The largest city in China with a population of over 24 million people, Shanghai offers plenty of tourist sites and attractions. Check out some of the best museums in the world, spend an afternoon in a park, and go to the observatory deck of the Shanghai World Financial Center for spectacular views of the city. To save you hours of research, we have come up with a list of 10 things to do and places to visit in Shanghai.
- The Bund (Wai Tan)
Located on the west banks of the Huangpujiang River, the Bund is a nice promenade full of restaurants, boutiques, offices, shops, and galleries. Check out the architectural styles of the buildings including Renaissance, Gothic, Romanesque, Art Deco, and Neoclassical as you walk along the promenade. As you walk to the north part of the Bund, you will pass by the Bank of China and the harbor customs office. You can also hop on a boat tour from the Bund.
- Shanghai Circus World
Come to Shanghai Circus World to enjoy a variety of live performances including dances, acrobatics, music competitions, and shows. Make sure to check out the sea lions performances, as they are highly popular among both locals and tourists. The venue features impressive sound equipment and stage facilities are can seat around 1,600 people. Shanghai Circus World is adjacent to the Guangzhong Park and opposite of the Zhabei Stadium.
- Shanghai World Financial Center
One of the tallest buildings in the world, Shanghai World Financial Center is located within walking distance from Lujiazui Metro stations and offers spectacular bird-eye views of the city. Visitors can take the elevator to the observatory deck which is located on the 100th floor and is open to the public from 8 am to 11 pm. Admission to all decks including the 94th,97th, and 100th floor costs $27 for adults and $18 for children.
- Former French Concession
Once a French Concession, Tianzifang has been remodeled into an amazing arts destination. Although some of the older houses and buildings have been replaced, this old European district is well-preserved and features a number of cobblestone streets with plenty of options for shopping. Visitors can check out the small craft shops and galleries, as well as numerous restaurants, cafes, workshops, and venues with live music performances.
- Shanghai Museum (Shanghai Bowuguan)
Shanghai Museum is located right on the People’s Square close to the Nanjing Road. Due to its remarkable size and unique architecture, this Shanghai landmark is quite hard to miss. It has a reputation of being the most popular museum in China and welcomes thousands of travelers from all around the world daily. Go and explore the collection of artifacts which include jade carvings, ornate calligraphy, and bronze works that are thousands of years old. The entrance to the museum is free of charge, but special exhibits require a small fee.
- Yu Garden (Yuyuan)
Located close to the Bund and laid out in 1559, Yu Garden covers an area of around 20,000 square meters and is the only surviving garden from the Ming Dynasty. Go to the Outer Garden which is the oldest section and features the main hall. Don’t miss the Hall of Spring building and see the artificial rocks in this part of the garden. The last stop on the tour of the Yu Garden is the small Inner Garden which dates back to the beginning of the 18th century and includes decorative stones, pavilions, small ponds, and a small theatrical stage.
- Longhua Temple and Pagoda
One of the oldest religious sites in China, Longhua Temple and Pagoda is situated inside a lovely park. This place was destroyed and rebuilt a number of times throughout the history and the present structure dates back to the 10th century. Regular Buddhist ceremonies are held at the Longhua Temple and Pagoda which consists of five large halls. Some of the highlights at this place of worship include a library with ceremonial instruments and manuscripts and a Bell Tower that features a 2m tall bell from the 14th century.
- Oriental Pearl Tower (Dongfang Mingzhu)
No visit to Shanghai is complete without going to see the famous 468-meter-tall Oriental Pearl Radio and TV Tower. It is located on the banks of the Huangpu River in Pudong Park and offers amazing views of the river and the Bund promenade. The tower was built in 1991 and features 11 linked spheres that come in different sizes, with the Space Module being the highest. Sightseeing Floor and Space City are two of the most popular areas and there is also a nice restaurant that offers city views. On one of the lower levels, visitors will find a shopping mall.
- Riverside Promenade (Bingjiang Da Dao)
Head out to the Riverside Promenade and spend a day exploring the beautiful gardens. It is one of the most popular places in Shanghai and attracts thousands of people every day. Take a walk along the river and admire the views of the television tower and go a bit to the North and check out the statue of Mao Tse-Tung. There are numerous ice cream shops, coffee houses, and restaurants on the Riverside Promenade.
- Nanjing Lu (Nanjing Road)
Nanjing Road (Nanjing Lu) is 3.4 mile long China’s premier shopping street and a must-see destination in Shanghai. It attracts thousands of shopaholics daily and features famous brands such as Tiffany, Mont Blanc, and Dunhill. Of course, there are hundreds of small traditional shops where you can find souvenirs, silk goods, clocks, and embroidery. Not that long ago, big traditional shops dominated the Nanjing Lu, but today most of them are replaced by shopping malls, theatres, international hotels, and specialty stores.