10 Things to do in Shanghai

Shanghai Guide

The world’s fastest developing city, Shanghai, is hailed as the New York City of Asia. With its endless skyscrapers, prosperous economy and bustling nightlife, Shanghai is indeed a flourishing city not to be missed!

Here is a list of 10 things to do in Shanghai that will keep you occupied all day. From standing on a transparent glass 350 meters above ground to eating the world’s best xiao long baos, there is definitely something for everyone!

1. Oriental Pearl Tower

The iconic Oriental Pearl Tower, aka Dong Fang Ming Zhu, was the first building to define Shanghai’s skyline. This majestic building stands at 468 meters tall and has 15 observatory levels.  The highest observatory deck is called the Space Module, which stands at 350 meters. One can stand on the platform made of transparent glass and enjoy a stunning panoramic view of the city. The feeling of Shanghai underneath one’s feet is indescribable. Ticket prices range from 35 CNY to 150 CNY (S$7 to S$31), depending on the number of spheres you are visiting.

No. 1 Century Avenue,
Pudong New Area, Shanghai, China
Tel: +86 21 58791888

2. Oriental Pearl Tower Revolving Restaurant

The Oriental Pearl Tower is more than just an observatory. Asia’s second biggest revolving restaurant can be found at 267 meters. A full rotation is made in 2 hours, hence offering one the complete 360 degrees view of Shanghai. The international buffet spread is as impressive as the view. Diners of the restaurant are entitled to a free visit to all three spheres and the Municipal History Museum. Lunch buffet is priced at 269 CNY per person (S$55) and dinner buffet is priced at 298 CNY per person (S$61).

Shanghai Bund

3. Take a stroll down the bund

The Bund is one of the prettiest waterfronts I had ever visited. Taking a stroll down the stretch of river is free, of course. The Bund’s location allows one to simultaneously admire the old colonial buildings and the new city developments. The Bund is also home to numerous award winning restaurants and bars, which usually offer breathtaking views. I remember myself saying, “I’m in love with Shanghai,” as I watched the sun set over the captivating waterfront.

Zhongshan East 1st Rd,
Huangpu, Shanghai, China
Tel: +86 21 6323 1268

4. River cruise around Huang Pu River

If walking is not your thing, why not take a river cruise around Huang Pu River to see for yourself the mixture of old and new buildings around Shanghai? The cruise cruises around the river for an hour and showcases Shanghai’s brilliant architecture. The dazzling city lights and glistening waters will make your trip an unforgettable one. Prices depend on the type of cruise.

Yu Yuan Garden

5. Visit Yu Yuan Gardens and eat Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao

If you would like to teleport yourself to medieval China, visit Yu Yuan Gardens. First created in 1559 and having undergone the Opium War, Taiping Rebellion and World War, the Chinese government officially declared Yu Yuan gardens as a national monument.

The two hectares wide garden contains a restaurant called Nan Xiang, which serves the best xiao long baos in the world. Do be prepared to queue. There are several different lineups for takeaways and dine in services. The most interesting dish would be the giant xiao long bao where you can drink the soup with a straw. It looks extraordinary but taste wise I would suggest you sticking to the dainty steamed dumplings. Besides the standard pork fillings, Nan Xiang also serves a variety of dumplings such as the popular crab fillings!

No. 218 Anren St
Huangpu, Shanghai, China
Daily opening hours 8:30 am–5:00 pm
Tel: +86 21 6326 0830

6. Party at G Club Plus

Shanghai is the most populated city in the world and their clubs are open every single day. One of the best clubs would be G Club Plus located at the internationally famous Xin Dian Di district. Equipped with large LED screens and a huge dance floor, it is no surprise that G Club Plus is a hit amongst both locals and expats. G Club Plus has a long list of renowned guest DJs such as Steve Aoki, Afrojack and Tiesto etc.

5F, 6Block South,
Xintiandi, Shanghai, China
Tel: +86 21 5386 8088

Orient Rome

7. Take a bath at a public bathhouse

The Chinese has an interesting 5000 years old cultural practice – washing up in public bathhouses. This tradition is different from the Korean bathhouse as men and women are separated and do not shower together in the same area. Opened 24/7 is Orient Rome, a luxurious public bathhouse that resembles a Roman castle with its numerous statues of Greek gods and goddesses. Locals have claimed this practice as relaxing but I personally found it super awkward.

There are also restaurants and movie halls for one to lounge at. Guest rooms are also available for massaging services.

1420 Jiangning Road (near Aomen Lu)
Putuo district, Shanghai, China
Daily: 24 hours
Tel: +86 21 6276 8490

8. Shop at Super Brand Mall

Super Brand Mall (Zheng Da Guang Zhang) is a massive shopping mall that will satisfy all shopaholics. Many globalized retails and local Chinese brands can be found in this shopping center. The cleanliness of this place is also remarkable. It is easily accessible via train and a stone’s throw away from the Pearl Tower. Foodies would be glad to hear that Super Brand Mall is home to a large list of eateries with cuisines from all over the world.

168, Lujiazui Xi Road,
Pudong, Shanghai, China
Tel: + 86 21 6887 7888

9. Nanjing Road, Shanghai’s main shopping street

Nanjing Road is a 3.4 miles long stretch of road filled with both local shops and global brands. West Nanjing Road is dominated by globalized brands while East Nanjing Road sells more local Chinese goods. There are many conmen hoping to scam tourists into buying “authentic” items so do be cautious when one approaches you. Take extra attention to your belongings when shopping, as pickpockets are common in this crowded street. There’s also a mini sight seeing bus that drives down Nanjing road.

Apple Store

10. Apple Store in Shanghai

There are 407 Apple stores world wide, but Shanghai’s Apple store has been listed as one of the world’s most beautiful. The glass cylindrical building, which leads one to the underground shop via a glass stairwell, boasts the world’s largest piece of curve glass. Fun fact: Shanghai’s Apple store is also the world’s most profitable Apple store.

Store 27, Lower Ground 2nd floor
IFC Mall, No. 8 Century Avenue,
Pudong, Shanghai, China
Tel: +86 21 2033 5300


About the writer
Hui Jun Ng is a Media and Communications student at RMIT University, Melbourne. She loves indulging in good food and traveling. She is part of a media productions group called CUTXPACE Productions and they recently completed a promotional video for Melbourne Art Show. You can follow her adventures in Melbourne here.

4 COMMENTS

Nice list. Visited Shanghai recently and liked it Also, very nice jazz scene there. However, I think 1 and 2 on your list are the same! ;)

Wow, what a disappointment, especially from the Lady Iron Chef. If I wanted to read about locations where Lonely Planet sends people, I would have read, well, the Lonely Planet.

First of all, it is Xin Tian Di, not Xin Dian Di (Xin Tian Di means New Horizon). Although the concept is cool and smart, the restaurants there are poor and overpriced (perhaps except for Fountain). Tian Zi Fang is a much more authentic place, though of course mostly filled with expats and rich Chinese (but the sewer smell makes it more authentic than Tian Zi Fang). The brunch at Kommune there is quite nice.

The Oriental Pearl Tower and especially the restaurant there are one of the biggest tourist traps. For a view go to the taller Shanghai World Financial Center.

A stroll in the Bund is a must. And going to G Plus club? That place is full of expat teens who go there on weekends to escape their compounds. I guess no one took you to Bar Rouge or M1NT or any of the other clubs on the Bund. What about something more authentic, like JZ Club or The House of Blues & Jazz for some very nice live jazz performances?

The best view in Shanghai? Well, you have to go to the Hyatt on the Bund (which is actually not on the Bund but north of it on Huang Pu Road) and go to Vue, their bar at the top. You get a view facing South and you can see Pudong on the left and the Bund on the right.

Restaurants: Too many to list, but some of my favorites: Lost Heaven (Yunnan) on the Bund. Southern Barbarian (Yunnan and THE best selection of craft beers in all of China). Xiao Yang’s Sheng Jian for the best fried dumplings (many locations). And Jia Jia for the best Xiao Long Bao in Shanghai. Really authentic.

Anyway, this is from someone who only spent 1.5yrs living in Shanghai, and I am sure I am missing a ton of other things to do, drink, and eat.

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