15 Best Things to Do in Shanghai, China

Shanghai, the largest and most populous city in China, is a bustling metropolis that offers a wide range of attractions and activities for visitors. 
From iconic landmarks to cultural experiences, there is something for everyone in this vibrant city. 
In this article, we will explore the best things to do in Shanghai, ensuring you make the most of your visit.

Things to Do in Shanghai
Things to Do in Shanghai

Admire the Classic Skyline at the Bund

When it comes to things to do in Shanghai, a visit to the Bund is a must. The Bund is a waterfront area along the Huangpu River that offers stunning views of Shanghai’s classic skyline.

Stroll along the promenade and take in the colonial architecture and modern skyscrapers that line the river. For a unique experience, consider taking a Huangpu River cruise or crossing the river through the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel.

Experience the Thrill of Shanghai Tower

For an even higher vantage point, visit the Shanghai Tower. As the tallest building in China and the second-tallest in the world, the Shanghai Tower offers unparalleled views of the city.

Take the high-speed elevator to the observation deck on the 119th floor and be amazed by the bird’s-eye view of Shanghai’s sprawling landscape.
With its futuristic design and impressive height, the Shanghai Tower is a must-visit attraction.

Explore Yuyuan Garden

Located near the Bund, Yuyuan Garden is a beautiful oasis in the heart of Shanghai. This Ming Dynasty garden features traditional Chinese architecture, intricate pavilions, and serene ponds.

Take a stroll through the garden and admire the decorative bridges and colorful pagodas.
To enhance your visit, consider hiring a tour guide who can provide insights into the garden’s history and significance.

Wander Along Nanjing Road

Nanjing Road is Shanghai’s premier shopping street and a vibrant hub of activity. Take a leisurely walk along this pedestrian street and explore the numerous shops, boutiques, and department stores that line its path.

Marvel at the architectural beauty of the buildings and immerse yourself in the bustling atmosphere of Chinese commerce.
Don’t forget to look down and admire the unique and historic manhole covers that dot the street.

Enjoy Panoramic Views from Oriental Pearl TV Tower

For breathtaking views of Shanghai’s skyline, head to the Oriental Pearl TV Tower. This iconic landmark features a unique design with its distinctive spheres and observation levels.

Take an elevator to the highest observatory level and marvel at the panoramic vistas of the city below.
While at the tower, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the Shanghai Municipal History Museum, located within the building.

Delve into History at Shanghai Museum

Located in People’s Square, the Shanghai Museum is a treasure trove of Chinese art and artifacts.
With over 120,000 pieces on display, the museum offers a comprehensive overview of China’s rich history and culture.

Explore the various galleries that showcase ancient ceramics, bronzes, sculptures, and more. Take your time to appreciate the intricate craftsmanship and learn about the stories behind each artifact.
For a glimpse into Shanghai’s urban development, visit the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall located nearby.

Immerse Yourself in Zhujiajiao Water Town

Zhujiajiao Water Town
Zhujiajiao Water Town

Escape the city and step back in time with a visit to Zhujiajiao Water Town. Located just an hour from central Shanghai, this ancient town offers a glimpse into traditional Chinese architecture and culture.

Take a stroll along the canals, cross the charming bridges, and marvel at the well-preserved buildings. Consider taking a boat or ferry ride to explore the town from a different perspective.

For a more authentic experience, venture further afield to Nanxun and Tongli, two ancient water towns that offer a quieter and less crowded atmosphere.

Embark on an Adventure at Shanghai Disneyland Park

For a day of family fun and entertainment, Shanghai Disneyland Park is the place to be. As the first Disney theme park in mainland China, it combines the magic of Disney with unique cultural elements.

Explore the six-themed lands, meet your favorite Disney characters, and enjoy thrilling rides and attractions. Whether you’re young or young at heart, Shanghai Disneyland Park promises an unforgettable experience.

Indulge in Shopping and Dining at Tianzifang/Xintiandi

Tianzifang and Xintiandi are two vibrant areas in Shanghai that offer a unique blend of traditional and modern experiences.
Tianzifang is a maze of narrow alleyways lined with arts and crafts shops, boutiques, and street food stalls.

Explore the bohemian atmosphere and discover hidden gems around every corner. Xintiandi, on the other hand, is a renovated area within the French Concession known for its upscale shopping, gourmet restaurants, and luxury stores.
Both areas showcase Shanghai’s rich history and offer a range of shopping and dining options to suit every taste.

Discover European Architecture in the French Concession

The French Concession is a charming area in Shanghai that showcases the city’s European influences. Take a stroll along the tree-lined streets and marvel at the beautiful European-style buildings.

Stop by the many cafes, bistros, and shops that line the area and immerse yourself in the laid-back atmosphere.
Xintiandi, a renovated area within the French Concession, offers a blend of old and new with its preserved architecture and upscale shopping and dining options.

Take a Ride on the Shanghai Maglev Train

Experience the future of transportation with a ride on the Shanghai Maglev Train. Known as the fastest train in the world, it operates between Shanghai Pudong International Airport and Longyang Road Metro Station.

With a top speed of 430 km/h (270 mph), the Maglev Train offers a quick and convenient way to travel between the airport and the city center.
Marvel at the speed and smoothness of the ride as you zoom through the air-conditioned cabins.

Relax and Enjoy Century Park

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city at Century Park, the largest park in Shanghai. Located near the Pudong area, this expansive green space offers a peaceful respite from the urban environment.

Rent an electric boat and explore the park’s lake, go for a jog or bike ride along the scenic paths, or simply relax on the lawns and enjoy the tranquility. Century Park is the perfect place to unwind and recharge amidst nature.

Use Shanghai as a Base for Exploring China

Beyond the boundaries of Shanghai, there are countless opportunities for exploration and adventure. Shanghai’s excellent transportation infrastructure makes it an ideal base for day trips or longer journeys to other parts of China.

Hop on a high-speed train and visit cities like Beijing, Xi’an, or Guangzhou, all within a day’s travel. Alternatively, fly from one of Shanghai’s international airports to destinations across China and beyond. With Shanghai as your starting point, the possibilities for exploration are endless.

Explore Shanghai Old Street

Step back in time with a visit to Shanghai Old Street. This historic street is a living museum that showcases what Shanghai looked like a century ago.
As you wander through the narrow lanes, you’ll find an array of shops selling souvenirs, antiques, and traditional Chinese snacks.

Immerse yourself in the atmosphere of old Shanghai and enjoy various entertainment options such as Chinese shadow puppetry.
Shanghai Old Street is a must-visit for history enthusiasts and those looking to experience traditional Chinese culture.

Cruise Along the Huangpu River

For a unique perspective of Shanghai’s iconic landmarks, take a boat or ferry cruise along the Huangpu River. As you glide along the water, you’ll be treated to stunning views of both sides of the river.

Marvel at the colonial buildings of the Bund on one side and the futuristic skyscrapers of Pudong on the other. A river cruise is an excellent way to appreciate the city’s rich history and modern development.


Shanghai offers a wealth of experiences and attractions for visitors to enjoy. From iconic landmarks to cultural gems, there is something for everyone in this vibrant city.

Whether you’re admiring the classic skyline at the Bund, exploring the historic gardens and water towns, or immersing yourself in the local culture, Shanghai promises an unforgettable journey.

So pack your bags and get ready to explore the wonders of Shanghai, China.

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