Things to Do in Shanghai

Shanghai, known as the Paris of the East, is overflowing with things to do. Your challenge will be to prioritize the city’s attractions and accomplish all of your goals in the limited time of your Shanghai tour.

Don't worry! Here, we carefully selected the TOP attractions such as the Bund, Nanjing Road, Yuyuan Garden & Bazaar etc., as well as some recommended featured activities for you. All of them are the best things to do in Shanghai, helping you have a glimpse of Shanghai’s past, see what’s on the horizon, and get a blueprint of Shanghai’s future!

Shanghai Attraction Map

the Bund in Shanghai

No. 1: The Bund

Type: historic walking areas, landmarks / points of Interest

Recommended Length of Visit: 2-3 hours

The Bund, “a gallery of international architectures”, is the landmark of Shanghai. It is always the best place to view Shanghai. Take a stroll along the embankment of the Huangpu River, and you’ll get various architectural styles from Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque to Classicism and the Renaissance in your camera. The modern skyscrapers of Lujiazui across Huangpu River in Pudong New Area provide another backdrop. The night view here is more breathtaking, how about taking an evening cruise or a stroll by it?

Nanjing Road in Shanghai

No. 2: Nanjing Road

Type: shopping, landmarks / points of Interest

Recommended Length of Visit: 1-2 hours

Running west from the Bund, Nanjing Road is Shanghai’s foremost shopping street and is one of the world’s busiest shopping streets. The Shanghai equivalent of New York’s Fifth Avenue, Nanjing Road boasts retailers from all over the world. In the daylight, you’ll admire the graceful architecture of the surrounding buildings. At night, you’ll marvel at the illuminated logos and brand names that line the avenue.

Shanghai World Financial Center

No. 3: Shanghai World Financial Center

Type: landmarks / points of Interest

Recommended Length of Visit: 2-3 hours

Shanghai World Financial Center in the key CBD is a new and vital landmark in Shanghai. Being the fifth tallest building in the world with a total height of 492 meters, SWFC provides visitors the world's highest observatory at 474 meters high that is the best deck to appreciate the panorama of the whole old and new Shanghai, including the Bund, Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Jinmao Tower and Huangpu River, and so on.

Shanghai Museum

No. 4: Shanghai Museum

Type: history museums, art museums, museums

Recommended Length of Visit: 2-3 hours

Shanghai Museum is not only the cultural landmark of Shanghai, but the biggest museum in China with numerous fine Chinese artifacts. It contains over 120,000 items rated precious cultural relics. Unlike many museums in China, it arranges its exhibits by theme rather than by dynasty. The collection consists of 21 categories, having its highlights bronze wares from Shang and Zhou Dynasties, pottery and porcelain spanning 8,000 years and a large variety of calligraphy works and paintings.

Yuyuan Garden in Shanghai

No. 5: Yu Garden & Bazaar

Type: parks and gardens

Recommended Length of Visit: 2 hours

Dating back to the 16th Century, Yuyuan Garden is the most revered green space in Shanghai. Known as the “Mountains and Forest within the City”, it is crowded to bursting point every day. And yet, it managed to maintain something of its air of serenity. Here, you’ll find ornate structures as well as intimate enclaves that are divided by “dragon walls”. Highlights include the Heralding Spring Hall, the Jade Magnificent Hall, and the Lotus Pool.
Out of the Yuyuan Garden is the Yuyuan Bazaar where you could explore how elaborating and cute the traditional Chinese handicrafts and art works are, and also savor some local flavor snacks here…

Oriental Pearl TV Tower in Shanghai

No. 6: Oriental Pearl TV Tower

Type: observation decks / towers

Recommended Length of Visit: 1 hour

Standing at the bend of the Huangpu River, the Oriental Pearl TV Tower soars 468 meters, setting the character of the new urban area as well as its cityscape. An all-around panorama view of Shanghai from the tallest TV tower in Asia and the Third tallest in the world can be amazing, walking on the glass bottom and feeling your adrenaline pumps is also cool. It is worthy to visit in the late afternoon that you could see the sunset and the city come alive with lights.

Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center

No. 7: Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center

Type: landmarks / points of Interest

Recommended Length of Visit: 2-3 hours

Are you curious about what turned Shanghai into today’s super city? Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center is a must-see to witness how Shanghai became a cosmopolitan city from a shabby fishing village. With the theme of “City, man, environment, and development”, it serves for exhibition, research, communication, consultation, education and sightseeing. The 3rd Floor is perhaps the most impressive, which displays a scale model of Shanghai. A cup of coffee on the top will be a good ending of this time travel.

Jinmao Tower

No. 8: Jinmao Tower

Type: observation decks / towers

Recommended Length of Visit: 1-2 hours

The Jinmao Tower is situated in the heart of Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone in Pudong New Area. This 88-story skyscraper, Jinmao Tower rises 420 meters, making one of the tallest buildings in the world. The Observation Deck of Jinmao Tower is on Level 88, 340 meters above ground. In bright and comfortable light, you could enjoy a bird’s eye view of Shanghai City. In addition, it offers a topside view of the hotel atrium lobby.

Jade Buddha Temple

No. 9: Jade Buddha Temple

Type: religious sites, architectural buildings

Recommended Length of Visit: 1-2 hours

Quite different from many other temples hidden in mountains and forests, Jade Buddha Temple shows itself in the center of Shanghai city. It enjoys a high reputation both home and abroad for the extraordinary jade Buddha enshrined within it, hence the temple’s name. Among the clouds of incense smoke, it’s kind of unexpected to see so many pilgrims in such a modern city, no fewer than in Tibet.

Zhujiajiao Water Town in Shanghai

No. 10: Zhujiajiao Ancient Town

Type: sightseeing, water town, cruise

Recommended Length of Visit: 3 hours

Known as the “Venice in Shanghai”, Zhujiajiao Ancient Town has a history of 1,700 years and is a well-preserved waterside ancient town. In Zhjiajiao Water Town, You could take the traditional boat to cruise along the canals and see the old residences, shops and bridges that are filled with classic architectural tone in Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368 - 1911).

Fengjing Water Town in Shanghai

No. 11: Fengjing Water Town

Type: sightseeing, water town, cruise

Recommended Length of Visit: 3 hours

With a history of more than 1,500 years, Fengjing is the only township in Shanghai on the list of Historic Towns of China. This town is renowned for its cultural background, elegant waters, well-preserved ancient houses, and traditional lifestyle with a strong local flavor. It is also known as the birthplace of the famed Jinshan Peasant Painting, which has won popularity for its creative designs and bright colors that vividly depict town’s culture and customs.

Shanghai Tower

No. 12: Shanghai Tower

Type: Observation Decks & Towers, Modern Buildings & Landmarks

Recommended Length of Visit: 0.5 - 1 hours

Just Completed in 2016, Shanghai Tower of 632 m high is at present the tallest skyscraper in China and proudly the second tallest one in the entire world, with the 828 m high Burj Khalifa Tower in Dubai being the No. 1. Designed by Gensler from the America with fabulous stream-lined spiral facade, world highest observation, great functions to save more energy, top-class environment for offices and other functions, Shanghai Tower is so much attractive to visitors from the globe. Catch the chance to stimulate your body at the over 500 m high place. Let's Go!

Shanghai Circus World

No. 13: Shanghai Circus World

Type: Architectural Buildings, Theatre, Shows & Performance

Recommended Length of Visit: 2 - 3 hours

Referred as the No. 1 Circus World in China, Shanghai Circus World is a world-renowned comprehensive recreational venue with unique designed building and acrobatic performance. It enjoys the excellent hardware like complete facilities, advanced device and full-equipped functions as well as preeminent acrobats. Two great programs are performed in the Shanghai Circus World. One is ERA - Intersection of Time, from which the audiences could watch the most magic scenes and breathtaking acrobatics. The other is the Happy Circus, which is most loved by the kids and recommended as a family tour.

Tianzifang

No. 14: Tianzifang

Type: Historical & Cultural Lanes, Artistic Shops, International Restaurants

Recommended Length of Visit: 1 - 2 hours

Tianzifang at Taikang Road in the Old French Concession is one of the coolest places to wander in Shanghai. A lot of artistic and cultural studios of celebrities and young creatives set here in the typical Shikumen houses of both Shanghai and western styles make the mazy lanes full of artistic culture. Strolling along the old paths to see the daily life of the residents here to feel the old Shanghai flavor, watching people chatting and laughing in the restaurants and bars from many other countries, and finding various kinds of interesting items and Chinese crafts are especially funny and leisurable!

Shanghai Xintiandi

No. 15: Shanghai Xintiandi

Type: Interest & Landmarks, Shopping & Entertainment

Recommended Length of Visit: 2 - 3 hours

Located in the downtown area of Shanghai City, Shanghai Xintiandi is a historical site as well as a fashionable center full of entertainment, restaurants and shopping malls. You could enjoy the antique and rebuilt Shikumen structure which is a witness of the communication between the building cultures of western countries and China. Despite in old appearance, the inside life are tailor-made for people in modern society, you can feast on the international art galleries, fashion shops, coffee houses, themed restaurants, and so forth.

Recommended Shanghai Tours

Top 3 Shanghai tours chosen by most customers to explore Shanghai in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.

the Bund
3 Days Shanghai Past and Present Contrast Tour

Shanghai

Zhujiajiao Water Town
3 Days Shanghai Highlights & Zhujiajiao Water Town Tour

Shanghai

Hangzhou Sunset
5 Days Shanghai Hangzhou Suzhou Highlights Tour

Shanghai / Hangzhou / Suzhou / Shanghai

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