10 Best Things to Do in Shanghai

A Comprehensive Guide to Exploring China's Most Vibrant City

Shanghai, known as the “Pearl of the Orient,” is a vibrant and bustling metropolis that attracts millions of visitors each year. This city of contrasts combines traditional Chinese culture with modern architecture and technology, creating a unique and unforgettable experience for tourists. From the iconic skyline of the Bund to the tranquil Yuyuan Garden, there are countless attractions and activities to discover in Shanghai. Whether you’re interested in history, art, food, or shopping, Shanghai has something for everyone.

In this article, we’ll explore the 10 best things to do in Shanghai, including some of the city’s most famous landmarks, as well as lesser-known gems that are waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, our list will provide you with plenty of inspiration for your next trip to this fascinating city. So, let’s dive in and explore the best that Shanghai has to offer!

1. Explore The Bund in Shanghai: A Must-See Attraction for Tourists.

Shanghai bund

The Bund is a waterfront promenade located in the heart of Shanghai, offering stunning views of the city’s iconic skyline across the Huangpu River. This popular attraction is lined with colonial-era buildings on one side and modern skyscrapers on the other, showcasing the contrast between old and new Shanghai. Visitors can stroll along the riverfront and admire the city’s landmarks, such as the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai Tower. The Bund is also a great spot for photo opportunities, especially during the evening when the buildings are illuminated. No trip to Shanghai is complete without exploring this must-see attraction.

2. Visit Yuyuan Garden in Shanghai: A Classical Chinese Garden Built During the Ming Dynasty.

Yuyuan Garden

Yuyuan Garden is a classical Chinese garden located in the heart of Shanghai’s Old City. Built during the Ming Dynasty in the 16th century, this beautifully landscaped garden covers an area of 20,000 square meters and features traditional Chinese architecture, rock gardens, ponds, and winding pathways. Visitors can explore the garden’s six main areas, including the Sansui Hall, which offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape, and the Inner Garden, which features intricately designed rock formations and miniature landscapes. Yuyuan Garden is a peaceful oasis in the midst of Shanghai’s bustling cityscape and is a must-visit for anyone interested in Chinese culture and history.

3. Discover Chinese Art and Artifacts at the Shanghai Museum.

shanghai museum

The Shanghai Museum is a world-renowned museum located in the Huangpu District of Shanghai. The museum houses an extensive collection of Chinese art and artifacts, including ceramics, bronze, jade, calligraphy, and paintings. The museum is divided into eleven galleries, each dedicated to a different aspect of Chinese art and history, spanning from the Neolithic period to the modern era. Visitors can marvel at ancient bronze vessels, admire intricate jade carvings, and learn about the evolution of Chinese calligraphy. The Shanghai Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in Chinese art and culture and is a treasure trove of fascinating artifacts.

4. Experience the Hustle and Bustle of People’s Square: A Popular Gathering Place for Locals.

People’s Square is a large public square located in the heart of Shanghai’s Huangpu District. This bustling square is a popular gathering place for locals, who come to enjoy the greenery, fountains, and street performers. Visitors can explore the square’s many attractions, including the Shanghai Museum, Shanghai Grand Theatre, and the Urban Planning Exhibition Center. People’s Square is also a great place to take a break from the city’s hustle and bustle, offering a peaceful retreat in the midst of Shanghai’s bustling urban landscape. A visit to People’s Square is a must for anyone interested in experiencing the local culture and vibe of Shanghai.

5. Enjoy Traditional Chinese Cuisine at One of Shanghai’s Many Restaurants.

restaurant shanghai

Shanghai is renowned for its delicious and varied cuisine, offering a wide range of traditional Chinese dishes that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. From the famous xiaolongbao (soup dumplings) to stinky tofu and everything in between, there are endless options for foodies to explore. Visitors can dine at one of Shanghai’s many local restaurants, from small street-side vendors to high-end establishments. Don’t miss out on experiencing Shanghai’s culinary culture, which is an essential part of the city’s identity. A visit to Shanghai is not complete without trying some of the city’s most famous dishes.

6. Take a Day Trip to Zhujiajiao Water Town: A Picturesque Water Town Near Shanghai.

Zhujiajiao Water Town

Zhujiajiao is a charming water town located just an hour’s drive from Shanghai, offering a glimpse into traditional Chinese culture and architecture. The town is famous for its canals, bridges, and old buildings, which date back to the Ming and Qing dynasties. Visitors can explore the town’s many attractions, including the Kezhi Garden, the Fangsheng Bridge, and the Yuanjin Buddhist Temple. The town also has many shops selling local crafts, souvenirs, and delicious street food. A day trip to Zhujiajiao is a great way to escape the city’s hustle and bustle and experience a more tranquil side of Shanghai’s surroundings.

7. Visit the Shanghai Tower: The Tallest Building in China and Second Tallest in the World.

Shanghai Tower

The Shanghai Tower is an iconic skyscraper located in the Pudong District of Shanghai. Standing at 632 meters tall, it is the tallest building in China and the second tallest in the world. Visitors can take an elevator to the tower’s observation deck on the 118th floor, which offers breathtaking views of Shanghai’s skyline. The tower also houses offices, hotels, and shopping centers, making it a popular destination for both tourists and locals. A visit to the Shanghai Tower is a must for anyone interested in architecture, engineering, or simply marveling at the height of this impressive building.

8. See a Traditional Chinese Acrobatics Show at the Shanghai Circus World.

The Shanghai Circus World is a world-renowned circus and acrobatics venue located in the Zhabei District of Shanghai. Visitors can experience the excitement and wonder of traditional Chinese acrobatics, which involves a variety of impressive feats, such as contortionism, juggling, and aerial stunts. The circus features performances from some of the best acrobats in China, who display their skills and agility in breathtaking shows. The Shanghai Circus World is a must-visit for anyone interested in experiencing the excitement and wonder of traditional Chinese culture and entertainment. Don’t miss out on this unforgettable experience while in Shanghai.

9. Shop and Dine at Xintiandi: A Trendy Shopping and Dining Destination in Shanghai.


Xintiandi is a trendy shopping and dining destination located in the heart of Shanghai’s bustling Huangpu District. This pedestrian-friendly area features a mix of traditional Shikumen architecture and modern buildings, creating a unique and vibrant atmosphere. Visitors can explore the many high-end boutiques, galleries, and cafes, or dine at one of the area’s many trendy restaurants offering a wide range of cuisine. Xintiandi is also a great place to people-watch and soak up the local culture. A visit to Xintiandi is a must for anyone interested in experiencing the trendy side of Shanghai’s shopping and dining scene.

10. Visit the Longhua Temple: One of the Oldest and Largest Buddhist Temples in Shanghai.

Longhua Temple

The Longhua Temple is one of the oldest and largest Buddhist temples in Shanghai, dating back to the 10th century. This impressive complex features a 40-meter-tall pagoda, a large bell cast in the Ming Dynasty, and many other ancient Buddhist relics. Visitors can explore the temple’s many halls and pavilions, which are adorned with intricate carvings, paintings, and statues. The temple is also a great place to experience traditional Chinese religious practices, such as burning incense and making offerings. A visit to the Longhua Temple is a must for anyone interested in Chinese Buddhism and history.

In conclusion, Shanghai is a city full of surprises and wonder, with an endless array of things to do and see. Whether you’re interested in exploring its rich history and culture, shopping in its bustling markets, or simply taking in the stunning views of its skyline, there’s something for everyone in this exciting city. By following our list of the 10 best things to do in Shanghai, you’ll be sure to have an unforgettable trip filled with adventure, culture, and entertainment. So pack your bags, book your ticket, and get ready to experience all that this incredible city has to offer. We hope you have a fantastic trip to Shanghai!

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Written by

Travel Writer. I have a passion for traveling around Japan, and I love to share the latest and most exciting tourism information with fellow travelers. As an enthusiast of Japanese culture, I have a deep appreciation for sushi and shrines & temples, which often fuels my desire to explore even more of this fascinating country. I am originally from the United States, but I have made Tokyo my home, immersing myself in its vibrant culture and sharing my unique insights with others.