Little did I know Shanghai was about to become one of my absolute favourite destinations when I first landed to Pudong International Airport. There’s something nearly magical about this metropolis. It has this way of making you feel right at home. Shanghai itself is like the best tourist guide you can have, because the city is easy to navigate and most things are actually walking distance.
1. The Bund
If you could only see one thing in Shanghai, it would need to be The Bund. Surely one could call it a crowded tourist spot, but it lures people for a reason. You haven’t fully lived until you’ve seen the skyline of Shanghai at sunrise. For a small-town girl like myself, the sight left me breathless. Take a walk on The Promenade when the evening falls, to fully understand why they write songs of Shanghai’s city lights.
The Bund continues to People’s Square through East Nanjing Road, a famous shopping street where you can easily spend a whole day exploring and spending money.
Getting there: Metro lines 2 & 10, East Nanjing Road stop
2. People’s Square
People’s Square is located pretty much in the centre of Shanghai. It’s also filled with restaurants, shops and cafés. I love coming here for a picnic in the park or for a nice Sunday chill just taking in the atmosphere! Also, make sure to visit the Shanghai Museum!
Don’t miss: Dine around Huanghe Road Food Street and visit Shanghai Grand Theatre
Getting there: Metro lines 1,2 & 8, People’s Sq stop (or walk from The Bund via East Nanjing Road)
Pudong is the financial heart of Shanghai with its high-rise buildings that leave most tourists with a stiff neck. Pudong is home to all those neon lights you get to admire from the other side.
For tourists the most exciting thing is to see the city from above and there are a few different ways to do so. I would highly recommend getting yourself to the somewhat science fiction elevator of the Shanghai World Financial Center to enjoy the view from far above the solid ground.
Don’t miss: Enjoy a cocktail at Cloud 9 and make sure to spot the Oriental Pearl TV Tower
Getting there: Metro line 2 to Lujiazui or Century Ave, or catch a ferry from Puxi
4. French Concession
If I would live in Shanghai, I would live around here with all the other artists and writers! Shanghai isn’t called the Paris of the east for nothing and this is the place to fully understand this statement. There are not many sights to explore over here, but some of the hippest cafés and shops can be found from the area of Tiánzifáng and Xīntiāndì!
Tíanzifáng and Xīntiāndì are both somewhat similar areas with their small alleyways. Tíanzifang is perhaps more vibrant and unique with small boutiques and all my favorite cafés, such as Bell Bar & Kommuné. Xīntiāndì I find to be a bit on the fancier side, but a lovely little break from the busy city. I often get there to just enjoy a nice glass of wine with friends.
Don’t miss: Window shopping in Xīntiāndì & walk around Taikang Rd in Tiánzifáng
Getting there: Metro line 1 from People’s Square or line 10 from Old Town and East Nanjing Road, South Shaanxi Rd stop (takes you to Xīntiāndì)
5. Old Town
At first the Old Town, being the most traditional Chinese area of the city, felt somewhat pretentious to me with its tourists and Starbucks. It’s a good idea to get to the Old Town early in the morning on a weekday to enjoy the labyrinth-like Yùyuán Gardens & Bazaar. After exploring the gardens, walk around the Old Street to browse Tibetan jewellery, teapots and other suitable souvenirs.
Don’t miss: Enjoy oolong tea at the Old Shanghai Teahouse & lunch at Nánxiáng Steamed Bun Restaurant
Getting there: Walk from The Bund or take a metro line 10 from East Nanjing Road, Yuyuan Garden stop
Jìng’an is perhaps not as fabulous as Pudong or as charming as the French Concession, but it’s a great location for those hungry for spirituality and harmony. Most tourist come here to see the Jade Buddha and the art world at the post-industrial gallery complex, M50. And make sure not to leave without visiting Jìng’an Temple, my personal favourite in the area!
Don’t miss: Wujiang Road Food Street and lilong lanes of the Bubbling Well Road Apartments
Getting there: Metro line 2 from People’s Sq, stop Jing’an Temple
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