Shanghai

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Shanghai - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. China Art Museum

    Pudong

    Housed inside the China Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo (which had sites on both sides of the river in Pudong and Puxi), this...

    Housed inside the China Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo (which had sites on both sides of the river in Pudong and Puxi), this gleaming homage to contemporary art has a whopping 27 exhibition halls. Much of the work is underwhelming, but be sure to stop by the animation hall, where you can catch shorts and feature-length films from the '50s to the '90s. The touring exhibits are often a real treat; besides a huge Picasso retrospective, the museum has hosted works from New York's Whitney Museum, London's British Museum, and Paris's Maisons de Victor Hugo. Look for works from David Hockney, Jasper Johns, and Rodin.

    205 Shangnan Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200120, China
    400-921–9021

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, special exhibits Y20; audio guides Y20 (with Y200 deposit and ID), Closed Mon., Tues.–Sun. 9–5; last entry at 4
  • 2. m97 Gallery

    Jing'an

    Situated in the M50 arts district for about 10 years before moving to this location in 2016, this gallery and project space specializes in photography....

    Situated in the M50 arts district for about 10 years before moving to this location in 2016, this gallery and project space specializes in photography. Look for works by both Chinese and foreign artists, such as Holland's Robert Van Der Hilst and Germany's Michael Wolf. It's open every day but Monday, when viewings are by appointment only.

    363 Changping Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200060, China
    021-6266–1597
  • 3. People's Square

    City Center

    Home of the Shanghai Museum, the city's enormous main square is a social center for locals. During the day, residents stroll, practice tai chi, and...

    Home of the Shanghai Museum, the city's enormous main square is a social center for locals. During the day, residents stroll, practice tai chi, and fly kites. In the evening, kids roller-skate, and ballroom dancers hold group lessons. There is also a small amusement park. Weekends here are extremely busy—particularly on Xizang Road—and are not for the agoraphobic.

    120 Renmin Dadao, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200003, China
  • 4. Power Station of Art

    Old City

    The site of the Shanghai World Expo was a barren wasteland until this massive contemporary art museum, housed in a former power plant, opened in...

    The site of the Shanghai World Expo was a barren wasteland until this massive contemporary art museum, housed in a former power plant, opened in late 2012. It did so with a bang, opening the ninth Shanghai Biennale and simultaneously hosting an exhibition from the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Rather than a permanent collection, the museum hosts one large-scale exhibition after another. It pulls in top Chinese artists like Cai Guoqiang and is the city's home for major touring exhibitions. Every Tuesday is free entry for all visitors. The PSA is actually about 2½ miles south of the Old City, on the edge of the Huangpu River. You can get here from the Old City or Xintiandi/City Center by taxi or via metro Lines 4 and 8 (and a 15-minute walk from the metro station).

    200 Huayuangang Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200011, China
    021-3110–8550

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: From Y50, depending on exhibition, Closed Mon.
  • 5. Rockbund Art Museum

    The Bund

    The detailing on this 1932 art deco building is as enticing as the artwork inside. Rockbund has no permanent collection, which keeps things exciting. When...

    The detailing on this 1932 art deco building is as enticing as the artwork inside. Rockbund has no permanent collection, which keeps things exciting. When exhibitions are being installed, the museum is closed, so check the website before you go. Exhibits showcase works by both Chinese and international artists, and some include interactive elements. Lectures and film screenings are held often; many are in English, and some are family-friendly. On the top floor is a quiet, airy seating area and, the cherry on the sundae, the museum's roof deck.

    20 Huqiu Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200002, China
    021-3310–9985

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y50, Closed Mon., Tues.–Sun. 10–6
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  • 6. Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum

    Hongkou

    Built in 1927, the Ohel Moishe Synagogue was the spiritual center of Shanghai's Jewish ghetto in the '30s and '40s, and now houses the excellent...

    Built in 1927, the Ohel Moishe Synagogue was the spiritual center of Shanghai's Jewish ghetto in the '30s and '40s, and now houses the excellent Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum. More than 20,000 Central European refugees fled to Shanghai during World War II, and the museum has a good selection of photos and newspaper clippings. Around the corner is Huoshan Park, where a memorial tablet has been erected in honor of Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin's 1993 visit.

    62 Changyang Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200082, China
    021-6512–6669

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y20, Mon.–Sat. 9–5
  • 7. Shanghai Museum

    City Center

    Look past the eyesore of an exterior—this museum holds the country's premier collection of relics and artifacts. Eleven galleries exhibit Chinese artistry in all its...

    Look past the eyesore of an exterior—this museum holds the country's premier collection of relics and artifacts. Eleven galleries exhibit Chinese artistry in all its forms: paintings, bronzes, sculpture, ceramics, calligraphy, jade, furniture of the Ming and Qing dynasties, coins, seals, and art by indigenous populations. Its bronze collection is one of the best in the world, and its dress and costume gallery showcases intricate handiwork from several of China's 55 ethnic minority groups. There are signs and an audio guide available in English. You can relax in the museum's pleasant tearoom or head to the shop for postcards, crafts, and reproductions of the artwork.

    201 Renmin Dadao, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200003, China
    021-6372–3500

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Y40 for English-language audio guide (with Y400 deposit or passport), Closed Mon., Daily 9–5; no entry after 4
  • 8. Shanghai Urban Planning Center

    City Center

    To understand the true scale of Shanghai and its ongoing building boom, visit the Master Plan Hall of this museum. Sprawled out on the third...

    To understand the true scale of Shanghai and its ongoing building boom, visit the Master Plan Hall of this museum. Sprawled out on the third floor is a 6,400-square-foot planning model of Shanghai—the largest of its kind in the world—showing the metropolis as city planners expect it to look in 2020. You'll find familiar existing landmarks like the Pearl Tower and Shanghai Center as well as a detailed model of the Shanghai Expo, complete with miniature pavilions.

    100 Renmin Dadao, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200003, China
    021-6372–2077

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y30, Closed Mon., Mon.–Thurs. 9–5, Fri.–Sun. 9–6, last ticket sold 1 hr before closing
  • 9. The Bund

    The Bund

    Shanghai's waterfront boulevard best shows both the city's pre-1949 past and its focus on the future. Both the northern and southern ends of Bund are...

    Shanghai's waterfront boulevard best shows both the city's pre-1949 past and its focus on the future. Both the northern and southern ends of Bund are constantly changing, with hotels and restaurants popping up amid scooter repair shops and hardware stores.On the riverfront side of the Bund, Shanghai's street life is in full force. You'll find Chinese tourists as well as foreigners here, ogling the Pudong skyline. If you have blonde hair, prepare to be stopped for photos. In the morning, just after dawn, the Bund is full of people ballroom dancing, doing aerobics, and practicing kung fu, qi gong, and tai chi. The rest of the day, people walk the embankment, snapping photos of the Oriental Pearl Tower, the Huangpu River, and each other. In the evenings, lovers come out for romantic walks amid the floodlit buildings and tower. Be prepared for the aggressive souvenir hawkers; while you can't completely avoid them, just ignore them—and watch your pockets and bags.

    Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200002, China
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  • 10. Xintiandi

    Xintiandi

    By World War II, more than two-thirds of Shanghai's residents lived in a shikumen (stone gatehouse). Most have been razed in the name of progress,...

    By World War II, more than two-thirds of Shanghai's residents lived in a shikumen (stone gatehouse). Most have been razed in the name of progress, but this 8-acre collection of them has been transformed into an upscale shopping-and-dining complex called Xintiandi, or "New Heaven on Earth." The restaurants are busy from lunch until past midnight, especially those with patios—perfect places from which to watch the passing parade of shoppers.

    181 Taicang Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200021, China
    021-5127–0808
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  • 11. Yu Garden

    Old City

    Since the 18th century, this complex, with its traditional red walls and upturned tile roofs, has been a marketplace and social center where local residents...

    Since the 18th century, this complex, with its traditional red walls and upturned tile roofs, has been a marketplace and social center where local residents gather, shop, and practice qi gong in the evenings. It is overrun by tourists and not as impressive as the ancient palace gardens of Beijing, but Yu Garden is a piece of Shanghai's rapidly disappearing past, and one of the few old sights left in the city. To get to the garden itself, you must wind your way through the crowded bazaar. The garden was commissioned by the Ming Dynasty official Pan Yunduan in 1559 and built by the renowned architect Zhang Nanyang over 19 years. When it was finally finished it won international praise as "the best garden in southeastern China." In the mid-1800s, the Society of Small Swords used the garden as a gathering place for meetings. It was here that they planned their uprising with the Taiping rebels against the French colonists. The French destroyed the garden during the first Opium War, but the area was later rebuilt. Winding walkways and corridors bring you over stone bridges and carp-filled ponds and through bamboo stands and rock gardens. Within the park are an old opera stage, a museum dedicated to the Society of Small Swords rebellion, and an exhibition hall of Chinese calligraphy and paintings.

    218 Anren Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200010, China
    021-6328–2465

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y40 (Apr. 1–June 30; Sept. 1–Nov. 30); Y30 (July 1–Aug. 31; Dec. 1–Mar. 31), Daily 8:30–5
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  • 12. Yuz Museum

    Old City

    In a former airport hangar and within walking distance of the Long Museum, the Yuz Museum is the brainchild of Chinese-Indonesian art collector Budi Tek....

    In a former airport hangar and within walking distance of the Long Museum, the Yuz Museum is the brainchild of Chinese-Indonesian art collector Budi Tek. The massive, light-flooded space is perfect for showcasing installations like Maurizio Cattelan's Untitled, an olive tree planted in a cube of dirt, which was featured in his retrospective at New York's Guggenheim. Chinese artists get plenty of showtime, too; in the same exhibition, you will find Ren Jian's painting Stamp Collection, six acrylic-on-canvas versions of stamps from African nations. The museum has Wi-Fi throughout, a small gift shop, and a café where you can watch the sun set. Its cement courtyard, with several sets of stairs, ramps, and a few sculptures, is a good place for kids to roam. Note that, like the Long Museum, the Yuz is in the emerging West Bund arts area, readily reached from the Former French Concession by taxi or metro Line 11.

    35 Fenggu Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200231, China
    021-6426–1901

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y150, Closed Mon.
  • 13. Bank of China

    The Bund

    British art deco and Chinese elements combine in this 1937 building, which was designed to be the tallest in the city. However, opium magnate Victor...

    British art deco and Chinese elements combine in this 1937 building, which was designed to be the tallest in the city. However, opium magnate Victor Sassoon insisted that no building surpass his Cathay Hotel (now the Peace Hotel). Were it not for the Cathay Hotel's copper-faced pyramid roof, the bank would indeed be taller.

    23 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200002, China
    021-6329–1979
  • 14. Cathay Theatre

    French Concession

    The art deco–style Cathay Cinema was one of the first movie theaters in Shanghai and, indeed, still shows a mix of Chinese and Western films....

    The art deco–style Cathay Cinema was one of the first movie theaters in Shanghai and, indeed, still shows a mix of Chinese and Western films. The theater was a favorite of Shanghainese author Eileen Chang, of Lust, Caution fame.

    870 Huaihai Zhong Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200020, China
    021-5404–2095
  • 15. Century Park

    Pudong

    If you're staying in Pudong, this giant swath of green is a great place to take kids, as it has a variety of bicycles for...

    If you're staying in Pudong, this giant swath of green is a great place to take kids, as it has a variety of bicycles for hire, good flat paths for Rollerblading, and pleasure boats. On a nice day, pack a lunch and head to the designated picnic areas, fly a kite in the open areas, or take a walk among the trees.

    1001 Jinxiu Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200135, China
    021-3876–0588

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y10, Daily 7–6
  • 16. Chen Xiangge Temple

    Old City

    If you find yourself passing by this tiny temple on your exploration of the Old City, you can make an offering to Buddha with the...

    If you find yourself passing by this tiny temple on your exploration of the Old City, you can make an offering to Buddha with the free incense sticks that accompany your admission. Built in 1600 by the same man who built Yu Garden, it was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution and rebuilt in the 1990s. The temple is now a nunnery, and you can often hear the women's chants rising from the halls beyond the main courtyard.

    29 Chenxiangge Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200010, China
    021-6320–3431

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y5, Daily 7–4
  • 17. City God Temple

    Old City

    At the southeast end of the Yu Gardens bazaar stands this Taoist temple, built during the early part of the Ming Dynasty and destroyed by...

    At the southeast end of the Yu Gardens bazaar stands this Taoist temple, built during the early part of the Ming Dynasty and destroyed by fire in 1924. The main hall was rebuilt in 1926, and has been renovated many times over the years. Inside are gleaming gold figures, and atop the roof you'll see statues of crusading warriors—flags raised, arrows drawn. This is a popular place for locals to light incense; expect it to be crowded around major holidays like Chinese New Year.

    249 Fangbang Zhong Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200010, China
    021-6328–4494

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y10, Daily 8:30–4
  • 18. Double Rainbow Massage House

    French Concession

    With instructions clearly spelled out in English, Double Rainbow Massage House provides an inexpensive introduction to traditional Chinese massage. Choose a masseur; state your preference...

    With instructions clearly spelled out in English, Double Rainbow Massage House provides an inexpensive introduction to traditional Chinese massage. Choose a masseur; state your preference for soft, medium, or hard pressure; then keep your clothes on for a 45- to 90-minute massage. There's no ambience, just a clean room with nine massage tables.

    45 Yongjia Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200127, China
    021-6473–4000
  • 19. Dragonfly

    French Concession

    This local spa chain has claimed the middle ground between expensive hotel spas and workmanlike blind-man massage parlors. Don the suede-soft treatment robes for traditional...

    This local spa chain has claimed the middle ground between expensive hotel spas and workmanlike blind-man massage parlors. Don the suede-soft treatment robes for traditional Chinese massage, or take them off for an aromatic oil massage. Dragonfly also has waxing and nail services.

    206 Xinle Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200031, China
    021-5403–9982
  • 20. Duolun Lu

    Hongkou

    Although this road has been heavily restored, its architecture and general ambience takes you back in time to the 1930s, when the 1-km (½-mile) lane...

    Although this road has been heavily restored, its architecture and general ambience takes you back in time to the 1930s, when the 1-km (½-mile) lane was a favorite haunt of writer Lu Xun and fellow social activists. Bronze statues of those literary luminaries dot the lawns between the villas and row houses whose ground floors are now home to cafés, antiques shops, and art galleries. As the street takes a 90-degree turn, its architecture shifts 180 degrees with the seven-story stark gray Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art.

    Off Sichuan Bei Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200080, China

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