Shanghai, often referred to as the “Pearl of the Orient,” is a mesmerizing metropolis that seamlessly blends tradition and modernity. With its stunning skyline, rich history, and vibrant culture, Shanghai has become a top destination for travelers from around the world. From historic landmarks to cutting-edge architecture, here are 10 must-visit tourist attractions in Shanghai that offer a glimpse into the city’s diverse and captivating character.
1. The Bund
The Bund is a waterfront area in central Shanghai, China. It is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Shanghai and is known for its row of grand, Western-style buildings that were built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Bund is located on the west bank of the Huangpu River, facing the Pudong district. The area is about 1.5 kilometers long and is lined with 52 buildings, including the former headquarters of the HSBC Bank, the Shanghai Customs House, and the Peace Hotel.
The Bund was originally a mudflat that was reclaimed in the early 19th century. The first Western-style buildings were built in the 1840s, after the Opium War. The area quickly became a center of trade and commerce, and by the early 20th century, it was home to the headquarters of many foreign banks and trading houses.
The Bund was a major symbol of Shanghai’s status as a “global city” in the early 20th century. It was also a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. However, the area suffered during the Japanese occupation of Shanghai in World War II. Many of the buildings were damaged or destroyed, and the Bund lost some of its luster.
After the war, the Bund was rebuilt and restored to its former glory. It is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in Shanghai and is a reminder of the city’s rich history and cosmopolitan past.
Here are some of the most famous buildings on the Bund:
- HSBC Building: This is the most iconic building on the Bund. It was built in 1923 and is a 24-story, neo-classical style building.
- Shanghai Customs House: This building was built in 1927 and is a 12-story, neoclassical style building. It is now a museum.
- Peace Hotel: This hotel was built in 1929 and is a 17-story, art deco style building. It is a popular tourist destination and has hosted many celebrities over the years.
- Bank of China Building: This building was built in 1937 and is a 28-story, art deco style building. It is the tallest building on the Bund.
The Bund is a must-visit for any visitor to Shanghai. It is a fascinating place to learn about the city’s history and culture, and it is also a beautiful place to simply relax and enjoy the river views.
2. Yuyuan Garden
- Yuyuan Garden is a classical Chinese garden located in the Huangpu District of Shanghai.
- It was first built in 1559 during the Ming Dynasty by Pan Yunduan as a comfort for his father, the minister Pan En, in his old age.
- The garden is named after the Chinese word “yu”, which means “pleasure” or “satisfaction”.
- It covers an area of about 2.5 hectares (6.2 acres) and is divided into two parts: the West Garden and the East Garden.
- The West Garden is the older and more traditional part of the garden. It features a number of pavilions, bridges, and rockeries.
- The East Garden is the newer and more commercial part of the garden. It is home to a number of shops and restaurants.
- Yuyuan Garden is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Shanghai. It is known for its beautiful scenery, its tranquil atmosphere, and its rich history.
Here are some of the highlights of Yuyuan Garden:
- The Huxinting Teahouse: This teahouse is located in the middle of a lotus pond. It is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike to enjoy a cup of tea and relax in the shade.
- The Exquisite Jade Rock: This is a large, porous rock that is said to be a symbol of good luck. It is located in the West Garden.
- The Long Corridor: This is a 150-meter-long (490-foot-long) corridor that is lined with shops and restaurants. It is a great place to wander and explore the garden.
- The Nine Corner Pavilion: This pavilion is located in the East Garden. It is said to be the most photographed spot in the garden.
3. Shanghai Museum
- The Shanghai Museum is a museum of ancient Chinese art in People’s Square, Shanghai, China.
- It is one of the largest and most comprehensive museums in China, with a collection of over 120,000 artifacts dating from the Neolithic period to the Qing dynasty.
- The museum’s collection includes bronzes, jades, ceramics, paintings, calligraphy, and sculptures.
- The museum is divided into 11 exhibition halls, each of which is dedicated to a different aspect of Chinese art.
- The Shanghai Museum is a popular tourist destination, and it is estimated that over 10 million people visit the museum each year.
Here are some of the most famous artifacts in the Shanghai Museum:
- The Jadeite Cabbage: This is a jade carving of a cabbage, which is considered to be one of the finest examples of jade carving in the world.
- The Shang Dynasty Bronze Drum: This is a bronze drum that was made during the Shang dynasty (1600-1046 BCE). It is decorated with intricate designs and is considered to be a masterpiece of Chinese bronze casting.
- The Song Dynasty Porcelain Vase: This is a porcelain vase that was made during the Song dynasty (960-1279 CE). It is decorated with a delicate painting of flowers and birds.
- The Ming Dynasty Calligraphy: This is a calligraphy scroll that was written by the famous Chinese calligrapher Wang Xizhi (303-361 CE). It is considered to be one of the most important works of calligraphy in the world.
The Shanghai Museum is a must-see for anyone interested in Chinese art and culture. It is a treasure trove of artifacts that showcase the rich and diverse history of China.
4. Oriental Pearl Tower
- It is a 468-meter (1,535-foot) tall communications and observation tower in Shanghai, China.
- It is the 6th tallest tower in the world and the 2nd tallest television tower in China.
- It was built in 1994 and was the tallest structure in China excluding Taiwan until 2007.
- It is named after its cluster of spheres that resemble a string of pearls.
- The tower has 9 spheres, each of which houses different facilities, such as an observation deck, a restaurant, and a revolving bar.
- The top sphere has an observation deck that offers panoramic views of Shanghai.
- The tower is a popular tourist destination and is also used for broadcasting and telecommunications.
Here are some other things to know about the Oriental Pearl Tower:
- It is located in the Pudong district of Shanghai, across the Huangpu River from the Bund.
- It is open to visitors from 8:30am to 9:30pm daily.
- The entrance fee is 250 RMB for adults and 150 RMB for children.
- There is a special night tour that offers views of the illuminated cityscape.
- The tower is also a popular spot for weddings and events.
5. Shanghai World Financial Center
- The SWFC is a mixed-use skyscraper located in the Pudong district of Shanghai.
- It is 492 meters (1,614 feet) tall and has 101 floors (3 below ground).
- It was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox and developed by the Mori Building Company.
- The SWFC is the second-tallest building in China and the third-tallest building in the world.
- It is used for offices, hotels, conference rooms, and observation decks.
- The SWFC has a distinctive hourglass shape, which is designed to withstand strong winds.
- The building’s top floors are triangular in shape and are called the “sky boxes”.
- The SWFC has two observation decks: the East and West observation decks.
- The East observation deck is located on the 94th floor and offers panoramic views of Shanghai.
- The West observation deck is located on the 100th floor and offers 360-degree views of the city.
6. People’s Square
People’s Square is a large public square in the Huangpu District of Shanghai. It is the largest city square in China and one of the largest in the world. The square is about 1.5 kilometers (0.93 mi) long and 0.5 kilometers (0.31 mi) wide, and it can accommodate up to 1 million people.
The square is home to many important government and cultural buildings, including the Shanghai Museum, the Shanghai Grand Theatre, and the Shanghai Municipal Government Building. It is also a popular tourist destination, and is often used for large-scale events such as rallies, concerts, and festivals.
Here are some of the things you can see and do in People’s Square:
- Visit the Shanghai Museum, which houses a collection of over 120,000 Chinese art and artifacts.
- See a performance at the Shanghai Grand Theatre, which is one of the largest and most prestigious theaters in China.
- Take a walk around the square and admire the architecture.
- Join a tai chi class or other outdoor activity.
- Attend a rally or festival.
- Simply relax and enjoy the atmosphere.
- Xintiandi is an affluent car-free shopping, eating, and entertainment district in Shanghai, China.
- It is located in the former French Concession, and is known for its restored Shikumen (stone-gated) buildings, which date back to the early 20th century.
- Xintiandi is home to a variety of high-end shops, restaurants, and bars, as well as art galleries and cultural institutions.
- It is also a popular tourist destination, and is known for its vibrant nightlife.
Some of the things you can do in Xintiandi include:
- Visit the Shikumen Open House Museum, which tells the story of the district’s history.
- Browse the shops and boutiques, which sell everything from designer clothes to souvenirs.
- Enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants, which offer a variety of cuisines from around the world.
- Take in a show at one of the theaters or art galleries.
- Bar hop and enjoy the nightlife.
Xintiandi is a great place to experience the best of Shanghai’s modern and historic culture. It is a vibrant and exciting place to visit, and is sure to leave you with lasting memories.
Here are some additional facts about Xintiandi:
- It was originally a residential area for Chinese merchants and intellectuals.
- It was renovated in the 1990s and turned into a commercial district.
- The name Xintiandi means “New Heaven and Earth” in Chinese.
- It is one of the most expensive places to live in Shanghai.
- It is a popular tourist destination, with over 10 million visitors each year.
8. Jade Buddha Temple
The Jade Buddha Temple is a Buddhist temple in Shanghai, China. It was founded in 1882 with two jade Buddha statues imported to Shanghai from Myanmar by sea. These were a sitting Buddha (1.95 meters tall, 3 tons), and a smaller reclining Buddha representing the Buddha’s death.
The temple is located in the Putuo District of Shanghai, and is a popular tourist destination. It is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm daily, and admission is 20 yuan (about $3). There is an additional charge of 10 yuan (about $1.50) to enter the Jade Buddha chamber.
The temple is a beautiful example of Chinese architecture, and is decorated with intricate carvings and sculptures. The Jade Buddha statues are the main attraction, and are said to be made from the finest jade. The temple is also home to a number of other Buddhist artifacts, including sutras, paintings, and sculptures.
The Jade Buddha Temple is a peaceful and serene place, and is a great place to learn about Buddhism and Chinese culture. It is also a popular place for locals to go for worship and meditation.
Here are some other things to know about the Jade Buddha Temple:
- The temple was built in the Qing Dynasty, and was originally called the Putuo Chan Temple.
- The name was changed to the Jade Buddha Temple in 1928, after the two jade Buddha statues were installed.
- The temple was damaged during the Cultural Revolution, but was restored in the 1980s.
- The temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
9. Shanghai Disneyland
Shanghai Disneyland is the first Disney theme park in mainland China. It is located in Pudong New Area, Shanghai, and opened on June 16, 2016. The park is based on the Disneyland model, but it also features some unique Chinese elements, such as a replica of the Temple of Heaven.
Shanghai Disneyland has seven themed lands:
- Main Street, U.S.A.: This is the main entrance to the park and features a variety of shops and restaurants.
- Adventureland: This land is inspired by the South Seas and features attractions such as Pirates of the Caribbean and Jungle Cruise.
- Fantasyland: This land is home to many classic Disney characters and attractions, such as It’s a Small World and the Enchanted Storybook Castle.
- Tomorrowland: This land is inspired by the future and features attractions such as Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters.
- Toy Story Land: This land is based on the Toy Story movies and features attractions such as Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers.
- Mickey and Minnie’s Storybook Land: This land is a smaller version of Fantasyland and is designed for younger children.
- Gardens of Imagination: This land is inspired by Chinese culture and features attractions such as the Tron Lightcycle Power Run and the Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure.
Shanghai Disneyland is a popular tourist destination and attracts millions of visitors each year. It is a must-see for any Disney fan visiting China.
Here are some additional details about Shanghai Disneyland:
- The park is spread over an area of 963 acres (389 hectares).
- It has a capacity of 100,000 guests per day.
- The park employs over 15,000 people.
- The park has won several awards, including the Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement in Theme Park Design.
10. Maglev Train
- The Shanghai maglev train is the world’s first commercial high-speed maglev train. It operates between Longyang Road station in Pudong, Shanghai, and Pudong International Airport.
- The train uses the German Transrapid technology and has a maximum cruising speed of 431 km/h (268 mph), making it the fastest train service in commercial operation.
- The train is suspended above the track using magnetic levitation, which means that there is no physical contact between the train and the track. This reduces friction and allows the train to reach high speeds.
- The Shanghai maglev train is 29.863 km (19 mi) long and takes 7 minutes to travel between the two stations.
- The ticket price for a one-way trip on the Shanghai maglev train is 50 RMB for a normal seat and 100 RMB for a VIP seat.
In addition to the Shanghai maglev train, China is also developing other maglev projects, including a line between Beijing and Tianjin, and a line between Changsha and Zhuzhou.
In conclusion, Shanghai, with its kaleidoscope of attractions, offers a diverse range of experiences that cater to every traveler’s interests. From the glitz and glamour of the modern skyline to the peaceful serenity of traditional gardens, this metropolis harmoniously balances its past and present. The top 10 tourist attractions mentioned above are merely a glimpse into the myriad wonders that Shanghai has to offer. Whether you’re drawn to history, culture, architecture, or simply the allure of exploration, Shanghai welcomes you with open arms, ready to reveal its captivating secrets and unveil the essence of its captivating soul.
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- Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG)
- IATA code: PVG
- ICAO code: ZSPD
- Location: Pudong, Shanghai
- Opened: 1999
- Runways: 4
- Terminals: 2
- Airlines: Over 100
- Destinations: Over 200
- Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA)
- IATA code: SHA
- ICAO code: ZSSS
- Location: Hongqiao, Shanghai
- Opened: 1928
- Runways: 2
- Terminals: 2
- Airlines: Over 50
- Destinations: Over 100