Highlights of Shanghai, China

highlights of shanghai china

Yu Yuan Old Street

Yuyuan Garden Shanghai

  • 400 year old Yuyuan Garden is located near YuYuan Old Street. The garden consists of 6 different sections separated by walls: Sansui Hall, Wanhua Chamber, Dianchun Hall, Huijing Hall, Yuhua Hall, and the inner garden. Perfectly manicured shrubs and bushes, rock formations, flowers, and statues are on display along the stone path.

Yu Yuan Old Street Shangahi

Yu Yuan Old Street Shangahi China.png

dining court at yu yuan old street china

  • At the center of Shanghai is the entrance to Yu Yuan Old Street, also known as Shanghai Old Street. Here Shanghai’s first jeweler, bank, and tea house were located. Now, the marketplace is bustling with over 200 shops and vendors selling souvenirs, food, jade, pearls, statues, chop sticks, clothing, paintings, and tea. Resembling the Ming and Qing Dynasty architecture, lanterns line the walkway among red ornate buildings with upturned roofs. 

crab soup dumpling shanghai

rice mice

  • A variety of authentic Chinese food can be purchased at a cafeteria style food court. A long metal counter wraps around an enormous kitchen with colorful photos of available food options. We order barbecued pork steamed buns, a giant crab soup dumpling, and a sweet pumpkin rice ball. A thin layer of rice coats a doughy, stretchy pumpkin ball encasing a cube of pumpkin gelatin. 

Shanghai Tower

view of bund from river

  • Shanghai, meaning upon the sea, is China’s largest city and home to some of the world’s tallest buildings. Shanghai Tower is the tallest building in China and second tallest in the world. The 118th floor observatory is reached by the world’s fastest elevator in about 30 seconds. In the exhibition hall, visitors can read about the world’s other tallest skyscrapers as well as the history and development of the Shanghai Tower. 9 years after construction began in 2008, the building was ready for occupancy.

Directions: Metro Line One to People’s Square, transfer to Line Two to East Nanjing Road, walk to the Bund, and ferry across the Huangpu River to Lujiazui Financial Zone. 

view of oriental pearl tower from shanghai tower.p

view of shanghai city

  • The observatory offers a 360 degree view of Shanghai. From here visitors can look down on the Shanghai World Finance Center, the 3rd tallest building in the world, shaped like a bottle opener. Also visible is the 6th tallest building in the world and 2nd tallest television/radio tower in China, the iconic Oriental Pearl Tower.

wishing tree shanghai

  •  Visitors can mail post cards from the world’s highest post office on top of Shanghai or place a wish on the wishing tree.

The Peace Hotel

peace hotel

  • Across the street from the Bund is the historic Peace Hotel, also known as the Number One Mansion in the Far East. The hotel reflects both Eastern and Western architecture with a shiny copper roof, white Italian marble floors, and French glass art. In 1992, the Peace Hotel was recognized by the World Hotel Association and currently is the only awarded hotel in China.

inside peace hotel

  • Through the grand lobby with gleaming marble floors is the dimly lit Jazz Bar, providing entertaining jazz bands from around the world to guests since the 1930’s. In the front of the hotel is the bustling Jasmine Lounge serving high tea and freshly baked French pastries.

The Bund

along the bund shanghai

us at the bund

the bund shanghai

  • The Bund Stretches 1 mile along the Huangpu River. From here 52 buildings of various architecture, dating back to the 1800’s, can be seen. At one end are small restaurants including Z Dragon RestaurantHuangpu Park, and the entrance to the Bund Tourist Tunnel.

wedding at the bund shanghai

  • The Bund is a popular location for wedding photos. Bridesmaids commonly wear full length red dresses, representing good luck to the new bride and groom. Surprisingly, this bride wears a Western style wedding gown.

People’s Square

yolo cafe

  •  Yolo Café and Bar has a large outdoor seating area and happy hour. Nearby, Irish Pub No. 9 has delicious western style pizza and a small outdoor seating area.
  • People’s square was once the Number One Racecourse in the Far East before being destroyed. Visitors from all over would gather to bet on horses. Now, the parks and streets are thriving with pedestrians, restaurants, shops, theaters, and museums. People’s Mansion and Shanghai Museum border the central square.

Directions from the Bund: Walk along East Nanjing Road to the metro station and take Line Two to People’s square.

Nanjing East Road

Nanjing East Road

in shanghai china restaurant

  • Nanjing East Road, one of the busiest shopping streets in the world, is over 3 miles long and home to the 8 story Number One Department StoreAn estimated 1,00,700 shoppers visit the area each day. The colorful Dangdang sightseeing train transports customers between more than 600 businesses selling jade, silk, name brand clothing, bread, pastries, cakes, candy, and meat. 


  • Chinese purchase almost half of the world’s luxury good, but knock off or counterfeit brands are commonly found in touristy areas of China. The items are rated on a scale from A to D according to how similar the product is to the original. A, the most expensive, at times can even fool the manufacturers. 

The Bund at Night

shanghai at night shanghai

  • At night, the Bund transforms. Once empty sidewalks become crowded one way lanes of pedestrians wanting a view of Shanghai’s skyline at night. Crossing guards direct masses of people to and from the Bund.

Circus World

  • Shanghai Circus World, located on metro line one, has a phenomenal Shanghai Acrobat Show. Snacks, beer, popcorn, and even marinara flavored potato chips can be purchased at a small convenience store outside the theatre and brought in to enjoy during the show.
  • We are on the edge of our seats as a tower of 4 acrobats ride around the stage on a single bicycle, plates spin on the end of a stick high in the air, and a man balances on boards atop rolling glass tubes. Above us, ribbons hang from the ceiling as dancers perform a colorful show. Men dive and roll through hoops, a giant Ferris wheel spins powered by men, a ceramic vase is tossed in the air and caught on a man’s forehead, and for the finale motorcycles fill a glowing metal ball, their path’s miraculously intercepting at just the right moments.

cheers at the bund shanghai

*For more information on our tour check out: G Adventures China Express.

September 2017

Author: The Traveling Gingerbread

The Traveling Gingerbread is a place for us to share budget travel tips for people with full time jobs, fun facts, itineraries, and where to find the best craft beer. We have been traveling together since 2013. Living and working full-time in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, we travel as much as our vacation days and finances allow. We cram each adventure with activities, tours, experiences, and local breweries. We can't walk by an Irish pub without stopping in for a pint of Guinness. In 2019, we brewed our first beer and were hooked, although, we have no intentions of brewing more than small batches. We'll continue our self appointed roles of professional testers and creating craft beer trails.

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