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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.


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
  • Currency
    RNB or Yuan (¥)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+08:00)
  • Country Code
  • 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

Highly recommend this tour, if you come to Shanghai.

Exceptional service in every way! Great customer services, courteous, very knowledgeable of history and culture guide who speaks perfect English, very reasonable/affordable fee. We get to see and do so much in one day. I will give them a great review on TripAdvisor when I get back as well. Thank you Tom for a wonderful day in Shanghai!!!

Shanghai: 8-Hour Private City Tour Reviewed by Amphorn, 01/20/2019

Incredible tour! Great food, lots of knowledge, and good fun!

I have not stopped talking about my experience on this food tour in Shanghai. I wound up with a surprise 24 hour layover in the city after my connecting flight got cancelled, and I found this tour online in the wee hours of morning. I was able to register at that late date, and another stranded traveller I linked up with was able to register in the morning too. Totally unprepared for this stop on my trip, I was so grateful to have a knowledgeable guide to show me the tastiest food and coolest out-of-the-way places in Shanghai. The meetup spot was easy to find, and I was so impressed with Jim, our guide. He spoke perfect English, had lots of great knowledge, and did a wonderful job moderating our many restaurant visits so we didn't get overfull. Incredible experience I literally have told all my friends about!

Shanghai: 3-Hour Local Food Tasting Tour Reviewed by Audrey, 12/25/2018

Great fun, lovely sincere welcome, local knowledge tasty treats!

Lin waited 25 minutes for us. We arrived late directly from the airport and were so happy and delightfully surprised to see her still there waiting for us!

Shanghai: 3-Hour Biking and Local Food Tour Reviewed by Martin, 12/18/2018

Great way to orient yourself w/the help of an informative local

Took the tour to get a better understanding of the layout of city. Li was a terrific guide & seemed to know everyone (and everyone knew her), so we got to see & experience some truly local sights. Prior to the tour, I’d been a bit concerned about biking in traffic; but Li very good about keeping us safe and even helped to direct road traffic on several occasions to aid our group’s passage. Highly recommend.

Shanghai Highlights Half-Day Bicycle City Tour Reviewed by Olivebits, 12/08/2018

Amazing bike tour to the top Attractions

The Bike tour was amazing. Our guide (Mei) was so nice and friendly and even if i now already have been living in Shanghai for nearly 1 year, i still learned a lot. We went to all the famous spots, had enough time to take some pictures and also went to some more hidden spots. She showed us the real Shanghai with its glamour als well as some poor areas. The bikes were in a perfect condition (i think mine was brand new) and we all became helmets. Mei also gave us some local food recommendations and extra tips. She also offered to help us with further travel recommendations for Shanghai and had some good inder hints. It was a perfect start into the day and I can highly recommend the tour to everyone! Thank you so much

Shanghai Must-See and Foodie Bike Tour Reviewed by Sonja, 11/26/2018