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Shanghai is one of the world's fastest-growing cities, yet its status as an international melting pot stretches back a century. The city offers endless entertainment for all kinds of tourists, but here's how to get a taste of the "Paris of the East" in just one day.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Foodie
  • Luxury Traveller
  • Thrifty Traveller
  • Like a Local

12 Places

4 City Tips

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12 Places

Shanghai World Financial Center

Observation Decks & Towers

The Bund (Wai Tan)

Historic Walking Areas, Scenic Walking Areas, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Yu Garden (Yuyuan)

Gardens

Jia Jia Tang Bao(Huanghe Road)

Restaurants

People's Square (Renmin Guang Chang)

Architectural Buildings, Government Buildings, Visitor Centres, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall

Speciality Museums

Former French Concession

Historic Walking Areas

ShangHai DiShuiDong (MaoMing South Road)

Restaurants

Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre

Speciality Museums, History Museums, Art Galleries

Jing'an Sculputure Park

Parks

M50 Creative Park

Civic Centres, Art Museums

Jian'guo 328 Xiaoguan

Restaurants

Kat V's City Tips

  • Getting around on Shanghai's public transport system is easy. Go to the main kiosk at any Metro station and get a Shanghai Public Transportation Card, which is a prepaid card accepted on the Metro, buses, and taxis. The SPTC comes with a deposit that can be claimed, along with the card's balance, when you return it to a station. Try to get your SPTC at the Pudong International Airport Metro station as chances are higher that they will speak English there.
  • While Shanghai is safer than most major cities, petty crimes like pick-pocketing and tourist scams are common. Look up 'tea scams,' 'art scams,' and 'taxi scams' online to know what to expect and avoid being duped.
  • Many locals do not speak English so I advise you ask your hotel concierge to write down the addresses of all your destinations in Chinese characters so you can show these to taxi drivers in case you get lost. There are also local expat websites that have the addresses of most locations posted in both English and Chinese, which can be accessed on a smartphone and shown to people when needed.
  • Be sure to carry cash with you in local currency. While many establishments accept credit cards, many small restaurants and market stalls only accept cash.
  • Shanghai World Financial Center
    Observation Decks & Towers
    See more photos
    Kat V Says:

    Known to many as the 'bottle opener building,' the Shanghai World Financial Center is an iconic part of the futuristic Pudong skyline. Topping out at 1,614.2ft. (492m), this super-tall skyscraper is the second tallest building in China, second only to the Shanghai Tower.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Head to the observation deck first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds and get stunning views of both the Puxi side and the Pudong side of the city bathed in morning light.
    • If the pollution happens to be bad, making for bad viewing, grab a bite at the Park Hyatt Shanghai's restaurant located near the top of the building. You can still get great views from there.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #6 of 1,300 things to do in Shanghai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Up in the sky 17/10/2018
    • Good view 17/10/2018
    • Shanghai World Financial Center
    Address:
    Building 1, No.100 Century Ave, Pudong New Area
    Shanghai
    China
    Phone:
    +86 21 6877 7878
    Other:
  • The Bund (Wai Tan)
    Historic Walking Areas, Scenic Walking Areas, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Kat V Says:

    The Bund is Shanghai's historic riverside. The pedestrian promenade is right along the western bank of the Huangpu River and affords great street-level views of the Pudong skyscrapers and the Gothic, Beaux Arts, and Art Deco buildings on the Puxi side.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • There are lots of shops and restaurants tucked away inside the historic buildings along the Bund.
    • Though the Bund lies along East Zhongshan 1st Road, you can just tell taxi drivers "Wai Tan" and they will know to take you here.
    • For a unique experience, try the sightseeing tourist tunnel that travels underneath the river between Pudog and Puxi. It's like a shuttle and light show combined.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 1,300 things to do in Shanghai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great moment@ Wai Tan 19/10/2018
    • Exploring 19/10/2018
    • The Bund (Wai Tan)
    Address:
    Zhongshan East 1st Road
    Shanghai
    China
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    12:00 a.m. - 11:59 p.m.
  • Yu Garden (Yuyuan)
    Gardens
    See more photos
    Kat V Says:

    Yuyuan Garden (Yu Yuan) is located in Shanghai's Old Town area. Built during the Ming Dynasty by a government official, the complex has been destroyed and rebuilt several times over the last few centuries and its latest restoration was completed in 1961. Walking through lets you get a glimpse of what life was like in ancient China.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The area outside Yuyuan was part of the original walled city of Shanghai. Wander the streets to get a feel for the ancient city.
    • There is a bazaar right outside Yuyuan filled with touristy souvenirs. Don't forget to bargain.
    • Weekends are packed to the brim. Weekdays can still be crowded but are more bearable.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #19 of 1,300 things to do in Shanghai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • There are much better parks in China 18/10/2018
    • Too Touristy 17/10/2018
    • Yu Garden (Yuyuan)
    Address:
    No.218 Anren Street, Huangpu District
    near Fuyou Road
    Shanghai 200010
    China
    Phone:
    +86 21 6326 0830
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    8:45 a.m. - 4:15 p.m.
    Other:
  • Jia Jia Tang Bao(Huanghe Road)
    Restaurants (Chinese, Asian, Soups)
    See more photos
    Kat V Says:

    Take a mid-morning break for some of Shanghai's best soup dumplings (xiaolongbao). Locals argue over which restaurant serves the best xiaolongbao, and Jia Jia Tang Bao gets many people's vote. Lines often form around the block for these delectable morsels!

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • The restaurant closes when they sell out of dumplings, and this can happen any time between noon and mid-afternoon.
    • The standard order is pork xiaolongbao, but crab roe xiaolongbao is extra special and has a deep 'umami' flavor (meaty, savory taste).
    • These dumplings have piping hot soup in them so beware. Take the dumpling in your spoon and bite off a small chunk of skin, just enough to make a small hole. Slurp the soup out carefully. Then eat the dumpling as you normally would. The locals eat it dipped in black vinegar.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #50 of 7,870 restaurants in Shanghai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Best Soup Dumplings I've Ever Had 18/10/2018
    • Crab dumplings are the best I've ever had 16/10/2018
    • Jia Jia Tang Bao(Huanghe Road)
    Address:
    Huanghe Lu
    Take Exit 8 of People's Square Station
    Shanghai
    China
    Phone:
    +86 21 6327 6878
    Price range:
    US$0 - US$8
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    6:30 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.
  • People's Square (Renmin Guang Chang)
    Architectural Buildings, Government Buildings, Visitor Centres, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Kat V Says:

    Before the Communist Revolution, People's Square was once a horse racing track. Today, it is the heart of the city and its main public square. Though technically the green space north of the square is known as People's Park, many people see the square and the park as one big area. There are many quiet corners to explore and important museums contained within People's Square.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • If you are visiting on a weekend, you can check out the weekend marriage market. Parents advertise their single children here in the hopes of finding a good match.
    • The Museum of Contemporary Art, located within the park, is one of Shanghai's better museums with seasonal exhibits by fresh, exciting artists.
    • Try to spot some of China's dancing ladies. Older women love to go dancing in the parks in the mornings and evenings.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #50 of 1,300 things to do in Shanghai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Go on the weekend, two museums, a children's park and the umbrellas! 09/10/2018
    • Good park 07/10/2018
    • People's Square (Renmin Guang Chang)
    Address:
    People's Square, Huangpu District
    Shanghai 200000
    China
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    12:00 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.
  • Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Kat V Says:

    A museum about urban planning doesn't sound very exciting, but when you consider Shanghai's explosive growth you might see how it could be interesting. This instantly-recognizable building houses audio-visual exhibits showing Shanghai's past, present, and envisioned future. The best thing about it is a scale model of the city that contains each and every building in miniature.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • If you're on a tight schedule, head straight to the third floor to see the scale model. You should be able to find your hotel on it if you try hard enough.
    • Students get a discount on the entry fee.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #15 of 1,300 things to do in Shanghai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beyond Words--A Highlight 15/10/2018
    • Don't miss the photos of the city 15/10/2018
    • Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall
    Address:
    No.100 Renmin Main Street, Huangpu District
    Shanghai 200003
    China
    Phone:
    +86 21 6372 2077
    Hours:
    Tue - Sun
    9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
    Other:
  • Former French Concession
    Historic Walking Areas
    See more photos
    Kat V Says:

    After the Opium Wars, parts of Shanghai were carved up to be administered by the French, the British, and the Americans. As the name suggests, the French once ruled this part of the city, and the quiet, tree-lined avenues and villa-style buildings can leave you thinking you've wandered into somewhere in Europe. Much of Shanghai's large expat population chooses to live here, and restaurants, bars, and clubs appealing to foreigners can be found throughout.

    Good for
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • This area is great for shopping. Some streets like Fumin Lu, Wuyuan Lu and Anfu Lu are lined with chic independent boutiques. Main streets like Huaihai Zhong Lu have big international brands.
    • This is one of Shanghai's most pedestrian-friendly areas, so walk around.
    • Keep your eye out for Art Deco buildings. Many of the buildings built during Shanghai's Art Deco boom in the '30s are still in use and can be found hidden among more modern structures.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #17 of 1,300 things to do in Shanghai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Nice neighborhood 19/10/2018
    • Very nice 18/10/2018
    • Former French Concession
    Address:
    Puxi Central, Huangpu District
    Shanghai 200000
    China
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    12:00 a.m. - 11:59 p.m.
  • ShangHai DiShuiDong (MaoMing South Road)
    Restaurants (Chinese, Asian)
    See more photos
    Kat V Says:

    Stop for lunch at this Hunan-style restaurant that's popular with both Chinese and foreigners. While a lot of the dishes come out covered in big red peppers, the food actually falls somewhere in between mild and medium spiciness, and can be enjoyed by just about anyone. They also have non-spicy dishes.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • The cumin ribs is the most famous dish here. You haven't lived till you've tried one of these crunchy-juicy meat sticks.
    • Some popular dishes are Mao's prawns and fried diced chicken with chilies.
    • Di Shui Dong has two branches, one on Maoming Lu and one on Dongping Lu.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #42 of 7,870 restaurants in Shanghai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Amazing quality food and great value for money! 10/10/2018
    • Love this Place 15/09/2018
    • ShangHai DiShuiDong (MaoMing South Road)
    Address:
    2/F, No.56 Maoming South Road, Huangpu District
    Shanghai
    China
    Phone:
    +86 21 6253 2689
    Price range:
    US$15 - US$25
    Other:
  • Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre
    Speciality Museums, History Museums, Art Galleries
    See more photos
    Kat V Says:

    This 'museum' houses the private collection of a propaganda art collector that decided to make his collection available for public viewing. The Revolution-era posters showcase a distinct artistic style and provide a glimpse into the psyche of China's Communist Party in past decades. The art and messages are often funny without meaning to be.

    Good for
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • There is a shop next to the museum selling reproductions of propaganda posters. They make great souvenirs to take home.
    • Sometimes you can see the owner/proprietor walking around.
    • Located in the basement of a residential complex, the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre can be difficult to find.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #9 of 1,300 things to do in Shanghai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Interesting step into the past 15/10/2018
    • A hidden collection of revolutionary memorabilia 14/10/2018
    • Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre
    Address:
    No.868 Huashan Road
    Rm BOC, Basement, Block B,
    Shanghai 200050
    China
    Phone:
    +86 21 6211 1845
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
    Other:
  • Jing'an Sculputure Park
    Parks
    See more photos
    Kat V Says:

    This is a pleasant green space in the middle of the city with flowering trees and jogging paths. The park houses a mix of permanent sculptures and special exhibitions that are switched out periodically according to a theme. Past themes have included City Paradise and City Fantasy.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The park is free to enter.
    • Watch out for dancing ladies here too.
    • Grab a cup of coffee at the Red Beacon Cafe and relax in the shade of Arne Quinze's wooden red sculpture.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #27 of 1,300 things to do in Shanghai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Highly Recommended 06/09/2018
    • Great art, great location 26/08/2018
    • Jing'an Sculputure Park
    Address:
    No.128 Shimen Erlu
    JIng An
    Shanghai 200000
    China
    Phone:
    +86 21 6248 3238
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • M50 Creative Park
    Civic Centres, Art Museums
    See more photos
    Kat V Says:

    M50, which stands for its address at 50 Moganshan Lu, is one of Shanghai's premiere art districts. This former industrial complex near Suzhou Creek is now filled with over 100 galleries and artist studios. Some of the city's best local contemporary art can be found here.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Look around for graffiti. There is a lot of street art on the walls around M50. The graffiti has mostly endured, but every year there is talk of developers destroying the walls.
    • There are a few cafes here if you need a break.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #35 of 1,300 things to do in Shanghai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Your Art Inspiration in Shanghai at M50 08/10/2018
    • Chill spot 04/10/2018
    • M50 Creative Park
    Address:
    No.50 Moganshan Road, Putuo District
    Shanghai 200000
    China
    Phone:
    +86 21 6266 3639
  • Jian'guo 328 Xiaoguan
    Restaurants (Chinese, Asian)
    See more photos
    Kat V Says:

    End the day with a meal at this unassuming but authentic Shanghainese dining spot. This foreigner-friendly restaurant is known for using fresh, quality ingredients and swears off the MSG. There are better-known Shanghainese restaurants out there, but the food here is both satisfying and affordable. Plus, there's an added bonus rare for Shanghai: Smoking is not allowed inside.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Try classic Shanghainese dishes like 'hongshao rou' (red braised pork) and 'cong you ban mian' (scallion oil noodles).
    • There are some servers here who can assist English speakers.
    • Ask about the wine list — it's a rare touch for a casual Chinese restaurant.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #162 of 7,870 restaurants in Shanghai
    • Great dinner in the French Concession 12/10/2018
    • Nice but not amazing? 12/09/2018
    • Jian'guo 328 Xiaoguan
    Address:
    No.328 Jian Guo West Road, Xuhui District
    Shanghai 200031
    China
    Phone:
    +86 21 6471 3819
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