Attractions in Shanghai

Attractions in Shanghai

Exhibition center for urban urban planning

Urban planning is a bit monotonous in most cities, but Shanghai is not like most cities. Shanghai’s transformation since the 1990s is astonishing and far from over. With the Expo 2010, the infrastructure, character and silhouette of the city have changed rapidly.

This fascinating museum shows how and why Shanghai is undergoing such extensive and gigantic urban changes. The most important exhibit is a 500 m² model of the future region of Shanghai with all buildings that are six stories high or higher.

Address: 110 Renmin Da Dao (People’s Square), Shanghai
Telephone: (21) 63 18 44 77
Opening hours: Daily 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Entry fee: Yes.

Disabled access: No

Former French concession

The former French concession with its villas in the French colonial style survives relatively undeveloped in this dynamic metropolis and represents Shanghai’s sophistication and international style.

Particular highlights include the grounds of Ruijin Guest House, 118 Ruijin Er Lu (formerly the Morris Estate), which includes Taikang Lu’s restaurants, galleries, designer shops and cafés, as well as the Fuxing Park with its shady paths and the bar mile. Also worth seeing are the lovely old houses along Sinan Lu streets (where the revolutionaries Sun Yatsen and Zhou Enlai also lived), Gaolan Lu and Xianshan Lu as well as some colonial hotels, especially the Okura Garden Hotel, 58 Maoming Nan Lu, and that opposite Jinjiang Hotel.

Address: French Concession, Puxi, Shanghai
Entrance Fee: No.

Disabled access: No

Hongkou Park

The inviting Hongkou Park, with its rowing pond and calm atmosphere, houses the Lu Xun tomb, which gave the park its other name, and the Lu Xun Memorial Hall Museum.

Novelist and essayist Lu Xun (1881-1936) is considered the father of modern Chinese literature. His works, written in colloquial Chinese, are miles away from the worn-out classic literary style.

The park is a place of pilgrimage for admirers of the great writer, all other visitors are there to enjoy the facilities.

Lu Xun Memorial Hall
2288 Sichuan Beilu
Tel: (21) 65 40 43 78.
Opening hours: Daily 9 am to 5 pm; No entry after 4 p.m.
With admission fee.

Address: Sichuan Bei Lu, corner Dalian Xi Lu, Shanghai
Opening times: Daily 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Entry fee: No.

Disabled access: No

People’s Square

An unmistakable, central landmark of the city is the crescent-shaped square of the people on the site of the former racecourse. It is also home to the classicist former jockey club, which now houses the Shanghai Art Museum.

In the 1960s, it was the scene of huge demonstrations by the Red Guard, and in 1989 protests by the Shanghai population. Today there is a large-scale reconstruction: The Shanghai Grand Theater and the exhibition center for urban town planning flank the town hall.

The Shanghai Museum (see The main attractions) is in the middle. Despite the numerous new concrete buildings, the Art Deco-style Park Hotel is still proud and sublime in its place.

Address: Renmin Dadao, Puxi, Shanghai
Entrance Fee: No.

Disabled access: No

Shanghai Museum

The museum was rebuilt in the form of an ancient Chinese bronze container for religious ceremonies in 1994.

This cultural gem is home to more than 120,000 historical treasures and art treasures. China’s most important artistic traditions are presented in chronological order on the four floors. On display are bronze and other sculptures, ceramics, paintings, calligraphy, jade, coins, furniture and handicrafts from ethnic minorities, as well as special exhibitions.

Particular highlights are the ancient Chinese bronze objects on the ground floor and the Chinese paintings one floor higher. As the art collection is enormous, only three percent can be exhibited at a time. There are guided tours by headphones.

Address: 201 Renmin Dadao, Renmin Square, Huangpu, Shanghai
Telephone: (21) 63 72 35 00
Opening times: Daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last tickets sold at 4 p.m.).

Entry fee: Yes.

Disabled access: No

The site of the first Chinese Communist Party assembly

History enthusiasts get to know Shanghai as the cradle of Chinese communism in this museum. The Chinese Communist Party was founded on July 23, 1921, in a room owned by Delegate Li Hanjun. Another member, Mao Zedong, was one of two of the 13 delegates who served in the first communist government in 1949.

The modern museum occupies the entire building and documents the years of development of the CCP. Visitors can even admire a wax representation of the first meeting – with Comrade Mao as the central figure, of course.

Address: 374 Huangpi Nan Lu, Shanghai
Telephone: (21) 53 83 21 71
Opening hours: Daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last tickets sold at 4 p.m.).

Entry fee: Yes.

Disabled access: No

The Bund

The main tourist attraction in Shanghai is the one and a half kilometer long waterfront The Bund with its many historic buildings. It is separated from the Huangpu River by a terraced bank. The word “covenant” is an Anglo-Indian word construction that means “embankment”.

The magnificent remnants of the colonial era are lined up on the Bund. These include the customs building (with its famous bell “Big Ching”), the former Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank HQ (now Shanghai Pudong Development Bank), the Peace Hotel (a pearl of Art Deco in Asia and a favorite building of Noel Coward) and the former Bank of China. Four buildings (No. 3, 5, 6 and 18) have been extensively renovated and now house expensive shops, galleries and restaurants. The futuristic silhouette of Pudong is on the other side of the river.

Address: Waitan (Bund in Chinese), Shanghai
Entrance: No.

Disabled access: No


No visit to Shanghai would be complete without a visit to this area with its elegant restaurants, bars and shops. Xintiandi occupies two large blocks in the heart of the city and consists of reconstructed Shikumen (“stone gate houses”).

It’s a figurehead of modern Shanghai, where wealthy locals, tourists, and emigrants linger over a Starbucks coffee, visit the trendiest restaurants, or drink German beer with live music from Filipino cover bands.

The typical experience of the “new Shanghai” is perfected with a cinema complex, several souvenir shops and ice cream parlors.

Address: Xintiandi, Puxi, Shanghai
Telephone: (21) 63 11 22 88
Entry fee: No.

Disabled access: No

Yu garden and bazaar

The Yu Garden and Bazaar occupy several blocks of the historic city center and consist of souvenir shops and eateries that are lined up in colorful alleys. The quiet Yu Garden was created in 1559 by an imperial family of officials.

Although the garden was ransacked by western colonists, its wonderful tunnels and grottoes, still ponds, a stone boat for parties by the river and a magnificent stage for Chinese opera performances have been preserved.

The former headquarters of the Society of the Little Swords can also be seen. This political and military organization was affiliated to the Taiping Administration, which controlled large parts of Shanghai in 1853. Outside the walls of the Yu Garden, the tea house pavilion to the middle of the pond and the bridge of the Nine Windings have become such tourist attractions that even queens and presidents pay a solemn visit.

Address: Old Town, from Fuyou Lu to Fangbang Dong Lu, Shanghai
Opening times: Daily 8.30am-5pm.

Entry fee: Yes.

Disabled access: No

Tourist offices

Shanghai Tourist Information and Visitor Center

Tourist information and service centers are located throughout the city, but the English skills of the employees are e.g. T. sketchy. The very useful Shanghai Call Center (Tel: (021) 96 22 88) is an English-speaking 24-hour hotline, the staff of which even explain to taxi drivers if they have a mobile phone.

Address: Xintiandi
No. 2, Alley 123, Xingye Road, Shanghai
Telephone: (021) 63 84 93 66

Visitor passes

There are currently no visitor passes in Shanghai.

Pedestrians walking along Shanghai's waterfront

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