Shanghai is China's largest and most prosperous city, exudes an atmosphere of self-confidence and vitality. For those reasons alone it's worth a visit, even though the city isn't exactly brimming with sightseeing venues. Below are the top things you should do in Shanghai.
1. The Bund
Being the most infamous tourist attraction in town, this might just be Shanghai's Great Wall. The Bund, or riverfront, is on the west side of the Huangpu River and faces Pudong District, another famous area in Shanghai. The Bund houses a great deal of history within its ancient landmarks. In olden days, the area near The Bund was the expat part of town and home to citizens from numerous countries such as the USA, the UK, France, Netherlands, Russia, and Italy. The area soon became an important financial center. Today, people walk the expansive Bund to see a glimpse of history to the west and the colorful, fluorescent lights of the future to the east.
2. Lujiazui area
Speaking of Pudong District, Lujiazui is a special zone directly across from the Bund and is China's only finance and trade zone. This area is extremely new and packed full of state-of-the-art office buildings and luxurious 5-star hotels. It may look very different than Shanghai's previous financial center, but since this new financial zone sits directly across from the bund — it can never forget its past.
3. Yu Garden
Who wouldn't want to visit the Garden of Happiness! This extensive, peaceful park is hundreds of years old. However, it was almost completely destroyed by warring factions and rebuilt in the 1960's. Hopefully from here on out, it will only be full of happy memories.
4. Shanghai French Concession
Ooh la la! History, exquisite architecture, high-end shopping and hopping nightlife all in one area? Let's go! The French Concession became a French settlement in Shanghai in the mid-1800's. As a result, the area has very unique architecture compared to other parts of Shanghai. Some of the old buildings have been replaced with new shops and houses making it a great urban hangout.
5. Urban Planning Museum
See all of Shanghai from a bird's eye view!
6. Tian Zi Fang
If you're into the fashion, artsy, cool scene then you'll be right at home in Tianzifang.
7. Century Park
While it might not be a free park, it is a fabulous park. Century Park allows for a time to reflect amongst the hustle and bustle of city life. Inside the park, you'll discover three distinct styles – Japanese, British and Chinese. It's not surprising to any Shanghai resident that more than one culture is reflected here and all over town as Shanghai is well known for being an international city and home to people from around the world.
8. Nanjing Pedestrian Street
This street is not only Shanghai's most popular area to walk around (second only to possibly The Bund) but also one of the busiest shopping streets in the world! In addition to the shopping and food available, it's a great place for some people watching and to get a vibe of what Shanghai is all about.
9. Xin Tian Di
Xin Tian Di is extremely popular due to its perfect combination of being chic and modern yet at the same time historically interesting. The two blocks that make up Xian Tian Di were previously old courtyards. They have now been renovated to house restaurants, cafes, clubs and boutique shops. Although the new replaces the old, some of the original architecture was maintained allowing you to see how past and present can work together in this Shanghai hotspot.
10. Zhu Jia Jiao Water Town
After traveling just a short distance from Shanghai, you'll feel like you're in another world while visiting this ancient village.
Want even more info about Shanghai? Get ready for a night out, Shanghai style.