Weather: Shanghai's severe winter is at its peak in January, with an average temperature of around 2 °C (36 °F). Don't be fooled by the number, as the temperate is actually freezing because of the wind and dampness.
The bone-piercing cold drives most travelers away except for the most dedicated. The city is quiet this month. It is warm however inside hotels, restaurants, and vehicles, as central heating is supplied.
Clothing: Warm clothes such as a down coat, a hat, gloves, and thick trousers are needed to stay warm. Purchase these items if you don't bring them with you.
January is a good time to stay indoors in blustery Shanghai unless it is Chinese New Year. In that case, go out and see the fireworks and celebrations and the Lantern Festival.
Celebrate Chinese New Year: This is the most important Chinese holiday, and the Spring Festival public holidays covers a two week vacation for many people. Chinese New Year usually falls in early or mid February, though for a third of years it's in late January. For tourists, the holidays provide a chance to have fun with fireworks, try holiday food, buy tourist souvenirs and experience a local custom firsthand. For more see our Chinese New Year Travel Tips.
Visit Yu Yuan Garden: You can see the traditional New Year lantern display at Yu Garden and Bazaar. It is one of the highlights of Shanghai, and it is easy to reach at the center of Shanghai's Old City, a few blocks south of the Bund.
Yu Yuan's surrounding bazaar area has good shopping opportunities for traditional Chinese products, gold, and jewels.There are other shopping streets for New Year's too. Also read Top Five Old Streets in Shanghai.
Dine and Shop at Xintiandi: Stay indoors at luxury-brand shops and dine at one of the many restaurants that were built inside old European-built buildings.
See the best of Shanghai with our Shanghai tours. Our tours are developed through years of experience and customer feedback, reasonably priced, and can be customized to your requirements. You may also want to read "How to plan a day trip in Shanghai".