Shanghai Tourist Attractions




Must-Sees in Shanghai

There are some real must-sees in Shanghai. These are the things that you will do upon arrival or when visitors are in town. First off, you will want to go to YuYuan Gardens in the Old City. This really is a wonderful, atmospheric piece of old China but only if you go during the week and early in the morning. At weekends, the place is mobbed and very stressful.

historic ShanghaiNaturally the historic Bund will be another top-of-the-sightseeing-list outing. Although the view is impressive, the busy, multi-lane highway running along the Bund can be quite distressing.

So, take refuge inside some of the buildings to marvel at the art-deco splendor or some of the new shopping, gallery and restaurant destinations like Three On The Bund.

Bargain hunters will be eager to hit the fake market, XiangYang, on Huahai Lu. But beware, the only real winners here are the stall holders. You need to bargain hard and expect to pay a quarter or a third of their original asking price.

Obviously, much of the merchandise is of dubious quality, but it's fun to go along and see, even if nothing takes your fancy.

See the section Expat Visitor Support for more info on where to find those markets and streets.


Photo:enterAsia Art

On the other hand, the Fabric Market at Dongjiadu Lu is a veritable treat. Here you can choose the fabric you want and get the tailors to make the clothes to your exact requirements. Tailor-made suits can be had for 500rmb! Due to its addictive nature, many expats return time and time again to have all their shirts, suits, dresses and skirts custom made here. It's also an inspiring spot if you enjoy making your own home furnishings.

For detailed information on Shanghai attractions visit the following websites:

Art Scene Shanghai

If you'll excuse the cheap pun, Shanghai's art scene is like an abstract painting - it might not be obvious at first, but if you know where to look you'll find everything you are looking for, plus a little bit more.

While it trails behind the more avante-garde Beijing, galleries are popping up everywhere and the work is of an increasingly high, international standard. At the epicentre is Moganshan - Shanghai's reply to London's Hoxton or New York's meat packing district. Its large spaces in a series of warehouses in an unlikely, out-of-the-way district in the north of the city have attracted big local names like ShangArt, Art Scene and DDM Warehouse to set up shop.

A browse around the complex will reveal that smaller spaces have been taken over by artists who have opened gallery workshops. Some are good, offering original, innovative styles while others, obviously trying to capitalise on an influx of foreign, cash-rich visitors, are desperately bad.

Antique market shanghaiA short taxi-ride away will bring lovers of art, architecture and food to the city's latest - and perhaps most ambitious - gallery, The Creek Art Centre. Originally, a flour mill built in 1902 this atmospheric space offers two floors of galleries, a cafe and top-floor restaurant. Film performances and club nights also feature highly.

In a short space of time, the Creek has leapt to the forefront of the Shanghai art scene and even managed the coup of bringing a collection of Andy Warhol works to town.

If you want cutting edge contemporary, then the gallery for you is the Duolan Museum of Modern Art .

  Photo: enterAsia Art

Exhibitions are often curated in a more zappy western-style and the gallery itself has been designed to juxtapose a beautiful, colonial-era - now pedestrianised - street, which houses Shanghai's original film club and cafe. It is well worth a visit in itself. Managed by the same team is Pudong's latest offering, the Zendai Museum of Modern Art which is also worth a look.

No itinery would be complete without visits to the well-curated, top-named shows at the art-deco clocktower that houses the Shanghai Art Museum or, for a taste of contemporary Chinese art, to the always meticulously chosen exhibitions at Studio Rouge. If you are in the area, a visit to Shanghai Gallery of Art at 3 The Bund is a must.

Most galleries in Shanghai are commercial and so do not charge entrance fees. However, municipal galleries like Shanghai Art Museum will charge a small entrance fee as do the Duolun and Zendai.



Parks Shanghai

Only too often, newly-arrived expats and visitors will point the finger at Shanghai saying it has no parks. This is simply not the case - it has plenty of parks, many with great children's play areas, but you have to know where to find them.

Shanghai Zoo
Within Shanghai itself, you will discover that this city does indeed have beautiful parks, presented in many shapes and sizes, each with its own distinct character and usually only a short metro or taxi ride away.



  Photo:enterAsia Art

Some are even tucked away in the centre of town, such as XiangYang Park opposite the famous - and infamous - fake market on Huaihai Lu.

Here, an hour spent watching the tai-chi practitioners can be tonic enough to revitalise flagging spirits.

Expats tend to use Fuxing, Xujiahui, Century, Zhongshan and the Zoo Park in Hongqiao the most as these are large but easily accessible by taxi or metro and, unlike almost every green space in Shanghai, they allow people to walk on (designated areas of) grass. Here is the low-down;


Fun Dazzle (indoor)

Best known among expats with younger kids for its huge indoor children’s playground, Fun Dazzle, this spot is a real winner on rainy or very hot Sundays. Children get to run around the maze of climbing frames, tubes, slides and swings in complete safety.

Zhongshan Park
(Entrance on Changning Road open 6am-6pm)

But the park has a lot more to offer. And, after the thumping music and frenetic pace of Fun Dazzle, a gentle walk around the park will reveal beautiful, tree-lined avenues and gardens of mature Japanese maples set against picturesque pagodas. There is a large field for picnics or kite flying, a waterway for boating and various other child-oriented activities like bumper cars and sky-cycling.

Xujiahui Park (Zhaojiabang Lu)

A break from the relentless crowds of the Xujiahui shopping malls, this compact park has been expertly landscaped to create a sense of peace, with an overhead walkway and waterway system. There is a beautiful colonial-era café/restaurant called the Red House, a popular basketball court and an adequate children's playground. Beware, the child's playground has no shelter and so can be blisteringly hot.

Fuxing Park (Gaoan Lu by Sinan Lu)

Although not that large, Fuxing Park was laid by early colonial settlers and so is mature and well planned. There is a good children's funpark with rides and a bouncy castle and a playground with slides. It's a popular spot, due to its location just off Huaihai Lu and there are many eating places both inside and just outside of its perimeter.

Century Park (Jinxiu Lu by Shiji Dadao)

Shanghai's largest green space, this Pudong-based park has got it all and you get a great sense of being away from it all. On the downside, the park is newly planted and so the trees are a little short and scrubby. There are not many places where children can walk on the grass without having a whistle blown at them by the numerous security guards.

On the plus side, kids and adults can hire tandems, bicycles and pedal cares and there is a wildlife park, picnic grounds, rollerblading track and even a miniature golf course. The children's playground is excellent!

Shanghai Zoo (Hongqiao Lu)

While the zoo itself is not the kind of place you would want to take children, unless you want them to see distressed animals being taunted, the park inside the zoo is wonderful. You can stroll for hours and the kids can have a run on the grass. In terms of space, maturity and feeling of being away from it all - this is Shanghai's best.

Other Parks

Other centrally located parks worth a visit for their first rate playgrounds and sense of beauty are Jing An and XiangYang.

See also Living in Shanghai with Children

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