Top attractions in Shanghai
10 essential sights in Shanghai
Shanghai is veritably one of the biggest cities in the world. These 10 tips will help you start to piece together an idea of this vibrant metropolis.
1. Shanghai World Financial Center
This unusual skyscraper stands at 492 meters and is characterized by its unusual blunt tip. It features restaurants and a bar for visitors, and its observatory is by far the best place to catch a glimpse of the Shanghai cityscape.
2. Shanghai Museum
Appropriately located on Shanghai's People's Square, this museum is a collection of ancient Chinese art with exhibitions in jade, calligraphy, and ceramics.
3. Yuyuan Gardens
This "garden of the forbidden city" displays include traditional fountains, pavilions, and rock gardens.
4. Propaganda Poster Art Center
These Maoist-era propaganda posters, now valued as art pieces by their collector, will help you understand China's Communist history.
5. Jewish Refugees Museum
During the Second World War, Shanghai received around 20,000 Jewish refugees - this museum goes into more detail about this little-known aspect of history.
6. The Bund
A microcosm of corporate Shanghai, you'll see the buildings that are home to HSBC and North China Daily News.
7. French Concession
This area of Shanghai could well also be called "Little France" - with its Parisian-looking suburbs and quaint bistros, the city has retained portions of its French colonial history.
8. Jing'an Temple
Translated as the Temple of Peace and Tranquility, this Buddhist temple consists of three main halls testifying to culture from several Chinese dynasties.
9. Huxinting Tea House
Constructed during the Ming dynasty, the zig-zag bridge surrounding the tea house is meant to shut evil spirits out. It is considered one of the last authentic Chinese tea houses in Shanghai and has even been visited by Queen Elizabeth II!
10. Lu Xun Park
Located in the Hongkou district and quieter than Yuyan, this park is dedicated to Chinese literary great Lu Xun. You can rent out a boat for the lake, or simply wander around enjoying the tranquility.
Planning Your Visit
When to go
The fall months are the mildest, temperature-wise. Winter gets cold, but is not particularly snowy.
Beware of buying precious minerals like pearl necklaces and jade ornaments from markets - it is common that these are not the real deal.
Check out the English-language newspaper, Shanghai Daily, to see what's going on in the city.
If you suffer from respiratory issues, look into purchasing a mask that covers your nose and mouth before your trip, as the air pollution concentration in Shanghai is very high.
Good to know
- RNB or Yuan (¥)
- Time Zone
- UTC (+08:00)
- Country Code
- Best time to visit
- May through October is the most mild weather, but also the busiest time for Shanghai. Late March and October are ideal for weather and avoiding the peak times for tourists and business travelers.
Other Sightseeing Options in Shanghai
Want to discover all there is to do in Shanghai? Click here for a full list.
What people are saying about Shanghai
What a great evening. Between jet lag and all day sightseeing, it can be a little hard to stay motivated for evening tours. Jim made us completely forget about our tiredness as we were completely absorbed in his descriptions and stories of local neighborhood food, culture, and history. The amount of food and portions were great for us, so we didn’t feel guilty for not eating all that was presented, and we didn’t leave feeling hungry. Everything was so tasty and fresh. Highly recommended!!!!
We had such a good day out yesterday. Li was an amazing guide and took us around the former French Concession, food markets, art markets and part of old Shanghai. I can’t speak more highly of Li - incredibly informative and a genuinely lovely person. We’ve been recollecting about the trip a lot today (plenty of free promotion going on) and are seriously considering another guided tour once the job we’re doing is finished - but only if Li is available
I had one of the best sightseeing tours. I left all the planning to Tom and he came up trumps. During these Covid times he had planned ahead to ensure we could enter all the attractions I wanted to see. He was knowledgeable, relaxed and easy to talk to. I look forward to my next trip to Shanghai when I will book Tom again. I will also recommend him to friends and colleagues who visit Shanghai too.
What a great way to see a lot of the major Shanghai sights (in a day!). Tom was a fantastic guide and spoke perfect English. I have been to many temples throughout Asia, but learned more about Buddhist temples and Chinese Buddha statues through Tom than all previous temple tours combine. He’s extremely knowledgable, not just on Buddhism, but all of Shanghai and it’s culture and history.
Our guide Tom was so informative. We learnt so much about Shanghai and their culture and history. We had some requirements which got sorted to make it a great experience. We got so much out of it in such a short time