Shanghai is the economic and commercial capital of China and has long been the scene of European influence on the Asian continent. Today, the city has become even more modern and Western in its culture, architecture, and activity. It is a thriving and important port and a frequent entry point into China for outsiders. Here are some of the best things to do in this great city.
1. Stroll Along the Bund — This line of European-looking buildings along the riverfront is a vestige of the British, French, and Dutch influence on life in the city.
2. Glimpse Chinese Culture at the Shanghai Museum — This excellent museum showcases the best of China in exhibits that run the gamut of Chinese artwork. It is located in People’s Square, a major city gathering place.
3. Search for Tranquility in Yuyuan Garden — Tranquility may be hard to find in this very popular location where an attempt has been made to capture the essence of the traditional Chinese garden. You might be better off taking a day trip to Suzhou (see #6 below) to find better examples.
4. Climb or at least Admire the Oriental Pearl Tower — This distinctive landmark, on the Pudong side of the river is actually dwarfed, these days by much taller skyscrapers, but its unusual appearance and location made it an important symbol of the city.
5. Visit the Jade Buddha Temple — Although out of the city center, this temple is a popular attraction with tourists since it is one of only a few remaining temples in the city, associated with Buddhism.
6. Make a Day Trip to Suzhou — Here is the epicenter of the Chinese garden. The ancient art of garden-making is nowhere better illustrated than in this city, about 75 miles west of Shanghai. Check out the Humble Administrator’s Garden or the Lion’s Grove Garden, both marvels of landscape design.
7. Visit a Water Village — Several of these towns lie west of Shanghai. There major characteristic is the use of canals and boat traffic instead of automobiles. The loveliest of these villages is Zhouzhuang, with its beautiful arched bridges and tranquil setting.
8. Go Ultra-modern on the Maglev Train — Experience the unbelievable feeling of traveling 300 miles per hour on land on this futuristic train from downtown to the Shanghai Airport.
9. Stroll Along Nanjing Road at Night — This partially pedestrian-only thoroughfare looks like Las Vegas at night with its many neon signs and interesting people.
10. Become a Kid Again in the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel — This multi-media experience allows visitors to be dazzled by lights and sounds as they make their way under the river from Puxi to Pudong or vice versa.
11. See a Chinese Acrobat Show — Some of the best acrobats in the world put on their amazing shows for Shanghai visitors. Be prepared to be totally entertained and wowed by these youthful acrobats.