitors to the Shanghai World Financial Center can immerse themselves in the city’s skyline, witnessing the juxtaposition of historic landmarks and futuristic skyscrapers. The observation deck provides a unique vantage point to appreciate the city’s dynamic landscape, especially during sunset when the city lights up in a mesmerizing display.

Aside from the observation deck, the building also houses offices, hotels, conference facilities, and shopping malls, making it a multifunctional hub in Shanghai. Whether you are interested in architecture, city views, or simply want to experience the pulse of Shanghai from above, the Shanghai World Financial Center is a must-see attraction that encapsulates the city’s modernity and ambition.

Ideal Visitors for Shanghai World Financial Center: Is It for You?

– Architecture Enthusiasts: Those fascinated by modern skyscrapers and innovative architectural designs.
– City Explorers: Travelers seeking a bird’s eye view of Shanghai’s urban landscape.
– Photography Enthusiasts: Individuals looking to capture stunning cityscape shots from a unique perspective.

Expert Tips for Visiting Shanghai World Financial Center

– Visit during sunset for a magical experience as the city transitions from day to night.
– Purchase tickets online in advance to avoid long queues at the ticket counter.
– Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the mesmerizing views of Shanghai from the observation deck.

Food and Cuisine


Why is it so special:

Xiaolongbao is a type of steamed bun filled with hot soup and meat, usually pork. What makes this dish special is the delicate process of creating the thin, yet sturdy skin that holds the flavorful broth inside. The burst of savory broth combined with the tender meat filling creates a unique and satisfying culinary experience. Xiaolongbao is a staple in Shanghai cuisine and is a must-try for any visitor looking to explore the local flavors.

Where to Try It:

For an authentic Xiaolongbao experience, head to Jia Jia Tang Bao, a popular local spot known for its delicious soup dumplings. If you prefer a more upscale setting, Din Tai Fung is a renowned chain restaurant that serves exceptional Xiaolongbao in a modern and comfortable environment.


Why is it so special:

Shengjianbao is a pan-fried pork bun that features a crispy bottom and a fluffy steamed top. The filling consists of juicy pork mixed with a savory broth, creating a burst of flavors with each bite. This dish is special because of the contrast between the crispy exterior and the soft, flavorful interior, making it a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

Where to Try It:

For an authentic taste of Shengjianbao, visit Yang’s Fry Dumplings, a renowned chain that specializes in this delectable dish. If you’re looking for a more upscale dining experience, Fu Chun is a high-end restaurant known for its exquisite Shengjianbao and elegant ambiance.

Lion’s Head Meatballs

Why is it so special:

Lion’s Head Meatballs are large, tender meatballs made from a mixture of pork and seasonings, typically served in a savory broth with vegetables. The name “Lion’s Head” comes from the shape of the meatballs, which are meant to resemble a lion’s mane. This dish is special for its comforting flavors, hearty texture, and cultural significance in Shanghai cuisine.

Where to Try It:

For an authentic taste of Lion’s Head Meatballs, visit Jesse Restaurant, a local favorite known for its traditional Shanghainese dishes. For a more upscale dining experience, Fu

Events and Festivals

Shanghai International Film Festival

The Shanghai International Film Festival is one of the largest film festivals in Asia, attracting filmmakers and cinema enthusiasts from around the world. The festival showcases a diverse range of films, including international blockbusters, independent films, and Chinese cinema. Visitors can attend film screenings, industry forums, and red carpet events during the festival.

Shanghai Dragon Boat Festival

The Shanghai Dragon Boat Festival is a traditional Chinese festival celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. The festival features dragon boat races on the Huangpu River, where teams compete to the beat of drums. Visitors can also enjoy traditional Chinese food, music, and cultural performances during the festival.

Shanghai International Arts Festival

The Shanghai International Arts Festival is a month-long celebration of performing arts, including theater, dance, music, and opera. The festival features performances by both local and international artists at various venues across the city. Visitors can immerse themselves in the vibrant arts scene of Shanghai during this cultural extravaganza.

Interesting Facts

– Shanghai is home to the world’s fastest commercial Maglev train, reaching speeds of up to 267 mph (430 km/h).
– The city boasts the world’s second-tallest skyscraper, the Shanghai Tower, standing at a height of 2,073 feet (632 meters).
– Shanghai’s historic Bund area features a unique blend of architectural styles, showcasing buildings influenced by Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, and Renaissance designs.

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