Things to Do in Shanghai - 10 Must-Visit Places and Experiences

Ralf Leineweber, Unsplash
October 2
Written by Aisha Chen

Discover the top attractions and experiences in Shanghai, including a visit to the Oriental Pearl Tower, Jade Buddha Temple, and Yuyuan Garden. Experience the vibrant city of Shanghai.

Is the tantalising allure of Shanghai's rich cultural tapestry beckoning you? Unsure about the things to do in Shanghai? Look no further. Welcome to our Shanghai guide, where we'll unlock the city's most intriguing secrets for you.

Whether it's the awe-inspiring skyline or the bustling street markets, Shanghai never fails to mesmerize. Offering a vibrant mix of modern and ancient, there's plenty to see in this ever-evolving megacity. But with so much to explore, where do you start?

That's where we come in. We've curated a special list of places to visit in Shanghai just for you, each one promising a unique and unforgettable experience. So sit back, fasten your seatbelts, and get ready for an exhilarating journey through the heart of China's largest city.

1. Oriental Pearl Tower

Historical Monuments and Architecture
a very tall building with a very colorful top
Oriental Pearl Tower / Wenhao Ryan, Unsplash

The Oriental Pearl Tower is one of the top things to do in Shanghai for tourists. With its futuristic design and prime location in the heart of the city, it offers an unforgettable experience for visitors.

Standing at a height of 468 meters, the Oriental Pearl Tower is an architectural marvel. From its observation decks, visitors can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of Shanghai, including the Huangpu River and the skyscrapers that dominate the skyline.

In addition to its stunning views, the Oriental Pearl Tower houses a variety of exciting attractions. This includes a thrilling Skywalk, where adventurers can walk across a suspended glass bridge in the air, as well as an exhilarating virtual flight simulator that takes you through the skyscrapers of Shanghai.

2. Jade Buddha Temple

Religion and Spirituality
Jade Buddha Temple
Jade Buddha Temple / tangi bertin, Unsplash

The Jade Buddha Temple is one of the most visited attractions in Shanghai. Located in the Jing'an district, this ancient temple houses two impressive statues of the Jade Buddha and offers visitors a unique spiritual experience.

With over a thousand years of history, the Jade Buddha Temple is an important religious center in Shanghai. Tourists can admire the jade statues, each carved from a single piece of pure white jade. The main statue stands at 1.9 meters tall and is adorned with precious jewels.

In addition to the jade statues, the temple features beautiful gardens, traditional pavilions, and a large collection of Buddhist art. Visitors can participate in religious rituals, such as lighting incense and offering prayers, to experience a deeper connection with Buddhist spirituality.

3. Yuyuan Garden

Natural Spaces and Parks
Yuyuan Garden
Yuyuan Garden / Victoria Laroche Creux, Unsplash

Discover the charm of Yuyuan Garden in Shanghai

Yuyuan Garden, also known as the Garden of Perfection and Harmony, is one of the most impressive places to visit in Shanghai. This beautiful historic garden is an oasis of tranquility amidst the bustling city.

Explore traditional Chinese architecture

In Yuyuan Garden, you can marvel at the intricate traditional Chinese architecture. The meticulous design of the pavilions, bridges, and ponds will transport you to another era. Every corner of the garden is filled with details that showcase the cultural richness of China.

Enjoy the serenity of the landscapes

Immerse yourself in the peace and serenity of Yuyuan Garden's landscapes. Walk along the paths surrounded by lush greenery, admire the ponds with lotus flowers, and relax in the courtyards adorned with beautiful plants and flowers.

4. The Bund

Historical Monuments and Architecture
a large body of water with a city in the background
The Bund / Edward He, Unsplash

Discover the Beauty of The Bund

The Bund, also known as the International Settlement Promenade, is one of Shanghai's most iconic tourist attractions. Situated on the west bank of the Huangpu River, The Bund is renowned for its impressive collection of European-style buildings and its ever-growing skyline in Pudong. This iconic waterfront promenade is a testament to Shanghai's history and its growth as a major financial and commercial center.

A Fusion of Cultures

The historical buildings along The Bund showcase a unique blend of Western and Chinese architectural styles. From majestic banks and hotels to former clubs and commercial offices, this international settlement is a testament to foreign influence in China's past. Walking along The Bund is like stepping back in time, where the past and present intertwine in a beautiful fusion of cultures.

Breathtaking Panoramic Views

The Bund offers breathtaking panoramic views both day and night. During the day, you can admire the grandeur of the historic buildings as you stroll along the waterfront. At night, the neon lights from the Pudong skyscrapers create a dazzling spectacle. Don't forget to snap photos from this privileged vantage point to capture the beauty of Shanghai at its finest.

5. Shanghai Museum

Museums and Art Galleries

Things to do in Shanghai: The Shanghai Museum is a must-visit for those who want to immerse themselves in the rich history and culture of China. This impressive museum houses a wide collection of artifacts and artworks dating back to various periods of Chinese history. From ceramics and porcelain to sculptures and paintings, you'll be amazed by the creativity and skill of ancient Chinese artisans.

Things to do in Shanghai: Visiting the Shanghai Museum will allow you to explore and understand the evolution and diversity of Chinese culture through its exhibits. Dive into history through archaeological artifacts and admire the beauty of carefully preserved artworks. Additionally, the museum offers a variety of educational programs and interactive activities for all ages, making it a fun and enriching experience for the whole family.

Tourist attractions in Shanghai: The Shanghai Museum is located in the heart of the city, close to other tourist attractions such as Yuyuan Garden and the Bund. Take the opportunity to visit these nearby attractions and fully immerse yourself in the history and charm of Shanghai.

6. Shanghai Aquarium

Entertainment and Pop Culture
a pink jellyfish floating in a blue ocean
Shanghai Aquarium / Declan Sun, Unsplash

The Shanghai Aquarium is a must-visit attraction in the city. Located in Pudong district, it offers visitors a unique experience in the marine world.

With a wide variety of aquatic species, the aquarium allows you to explore the diversity of oceans from around the world. You can admire everything from colorful tropical fish to impressive sharks, as well as sea turtles and other fascinating underwater creatures.

In addition, the aquarium features themed tanks, dolphin shows, and interactive exhibits that provide an educational and entertaining experience. Don't miss the opportunity to visit this incredible place when you're in Shanghai.

7. Tianzifang

Entertainment and Pop Culture
man in black jacket holding smartphone
Tianzifang / Max van den Oetelaar, Unsplash

Things to do in Shanghai:

If you are looking for unique experiences in the city, you must visit Tianzifang. This charming labyrinth of alleyways is known for its bohemian atmosphere and vibrant art scene. Here, you will find a wide variety of shops where you can buy everything from clothing and accessories to local artworks and crafts.

Discover unique boutiques:

Take a stroll through the narrow streets of Tianzifang and discover boutiques and design shops offering exclusive products. This is the perfect place to find that special item to remember your visit to Shanghai.

Local art and culinary delights:

In Tianzifang, you will not only find shops but also art galleries and cozy cafes and restaurants. Enjoy local art in the galleries and then relax in a cafe while savoring delicious dishes from local and international cuisines.

8. Nanjing Road

Shopping and Commerce
Nanjing Road
Nanjing Road / Howei Wang, Unsplash

Things to do in Shanghai: Nanjing Road is a pedestrian street full of shops, restaurants, and exciting activities. It is a must-visit for all Shanghai visitors.

Stretching for approximately 5.5 kilometers, Nanjing Road is one of the longest shopping streets in the world. Here, you will find a wide selection of fashion stores, luxury boutiques, and renowned shopping malls.

In addition to shopping, Nanjing Road also offers numerous restaurants, cafes, and entertainment options to enjoy. Don't miss the opportunity to take a leisurely stroll along this bustling street and experience everything it has to offer.

9. Longhua Temple

Historical Monuments and Architecture

The Longhua Temple is one of the main tourist attractions in Shanghai. Located in the Xuhui district, it is an ancient Buddhist temple with a rich history and impressive architectural beauty.

Originally built in the 3rd century, the Longhua Temple has been rebuilt and renovated over the centuries. Its name means 'temple of the emerging dragon' and it is an important sacred place for Buddhists.

The temple features beautiful pagodas, prayer halls, landscaped gardens, and the famous Daxiong Baodian Hall, which houses a three-meter-tall Buddha statue. It is a perfect place to admire traditional Chinese architecture and experience the serenity of spiritual life.

10. Xintiandi Shanghai

Historical Monuments and Architecture
boy walking in hallway
Xintiandi Shanghai / Ye Massa, Unsplash

Discover Xintiandi, a must-visit tourist attraction in Shanghai

Located in the heart of the city, Xintiandi seamlessly blends Shanghai's historic architecture with a modern and vibrant atmosphere. This former shikumen neighborhood has been renovated and transformed into a space filled with shops, restaurants, and art galleries.

As you stroll along the cobblestone streets of Xintiandi, you'll appreciate the traditional houses with their wooden doors and adorned windows. You'll also find a wide variety of fashion stores, from international brands to local designers.

For art lovers, Xintiandi offers a diverse selection of galleries and exhibitions. From contemporary art to traditional Chinese works, there's something for every taste. Don't miss out on the bars and restaurants that blend in among the shops and galleries, offering a unique culinary experience in Shanghai.