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The Top 10 Things to Do in Shanghai

Shanghai, China's largest and most prosperous city, exudes an atmosphere of self-confidence and vitality. For those reasons alone it's worth a visit, even though the city isn't exactly brimming with sightseeing venues. Below are the top things you should do in Shanghai.

1. Take a ride on the Maglev — the world's fastest train

The Shanghai Maglev Take a ride on the Maglev

A ride in the Maglev train from Pudong Airport to the city center is a perfect way to feel super-modern Shanghai.

At 431 kph (270 mph, twice the speed of a theme park roller coaster), this air-conditioned, super-clean, magnetically-levitated train covers 30 km (19 miles) in only 8 minutes, though you hardly feel you're moving!

Visit the Maglev Museum to understand the engineering feat and its history. Address: Maglev Longyang Road Station, floor 1. More on the Maglev

2. Cruise along Huangpu River on your way to The Bund

Huangpu RiverHuangpu River

Strolling along The Bund is one of the things you should never miss when on a tour to Shanghai.

The Bund displays Shanghai's classic skyline views of colonial architecture and skyscrapers along the 500m wide Huangpu River, which dissects the city into two.

A boat or ferry cruise is the most recommended method of exploring The Bund. Read more about cruising the Huangpu River.

3. Enjoy exhibits at Shanghai Museum

Shanghai MusuemShanghai Musuem

Located on the People's Square near Nanjing Road, the "glassy" Shanghai Museum has a large collection of rare cultural relics — over 120,000 pieces. An example of artifacts include over 400 beautifully decorated bronzes.

Some exhibits have English descriptions, including the Ancient Ceramics, Ancient Bronzes, and Ancient Sculptures. Read more on Shanghai Museum.

Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall is a great visit if you want to learn about modern Shanghai and see how the city will look like in 2020. 

4. Enjoy green spaces at Yu Garden

Yuyuan GardenYuyuan Garden

Not far from the Bund, Yuyuan is the most revered and the only surviving Ming Dynasty garden in Shanghai.

It has become a city highlight due to its beautiful scenery, characterized by decorated bridges, colorful pagodas and intimate enclaves separated by "dragon walls" — partitions with dragon decorations on top.

The magic Exquisite Jade Rock, said to have been one of Song Emperor Huizong's private collection, is definitely worth seeing.

Read more on Yu Garden.

5. Bird's-eye view the city from the World Financial Center

Bird's-eye view the city from the World Financial CenterBird's-eye view the city from the World Financial Center

The fifth tallest building in the world competes with the Oriental Pearl TV Tower for greatest elevated views in the Shanghai metropolitan.

Although you can view the scenery from various floors, make sure to go to the world's highest observatory — The Sky Walk — on the 100th floor where you can see the Chinese metropolis from 474m (1,555 feet) above the ground. Witnessing sunset/sunrise from this observatory is recommended.

Read more on Shanghai World Financial Center.

6. Roller coaster at Shanghai Happy Valley

There are three different thriller rides to choose from, namely the Mega Lite, Dive Machine and Fireball.

The Gyro Swing rises up to 15 stories while the Fireball wooden roller coaster — the first of its kind in the country — blasts at super high speeds. You will have a wonderful bird's view of the park aboard the Gyro, and the drop-coaster falls 60 meters. 

Tourists also visit the Typhoon Bay to watch exciting water features that rise to 26 meters. Read more on Shanghai Happy Valley theme park.

7. Sit inside a revolving restaurant at The Oriental Pearl TV Tower

The Oriental Pearl TV TowerThe Oriental Pearl TV Tower

Not only do you get to enjoy sitting inside a revolving hotel in this revered  and outstanding land mark, but you also get to see Shanghai metropolis from a "Space Module" — the highest observatory level set at 350 meters (1,148 feet) above the ground.

The attractive building has 3 legs, 11 spheres and 15 observatory levels.

Get to know the city via the various artifacts exhibited at the Shanghai Municipal History Museum located in this building. See more on the Oriental Pearl TV Tower.

8. Watch performances at Shanghai Circus World

Acrobatics showAcrobatics show

Tourists enjoy a variety of domestic and international live performances — dances, music competitions, shows and acrobatics at this venue.

Examples of lively animal performances featured in the Happy Circus World include performances by sea lions. Another performance is cockfighting.

China's modern achievements such as the first manned space mission ship and the Maglev Train are also exhibited.

Read more on Shanghai Circus World.

9. Stroll around in a Watertown — Zhujiajiao

Zhujiajiao Water TownZhujiajiao Water Town

You can choose to stroll around by foot to admire the numerous fascinating  canals, bridges and architecture in this old water town in Shanghai.

Alternatively, you can take boat or ferry rides. The shortest ride takes you up and down the main canal in the middle of the town while the longest takes you around the town and back.

One notable feature is the Fangsheng Bridge — the largest arch bridge in Shanghai. It is about 70 meters long and 5.8 meters tall. More about Zhujiajiao Water Town.

10. Walk and Shop along Nanjing Road

Nanjing RoadNanjing Road

Famous Nanjing Road is an equivalent of New York's Fifth Avenue. Get a taste of bustling Chinese commerce where retailers from all over the world display their products on streets.

Tourists admire the different buildings with attractive architecture. Looking down is also interesting: learn the city's construction history from the attractive 37 Manhole Covers.

Nanjing Road features historic Chinese sculptures at the "Golden Belt". Read more on Nanjing Road.

Touring Shanghai with China Highlights

Our Shanghai tours can be customized to suit your travel needs in regard to dates/times and what you want to do.

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