Shanghai Travel Guide

Get Your Bearings in Shanghai

Where to Stay

Hotels in Shanghai include a variety of price ranges and luxury options. Five-star hotels are often joint Chinese-foreign ventures with foreign management and Chinese ownership, offering English-speaking staff and luxury accommodations.  Three-star hotels are lower level hotels that will rarely have an English-speaking staff. Bed-and-breakfasts and boutique hotels are also available in Shanghai, from restored colonial buildings to refurbished luxury rooms.

Caution: The rankings of hotels are often highly changeable and may not correspond to global ratings.


What to Eat

Shanghai offers a large range of international and Chinese regional foods. Many of the city's high-end restaurants are found in hotels, but other restaurants cater to Continental, Indian, Italian, French and Japanese tastes, among others. Shanghai is famous for its own regional cuisine which includes seafood-heavy dishes with crab or shrimp.

Be Sure to Sample: Shanghai is particularly famous for its dumplings stuffed with a variety of ingredients.


Things to See

Several of Shanghai's famous sites are based on the colonial influences on the architecture and the city's history. The Bund is where visitors can take in Shanghai's impressive skyline and colonial architecture. The French Concession is another place where Western architecture is present and visitors can take in Tudor mansions and explore the many shopping and dining options of the district.

Take It or Leave It: Shanghai has a number of specialty museums like the Shanghai Glasses Museum, Museum of Oriental Musical Instruments and the China Tobacco Museum.


Places to Party

Shanghai offers a range of nightlife options. These include large dance clubs featuring world class DJs to lounges and pubs, many of which are located near the Bund. The city also offers theatrical performances, opera, acrobatics, musicals and live music from large-scale rock, pop and classical performances featuring internationally famous artists.

Hot Tips: A schedule of events going on in the city can be found in several monthly and bi-weekly magazines.


Where to Shop

Shanghai is famous throughout China for its shopping options. Head to Xujiahui and the surrounding area for electronic goods, from high-end computers to parts for custom-built electronics. High-end shopping can be found along Maoming South Road and contains art galleries and boutique fashion stores. Xintiandi, located in the French Concession, offers a mix of handmade accessories and souvenirs directed at tourists.

Caution: Although Xintiandi offers a range of shopping options, prices there are more expensive as the area is primarily directed towards tourists.


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About Shanghai

The Communist Party and Europeans fleeing World War II — both have shaped what Shanghai is today. The name means "City on the Sea," and the culturally diverse population makes it a great stop for Western travelers. As a booming financial metropolis, Shanghai combines colonial beauty with high-powered business lunches, a pulsating nightlife and cultural icons like the Jade Buddha Temple. Easy to navigate, the city is divided into two sections, and travelers will marvel at its mixture of neon-lit skyscrapers and French villas, as well as its strong-willed and cosmopolitan people. Located on the Yangzi River Delta, Shanghai was a small fishing village until the mid-1800's. In August 1842, after the first Opium War, it was opened as a port city to foreign trade. Influences, mostly English, American and French, caused the city to metamorphose into the cultural center it is today. Shanghai and its myriad of stimulating delights make for a great Chinese destination.