Zhujiajiao Water Town head
Home Shanghai Travel Guide 19 Best Things to Do in Shanghai

19 Best Things to Do in Shanghai

Shanghai, the vibrant and modern metropolis of China, is a city that never sleeps. From historical landmarks to futuristic skyscrapers, this city has something to offer everyone. Whether you’re a culture enthusiast, a foodie, or an adventure seeker, Shanghai has a plethora of activities to keep you entertained. In this article, we’ll explore 19 exciting things to do in Shanghai. Let’s dive in and discover the best experiences this city has to offer!


Exploring Historical Landmarks

1. The Bund: A Riverside Stroll through History

The Bund, also known as Waitan, is a picturesque waterfront promenade that offers stunning views of the Huangpu River and the city’s iconic skyline. Lined with colonial buildings showcasing diverse architectural styles, taking a leisurely walk along the Bund is like traveling back in time. Don’t miss the opportunity to capture the dazzling night lights reflecting on the river.

Shanghai the Bund
The Bund at Night
2. Yu Garden: A Tranquil Oasis in the Heart of the City

Step into a haven of peace amidst the urban hustle at Yu Garden. This classical Chinese garden is a marvel of design and symbolism, featuring intricate pavilions, rockeries, and water features. As you stroll through the garden’s corridors, you’ll discover hidden nooks and crannies that hold tales of ancient China.


3. Shanghai Old Town: A Glimpse of the Past

Immerse yourself in the charm of Shanghai’s Old Town, where traditional architecture and bustling alleyways evoke a sense of nostalgia. Visit the City God Temple to witness age-old religious practices, and explore Yuyuan Bazaar for souvenirs and delectable local snacks.

✔ Recommended Tour: 2 Days Best Shanghai Layover Tour


Modern Marvels

4. Shanghai Tower: Touching the Sky

Ascend to the heights of modern engineering at Shanghai Tower, the tallest skyscraper in China. The tower’s observation decks provide awe-inspiring panoramic views of the city’s ever-evolving skyline. Learn about the innovative design that makes this structure a true marvel of contemporary architecture.

Shanghai Tower
Shanghai Tower
5. Oriental Pearl Tower: Iconic Landmark of Shanghai

Behold the futuristic beauty of the Oriental Pearl Tower, an architectural masterpiece that has become synonymous with Shanghai. Its distinct spheres offer different experiences, from observation decks to thrilling glass-bottomed skywalks that will leave you breathless.


6. Nanjing Road: Shopper’s Paradise

Indulge in some retail therapy on Nanjing Road, one of the world’s busiest shopping streets. From high-end fashion boutiques to local specialty stores, this bustling stretch has something for everyone. Discover hidden shopping gems and take a break at the many eateries along the way.

✔ Recommended Tour: Shanghai Classic City Tour

Shanghai Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street at night
Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street

Cultural Experiences

7. Shanghai Museum: Unveiling China’s Art and History

Explore the treasure trove of ancient Chinese artifacts at the Shanghai Museum. From exquisite calligraphy to delicate ceramics, each exhibit tells a captivating story about China’s history and artistic achievements. Gain insights into the nation’s rich cultural heritage.

Exhibits in Shanghai Museum
Exhibits in Shanghai Museum
8. Tianzifang: Art and Culture Enclave

Tianzifang is an artistic hub nestled in the heart of the city. Wander through its narrow alleys adorned with charming art studios, galleries, and boutique stores. Engage in traditional Chinese arts and crafts workshops and witness the city’s vibrant creative spirit.


9. Acrobatic Shows: A Night of Spectacle

Prepare to be amazed by Shanghai’s renowned acrobatic performances. These breathtaking displays of human agility and skill will leave you in awe. Discover the best venues to catch these incredible acts and experience an evening of unforgettable entertainment.


Nature Escapes

10. Zhujiajiao Water Town: A Timeless Canal Town

Escape the urban bustle and venture to Zhujiajiao, a picturesque water town that has preserved its ancient charm. Sail along its tranquil canals, admire the delicate stone bridges and explore the town’s traditional architecture. Don’t forget to sample local delicacies.

Shanghai Zhujiajiao Water Town
Zhujiajiao Water Town
11. Chongming Island: A Retreat into Nature

Embrace nature’s tranquility on Chongming Island, the largest alluvial island in China. Discover an abundance of wildlife and enjoy outdoor activities such as bird-watching and cycling. Learn about the island’s eco-tourism initiatives and sustainable practices.

✔ Recommended Tour: Half-Day Zhujiajiao Water Town Tour


Gastronomic Delights

12. Local Cuisine: Tasting the Flavors of Shanghai

Indulge in Shanghai’s diverse culinary landscape, which boasts a blend of traditional and modern dishes. From savory dim sum to mouthwatering Shengjianbao (pan-fried soup dumplings), the city’s cuisine is sure to tantalize your taste buds.

Shanghai food - Shengjianbao
13. Xiaolongbao: The Art of Soup Dumplings

Delve into the world of Xiaolongbao, the city’s most famous culinary export. Learn about the art of making these delectable soup-filled dumplings and find the best spots to savor them. Master the etiquette of eating Xiaolongbao like a local.

You May Like: Top 10 Shanghai Dishes You Must Eat


Nightlife and Entertainment

14. The Former French Concession: Nightlife Hotspot

Discover the vibrant nightlife scene in the Former French Concession. This historic area is teeming with trendy bars, clubs, and live music venues. Uncover hidden speakeasies and jazz bars that transport you to a bygone era.

Shanghai Former French Concession
Former French Concession at Night
15. Huangpu River Cruise: Sparkling Night Views

Embark on an enchanting Huangpu River cruise, where you can soak in the mesmerizing cityscape at night. Admire the glistening lights that adorn the waterfront, creating a magical atmosphere as you glide along the river.

✔ Recommended Tour: Shanghai Highlight Afternoon & Evening Tour


Family-Friendly Activities

16. Shanghai Disney Resort: Magic and Fantasy

Experience the magic of Shanghai Disney Resort, a wonderland of thrilling rides, enchanting shows, and beloved Disney characters. From Fantasyland to Adventure Isle, there’s something for every member of the family.

Shanghai Disney Resort
Shanghai Disney Resort
17. Shanghai Ocean Aquarium: Underwater Exploration

Dive into an aquatic adventure at Shanghai Ocean Aquarium, home to a diverse array of marine life. Witness fascinating underwater exhibits and captivating shows that educate and entertain visitors of all ages.

✔ Recommended Tours: Shanghai Family Day Tour to Disneyland Park

3 Days Shanghai Family Tour with Shanghai Ocean Aquarium


Sports and Recreation

18. Exploring Parks and Gardens

Escape the urban jungle and explore Shanghai’s beautiful parks. Enjoy outdoor activities such as picnics, boating, and Tai Chi amid serene surroundings. Discover hidden gems within the city’s green spaces.


19. Golfing in Shanghai: A Golfer’s Paradise

For golf enthusiasts, Shanghai offers a selection of top-notch golf courses. Experience the sport amid beautiful settings and enjoy state-of-the-art facilities. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced golfer, Shanghai has something for you.

Shanghai Sheshan International Golf Club
Shanghai Sheshan International Golf Club

As we come to the end of our journey through Shanghai’s top 19 things to do, it’s evident that this vibrant metropolis has something for every traveler. From exploring historical landmarks that tell tales of the past to marveling at modern skyscrapers that touch the sky, Shanghai effortlessly blends tradition and innovation.

Cultural enthusiasts will find solace in the city’s museums, gardens, and art enclaves, while nature lovers can escape to tranquil water towns and serene islands. For families, there are exciting theme parks and aquariums that cater to both young and old. Night owls will be delighted by the thriving nightlife scene, while foodies can indulge in a variety of local and international cuisines.

Shanghai is a city of contrasts, where tradition meets modernity and East fuses with West. As you plan your adventure to this remarkable destination, let curiosity guide you, and embrace the juxtapositions that make Shanghai so enchanting.

So pack your bags, learn a few basic Chinese phrases, and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and flavors of Shanghai – a city that never fails to leave an indelible mark on the hearts of its visitors.

Lost your password?

A TripAdvisor award-winning China travel agency organizing diverse private and mini-group China tours. We offer in-depth experience, free cancellation, flexible & safe trips.




(08:00-21:00 Beijing Time)

Send us a quick inquiry

    I prefer to be contacted via:

    Your travel consultant will reply within 24 hours.