Learn about some of the top tourist attractions in Shanghai as well as some that are not so well known.
In just a little more than a decade, Shanghai has transformed itself into the model for 21st century China. Western tourists find a place like no other in China that offers a cosmopolitan atmosphere alongside a rich Chinese culture. Skyscrapers line the skies looking over classical architecture and ancient pagodas. This blend of old and new offers tourists a wide variety of experiences that are sure to be memorable.
The following is only a short list of the sights and attractions that Shanghai has to offer:
1. The Bund - This famous waterfront has been Shanghai's center since the mid-1800's. It offers a taste of the past with the colonial structures along the promenade and a view of the future across the river in Pudong. The city's historical landmarks as well as new 21st century structures can all be seen along the 1 mile walk. It can get extremely crowded during the day, so try to see it in the early mornings along with the locals doing tai-chi or at night under the glow of all the buildings.
2. See the Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe - This world-famous acrobatic troupe performs nightly at the Shanghai Center Theatre showcasing their incredible talents. Balancing acts, contortionists, plate-spinning and complicated juggling are just a few of the many amazing acts in the two hour show. Be sure to bring your camera!
3. Shanghai Museum - Considered by many to be the best museum in China, the Shanghai Museum has 11 galleries and over 120,000 historic artifacts. The Stone Sculpture Gallery and the Bronze gallery are the most popular with collections dating back to the 18th century B.C. There are also special exhibitions on occasion that can be quite fascinating.
4. Huangpu River Cruise - With so many different cruise options, there is no excuse not to enjoy at least a short river cruise. Cruises range from a quick 30 minutes to 4 hours. Along the way you will see the glory of Shanghai from a completely new perspective. The Bund, Jin Mao Tower, the Oriental Pearl TV Tower and Huangpu Park are just a few of the many sights to be seen. Some evening cruises also include dinner under the glittering lights of Shanghai's skyscrapers.
5. Jade Buddha Temple - Shanghai's most famous temple is known for it's white jade Buddhas carved from a single slab of Burmese jade. Brought to Shanghai in 1881, the statues are housed in separate houses amongst beautiful jewels and stones. In addition there are also ancient carvings, paintings and precious Buddhist cultural relics.
6. Nanjing Lu - Nanjing Road is by far the most popular shopping street in Shanghai. Crowds jam the pedestrian walkway for shopping and sightseeing every day of the week. At night the neon lights shine like the Las Vegas strip. With hundreds of shops and restaurants there is something for everyone. It runs west to east from People's Park all the way to the Bund.
7. Yu Yuan Garden - In the center of Old Town, just southwest of the Bund, the Garden of Peace and Comfort offers an escape from the fast pace of the surrounding city. With 30 pavilions and over 5 acres, this 16th century garden can be explored for days. Of the many temples and halls, the Grand Rockery is the most popular. Two thousand tons of rare yellow stones are combined with rice glue to form a massive sculpture that stands 46 feet high.
8. Xin Tian Di - Shanghai's most popular restaurant and bar district is a great example of the success of the urban renewal effort. Tourists and locals alike pack the streets day and night. Xin Tian Di is divided into the North and South Blocks. The South Block is the more modern of the two and is home to one of China's first major shopping centers as well as boutiques, restaurants and nightclubs. Shikumen architecture lines the streets in the North Block providing a contrast to the modernity of the South Block.
9. Shanghai World Financial Center - For a good overview of the city, there is no better spot than the top of Shanghai World Financial Center in Pudong. With 101 floors above ground level and soaring to a height of 492m, it is currently the world's tallest completed building by roof. Park Hyatt Shanghai is the hotel component, becoming the highest in the world, surpassing the Grand Hyatt Shanghai on the 53rd to 87th floors of the neighboring Jin Mao Tower.
10. Peace Hotel - This magnificent hotel was built in 1929 and remained as one of the finest hotels in the world through the 1930's. Take a walk through the lobby, eighth-floor ballroom and up to the rooftop for a great view of the Bund and Nanjing Lu.