Shanghai Sightseeing

Tourist Destinations

Shanghai is one of the world's great tourism destinations, and its range of attractions can be overwhelming. The sheer scale of the city is compounded by its extraordinary wealth of historic and contemporary attractions.

No visit to the city can be complete without taking in the diversity of its urban environments. These ranges, at a minimum, from its varied clusters of urban heritage in the Old City, the Bund, and the Former French Concession, to the soaring hyper-modernity of Lujiazui and West Nanjing Road. A stroll along the Bund, and another through Lujiazui, will be highlights of any trip.


The Bund 外滩

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Lujiazui 陆家嘴

The Former French Concession is more spread out, and therefore less straightforwardly navigable.

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Hengshan Road 衡山路

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Restaurant on Taojiang Road 桃江路餐厅

The Old City, too, can be a confusing maze. Head north and east of the Confucian Temple (Wenmiao Road 文庙路) to enter its southern tract.

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The Confucian Temple 文庙

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Da Jing Pavilion in the Old City 老城区内大境阁

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The Old City 老城区

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The Old City 老城区

Other compact city zones which make convincing tourist destinations include Xintiandi (a short-walk from the Old City), the Jing'an Temple area, Xujiahui, Tianzifang… among many others.

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Xintiandi 新天地

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Xintiandi 新天地

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Tianzifang 田子坊

They also differ in type, from displays of historic and contemporary architecture, to commercial centers, parks, and cultural institutions (including temples, art galleries, museums, and theaters).

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Century Park 世纪公园

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Jade Buddha Temple 玉佛寺

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Jing'an Temple 静安寺


No view of the city compares to that available from the upper reaches of a super-tall tower. Lujiazui is the most obvious choice in this respect, though it is by no means the only option. Both the Shanghai World Financial Center and the Shanghai Center have dedicated observation decks, but a drink in a high-rise lounge is no more expensive while offering scarcely less impressive viewing platforms. Many of the Shanghai's high-rise hotels, on both sides of the Huangpu River, have sky-bars offering stunning city panoramas.

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Towers in Lujiazui: SWFC, Jinmao Tower, Shanghai Center

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Oriental Pearl Television Tower 东方明珠电视塔

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Shanghai World Financial Center 环球金融中心

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Shanghai Center 上海中心大厦

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Towers in Lujiazui: SWFC and Jinmao Tower

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Towers in Lujiazui: SWFC, Jinmao Tower, Shanghai Center

Destinations for cultural explorations

M50, named after its address on Moganshan Road, near Suzhou Creek, has been the city's most concentrated art hub in recent times. Over the last few years, however, its pre-eminence has been challenged by massive new art space development on the West Bund, along Longteng Avenue 龙腾大道. Either destination makes for a stimulating introduction to the city's flourishing visual arts scene. 

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M50 Art Zone 莫干山路50号艺术园区

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Artspace on the west bund  西岸艺术中心

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Exhibition on the west bund  西岸艺术中心画展

So many of the city's major cultural venues are situated around People's Square and its adjoining People's Park that this area would be essential to any tourist itinerary, before even acknowledging its intrinsic attractions. The park itself – whose traditional lotus ponds are surrounded by some of Shanghai's most stunning early modern and contemporary architecture – serves as an introduction to the city that is both spectacular and engaging. Cultural institutions of the highest-level in its immediate vicinity include the Shanghai Museum, the Urban Planning Exhibition Hall, the new Shanghai History Museum, and the Shanghai Grand Theater.

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People's Square 人民广场

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People's Park 人民公园

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Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall 上海城市规划展示馆

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Shanghai Museum 上海博物馆

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Shanghai History Museum 上海历史博物馆

Destinations for nature touch

When it all gets too much a meander through the local parks is a restorative. More of the city parks make delightful destinations than can possibly be listed here. An adequate map shows bands of parkland creating continuous green corridors in many directions, so walking much of the city can be directed through parkland by those who want to remove the sharp edges from the urban spectacle.

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Zhongshan Park 中山公园

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Century Park 世纪公园

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