Shanghai travel attractions provide a glimpse into its bustling modern life, featuring famous parks, skyscrapers, museums and historical venues that attract tourists from all around the globe.
Spring (March to May) and autumn (October to November) are ideal times for visiting Shanghai, with pleasant temperatures that make sightseeing enjoyable and comfortable.
The Bund, known as a gallery of international architectures, is one of the city’s most recognisable landmarks. Lujiazui’s modern skyscrapers along the Huangpu River make for an amazing visual spectacle. Everything is acceptable through Cathay Pacific’s Bengaluru Bangalore to Shanghai flight path.
1. The Bund
The Bund, also known as Waitan, is Shanghai’s renowned waterfront promenade located along the west bank of Huangpu River. This architectural marvel showcases Shanghai’s century-old history and bright future in an eye-catching architectural ensemble that draws in both residents and tourists alike. As one of its premier tourist attractions it has earned itself the moniker “the scenic line of the city”.
This area once served as a trading port and now features 52 buildings of various architectural styles such as Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Neoclassical. Some notable structures in the area are the old headquarters of Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation with its stunning cupola; harbor customs office; and Peace Hotel – three iconic structures located here.
Night walks along the Bund are especially beautiful, as its buildings glow with vibrant lights and colors. Or alternatively, take an evening Huangpu River cruise for a different perspective of this historic site and other landmarks nearby.
Attractions at the Bund include the Sight Seeing Tunnel, a subterranean passageway connecting it with Pudong and providing visitors with an unforgettable experience of Shanghai nightlife through Technicolor projections and light effects.
2. The Huangpu River
The Huangpu River, one of Shanghai’s most notable features, and one of its mother rivers is one of its hallmarks. Spanning 114 kilometers long and dividing Shanghai into two regions; Pudong and Puxi; cruises along this waterway offer tourists breathtaking sights such as spectacular landmarks and scenic vistas – particularly during evening cruises when illuminated buildings make an especially striking statement.
The Bund, an iconic waterfront promenade lined with Western architectural styles, stands out against Pudong’s modern skyline. Also worth seeing is Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower which represents China’s ascendency onto the global stage.
Zhujiajiao, once an important center of trade and commerce, now draws visitors with its gorgeous traditional Chinese architecture and ancient bridges. Wander along its narrow streets and canals to discover charming shops and cafes before relaxing at Kezhi Garden for a serene experience surrounded by classic Chinese landscapes.
3. The Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA)
The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Shanghai, China is an influential cultural hub with two venues – MOCA Grand Avenue and The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA – as well as an extensive collection of established and emerging artists from across the world.
Shanghai is a Tier 1 city that has provincial-level powers and rights (although it’s not technically part of one). It hosts the headquarters for most major multinational companies operating in China as well as being home to an enormous container port and global financial center. Shanghai boasts an industrialized urban center population that exceeds 24 million residents.
City God Temple and Yu Garden, two historical landmarks that symbolize its heritage, are set against modern skyscrapers and high-rise apartment buildings. Additionally, Shanghai pays homage to its colonial past with tree-lined streets and 1930s architecture of its Former French Concession area; further southeast lies Xujiahui with numerous western-style bars and restaurants; getting around is made simple thanks to an efficient bus system as well as its first commercial maglev train, not forgetting an extensive network of pedestrian-only bridges and alleyways that help get around on foot.
4. The Shanghai Museum
People’s Square is home to the Shanghai Museum, one of China’s premier history museums. Here can be found over 120,000 precious historical artifacts including bronzeware, chinaware, paintings, calligraphy works and ancient coins that make for an eye-opening cultural treasure house worthy of visiting.
Painting Gallery is the place to visit first for breathtaking artworks of exquisite beauty, such as Chinese traditional figure paintings and flower and bird paintings in various styles, plus furniture like screens, curio boxes and chairs from China. Additionally, ancient Chinese calligraphy art forms are proudly on display here with many excellent examples being showcased here.
Shanghai Museum offers many relics from minority nationalities in China, from costumes and embroideries to metalware and bambooware, giving an insight into their creative expression. Furthermore, this museum showcases a massive model of Shanghai that boasts to be the largest in existence; every night this cityscape model lights up periodically. If possible, visiting on foot would be best, although taxis or subway services are also available to reach this place of knowledge.
5. The Shanghai Ocean Aquarium
Luijaizui area, this vast aquarium first opened its doors to visitors in 2002 and is one of the world’s largest. Showcasing aquatic life from five continents and four oceans arranged in themed zones, this massive attraction serves to educate visitors about protecting ocean biodiversity while at the same time entertaining.
The main building houses seven exhibition areas: China, South America, Australia, Africa, Southeast Asia, Cold Water and Polar Sea. Additionally it contains four unique subsea tunnels which, at 168 meters in total length, make this exhibit one of the longest ever created.
As they move through the underwater tunnels, visitors can witness marine animals swimming right above their heads. Furthermore, this aquarium presents their native places through pictures, voices and more.
The China Zone features endangered aquatic animals from China such as Giant Salamanders, Yangtze Alligators and Electric Eels. Meanwhile, when exploring the Amazon Rainforest Zone you may spot Lepidosirens, freshwater sawfishes and Archerfishes. Finally, Ocean Depths Zone gives visitors a peek into deep ocean life with seals, Weedy Sea Dragons, Jellyfish and Sand Tiger Sharks; additionally aquarium staff will feed marine animals periodically!
6. The China Art Museum
At Expo 2010, Expo 2010’s China Pavilion building houses the China Art Museum (Metro Lines 1, 2, and 8 to People’s Square Station)-a sprawling modern art museum housing an outstanding collection of Chinese contemporary art as well as regular exhibitions of international modern art from all around the globe. It also hosts regular events to promote modern art from other nations.
If you want a glimpse into Shanghai’s more striking side, visit M50 art complex (accessible via Metro Lines 4, 5, and 6 to Moganshan Lu Station) where galleries showcase cutting-edge Chinese and international artists.
Other museums of note in Shanghai are: 1) Shanghai Natural Wild-Insect Kingdom (Metro Line 2 Lujiazui Station), a petting zoo with turtles, snakes, spiders and goats; 2) The Shanghai Glass Museum (Metro Line 1, TongheXincun station) which beautifully guides visitors through glass sculpture techniques such as pate de verrecasting or lost wax casting; and 3) Museum of Traditional Chinese Medicine (Metro Line 2 Daqiao Station) which displays all 580 Acupuncture points with giant bronze statues depicted from each body part!).
Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center (Metro Lines 1, 2, and 8, to People’s Square Station), with its 1:500 scale model of the city in a ballroom-size room–considered the largest model worldwide–is well worth visiting.
7. The Shanghai Disneyland
Shanghai Disneyland features six themed areas surrounding their Enchanted Storybook Castle – Disney’s biggest-ever Enchanted Storybook Castle. Each themed area presents an Oriental take on Mickey and Co, including attractions like a Tron coaster as well as high-tech reboots of old favourites like Pirates of the Caribbean. Expect long queues even on weekdays; arrive before 9am for optimal experience.
Camp Discovery Challenge Trails is an engaging new addition to the park, giving guests a true explorer experience from rock formation mountain to bridges and water features – truly engaging and enjoyable for visitors! Additionally, check out Gardens of Imagination which houses various Chinese garden designs, Dumbo the Flying Elephant and two beloved family films that make for worthwhile viewing.
Staff speak English at this theme park; however, most live shows take place in Chinese (Jack Sparrow has his own stunt show and theater that changes every few years), so don’t expect to understand a single word without knowing Chinese yourself. Still, many characters come out for meet and greets and appearances at various times throughout the day. Magnificent spiritual sites like the Jade Buddha Temple and Longhua Temple and Pagoda offer exquisite architectural designs while inviting worshipers to seek blessings within. Additionally, world-class museums and galleries such as Shanghai Museum and China Art Museum showcase its history and modern artworks.