1. Take a Walk: from Nanjing Road to The Bund
Walking is the best way to get to know a new city. It’s the best way to experience not only the major tourist attractions but also to see the regular city life. When I lived in Shanghai I used to walk a lot. I would take metro to People Square Station and than walk through Nanjing Road (Shanghai’s main shopping street) all the way to the Bund. I can promise you it will be one of the most interesting walks of your life. It will take about 20 minutes, but you will see a lot.
2. Experience Shanghai by night
Shanghai is amazing at any time of the day but night time is a little extra special. All the colorful lights and crazy Chinese characters make you feel like you just moved to another universe. At that time of the day the Bund is a must. Pudong’s skyline at nighttime is really impressive. If you want to admire Shanghai’s skyline with a drink in your hand, Bar Rouge is a place to go. It’s located on the Bund and half of the club/bar is a big, open outdoor terrace. It’s definitely one of the best views in Shanghai. If you want to see the city from the other end, than bar at World Financial Center (also called bottle open by the locals) is the perfect place. It’s located in the middle of Pudong, the modern district of Shanghai. I can promise you that the view from 92nd floor is not bad at all.
3. Try street food
I know that people tend to be afraid of street food, but I feel that it’s such a huge part of everyday life in China, that it would be a shame to not give it a try. There is street food all around the city, in the side streets to Nanjing Road, or around Yuyuan Garden. You can try all kinds of traditional Chinese dishes and they make it right in front of you. My favorites are classic fried rice with vegetable and long white mushrooms called Enoki (YOU HAVE TO TRY IT), fried rice noodles (rice noodles are thicker and flat and so much better than regular noodles) and grilled tofu on a stick, but trust me, there is so much more to try.
4. City view from above: World Financial Centre
World Financial Centre (also knows as bottle opener due to its shape) is the best place to see Shanghai from above. Currently it’s the tallest building in Shanghai and it gives you possibility to see some of the most interesting and unique buildings like The Oriental Pearl Tower and Jinmao Tower. Not to mention that some parts of the floor at the observation deck are made of glass, so it can be pretty interesting as well 😉
After seeing the modern Shanghai and all the crazy skyscrapers it’s time for something traditional. Most people would hit the popular Yuyuan Garden and yes, I would recommend you to see it but let’s be honest. There is a Sturbacks and KFC in the middle; it’s not really that old and authentic. It’s definitely a tourist must, but after seeing it don’t forget about the surrounding Nanshi. Nanshi is the old town of Shanghia, the real old town, where people actually live. It might not be that pretty (sometimes it’s really not pretty at all) but it’s real and interesting. You can see some local shops (real local shops, not the ones for tourist full with Chinese tea) street food, kids running around and locals hanging out in front of their houses.
Temples are another great thing to see in Shanghai. They are different form the rest of the city. They are quiet and peaceful, full with colorful flowers, paintings and statues. The ones I would recommend you to see are Jadde Buddha Temple and Jing’an Temple.
7.Boat cruise on Huangpu River
Shanghai is probably one of the most divers cities on the planet. The good way to experience different sides of the city is the cruise on the Huangpu River. You get the view of modern Pudong and old colonial Bund side.
8. Marriage market in the People Square Park
One of things that never failed to amaze me, no matter how many times I would see it, was the marriage market. Right in the middle of People Square Park you would find hundreds if not thousands of matrimonial announcements and the parents of the lucky ones. Most of the time parents would decide that it’s time to step in and take care of their children’s love lives. They would sit in the park for hours and try to find the perfect partner for their children. Announcements usually contained very important information, like age, high, salary and number of master degrees. In one world, everything you need to know in order to find the perfect partner.
Located in French Concession, Tianzifang is very charming place, full of cute little streets, coffee shops, restaurants, art galleries. It’s a nice place for a little walk and a meal.
10. Frencnh Consession and Fuxing Park
French Concession is the “European” neighborhood of Shanghai. You can find one of the city’s best restaurants, bars and club in the area. It’s very green compering to the rest of Shanghai and not as chaotic. Fuxing Park is a good place to relax and watch some local traditions. One of them is dancing. People gather in parks or on street corners and dance together.