Shanghai, China City Tours, Events & Things to Do

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Things to do in Shanghai

Year-round, Shanghai shares its cultural delights via indoor and outdoor venues: theater performances, regional concerts, public festivals, dance recitals, sports games, and special exhibits and museums and galleries.

Landmarks and Attractions in Shanghai

You can’t miss the Bund, the heart and waterfront of Shanghai. It’s one-mile walk features all the city’s historical landmarks, and is only a little less crowded at dawn (then filled with locals practicing tai-chi) or at night. Be sure to take a trip up the Jin Mao Tower, the second-largest in the city, which offers a spectacular view of Shanghai. Shade your eyes to admire the shapelyOriental Pearl TV Tower. Also visit the gorgeous Jade Buddha Temple, famous for its white jade Buddhas and ancient cultural relics. Make sure you watch the incredible world-renown Shanghai Acrobatic troupe, performing nightly at the Center Theatre. Visit what many call China’s best museum —the Shanghai Museum— including the fascinating Stone Sculpture Gallery and Bronze Gallery. For the contemporary art scene in China, visit the thriving art colony at the Mogonshan Road Art District.

Nightlife and family Fun in Shanghai

One of the many day or night cruise options is the Huangpu River Cruise, offering a new perspective on the city’s lovely attractions. Check out the Shanghai Wild Animal Parkthe Children’s Municipal Palace, or the Bird and Flower Market at the Luwan District.

Another wonderful destination is the Yu Garden & Bazaar, styled with traditional Chinese architecture that epitomizes a most authentic Chinatown. Other gardens and parks include The Longhua Temple FairRenmin Park, and the coveted garden retreat SuZhou. Enjoy your tea and cake with view of spectacular gardens and terraces at Yongfoo Elite before heading out for dinner or some nightlife. When the sun goes down, head to one of the hundreds of neighborly pubs or bars, stylish lounges, or lively clubs. The most famous downtown areas with amazing views are Cloud 9, Vue Bar Restaurant, and the Captain Hostel rooftop.

Off the Beaten Path in Shanghai

Watch the sunset over the Huang Pu at the Glamour Bar with an afternoon cocktail in hand. Catch a glimpse of the future (particularly: Shanghai 2020) at the Urban Planning Exhibition Hall. And for the tranquility of mirror-perfect pools, stone-arch bridges, and botanical gardens visit the West Lake at Hangzhou—especially breathtaking at dawn (don’t be surprised to discover hidden silk markets, monk-filled temples, and locals exercising, dancing, and practicing sword-play by the lake; this is a city of surprises).

Shanghai Restaurants and Shopping

Be sure to visit Shanghai’s favorite restaurant and bar district, Xin Tian Di, a modern masterpiece of urban renewal with popular boutiques, restaurants, and nightclubs. The Grand Gateway is worth a trip, as Shanghai’s hippest mall, ideal of designer window-shopping. For local Shanghai life at its best, wander along the Taikand Road and savor every detail of this art, café, and shopping district. You could also your bargaining skills at the stalls and shops lining the Dong Tai Road, and try Shanghai’s most popular shopping street: neon-light-lit Nanjing Road.

Whatever you’re craving—fusion, Shanghanainese, Italian, Spicy Chicken, Japanese, Indian, Thai, Korean, American, African, S.E. Asian, and more—this city is sure to satisfy. For a truly local flavor, snazzy Shanghainese restaurants made to exceed your expectations include Ye Shanghai, The Yongfoo Elite, and Lynn. CNN voted the Xinjiang dining experience at Xibo (singing, dancing, and loads of lamb included!) among the Best Eats 2010. Other local delights in the city’s cuisine include the spicy chicken dish da pan ji, braised lamb and pumpkins, meat-stuffed buns xiaolongbao (try them at Nanxiang Mantou and Guqiyuan Snacks), the traditional lantern festival food tangyuan, spicy crawfish, rice-and-meat New Year cakes, and pear candy.

Photos provided by: SF Brit, d. FUKA