Shanghai boasts an impressive collection of things to do below its towering skyline. Ranging from ancient temples to busy shopping hubs. Be impressed by spectacular views, whether it’s from the gigantic Shanghai Tower or the waterfront views of the Bund. Otherwise, those looking to dig deeper into China’s culture can stop by some of the ancient temples or towns scattered throughout the city. Regardless of whether you’re seeking adventure, tranquillity, or a blend of both, Shanghai can deliver.
Planning a trip to China’s largest city? Here are the 10 best things to see and do in Shanghai.
1. The Bund
Located along the Huangpu River, the Bund is a waterfront location in the heart of Shanghai. Lined with colonial-style buildings, many people flock to the area to simply stroll along the river and admire the architecture. Not to mention, the Bund is also conveniently close to a collection of must-visit Shanghai attractions, making it effortless to incorporate into an itinerary.
2. Oriental Pearl TV Tower
Located across from the Bund is the Oriental Pearl Tower. This is an iconic radio and television tower standing at an impressive 468 metres. The structure was initially built in 1994 to offer the city a better broadcasting tower, while also serving as an intriguing point of interest for tourists. Journey up the double-decker elevators to admire the city from above or head to the revolving restaurant for a bite to eat.
3. Shanghai Tower
If you’re after impressive views, then a visit to the Shanghai Tower is a must. Not only is it the tallest building in the city, but the behemoth is also the tallest structure in China, with an observation deck at 546 metres. After a quick ride up the lift you can admire impressive views of the cityscape from a unique perspective. This includes views of the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai World Finance Centre. Inside the tower, you can shop amongst big brands or relax in one of the many restaurants or cafes.
4. Huangpu River
For those looking to achieve distinct views of the Bund, Oriental Pearl Tower, Jade Buddha Temple, and other iconic Shanghai attractions, a cruise along the Huangpu River is the perfect option. At night, you can admire the city’s vibrant lights, bouncing from the towering skyscrapers and off the river below – all while enjoying a delicious assortment of Chinese cuisine. Otherwise, regular cruises are available throughout the day, with the same breathtaking views.
5. Yu Garden
Yu Garden is the perfect place to slow down and admire the city’s quieter side. Located next to the City God Temple, the ancient Chinese garden is connected to the Ming Dynasty, making it over 400 years old. Here you can catch a glimpse of pavilions, ponds, and views over the garden. In spring, the garden truly comes to life with a selection of greenery and blooming flowers. Located nearby are a collection of attractions worth visiting, including the Yuyuan Bazaar.
6. Shanghai Museum
The Shanghai Museum is a must-visit for those hoping to delve into China’s history and culture, with up to 11 galleries. This collection includes ancient ceramics, sculptures, calligraphy, an assortment of ancient artefacts, and that’s only scratching the surface. The Shanghai Museum is located in the People’s Square, offering free of charge admission.
7. Nanjing Road
A lively shopping hub is Nanjing Road which is home to a collection of brands, malls, and restaurants. This includes the Shanghai No.1 Department Store, Shanghai Sports Goods General Shop, Westgate Mall, Shanghai Centre, and plenty more. Plus, with historic shops, big brands, and delicious food on offer, there’s a little something for everyone to enjoy. The shopping stretch is also located near the Shanghai Museum and Jing’an Temple.
8. Zhujiajiao Water Town
A visit to the Zhujiajiao Water Town is like stepping back in time, with the town’s history stretching over 1,700 years. The small city is renowned for its assortment of over 30 ancient bridges, with one of the most popular being the Fangsheng Bridge, dating back to 1812. One of the most popular ways of seeing this collection of bridges is with a gondola cruise along the canal, with docks plotted throughout the town. Reaching the Zhujiajiao Water Town is simple, with metro travel options available.
9. Shanghai Disney Resort
Recently opening in 2016, the Shanghai Disney Resort is the perfect place to pose with popular Disney characters, embark on some exciting rides, and wander amongst the colourful and diverse worlds. Some of the popular attractions include the Roaring Rapids, Happy Circle, Camp Discovery, Rex’s Racer, and plenty more. Prices for entry and a meal coupon start from ¥399 per adult and ¥299 per child.
10. Jade Buddha Temple
The Jade Buddha Temple is a popular Buddhist temple in Shanghai. It is located along the Huangpu River and was built between 1918 and 1928. Head to the grounds to witness the temple’s many statues, including 1 of the 5 white jade Buddha statues transported back to China in the 20th century. Otherwise, see the temple’s main feature – the Grand Hall, where many Chinese Buddhists pray. The temple is very busy in February, particularly due to the Lunar New Year, so plan your trip accordingly if you’re hoping to avoid crowds.
With a fantastic collection of traditional, natural, spiritual, and modern attractions, Shanghai is often considered a must-experience city for those visiting China. The city has experiences to suit everyone – ranging from the ancient temples and towns plotted throughout the metropolis to the contemporary designs of the skyscrapers that tower above.
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