Areas to Visit in Shanghai

This is the typical day-to-day questions I got in my hotmail email box. You know what, I am going to pick this one and answer it publicly.

Hello Jian Shuo,

I have come across your bog and I’ve been reading it for hours. Thanks for sharing all that wonderful information about your country.

I apologise for taking the liberty to bother you with questions. But next week I will have the opportunity to visit china for the first time in my life. I will be spending 10 days in shanghai mainly for work, but before my work sessions start I have 3 free days, and I was wondering, since I will be spending the rest of the week in shanghai and surely visiting most of the city sites, what would be your recommendation for a 2/3 day trip.

I guess it’s a very general question, I understand shanghai is a very modern city, and after all I’ve read in your blog I was wondering what would be the one city or area you would recommend to visit from shanghai.

Thanks in advance for your time and attention.


Name removed

This is not an easy question. Everyone has its list of “must-see” for a city. This is mine. I am trying to imagine what a new visitor in Shanghai may feel interesting about the places, so it may not be the same list I will give for the second time visitors, or visitors we enjoy exploring the city itself instead of site seeings.

So, here is my list.

  1. The Bund. The bund is must-see place in Shanghai. It is like the name card or the portrait of Shanghai (Every city has a partrait photo that is widely recognized in the world, like Eiffel Tower in Paris, or looking across the bay to Bank of China tower in Hong Kong). So go to the Bund first.
  2. The Lujiazui Area. You need to set food to Pudong, the Lujiazui area to claim that you see a complete Shanghai. You may want to try the Pearl Tower (visit the top) or the top of the Jin Mao Tower.
  3. Yu Garden. Most foregiens like Yu Gardern. That is the answer to the question: “Where can I find the best China element in this morden city?”
  4. Huang Pu River. Get to a boat and do cruise on the river. Highly recommended.
  5. Huai Hai Road, especially the area near Shaanxi South Road area. The shopping center.
  6. Xintiandi. The newly built area featuring old Shanghainese style lane houses, and bars. It is a tourism place now.
  7. Xujiahui. Either go there for shopping – best for computer parts, or for the villa area.
  8. Nanjing Road. Oh. I almost forget it. It is named the No. 1 Street in China, because of the concentration of shops.
  9. Bridges. There are many bridges like Nanpu Bridge or Yangpu Bridge. There are even climbing activities on Lupu Bridge

That seems a lot of a two day trip. This is the most popular places, that second time visitors may not be interested, but definitely worth a visit for the first time visitors. They are the iconic places in Shanghai.

Welcome to Shanghai!

16 thoughts on “Areas to Visit in Shanghai

  1. Jian Shuo,

    You came up with nine (9) excellent places to visit while in Shanghai. Very excellent.

  2. JS,

    Those are good places you mentioned, but I think the guy who sent you the email is interested in a place outside of Shanghai that he can visit in 2/3 days, is that correct?

    Anyways, i can not speak for JS, but I think Hangzhou or Suzhou would be good places to visit on a short 2/3 day trip. or if the reader must be back in SH everynight, he can take daytrips to those water towns…..

  3. Jianshuo,

    Don’t forget the museum at the bottom of the Pearl Tower; I lived in Shanghai for 1.5 years before I went there with friends and learned loads of Shanghai history. I’m with JL on Hangzhou or Suzhuo trips for culture (Yu Gardens is nice), ZhouJia Zhao or Zhou Zhuang if he has a less time for “river culture”. Though foreign, I’m not really “fruffy” when it comes to shopping and would rather bargain than go to some of the high-end stores in areas mentioned above. Street food/ local restaurants (Hot Pot!!!!) vs. Pizza Hut or Starbucks, though quality medium priced restaurants like those in Lu Jia Zui or parts of Puxi are fine. I’ve been to “M” on the Bund once, but prefer the local culture myself. You’re the expert, though!! I just visited!


  4. may i add into your suggested place to visit…. People’s Square specially w/all the birds(dove) flying freely along the park, you can even enjoy feeding them w/just 1RMB for their feeds….& ohh definitey they’ll come to you (great shot to capture), it feels like you’re in Milan… (“,)

  5. Shanghai has a number of excellent museums as well. The Shanghai city museum at People’s Square has an incredible collection of Chinese art and artefacts. It took me two days to tour the place. If cities themselves fascinate you, I suggest the Urban Planning museum, also at People’s Square. It has a scale model of the future plan of the city!

  6. Aside from all the places mentioned there are also some sights outside of those. How about Wuxi, there one can go to a couple of the Buddhist temples, with large Buddhas. well worth the effort. Another place is 1000 island lake, think its Chinese name is Taihu. I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong. Now since you have 3 days free, it is also quite possible to do some other things with a little planning and scheduling that are a little further afield. How about going to Sanya, or Hainan? well worth it, for the carless roads in comparison to the contancerous roads of Shanghai, or head to one Guilin and Yanshuo. Maybe even do a trip to Huangshan (yellow mountain) or one of the other 4 famous mountains in China. Actually want to see some really hidden gems, then how about hitting the real parts of China… try where one can embark on a serious excursion to one of many undiscovered villages -and no I don’t work for them…

    If you’d like to see Hangzhou, then you will surely find something to capture your imagination, try the big lake area there.

    Actually there is so much to see, do and explore here, its part of the almost inescapable magics of China…

  7. thank you all so much for your suggestions!!

    I will be spending a week in total in shanghai, so hope to visit most of this places during the week. As for the long weekend.. i was toying with the idea of going to Huangshan, the pictures on the journals about your trip there look breathtaking. Unfortunately, im not sure the logistics are going to work this time though. so Hangzhou and Suzhou seem very good options for a day trip.

    I am very excited about this trip, first time in shanghai, first time in china. I shall let you know how it goes. Again, thank you all very much for the comments.

  8. Thanks once and again for your insightful information… =)

    Your list is good and really includes a lot of places that anyone just arriving to Shanghai, ought to check! I’ll also recommend see Nanjing road during night time and get into any of the eating places around watching to the street. The lights are a splendid show itself.

    A couple of suggestions about the spelling of your message, just to improve the ability to communicate. Maybe they are just typos.(You’re so good already =) )

    You need to set FOOT to Pudong.

    Yu Garden. Most FOREIGNERS like Yu GARDEN. That is the answer to the question: “Where can I find the best China element in this MODERN city?”

    See you around,


  9. hi,

    i am on a very short trip to Shanghai for business, hopefully i can spend a day of two to see around. can you suggest the best to get the essence of Shanghai and China?

  10. well i am going to go in shanghai in winter for a friend reunion..soo i was wondering if there is any place in shanghai to do born fire for over night with tents ‘n big fire to commence :)

    any help will be greatly appreciated

  11. hi all,

    i arrive in SGH 2 weeks ago, to meet my friend.

    it’s my first trip in SGH, but not the first in China or other asian countries. ;-)

    i lived before in HKG, for 3 years long.

    my friend take my around his city, and he show me all of the place everybody recommended.

    so, i’m proud of him, because he is a good, sorry, a very good guide.

    thx my friend and good discovery for everyone coming next to SGH.

  12. Hi,

    Those were great options! Thank you alL for sharing. I am also looking for a recommended budget hostel or hotel I can stay. Im travelling with a partner from 20/01/10 to 26/01/10, arriving at HangZhou first and den take a trip down to Shanghai for mayb a 2 days 1 night trip. Should I squeeze another town in my itenerary? Any suggestion?

    And since i believe it would be very cold, any travelling tips?

    Thank you so much for helping. Im from Malaysia, if you need any info about my home country, Ill be happy to share!



  13. and also if you like art, then you must like places like tianzifang , M50, very much.

    and also watertown around shanghai are also nice.


    personal tour guide in shanghai


  14. and also if you like art, then you must like places like tianzifang , M50, very much.

    and also watertown around shanghai are also nice.


    personal tour guide in shanghai


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