Shanghai
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Top attractions in Shanghai

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10 essential sights in Shanghai

Shanghai is veritably one of the biggest cities in the world. These 10 tips will help you start to piece together an idea of this vibrant metropolis.

Shanghai World Financial Center

Shanghai World Financial Center

This unusual skyscraper stands at 492 meters and is characterized by its unusual blunt tip. It features restaurants and a bar for visitors, and its observatory is by far the best place to catch a glimpse of the Shanghai cityscape.

Shanghai Museum

Shanghai Museum

Appropriately located on Shanghai's People's Square, this museum is a collection of ancient Chinese art with exhibitions in jade, calligraphy, and ceramics.

Yuyuan Gardens

Yuyuan Gardens

This "garden of the forbidden city" displays include traditional fountains, pavilions, and rock gardens.

Propaganda Poster Art Center

These Maoist-era propaganda posters, now valued as art pieces by their collector, will help you understand China's Communist history.

Jewish Refugees Museum
Photo: Harvey Barrison@flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Jewish Refugees Museum

During the Second World War, Shanghai received around 20,000 Jewish refugees - this museum goes into more detail about this little-known aspect of history.

The Bund

The Bund

A microcosm of corporate Shanghai, you'll see the buildings that are home to HSBC and North China Daily News.

French Concession
Photo: Eduardo M. C.@flickr (CC BY 2.0)

French Concession

This area of Shanghai could well also be called "Little France" - with its Parisian-looking suburbs and quaint bistros, the city has retained portions of its French colonial history.

Jing'an Temple

Jing'an Temple

Translated as the Temple of Peace and Tranquility, this Buddhist temple consists of three main halls testifying to culture from several Chinese dynasties.

Huxinting Tea House

Huxinting Tea House

Constructed during the Ming dynasty, the zig-zag bridge surrounding the tea house is meant to shut evil spirits out. It is considered one of the last authentic Chinese tea houses in Shanghai and has even been visited by Queen Elizabeth II!

Lu Xun Park
Photo: Bernt Rostad@flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Lu Xun Park

Located in the Hongkou district and quieter than Yuyan, this park is dedicated to Chinese literary great Lu Xun. You can rent out a boat for the lake, or simply wander around enjoying the tranquility.

Planning Your Shanghai Visit

When to go

The fall months are the mildest, temperature-wise. Winter gets cold, but is not particularly snowy.

Market scams

Beware of buying precious minerals like pearl necklaces and jade ornaments from markets - it is common that these are not the real deal.

English newspaper

Check out the English-language newspaper, Shanghai Daily, to see what's going on in the city.

Pollution

If you suffer from respiratory issues, look into purchasing a mask that covers your nose and mouth before your trip, as the air pollution concentration in Shanghai is very high.

Good to know

  • Language
    Mandarin
  • Currency
    RNB or Yuan (¥)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+08:00)
  • Country Code
    +86
  • Best time to visit
    May through October is the most mild weather, but also the busiest time for Shanghai. Late March and October are ideal for weather and avoiding the peak times for tourists and business travelers.

Things to Do in Shanghai

Top Attractions in Shanghai

Cities in China

Other Sightseeing Options in Shanghai

Want to discover all there is to do in Shanghai? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Shanghai

An exhilarating experience with an excellent guide - highly recommend

Upon turning up for the evening I was told that I was the only person doing the tour that evening. I was a bit nervous as I am not the fittest of people, however my guide May was amazing and set just the right pace for me. May gave me the confidence that I needed and before long I was having a great time whizzing through the streets of Shanghai. May's English was excellent and her knowledge of the city and its history were great, giving just the right amount of detail. The length of the tour was just right, covering all of the main areas of the city. As well as the touristy areas it even gave an insight into real Shanghainese life. I highly recommend this tour either travelling as a group or sole and cannot speak highly enough of May and Bike China Tours. The photos that they shared with me afterwards are a lovely reminder of what a great a time I had. A must do tour if you are visiting Shanghai and have a spare evening!

Leo was an excellent guide- its the guide that makes the difference

The bike ride was very enjoyable and really gave the sense of being a local and navigating the traffic in the city. The stops were excellent and gave a "behind" scene of how some locals live and some of the activities the central government is doing to improve their living situation. A very generous government! The stops for snacks and foods were great insights into everyday living by locals (I was taken to places (restaurant and stands) that a local would go to and not a tourist- loved that! And the tour guide, Leo, had excellent knowledge and at the right level of detail to learn and remember what he shared. His English is excellent for never visiting an English speaking country before. I highly recommend booking a trip with China Bike Tours.

Shanghai: 3-Hour Biking and Local Food Tour Reviewed by Lawrence, 13/06/2019

Excellent activity with affordable price.

In this activity I got three tickets namely for Chin Mou tower till 88th flower, Bund tunnel one way and one hour river Cruse tour. I book for two days to cover all three route with sufficient time and it is really worth. The address of people's square was not mention proper. There is audio facility in various languages. You get free headphone and route map.

Shanghai: Hop-on Hop-off Bus Ticket and Optional Attractions Reviewed by ARIF MOHAMAD RASUL, 03/06/2019

Mr. Tom was excellent! Five star for you!

I highly recommend Mr. Tom. You were excellent the whole time you were with us with my family. You guided us for our entire stay in Shanghai. Our stay there was so smooth because of you. This is my chance to "Thank You" Mr. Tom. We were so grateful for having you as our guide in Shanghai. So fluent in english, showed to us the best in Shanghai.

Shanghai: 8-Hour Private City Tour Reviewed by Mary Ann, 25/06/2019

Just fab! Excellent interactive section in the worlds towers too!

Just arrived back in the U.K. from Shanghai and the Shanghai Tower was one of the best activities we did. Highly recommend it. Great section before going up in the lift, on tall towers/buildings across the world...very interactive...touch screen...info in English available...just magic!

Shanghai Tower Observatory E-Ticket Reviewed by Susan, 05/07/2019