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Things to do in Shanghai

By Lauren Jade Hill

With a skyline distinguished by its landmark, the Pearl Tower, Shanghai is one of the world’s great urban hubs, with a wealth of attractions to seek out along the banks of the Huangpu River and throughout its diversity of neighborhoods. We take a look at the best things to do in Shanghai to discover a little of what defines the city.

Begin exploring Shanghai by navigating its major waterway, the Huangpu River. Cruises depart from Shiliupu Wharf near the Bund before taking in a number of sights along its route, including Shanghai World Financial Center, Jin Mao Tower and the Oriental Pearl TV Tower.

Of the neighborhoods that attract the most attention, The Bund is one of the most popular areas for travelers to soak up the atmosphere, shop and take in the views of Pudong’s skyline. The Old City then lies in the east of Puxi with remnants of the original city wall still present. Here amid the alleyways, it’s possible to glimpse a more traditional side to life in Shanghai, with teahouses and temples to duck into. The Former French Concession is another popular area for visitors to the city for its architecture, leafy streets and inviting boutiques and cafes.

Among the city’s many cultural venues, Shanghai Museum draws particular attention for its extensive collection of ancient Chinese art and artifacts, giving a comprehensive insight into China’s fascinating history. A modern more view can then be found at the Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai. And for a breath of fresh air, pay a visit to Yuyuan Garden in the Old City. Believed to originate from the Ming Dynasty, the gardens encompass classic Chinese architecture and sculptures amid rockeries, pools and greenery.

While you’re in Shanghai, it’s worth taking a short diversion from the city to the town of Zhujiajiao; this ancient water-town dates back over more than 1,700 years with archaeological evidence dating back 5,000 years. Here, visitors can wander along the riverbanks and across bridges, stopping by traditional stores, Kezhi Garden and the Yuanjin Buddhist Temple.

Where to Stay

Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanghai

Located in Pudong, this Mandarin Oriental hotel provides views over the Huangpu River, north Bund and surrounding cityscape. Inside, these spectacular views are matched by the sprawling rooms and suites, all of which are luxuriously furnished with all the amenities you could need. Elsewhere in the hotel, guests can make the most of the indoor pool and a spa that’s centered around a landscaped garden, with a dining offering ranging from modern French to traditional Chinese and Asian fusion cuisine, and dedicated space for cocktails and afternoon tea.

Four Seasons Shanghai Pudong

This Four Seasons hotel is positioned amid the gleaming skyscrapers of Pudong, with views that are made even more special by the hotel’s famous panoramic infinity pool. Suites here are classic in style and generous in size, with a touch of Shanghai Art Deco. Taking on Asian-inspire contemporary design, FLARE Spa then provides a serene space to unwind. Within its culinary offering, the hotel is home to two signature restaurants: Shàng-Xí, which specializes in contemporary Cantonese and classic Shanghai cuisine, and Camelia, which focuses on Italian fare.

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Banyan Tree Shanghai on the Bund

The riverside Banyan Tree Shanghai exhibits the contemporary Asian-inspired style this brand is known for in each of its spacious suites. These rooms then feature alongside one of Shanghai’s most luxurious indoor swimming pools, three separate relaxation pools and the award-winning Banyan Tree Spa. And from the hotel’s fine dining restaurants, which range from Chinese cuisine to a seafood grill, guests can head up to the glamorous rooftop bar.

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