Shanghai is by far one of the best cities I’ve traveled to, especially throughout Asia. Located in East China, the city is the perfect combination of old and new. The modern architecture makes you feel like you’re in a city of the future and the buildings are the most impressive I’ve seen throughout my travels.
With over 24 million people, Shanghai is the largest city in China by population. I stayed in the financial district of Shanghai at the beautiful Grand Hyatt hotel. I highly recommend this hotel to first time visitors of Shanghai for its incredible 360° views of the city during both the day and night. There is an observation deck in this hotel called the “Jin Mao Tower” and also a popular bar at the top of the hotel. Finally, the Grand Hyatt Shanghai is in a central location and close to the metro station making it very easy to get around.
View from the Grand Hyatt Restaurant
Nanjing Road – If you Google “Top 10 Things to Do in Shanghai”, Nanjing Road will definitely be up there on the list. Nanjing Road is considered one of the busiest shopping streets in the world. Here, you’ll find everything from local Chinese fashion stores to retailers like Zara, Forever 21 and Apple. This street is open late and definitely best seen at night. Although I didn’t do any shopping, I had fun walking down the street and people watching. It reminded me of the Las Vegas strip and also Times Square in New York.
Xiaolongbao – Also a must-do in Shanghai is trying the famous soup dumplings. The traditional Chinese diet is heavy in pork which was hard for me to get used to at first as I don’t eat a lot of pork. The reason for this is because pork is much cheaper than chicken or beef and easier to raise. But I try to be as open as possible when traveling because I really believe it is part of understanding and learning about the culture. If you are vegan or vegetarian, not to worry because these soup dumplings can be enjoyed vegetarian style as well!
The Bund Riverwalk – By far my favorite part of Shanghai, the reason I fell in love with this city and the reason I’ll come back again. I was not really sure what to expect when I researched visiting the riverwalk because the river in Shanghai is not a pretty color. To my surprise it was very impressive. Having recently been to Europe, it was very reminiscent of the streets there. It is the historical part of Centeral China along the Huangpu river. It was once the area that held the trading houses from many European nations, the US and other parts of the world which is why these buildings have a lot of European charisma and charm. The building heights are restricted here so it looks completely different from the modern Pudong skyline which you can see across the river.
You can spend a full day on The Bund looking through the shops, walking through the fancy hotel lobbies and eating at the nice restaurants.
Dragon Dinner Cruise – Another highlight of our trip was doing a boat ride across the Huangpu river at night to get an even closer view of the skyline and both sides of Shanghai (the modern and historical at night). Dinner is served on this cruise, but I’ll be upfront, it’s not good. So eat before you come or plan to eat after. The boat is huge and you have free range to walk around. It’s about 90 minutes total. Another alternative is taking the white boats which are less expensive. You can’t reserve those in advanced so you will have to wait at the pier to get on, but it’s worth being on the river at night at some point during your trip.
Hancity Fashion and Accessories Plaza – If you’ve never been or heard about China’s imitation scene, you’ll definitely want to check out this spectacle. You will see hundreds and hundreds of imitation products and people from all over the world bargaining for them. Don’t be fooled though, the quality is not always the best so be careful before you buy. However, also keep in mind that most of our products are manufactured in China. Since buying counterfeit products is illegal in the U.S., you will need to be extremely careful and cautious about your purchases when coming home through customs if you choose to buy.
But you can find great souvenirs here like this traditional Chinese top, hair chopsticks and other items to bring back for friends and family. Always remember to bargain. I’ll be doing a special post solely on the bargaining experience, what to do and what not to do.
ERA Circus Intersection of Time – Shanghai’s version of “Cirque du Soleil” and great evening entertainment for all ages. The talented Chinese acrobats tell the story of the past, present and future of China in performances that will have you on the edge of your seat holding your breath. Tickets should be reserved in advanced and can most likely be reserved through your hotel. Shanghai was truly a magical city and I hope to go back soon. Leave me a comment and let me know about your travels or if you have more questions about my experience here. Thanks for reading and #stayclassy!
Check out one of my favorite moments from the trip: