The Best Things to Do in Shanghai
Collected by AFAR Editors , AFAR Staff
While you'll never have time for all of Shanghai's best sights, here are some of our favorites. Seek out the city’s art and mind-blowing architecture, decompress in tranquil gardens, or tour long-forgotten nightclubs. Trust us: You won’t be bored.
170 Anyuan Rd, Jing'an, China, 200060
The original Jade Buddha Temple was built in the late-19th century to house two jade Buddha statues brought from Burma by a monk named Hui Gen. They remain the principal attractions of the temple, especially the larger of the two, a seated Buddha...
Zhongshan East 1st Rd, WaiTan, Huangpu Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200000
Architecture lovers flock to the Huangpu River's western side to stroll the Bund, a waterfront tourist magnet in central Shanghai. There's a glorious mishmash of late-19th- and early-20th-century styles here, from Gothic revival to art deco. Walk...
79 Fenyang Rd, Xuhui Qu, Shanghai Shi, China
Shanghai has always been China’s most cosmopolitan city. After the first Opium War (1839–1842), the city was divided into foreign concessions and entered a golden age, with a thriving nightlife scene, an active film industry, and a...
516 Fuxing Middle Rd, Huangpu Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200085
Fuxing Park has quite the history. It was a Ming Dynasty private garden until the French took it over in 1909. Then came the Japanese occupation of Shanghai during World War II until the early 1950s, after which the park again...
231 Nanjing W Rd, RenMin GuangChang, Huangpu Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200003
The Shanghai Race Club, built by the British in the 1800s, is a lingering reminder that horseraces were once held here, just south of Nanjing Road. Opened to the public in the 1950s, this green refuge charms with landscaped traditional gardens and...
1555 Huaihai Middle Rd, Xuhui Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200085
Historic Shanghai’s tours and events are the closest you’ll can come to traveling back in time to Shanghai’s golden age. The group was founded by longtime Shanghai residents Tess Johnston, Tina Kanagaratnam, and...
35 Fenggu Rd, Xuhui Qu, Shanghai Shi, China
It's not every day you get to gape at mind-bending art inside a 97,000-square-foot aircraft hangar. Chinese-Indonesian billionaire Budi Tek founded Yuz Museum in the 1980s after he started collecting contemporary Chinese works. His expansive...
Changning, China, 200085
One of Shanghai's most fascinating museums is hidden in the basement of a French Concession high-rise. Yang Pei Ming started collecting Maoist-era (1949–1979) propaganda posters in 1995—first as a hobby, and then to preserve these...
200 Hua Yuan Gang Lu, Huangpu Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200231
On the desolate site of the 2010 World Expo, the Chinese government has transformed an old power station into an artistic gem. Power Station of Art (PSA) is the first state-owned contemporary art museum in China, so while that precludes shows that...
20 Hu Qiu Lu, Huangpu Qu, Shanghai Shi, China
One block west of the Bund you can find the Rockbund Art Museum, housed in Shanghai's former Royal Asiatic Society building (1932). Like many of the grande dame Bund buildings, RAS was dreamt up by British design firm Palmer and Turner and done to...
3398 Longteng Ave, Xuhui Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200000
Wang Wei and her husband, Liu Yiqian, are voracious collectors of Chinese art, both contemporary and traditional. The first Long Museum opened on the Pudong side of the river, in the suburban neighborhood of Jinqiao; the second is located on West...
685 Changjiang W Rd, Baoshan Qu, Shanghai Shi, China
The Shanghai Museum of Glass, housed in a former glassmaking factory, features ancient artifacts such as blown-glass hairpins from the Song Dynasty as well as modern glass sculptures by Chinese and international artists, many of them American....
62 Changyang Rd, Hongkou Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200082
Lin Jiang Da Sha （ Zhong Shan Nan Lu ）, Huangpu Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200085
While there are a number of ways to cross the Huangpu River, the most scenic is—without a doubt—by ferry. Part of Shanghai’s incredible public transportation system, a couple yuan will get you from one bank of the river to the other, with a view...
100 Renmin Ave, Ren Min Guang Chang, Huangpu Qu, Shanghai Shi, China
It can be difficult to orient yourself on the ground in Shanghai. A map will help, but an aerial view of the city will show you just how awesome this city is. You could charter a helicopter, but a far cheaper option is seeing the...
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