Shanghai’s best-known attraction is impressive any time of day and night, but it’s at its most glam in the evening when floodlighting illuminates the colonial piles and the neon across the river, where Pudong gaudily glitters. Take a stroll along the waterfront walkway and watch the world go by.
The main shopping street of Shanghai embodies the eclectic nature of the city. Being one of the busiest streets in the world, it features outlets of both well known traditional Chinese and global brands, as well as more than 600 stores, shopping malls and restaurants on both sides of the walkway. It is certainly the place to be to feel the pulse of the city, or join the crowds on a shopping spree.
Yu Garden embodies the quintessence of classical ancient Chinese gardens south of the Yangtze River – creation of maximum out of minimum. While it takes a familiar person only five minutes to walk from the entrance to the exit, most first-time visitors find themselves lost in this little paradise with fish ponds, rockeries, plants, bridges, and buildings of various types arranged along zigzagging paths. The ingenious use of Chinese gardening art in combination with the garden’s 400-plus years history makes Yu Garden one of the most popular tourist attractions in Shanghai.
If you fly into Shanghai’s international airport in Pudong, be sure to take the Maglev into town rather than a taxi or regular metro. The Maglev is China’s futuristic magnetic levitation train and the fastest ride in its technological repertoire. The journey only lasts a few minutes, but during that time the train can reach a top speed of 430 kilometres per hour (although the average is closer to 300 km/h).
It’s the view you’re going for: on a clear day, Jin Mao Tower offers incredible 360 degree panoramas across the city. It’s 88 storeys high and it’s located at number 88 - have you guessed that eight is a lucky number for the Chinese? There are offices up to the 50th floor, then the Grand Hyatt hotel from floors 53 to 87. A public observation deck is located on the top floor. Otherwise, forget the lucky numbers and go for a drink at the Grand Hyatt’s Cloud 9 bar, just one storey below.
Shanghai Ocean Aquarium is the largest sea aquarium in Asia, divided into nine different thematic zones including China, South America, Australia, Africa, Polar, Deep Ocean, and more. This is a place where you can discover more than 15,000 marine creatures and almost all sea species that can be found in Asia. Do not miss the underwater tunnels.
People's Square is a Shanghai landmark. In its vicinity lie People's Park, Shanghai Museum, Municipal Building, Shanghai Grand Theatre and other important buildings. It is not only the political, economic, cultural and tourism center and transportation hub of Shanghai, but also a large shopping district.
This interactive museum museum scientific theory to life by turning it into an exciting, interactive experience for guests of all ages. Learn about the structure of the Earth surface by travelling hundreds of meters down to its core, explore animal diversity by taking a stroll through rain forests and deserts, and understand the theory of gravity by riding a bicycle on a steel string hanging in the air.
Xintiandi literally means “new heaven and earth”. It’s a new landmark of Shanghai developed in the late 1990s. In order to improve the living conditions of local people, the majority of old-style Shikumen houses were replaced with new apartment buildings. Some were worried that this traditional local house type might disappear one day, so the government decided to maintain some as cultural heritage. This area has now grown to become a major western-style dining location.
As the memorial of the First National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in the 1920s, the site was refurbished into a museum in 1950. You will learn more about China's plight during the Opium War, Shanghai history and the events leading up to the foundation of the Chinese Communist Party.
For sweeping views over Shanghai, visit this 492-metre skyscraper. Also known as SWFC, this second tallest building in Shanghai features an indoor observatory from the 94th to 100th floors. Walk across the impressive Sky Bridge on the 97th floor and experience the tallest observatory in the world on the 100th floor.
Run down there quick, before the lights are extinguished: there’s talk of turning the Bund Tourist Tunnel into a tediously ordinary commuter line. In the meantime, it’s the most entertaining way to cross between the Bund and Pudong. Pumping music, psychedelic neon and nebulous commentaries accompany your journey - it’s showy, it’s tacky and it’s truly outrageous fun. It’s sometimes called the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel.
As one of the tallest towers in Asia, Oriental Pearl TV Tower is the distinct landmark of Shanghai. Located opposite The Bund, it is one of the hottest city attractions, as well as an entertainment venue containing dining and shopping spots. There is an observation deck at the 263-metre mark, which offers fascinating views of Shanghai.
The best time to visit is around 7 am when hundreds, perhaps thousands, of locals gather for their daily exercise. Solitary old men practice t’ai chi formations, while well-coiffed women dance with fans or spin through a waltz or three. The energy pulses through aerobic routines or the flying leaps of a sword dance - while others simply sit around and watch their caged birds sing.
Since the company was founded in 2000, this restaurant chain has enjoyed tremendous success and popularity. It now has 19 branches serving fabulous, spicy Sichuan food in stylish surroundings. Another central Shanghai location is in Pudong, Lujiazui (with views of the river and Bund).
This excellent restaurant is located at the top floor of Hotel Indigo, and, thanks to being perched so high, offers great views and an even better menu selection. Their speciality is meat, but if a juicy steak isn't what you're feeling, sea food and delicious desserts are available as well.
Tempt your taste buds with Japanese cuisine at this exclusive two-storey restaurant with floor-to-ceiling views of greenery. The friendly staff serve fresh and creative Japanese-Californian fusion dishes which are beautifully presented. The atmosphere is informal and kids are welcome as well.
When you walk into Franck, you will immediately notice the private ambience of this French bistro. The attentive staff serve delicious French food, with dishes like foie gras, le poulet rôti" (roast chicken) and la cote de boeuf (imported Australian steak) offered up in a romantic setting. The restaurant also has its own wine cellar with 300 labels.
This classic European restaurant is located on level 30 of the Hyatt On The Bund Hotel, and offers amazing views. The restaurant mixes contemporary and comfort food prep styles. This is not a budget restaurant; however the location, food and service are what you pay for. “A la minute” signature dishes such as Caesar salad, lobster bisque, steak tartar and crêpe suzette are prepared by well-trained resident chefs.
If you would like to try out the Yunnan cuisine, come here and make your wish come true. Prices here are higher than average, but you can definitely get what you pay for. Immerse yourself into the mysterious ambience of the restaurant and discover the distinguishing saltiness, spiciness and sourness of Yunnan flavours.
Antique Garden is an excellent find in the French Concession, only steps away from the green Fuxing Park. Relaxing jazz music often plays in the background, and they serve coffee, beer, wine and champagne (along with a few dishes to choose from). Most of the antiques and vintage items inside are up for sale. Can get very busy on Saturdays and Sundays.
Maya serves Mexican food with an Asian touch, using exclusively fresh ingredients and experimenting with bold flavours. The extensive brunch menu is what originally earned Maya its fame. The food is healthy and hearty, with dishes like casserole, roast chicken enchiladas and roast duck quesadilla.
Little Sheep is a global hot pot restaurant chain. The hot pot concept means that guests cook their own food (stew/soup) by selecting from the fresh ingredients available, such as vegetables and meat. This is a child-friendly place with a playground, and prices are reasonable.
For the perfect pan-seared Shanghai dumplings filled with thick, flavourful broth that's molten off the pork filling (shrimp and squid varieties on offer as well), stop by one of the famous local Yang's Dumpling chain. Pre-order and pay at the cash register, then produce the receipt at the kitchen counter to receive your serving.
Coffee is taken seriously at Sumerian, a hip cafe and coffee shop in the heart of Shanghai. With carefully monitored origins of its beans (which come from Africa, Latin America and China itself), the establishment serves up superb hot and cold caffeinated drinks, along with delectable bagels with a variety of toppings.
It bills itself a "bar for grown-ups" - its décor features hand-painted Chinese screens and an oval chrome bar - and, of course, the amazing view over the Bund and the river for which M is famous. The Glamour Bar hosts an array of interesting events from live jazz to literary readings. It is also the home to the Shanghai International Literary Festival each March.
M1NT is Shanghai's definition of lavish opulence - with indoor shark tanks, exuberant decor style, pricey drinks, first-class views over the night city from it's 24th floor location and the notoriously strict dress code, the club is a sought-after nightlife spot for those looking to party in style.
Boxing Cat Brewery is an award-winning small brewery with several locations across Shanghai. Here you can enjoy every type of beer from malt to ale, and many different European favourites. They serve good pub grub, and the indoor screens are large enough to fully enjoy a sporting game.
Drei Kronen 1308 Brauhaus brings German beer culture to Shanghai. They also serve German cuisine, and most days of the week you can also enjoy live music here. Start off with a beer sampler and pick a favourite, and do not skip on the famous German sausages to go along.
This Art Deco dance hall was the place to be seen in 1930s Shanghai (Charlie Chaplin once danced here), and it has now reopened for the twenty-first century crowd. The clientele is mostly older, and the dancing done is old-style. This place is a real throwback to the glamour of old Shanghai, so strap on your dancing shoes and take to the floor for a whirl.
The wine selection leans towards French but extends its scope to include international labels. The dimly-lit bar occupies two storeys that look nothing like the doctor's office, but a cure for (nearly) all ailments is served both by the glass and bottled. Delectable wine accompaniments and platters are highly popular.
The Fabric Market has recently been pulled up from its down-at-the-heel roots and relocated to 399 Lujiabang Road. Cashmere coats, silk dresses, work suits and shirts - all can be created just the way you like them. Some items are also sold off the peg if you’re going for custom-made, it’s a good idea to bring a garment for copying.
The staggering variety of exotic Chinese treats and snacks might be disorienting at first, but a world of discovery awaits for those who persevere. Meats and fruit (including the infamous durian), seeds, packaged sweet and savoury snacks, chicken feet and more are up for sale. The 3rd floor is given over to a food court.
The Propaganda Poster Art Centre is, primarily, a gallery showcasing posters dating back to various points of China's 20th century history. The on-site gift shop is a definitive highlight - many of the displayed designs have been turned into original postcards, T-shirts, and other attractive merchandise. Cash only.
The ground level of Tianshan Tea City really is a tea-lover's paradise: the variety of teas on offer is seriously impressive, and most shop owners will conduct free-of-charge tastings to help you decide on a variety to purchase. Floors two and three are given over to porcelain and tea-making paraphernalia.
Discover a bustling Shanghai market the way it was 100 years ago. A combination of sightseeing, shopping, entertainment and cultural exhibits turn the area into a tourist must-see. Here you can experience the unique "Hai Pai" (East meets Wests) architecture and folk custom.
Tianzifang is where local artists have set up shop to display and sell one-of-a-kind creations. Tianzifang is located in the French Concession, built up of iconic traditional Shanghai Shikumen buildings. If you are looking for something vintage or creative hand made crafts, this neighbourhood is one to keep on your radar.
Shanghai has two airports one of them is the international airport in Pudong, 35 km from the city centre. From the Pudong Airport, the most enthralling way to travel is on the Maglev (the high-speed magnetic-rail train) to Longyang Road in Pudong. Purchasing a round-trip comes with a discount. There’s an underground station and a taxi rank at Longyang Road for onward travel. Metro Line 2 is available when departing or arriving Pudong International Airport. Operating Time 6 am 10 pm and leaves every 8.5 minutes. Hotline: +86 21 6437 0000, www.service.shmetro.com/en A taxi from Pudong Airport to the city centre takes up to an hour. Make sure you have your destination written in Chinese. The airport has regular shuttle buses to many areas in the city and the major hotels have desks at the airport and will arrange transfer.
Another airport called Hongqiao Airport, which handles domestic flights, lies 15 km from downtown. Both Metro and buses run from this airport. A taxi from Hongquiao Airport will take 30-45 minutes. Make sure you have your destination written in Chinese. Hongqiao Airport has regular shuttle buses to many areas in the city. The major hotels have desks at the airport and will arrange transfer.
The traffic in Shanghai can be heavy, but taxis are easy to flag down. Be aware that most taxi drivers only speak Chinese and may not understand English. A great solution comes from a set-up called Guanxii: you text the English name of your destination to 885 074 and back it comes in Chinese characters. Just show your phone to your taxi driver.
Pharmacies are not hard to find in the city, just look for the green cross. The Shanghai United Family Hospital and Clinics Pharmacy works 24/7, year-round. It is located at 1139 Xianxia Rd, Changning Qu, Shanghai (+86 21 2216 3900). Parkway Community Pharmacy is an international standard professional pharmacy. They emply English-speaking staff who are licensed pharmacists.