Want to discover Shanghai in a special way? China Highlights has prepared some cool things to do in Shanghai, which will enable you to see this metropolis on “a tour with more”, focusing on more in-depth experiences of the original Shanghai.
A 1930s-style, sidecar motorcycle is a cool and out-of-the-ordinary way to explore Shanghai. Driven by a professional foreign driver, your sleek sidecar motorcycle will take you around the renowned landmarks including the Bund, the back streets, a snack street in central Shanghai, and an offbeat attraction — Asia’s largest interwar slaughterhouse, a fine example of art deco architecture.
During your sidecar Shanghai discovery, you can enjoy the flexibility of stopping off and paying a visit to any place you are particularly interested in: maybe a unique coffee bar or a shop selling interesting articles.
The French Concession is the most graceful part of Puxi District. On its London-plane-tree-lined avenues, the 1920s mansions and the French-influenced architecture of the French Concession have led it to be dubbed the ‘Paris of the East’.
China Highlights has designed a route for you to walk to discover this area. Escorted by your private guide, you will appreciate the representatives of French-style architecture, taste the epicurean Shanghai life of early last century, listen to the stories hidden behind the historical mansions, and soak up the atmosphere in the cozy peace of a local coffee bar.
This vehicle-free area has lots of quaint restaurants, tea parlors, wine tasting venues, cozy coffee bars, interesting souvenir shops, fabulous gardens, and well-maintained parks. So it is a place focused on spending money on food, fashion, and fun.
Shikumen (/shrr-koo-mnn/)is an area of Shanghai-style residences built early last century, especially during the 1920s and the 1930s. These buildings mix the architectural styles of China and the West.
After a general discovery of Shikumen’s facade, you will visit a local family living in a Shikumen residence, and be entertained as friends. You will go to a food market to buy food ingredients and make dishes together with the family. The family will also teach you some Shanghai dialect during your visit.
If you are interested in Chinese tea culture, you also can learn how to serve guests with tea in a local family setting. Chat with the host and discover the history and meanings woven into tea culture and what life was and is like in Shanghai.
If you are interested in food culture, Shanghai’s most popular snack street — Wujiang Road — is a great place for sampling some typical foods and snacks eaten by Shanghai people. Pan-fried soup buns, wontons, soup dumplings, fried dumplings, roast mutton slices on a skewer, and Chinese hamburgers are typical Shanghai fare.
Looking for a cross-cultural challenge? Why not put on some pajamas and act like a local: filling up on snacks, doing some grocery shopping, and even go to the shopping mall. Don’t forget your camera!
Binding feet is an abandoned, twisted custom, fettering females in China’s feudal times, especially during the period from the Song Dynasty (960–1279) to 1911. People of that time regarded bound feet as a feature of a beautiful woman, hence the foot-binding culture flourished. Many girls would start binding their feet when they were five years old, which brought them pains during the rest of their lives.
By visiting China’s largest ancient folk shoes museum — Bailv (/bye-lyoo/) Hall — you will learn about China’s shoe culture, including its bound-feet culture, and imagine the pain of squashing into the exquisite 4-inch silk shoes. The curator will explain the culture of binding feet and relate anecdotes about collecting the shoes. The museum is only a 30-minute drive from Dongtai Road Antique Market.
Your private driver will drive you there, and your private guide will introduce you to the old furniture, porcelain, paintings, calligraphy, and costumes.
This is a half-independent Shanghai experience — traveling across Shanghai’s high streets and back lanes with a task — hopping on a bus and a subway line to experience the city’s public transportation, and discovering its landmarks by yourselves, instead of being guided.
Start at People’s Square to get your brief. You need to arrive at a shopping mall by bus, find the item, and get the photo evidence! Then walk to a subway station to take a subway line to a famous business street, find the landmark building, and get the photo evidence. And lastly, you need to get to a specified teahouse, and you can choose the means of transportation.
Everyone starts with 50 yuan for the quest. The winner is the one who spends the least money and time. It’s a great activity for all ages, and don’t worry if you get stuck: phone support from your guide is never far away during the challenge.