Shanghai Nightlife: What to Do After Dark 2023
Daytime in Shanghai is fine. Everything is open, energy is high. Great. But once the sun goes down and the artificial lights come up, a different Shanghai emerges.
The city comes alive after dusk - it blushes on the Bund, whispers on its Huangpu River, giggles in the Nanjing Road, and roars in its skyscrapers of Lujiazui. Walk out onto the shadowy lanes and lively bars, and you’ll meet Shanghai whose vibe and verve simply couldn’t exist without the cover of darkness. From evenings of a river cruise, theatre, bar, and circus or a night out around the bund area, there are plenty of fun things to do in Shanghai at night.
In this nightlife guide, we have listed the top 7 things to do at night in Shanghai. Plenty of tips and detailed info are provided to help you make the most out of your visit. So, lace up your walking shoes, and let’s do this.
As the top attraction, the landmark of Shanghai, the Bund offers a spectacular night view. From The Bund, you can see the high-rise skyscrapers like the Oriental Pearl Tower, Shanghai Tower, Shanghai World Financial Center, Jinmao Tower gleaming in every hue with boat sailing by in the dazzling Huangpu River. Also, the numerous high-end posh hotels and exotic historic buildings around this region complement the scenery, enhancing the attractiveness of this bund too. It is a must-visit site at night and the colorful night lights were one of the highlights of Shanghai, and are also a reflection of how economically vibrant Shanghai is. Like the great wall to Beijing, the Bund is the iconic site to Shanghai. Take your camera, snap a couple of shots here!
♦ Useful Link: The Bund
• Popular Shanghai Tour: 2 Days Classic Shanghai City Tour
Silhouette of Pudong Skyline Seen from the Bund
Exotic Buildings Lining on the Bund
At night, the city’s nightscape changes minute by minute. When you visit Shanghai you MUST ensure that you schedule a night cruise down the Huangpu River. Various options exist but an inexpensive 1-hour cruise allows you to view the fabulous Bund area which seems to be coated in liquid gold and is a stark contrast to the disco version of Pudong on the other side of the river. Tourists usually get on board from Shiliupu Wharf or Qinhuangdao Wharf. However, be aware that holidays and dinner time (17:00-21:00) can be rather busy along the river, so mass transit will be your best option and you may need to book a cruise ticket in advance.
♦ Useful Link: Huangpu River Cruise
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Lujiazui, Pudong Seen from the Cruise Ship
Cruise Ship Sailing by the Bund
Huangpu River Cruise Routes, Schedules & Tickets
There are usually two cruise routes, starting from Shiliupu Wharf (十六铺码头) or Qinhuangdao Wharf (秦皇岛码头).
① Cruise Route 1 ▶: Shiliupu Wharf - Binjiang Road - Lujiazui - Shanghai Tower - Shanghai World Financial Center - Jinmao Tower - Oriental Pearl TV Tower - Qinhuangdao Wharf - Waibaidu Bridge - Monument to the People's Heroes - The Bund - Shiliupu Wharf
② Cruise Route 2 ▶: Qinhuangdao Wharf - Waibaidu Bridge - Monument to the People's Heroes - The Bund - Shiliupu Wharf - Binjiang Road - Lujiazui - Shanghai Tower - Shanghai World Financial Center - Jinmao Tower - Oriental Pearl TV Tower - Qinhuangdao Wharf
Cruise Schedules ▶: Huangpu River cruises are available from 11:00 to 21:30 every day. Travelers can choose among the following schedules: 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 14:30, 15:00, 15:30, 16:00, 16:30, 17:00, 18:00, 18:30, 18:45, 19:00, 19:15, 19:30, 19:45, 20:00, 20:15, 20:30, 20:45, 21:00, 21:15, 21:30
Cruise Duration: about 50 minutes
Price: CNY 120 per person (without dining and snacks onboard)
Ticket Booking: 1. Please inform us your needs and China Discovery can help you book a cruise ticket; 2. You can buy ticket at Huangpu River Cruise Ticket Office of the Shiliupu Wharf and Qinhuangdao Wharf; 3. Many hotels provide ticket booking service and you check it with your hotel.
Note: Please arrive at the exact wharf at least 30 minutes in advance
As the busiest shopping street in Shanghai and only about 10 mins’ walk from the Bund, Nanjing Road is a long commercial street lined with name-brand stores, both Chinese and International from high brands to affordable shopping goods, all of which can be done by walking. For those who feel tired, there are also restaurants, cafes, coffee/tea houses, and ice cream shops on Nanjing Road, so there is plenty of places for one to take a break, and you can also take a mini tram which can be availed for 5 CNY per person. It’s the most famous street to go shopping in Shanghai. When the night comes and neon lights are on, the beautiful displaying lights with the old buildings on both sides of the road more charms of the city.
♦ Useful Link: Nanjing Road
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Nanjing Road at Night
Time-honored Store at Nanjing Road
Standing tall in the Lujiazui area, the skyscrapers of Shanghai is more than the view of a faraway skyline. You can get on the high-rise observation decks inside the tall building and enjoy this city from another terrific angle. As the top 4 skyscrapers in Shanghai, Shanghai Tower, Shanghai World Financial Center, Oriental Pearl TV Tower, and Jinmao Tower, all of them have observation decks opened for visitors, and especially the observation deck of Shanghai Tower is the highest in the world. The tower exhibit itself is well designed with lots of information and visuals of other tall and ultra-tall towers in the world. Besides enjoying the cityscape, in the Oriental Pearl Tower, you can enjoy fine dining at the revolving restaurant located in the upper sphere of the tower. Views are amazing and when you are looking down at skyscrapers you get a feel for how high this building actually is.
♦ Useful Link: Shanghai Skyscrapers | Shanghai Tower | Shanghai World Financial Center | Oriental Pearl TV Tower
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Cityscape Seen from Shanghai Tower
High-rise Skyscrapers of Pudong, Shanghai
Observation Decks in Top Skyscrapers
① Shanghai Tower ▶ Location: No. 501, Middle Yincheng Road, Pudong New Area, Shanghai 上海市浦东新区陆家嘴银城中路501号
▶ Height: 632m / 2,073ft; Floors: 128; Year: 2014
▶ Observation Deck: F118 (546m, the highest in the world)
Opening Hours: 8:30-22:00 (no entry after 20:30)
② Shanghai World Financial Center ▶ Location: No. 100, Century Avenue, Pudong New Area, Shanghai 上海市浦东新区世纪大道100号
▶ Height: 492m / 1,614ft; Floors: 101; Year: 2008
▶ Observation Deck: Sky Arena 94 (423m); Sky Walk 97 (439m); Sky Walk 100 (474m)
Opening Hours: 11:00~21:00 (No entry after 20:00)
③ Oriental Pearl Tower ▶ Location: No. 1, Century Avenue, Pudong New Area, Shanghai, China 上海市浦东新区世纪大道1号
▶ Height: 468m / 1535ft; Floors: 25; Year: 1994
▶ Observation Deck: Space Capsule Sightseeing Floor (351m); Sightseeing Galleria (263m); Transparent Observatory (259m)
Opening Hours: 09:00-21:00
④ Jinmao Tower ▶ Location: 88 Century Avenue, Pudong New Area, Shanghai上海市浦东新区世纪大道88号
▶ Height: 421m / 1380ft; Floors: 88; Year: 1999
▶ Observation Deck: F88 (340m)
Opening Hours: 9:00~20:30 (No entry after 20:00)
Only about 9km from the Bund, Shanghai Circus World is a great place to watch the acrobatic show which is suitable for all ages! You are recommended to buy the tickets online. There are two routine performances in Shanghai Circus World at present, namely ERA Intersection of Time and Happy Circus, and each of them will leave you an unforgettable memory. There were 32 persons, who performed 15 different shows, some dangerous, some romantic, some beautiful, and some just spectacular. Especially, some of the acts are jaw-dropping and hard to imagine even possible.
♦ Useful Link: Shanghai Circus World
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Shanghai Circus World - Intersection of Time
Shanghai Circus World - Intersection of Time
ERA – Intersection of Time
▶ Ticket: CNY 280 - CNY 880
▶ Performing Time: 19:30 - 21:00
This program focuses on the breathtaking acrobatic shows, having eight shows totally.
Note: The tickets for the shows are really popular and can be easily sold out, please book one in advance. Once you purchase a ticket, the ticket is not refundable. Taking a photo of the performance is forbidden.
▶ Ticket: CNY 130 - CNY 160
▶ Performing Time: 10:00; 14:00
Happy Circus is performed in the Central Theatre of Shanghai Circus World, themed on "Happy Animals, Happy Spectators".It is a perfect choice for families and the kids will fully enjoy themselves by watching these amusing shows.
Shanghai Old Town is a large area around the famous Yu Garden and City God Temple. Though the Yu garden is usually closed at night, the Yuyuan old street never sleeps which has successfully preserved its architecture is distinctly Chinese style while constantly pulled in endless streams of tourists to visit. This is also one of the most vibrant old streets where shopping mingles with yummy local food and snacks. Escaping from the cement jungle, the old street is a very happening old street with lots of restaurants and shops selling souvenirs. During the Chinese Spring Festival, the old town area will usually hold Lantern Festival with many colorful lanterns hanging around to celebrate the holiday.
♦ Popular Attractions in Shanghai Old Town: Yu Garden & Bazaar | City God Temple
• Popular Shanghai Tour: 3 Days Shanghai Highlights Tour with Water Town
Shanghai Yu Garden at Night
Shanghai Old Street at Night
As a populous city catering various crowds, Shanghai allures a great number of local people, migrants, businessmen, and travelers to discover its sleepless night. From old lanes to modern skyscrapers, for holding either underground parties or a high-end banquet, all walks of people can find their entertainment spots in Shanghai. There are always more than enough options to decide: live music bars, jazz bars, swinging dance bars, rooftop bars to view the skyline...Whatever type of night out you want, you can always find it in Shanghai. Here we have some recommended popular featured bars listed for you to narrow down your choices.
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Shanghai Cityscape Seen from a Rooftop Bar
Shanghai Bar - Speak Low
Recommended Bars in Shanghai
▶ TOPS at the Banyan Tree - Rooftop bar to see Shanghai’s Skyline
Location: #19 Hai Ping Lu, Hongkou Qu Shanghai上海市虹口区海平路19号
▶ Logan's Punch - vintage Bar to meet friends
Location: #99 Tai Xing Lu, Jingan Qu Shanghai 上海市静安区泰兴路99号
▶ Speak Low - Japanese style Bar
Location: #579 Fu Xing Zhong Lu, Huangpu Qu Shanghai Shi 上海市黄浦区复兴中路579号
▶ VUE Bar - on the five-star Hyatt on the Bund hotel
Location: #199 Huang Pu Lu, Hongkou Qu Shanghai 上海市虹口区黄浦路199号
▶ RIINK - neon signage & Flashing LED-wheels skates
Location: 658 Da Pu Lu, Huangpu Qu Shanghai 上海市黄浦区打浦路658号
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