14 Top Things To Do In Shanghai City

The central city of China is constantly evolving. With the stark contrast between the well-preserved rural areas and the widening skyscrapers, Shanghai offers rest and wake nights all at the same time. Let’s explore the best things Shanghai has to offer!

1. Shanghai’s Yuyuan Market and Yuyuan Garden

Shanghai Yuyuan Market The busy street of Yuyuan Garden Pedestrian. (via Shutterstock)
Yuyuan Garden The serene vibe around the Yuyuan Garden. (via Shutterstock)
The Yuyuan Market portrays the “old Shanghai”. Being built in the 16th century, the market offers shops and stalls that sell traditional Chinese arts and crafts. The market garners over 200,00 visitors daily and is sure to be crowded. Both locals and tourists alike see the place as a place to do their shopping and a great place to find traditional Shanghainese street food. As a tourist, it is best if you go early in the morning if you want less crowd. This is the perfect place for you if want to buy souvenirs to remind you of your trip. The Yuyuan Garden, on the other hand, holds less crowd. Just a short walk from Yuyuan Market. It was built during the Ming dynasty and exhibits a traditional Chinese garden. You have to pay for a ticket to get to see the garden. You will find Chinese sculptures and architecture, ponds, the scenic greenery, and some Chinese crafts displayed with descriptions of their use and significance.

2. Nanjing Road in Shanghai City

Shanghai Nanjing Road Nanjing Road at night. (via Shutterstock)
Known as Shanghai’s shopping street. There are two sides to this street: Nanjing East Road and Nanjing West Road. Nanjing East Road is the pedestrian side of the shopping hub which just means that there are no vehicles to be seen here. This part is best seen at night as it is filled with all the shops’ neon lights. The view here is the main attraction. The West Road, on the other hand, is where you’ll be able to do your shopping spree with many shops to choose from.

3. People’s Square Park

Marriage Market Flyers posted on umbrellas lined up at Marriage Market. (via Shutterstock)
Chinese parents are known for their unique upbringing to their children. They can be quite opinionated and strict. This is reflected in Shanghai’s People’s Park. Every Sunday, parents of single Chinese individuals fill the park and literally post ads for someone to marry their son/daughter. They print out flyers with photos of their child together with some necessary details about them like age, occupation, and some attractive qualities. They call this the “Marriage Market”. It may not be the usual tourist experience but seeing and witnessing all this happen is something you wouldn’t miss while you’re in Shanghai.

4. Tianzifang

Tianzifang Shanghai An alley at Tianzifang. (via Shutterstock)
A small part found in the French Concession area is Tianzifang. The buildings are the same traditional Chinese architecture since the 1920s. Today, Tianzifang is a top spot for bars, galleries, restaurants and for shopping sprees. The narrow streets of this artsy hub easily fill with crowds so I suggest you avoid going on weekends and rush hour. Tianzifang is also known to have a laid-back environment of dining among young and international crowds. One good recommendation to eat at while in Tianzifang is the outdoor eatery of Kommune. You can have your drinks and food outdoors, giving you a very social vibe.

5. Shanghai Tower

The Shanghai Tower is one of the “The Big Three” also known as the three tallest buildings in this city. Towering meters over the busy streets of Shanghai at 632 meters tall and 128 floors.
Shanghai Tower Shanghai Tower overlooking the city of Shanghai. (via Shutterstock)
Shanghai tower is also the second oldest building in the world. For the best view of the city, come here during sunset up to nighttime to catch the scenic skyscrapers over orange hues and twinkling neon lights at night.

6. Shanghainese Breakfast at Aihua Eatery

Savor the unique street food breakfast of Shanghai at Aihua Eatery located at Wulumuqi Zhonglu 296 nong. They call it “da bing” or translated as “big pastry”. It comes in both sweet and salty variations, both of which you must try.

7. Stewed Pork in Shanghai

Right beside the Wenmiao Temple in Shanghai, you will find a humble and small restaurant that serves their signature stewed pork. Although small, the restaurant is packed with people especially by locals which is a really good sign that the place is worth squeezing into despite the crowd.

8. Dim Sum at Din Tai Fung

Soup Dumpling in Shanghai The famous soup dumpling. (via Shutterstock)
Many branches have been stationed across the world but you just gotta try the traditional, steaming dumpling soup of Din Tai Fung right in the center of China. They serve it daily here so you don’t have to worry whichever day you feel like eating dumpling soups.

9. Shanghai Streetfood Tour

Shanghai street food One of the varied street food scenes in Shanghai. (via Shutterstock)
We all know Chinese cuisine explodes with flavors especially the savory ones. This also rings true to their street food choices. Untourshanghai.com would bring you to the unbeaten paths of street food in Shanghai with no disappointment. They’re absolute experts in this area.

10. Tianshan Tea City

Chinese tea Find different brews and preparations of tea at the Tian Shan. (via Shutterstock)
For tea-lovers and explorers who want an authentic tea experience, Tian Shan Tea City located in Changning Qu, Shanghai is the perfect place for you. This is a market with over 150 stalls dedicated solely to the tea industry. You’ll get to enjoy thousands of flavors of Chinese tea through the different breweries and preparations of different stall owners.

11. Sidecar Tour Around Shanghai

Shanghai is indeed a busy city. Walking around the streets can be very tiring and taking the taxis for every location could be very expensive. So why not try to explore the city via sidecar? Insiders Experience delivers this service that will let you in even on the littlest, almost secret places Shanghai has to offer to its tourists. Ride a vintage sidecar and meet the Shanghai air passing by bringing you the culture and art of Shanghai streets.

12. Day Trip at Changshu

For a change of scenery, book a day trip to Changshu. Explore the rural side of Shanghai via a Chinese gondola ride through the bamboo waterways and forests of Changshu. The calming environment is composed of lakes and tea plantations in the mountains.

13. Shanghai Museums

Here are my recommendations for the most interesting museums in Shanghai:

Shanghai Film Museums

As the name implies, this is for those film enthusiasts out there. This four-story building of the city’s cinematic history translates to both Chinese and English-speaking audiences.

Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre

One of the quirky museums around town is located in the basement of an apartment building in Xuhui District. It is a private collection of over 5,000 propagandas of China’s idealized political history.
Shanghai PPAC Entrance to the PPAC. (via Shutterstock)

Power Station of Art

This last one is China’s first state-run contemporary art museum. The museum is situated in what used to be a power station that has been renovated by the Shanghai government. Aside from the exhibitions that could get to see for free, there is also a rooftop deck for viewing the city of Shanghai.
Shanghai Power Station of Art Museum The renovated Power Station of Art Museum. (via Shutterstock)

14. Nightlife in Shanghai

Some of Shanghai’s most visited bars:

Peace Hotel Jazz Bar

One of the city’s oldest bars. The vibe and atmosphere still have the same charm as it had back in the 1920s.

Yuan Lounge

Serves experimental cocktails of the classics like Manhattan twist incorporated with ingredients found within the region like rice wine and ginseng.

Drunk Uncle

More laidback and for the artsy crowd. Its whole vibe can be described as bohemian and they serve beers imported from all over the world.

Captain Bar

One of the most famous bars you’ll be recommended with. It has a great view of The Bund. It mostly attracts young crowds.

Yu Ying Tang

An underground Shanghai bar with worldwide rock band performances. You can book your flight, hotel accommodations, car rentals, and tour packages here. Find other interesting tour offers around the world and book them here. Download your Travelbook App so you can make the most out of your travels and share your travel adventures with fellow wanderlusts:
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