At a Glance
When to Go
Shanghai has two airports, Pudong and Hongqiao, both of which are now connected by metro (Line 2/Green). When flying into Pudong, you can chop considerable time off your trip downtown by jumping on the maglev and either taking the metro into town from there or grabbing a taxi to your final destination. Buses also run from both airports to various points in the city center at frequent intervals (cost is 12-30 RMB, or less than $5), just check the signs at the airport. Taxis are an easy option, but it helps to have your destination printed in Chinese if you don’t speak any Mandarin.
Shanghai has a fabulous public transportation system, making it quite easy and affordable to traverse the city. Explore Shanghai is a handy way to find stations as well as calculate time and cost. You can pick up a Shanghai Public Transportation Card at the service counter in any metro station for a refundable deposit of 20 RMB. These cards, once topped up, can be used to pay for buses, metro rides, ferries, the maglev, and even taxis, saving you from digging for loose change as you travel. Taxis are also easy to catch and relatively affordable. Download Hi Shanghai before you go—it offers “taxi cards” for each listing that you can show to your driver.
Food and Drink
Check the listings in Smart Shanghai because hardly a day goes by without a show—ballet, theater, art exhibitions, or music. And for a soulful evening as iconically Shanghai as it is global, consider attending one of the nightly Chinese Acrobatic Shows or catching live jazz at the Cotton Club or House of Blues and Jazz.
Along with fabulous music festivals in the spring and late summer (Midi, Strawberry, JZ), Shanghai also has numerous “international” cultural gatherings such as the Shanghai International Fashion Cultural Festival (March 2014), the International Film Festival (June 2014), and the International Fitness Festival (Nov 2104).
What the Locals Know
Christy is a freelance travel writer and owner of a small Branding and Communications business, Black Bear Ink. When she's not exploring new places or getting lost in her backyard, she's practicing the art of storytelling on Lane Letters.