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Enjoying Shanghai's Waterfront

Enjoying Shanghai's Waterfront

Written by GavinUpdated Nov. 13, 2023

Like most great cities, Shanghai has a thriving waterfront complete with bridges, beaches, and boardwalks. Flowing through the heart of the city is the Huangpu River, which has always attracted world travelers for business and recreation. As you make your way riverside, let's see what attractions await you along Shanghai's waterfront.

The Bund

The Bung ShanghaiThe Bund at Night

It's early in the morning, and as you start your day by enjoying the local street fare. See also Eating Like a Local in Shanghai by Day. You should then make your way to The Bund where Nanjing Road (南京路) meets the river. Here a spacious pathway stretches along, with picturesque views of the Huangpu River and the skyscrapers of the financial district of Pudong.

At the north end of The Bund, you'll discover the Waibaidu Bridge or Garden Bridge which opened in 1908 across the Suzhou Creek. Meanwhile, as you stroll about, you'll notice that you're surrounded by marvelous stone architecture from the Shanghai of old, built during the 1920's and 30's.

The Cool Docks

Continuing south from The Bund, you'll arrive at The Cool Docks located at Wharf 1846 at 421 Waima Road (外马路). Here, you'll find many old factory buildings that have been transformed into inviting restaurants and shops complete with a sandy beach and pool for you to enjoy.

Nanyuan Garden & Lupu Bridge

For a place to relax or possibly even to exercise, make your way to Jiangbin Road (江滨路) at Nanyuan Garden just below the Lupu Bridge, the second longest arch span bridge in the world.

 Riverboat Restaurants

As evening approaches, you'll begin to see the numerous brightly lit and decorative riverboat restaurants that sail up and down the river as you enjoy your meal with a view. So, if you'd like to travel up the river as you dine, simply come aboard at the ferry docks. Riverboat dining can be included in your custom tour of Shanghai.

The Pearl Tower & Lujiazui

Oriental Pearl Tower ShanghaiThe Oriental Pearl Tower

During the day, the west side of the river along The Bund is the place to be, but in the evening, you'll want to go east. You can take The Bund Sightseeing Tunnel or hop on metro line 2, and as you emerge from exit 2, you'll be enthralled by the spectacular Shanghai Pearl Tower.

As you make your way along the circular sky bridge walkway, you'll be overwhelmed by the many photo opportunities surrounding the financial district. From there, you simply walk west down Lujiazui Road until you meet the river. You can enjoy coffee and ice cream along the way, but as you take the final steps up to the riverfront piers, you'll be delighted by the evening city lights.

The dazzling view of old Shanghai in the evening is something you'll never forget. You can simply enjoy the peace of the river as you watch the boats sail by, but many also find it a wonderfully romantic place to share together. In the winter, you can even light candlelit lanterns and send them floating high into the evening sky.


At this point, whether you're ready to dance the night away or simply relax and enjoy a drink, you can return to the many restaurants and clubs along The Bund, or you can make your way north, across from The Pearl Tower.

The area along Huangpu Road and Qingpu Road near the Hyatt on the Bund has sophisticated hotels and restaurants that offer a touch of class with soothing panoramic views to complete your waterfront tour of Shanghai.

See Shanghai Nightlife and Eating Like a Local in Shanghai at Night for more nighttime recommendations.

China Highlights Shanghai Tours

Feel free to contact us to include some enjoyable riverfront activities in your Shanghai itinerary. Our Shanghai tours are fully customizable and we have a range of Shanghai day tours including local life experiences. With China Highlights you have the option to create your own tailor-made itinerary.

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