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If you spend three days in Shanghai, you will be able to get a solid overview of the city's main sights and even some lesser-known — but still awesome — spots. Shanghai has a lot on offer when it comes to tourist entertainment, and you would probably have to move there for a couple years to see it all. However, three days are enough to give you a good overview, and this guide will help you choose the most fun activities and most impressive sights.

Good for
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Foodie
  • Thrifty Traveller
  • Trendsetter
  • Like a Local

15 Places

5 City Tips

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15 Places

Day 1

Oriental Pearl Tower (Dongfang Mingzhu)

Points of Interest & Landmarks, Observation Decks & Towers, Architectural Buildings

Riverside Promenade (Bingjiang Da Dao)

Parks

Happy Lemon (Wujiang Road)

Restaurants

Nanjing Lu (Nanjing Road)

Points of Interest & Landmarks

People's Square (Renmin Guang Chang)

Points of Interest & Landmarks, Visitor Centres

Grandmother restaurant

Restaurants

Day 2

Tian Zi Fang

Speciality & Gift Shops

Shanghai Museum (Shanghai Bowuguan)

Speciality Museums

Green Massage

Spas

ERA Acrobats

Theatre & Performances

Xibo

Restaurants

Day 3

Tours of Jewish Shanghai

Cultural Tours, Historical & Heritage Tours

Longhua Temple

Religious Sites

Shanghai World Financial Center

Observation Decks & Towers

Shanghai Chic

Restaurants

Johannes G's City Tips

  • While Shanghai is generally considered quite safe, you should always pay attention to your belongings (pickpocketing has become common in tourist areas like Nanjing Road) and remain aware of your surroundings. The emergency police number is 110.
  • Tipping isn't part of Chinese culture and can be considered rude. Whether you are eating in a restaurant or taking a taxi, just pay what's on the bill.
  • Public WiFi is scarce, so I recommend you check out the nearest China Mobile store to get a local sim. You will have to sign a lot of papers (and don't forget to bring your passport), but it's definitely worth having internet on your phone for orientation. China Mobile offers "Shanghai-only" sims, which are cheaper than the ones that work throughout China.
  • You can travel around the city on the uber-modern underground or by taxi. Both options are quite cheap and both accept the Shanghai Public Transportation Card (SPTC) for payments.
  • The taxis are highly regulated and required to use a meter.
    Day 1
  • Save
    Oriental Pearl Tower (Dongfang Mingzhu)
    Points of Interest & Landmarks, Observation Decks & Towers, Architectural Buildings
    See more photos
    Johannes G Says:

    The Oriental Pearl Tower can be found on pretty much every Shanghai postcard. At 468m (1,535ft) tall, it's the third highest TV tower in the world. Its interesting design makes it an integral part of the famous Shanghai skyline, and a trip to the top affords fabulous views. Start your day here for some orientation and a stunning first impression.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Make sure the visibility is good; otherwise, it might not be worth paying for the observation deck.
    • There is even an area with a see-through floor! Be sure to check it out.
    • The lines here are often long, so arriving first thing is a helpful plan for avoiding crowds. The tower opens at 8am.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #13 of 1,308 things to do in Shanghai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great architecture viewing 27/05/2015
    • Must see 27/05/2015
    • Oriental Pearl Tower (Dongfang Mingzhu)
    Address:
    No. 1 Century Avenue, Pudong New Area
    Shanghai 200120
    China
    Phone:
    8621 58791888
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    8:00 - 2:30
    Other:
  • Save
    Riverside Promenade (Bingjiang Da Dao)
    Parks
    See more photos
    Johannes G Says:

    The Riverside Promenade is a lovely place to stroll and take in the beautiful Shanghai skyline. Believe it or not, the skyscraper jungle you see is less than 20 years old. It's worth visiting this spot by both day and by night — the darker it gets, the more colorful it will be!

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • As this is quite a touristy area, be aware of pickpockets.
    • Here you get both awesome views and incredible backgrounds for selfies!
    • You can easily reach the promenade by underground or by taxi.
    • After you've looked out over the city from the Oriental Tower, the next logical step is taking in its intensity from the ground!
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #11 of 1,308 things to do in Shanghai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Lovely flowers 28/05/2015
    • river walk. 26/05/2015
    • Riverside Promenade (Bingjiang Da Dao)
    Address:
    Bingjiang Dadao
    Shanghai
    China
  • Save
    Happy Lemon (Wujiang Road)
    Restaurants (Bakeries)
    See more photos
    Johannes G Says:

    When it's time for a little break, one China's most popular refreshments should hit the spot. Even though bubble tea cafes have made their way to Europe and the Americas by now, Happy Lemon takes bubble tea science to a whole new level. A popular chain in China, this place offers more varieties of bubble teas and fruit shakes than you could possibly count — everything from traditional milk and pearl teas to new creations like banana and matcha shakes.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Happy Lemon is much cheaper than bubble tea in the West.
    • If you haven't had one yet, go for the traditional milk tea with tapioca pearls. If you feel more adventurous, try one of the Happy Lemon signature teas!
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #522 of 4,408 restaurants in Shanghai
    • Delicious. 23/05/2015
    • Always my favourite 29/11/2014
    • Happy Lemon (Wujiang Road)
    Address:
    WuJiang Road 150-1
    Shanghai
    China
    Phone:
    021-62675831
  • Save
    Nanjing Lu (Nanjing Road)
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Johannes G Says:

    Nanjing Road is a famous shopping area in Shanghai, offering all kinds of shops and restaurants. In this area, you will find business people, tourists, and lot of touts trying to sell all kinds of services, from massages to fake watches. Even if you're not interested in shopping, it's worth checking out this always-bustling area to get an idea of how many people there are in Shanghai.

    Good for
    • Trendsetter
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Family
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • This is a great place to go shopping for clothes and souvenirs. While shopping malls in Shanghai mostly focus on luxury products, Nanjing Road offers a variety of affordable shopping opportunities.
    • Many of the shops on Nanjing Road are the same ones you'll find in Europe and the Americas — however, they are often cheaper in China.
    • Go during the day to avoid pushy touts (though they are around by day, too, you won't be solicited as much as in the evening).
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #51 of 1,308 things to do in Shanghai
    • Reserve an entire night to do this place justice 26/05/2015
    • Lively but no cheap shopping here 25/05/2015
    • Nanjing Lu (Nanjing Road)
    Address:
    Nanjing East Road, Huangpu District
    Shanghai 200000
    China
  • Save
    People's Square (Renmin Guang Chang)
    Points of Interest & Landmarks, Visitor Centres
    See more photos
    Johannes G Says:

    Located to the south of Nanjing Road West, the People's Square is a large public square and the site of Shanghai's municipal government building. It's a great mix between beautiful park and architectural showcase. Buy a soda or tea, sit down in the park, and enjoy the fake bird sounds — they actually come from loudspeakers!

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • On weekends, this place turns into some kind of coupling marketplace, where Chinese parents try to find spouses for their unmarried children.
    • Definitely the right place to end a Nanjing Road shopping marathon!
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #76 of 1,308 things to do in Shanghai
    • Not much to see 19/05/2015
    • Beware of Tea Ceremony Scam Artists 08/05/2015
    • People's Square (Renmin Guang Chang)
    Address:
    People's Square, Huangpu District
    Shanghai 200000
    China
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    0:00 - 5:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Grandmother restaurant
    Restaurants (Chinese)
    See more photos
    Johannes G Says:

    End your first day in the city with a typical Shanghai dinner at Grandmother Restaurant! This place offers a great range of traditional fare and attracts both locals and tourists.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • Typical Shanghai cuisine is quite oily and sweet, so be prepared!
    • English menus with pictures are available upon request.
    • Try the caramelized pork belly in black sauce. It's one of the restaurant's most famous dishes.
    • Despite its proximity to the Bund, this restaurant is very affordable.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #35 of 4,408 restaurants in Shanghai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Good local food 28/05/2015
    • Nice quality and comfortable 21/05/2015
    • Grandmother restaurant
    Address:
    70 Fuzhou Road
    Shanghai
    China
    Phone:
    6321-6613
  • Day 2
  • Save
    Tian Zi Fang
    Speciality & Gift Shops
    See more photos
    Johannes G Says:

    Originally part of the French Concession, Tian Zi Fang has become a neighborhood full of small art galleries, craft shops, and cafes. It's the perfect place to start a day in Shanghai. The whole area is a labyrinth of alleys, perfect for an early stroll, a cup of coffee, and some souvenir shopping.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Trendsetter
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Shopping Fanatic
    Tips
    • Come here early to enjoy a cup of coffee and less crowded streets.
    • This is the place to buy original, handcrafted souvenirs.
    • Try to bargain before you actually buy something. Many times you will be able to pay less than what is on the price tag.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 491 Shopping in Shanghai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Very interesting but a bit commercial 24/05/2015
    • Pretty cute but more exy than other parts of Shanghai 22/05/2015
    • Tian Zi Fang
    Address:
    No.210 Taikang Road, Huangpu District
    Shanghai 200000
    China
    Phone:
    021-54657531
    Other:
  • Save
    Shanghai Museum (Shanghai Bowuguan)
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Johannes G Says:

    The Shanghai Museum offers an extensive collection of ancient Chinese art. It has been in its current location (near the People's Square in the city center) since 1996, and is considered China's first world-class modern museums. Visitors get the chance to dive into thousands of years of rich and colorful Chinese history and more than 120,000 art pieces. The museum attracts both art connoisseurs and people who are new to the topic.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The museum is free of charge, which makes it easy to come here several times if you feel like one visit isn't enough.
    • The earlier you come here, the quieter it will be.
    • All pieces on display have descriptions in English.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 1,308 things to do in Shanghai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great museum 28/05/2015
    • Fascinating place to spend an afternoon 27/05/2015
    • Shanghai Museum (Shanghai Bowuguan)
    Address:
    201 Ren Min Da Dao
    Shanghai
    China
    Phone:
    021-6372-3500
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    9:00 - 22:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Green Massage
    Spas
    See more photos
    Johannes G Says:

    Traveling through China — and especially Shanghai — can be stressful, which is why you should definitely make use of the great spa facilities that can be found throughout the city. Green Massage is a Shanghai spa chain that specializes in aromatherapy and beauty treatments. All of their six branches feature beautiful design and high-quality treatments. While this is definitely not the cheapest place to get a massage in Shanghai, it's still cheap for what you get. Choose the branch that is most convenient for you.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    Tips
    • Try the 90-minute oil massage — you will feel like a new person.
    • Book online in advance to make sure you get a slot that is convenient for you.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 58 Spas & Wellness in Shanghai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great place but the massage girl felt sleep on my head 11/05/2015
    • Not impressed ! 17/04/2015
    • Green Massage
    Address:
    304, 3F, The shops & Restaurants, Shanghai World Financial Center, No. 100, Century Ave., Pudong
    Shanghai
    China
    Phone:
    021-68778388
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:30 - 5:00
    Other:
  • Save
    ERA Acrobats
    Theatre & Performances
    See more photos
    Johannes G Says:

    You don't have to be especially interested in circus shows or ballet to enjoy ERA Acrobats. The show combines a range of traditional Chinese body control arts with modern dance, circus acrobatics, and live music, offering world-class entertainment that attracts foreigners and locals alike.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The weekend shows are particularly busy, so book your tickets in advance to make sure you can go on your chosen day.
    • The theater is quite small, which means that even the seats in the back provide a good view.
    • The show lasts approximately 1.5 hours, and it's the perfect before-dinner evening activity.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 20 Theatre & Concerts in Shanghai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Truly amazing skills 23/05/2015
    • Amazing show 22/05/2015
    • ERA Acrobats
    Address:
    No.2266 Gonggexin Road
    Shanghai
    China
    Phone:
    021-66525468
    Price range:
    $73 - $73
    Other:
  • Save
    Xibo
    Restaurants (Xinjiang)
    See more photos
    Johannes G Says:

    The name of this hidden gem restaurant refers to a minority people of the Xianjiang region. Specializing in the community's local cuisine, Xibo offers a range of interesting lamb, eggplant, and pumpkin dishes — you'll be surprised at how different this food is from what you've experienced in Shanghai so far!

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Trendsetter
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • This is a rather fancy place, so dress up a bit.
    • The lamb skewers are an absolute must!
    • Be sure to try one of the awesome desserts.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #60 of 4,408 restaurants in Shanghai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Amazing 05/05/2015
    • New type of Chinese food for me 02/05/2015
    • Xibo
    Address:
    3F, 85 Changshu Lu
    Shanghai
    China
    Phone:
    021-54038330
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    11:00 - 19:30
    17:30 - 3:30
  • Day 3
  • Save
    Tours of Jewish Shanghai
    Cultural Tours, Historical & Heritage Tours
    See more photos
    Johannes G Says:

    Shanghai is surprising in many ways. You will find the tallest buildings of the world, modern shopping malls, and beautiful old temples. But most people don't know that Shanghai also has an interesting Jewish history, and that there is actually an old Jewish ghetto here (located in southern Hongkou and southwestern Yangpu neighborhoods). There were already some Jewish communities in Shanghai when there was a big Jewish migration from Germany in the late 1930s. This area was made the designated place for stateless refugees, and between 1943 and 1945, it was one of the poorest areas of Shanghai.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Take one of the tours or just explore the former Jewish ghetto on your own.
    • The Jewish ghetto is interesting both for people with an interest in Judaism and for history fanatics. You will also find interesting and unexpected architecture in this area.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #9 of 72 Tours & Activities in Shanghai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Special experience 20/05/2015
    • DO NOT MISS THIS AMAZING TOUR 19/05/2015
    • Tours of Jewish Shanghai
    Address:
    Shang-Mira Garden Villa #1, 89 South Shui Cheng Lu
    Shanghai
    China
    Phone:
    13002146702
    Other:
  • Save
    Longhua Temple
    Religious Sites
    See more photos
    Johannes G Says:

    First build in 242 AD, the Longhua Temple is the largest authentic temple complex in Shanghai. Most of the buildings you see today are actually reconstructions of the originals, but the layout and architecture have been preserved since the temple was built during the Song dynasty. Located on the outskirts of Shanghai, this temple is usually not very touristy, and it offers a chance for some quiet time before you return to the busy city.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The outside of the temple doesn't give too much away. Just wait until you are inside.
    • This is a great place to relax, explore, and take some amazing photos.
    • If you are hungry, you will be able to buy a snack inside the temple.
    • If you are lucky, you'll get to see and hear the monks when they worship and chant.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #28 of 1,308 things to do in Shanghai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Make your guide / tour take you here 22/05/2015
    • Great place to relax, pray and learn 18/05/2015
    • Longhua Temple
    Address:
    No.2853 Longhua Road, Xuhui District
    Shanghai
    China
    Phone:
    021-64566085
  • Save
    Shanghai World Financial Center
    Observation Decks & Towers
    See more photos
    Johannes G Says:

    The Shanghai World Financial Center has an observation deck on 97th floor, where you can get a fantastic view of the Oriental Pearl Tower and the other giants of the city. Come when it's dark to indulge in an ocean of lights!

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Alongside great views, the Shanghai World Financial Center also offers a great range of restaurants.
    • You won't find cleaner and more luxurious toilets than the ones in the Shanghai World Financial Center.
    • By your third day, you'll have explored quite a bit of the metropolis and should be able to recognize a couple of places from up in the clouds!
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 1,308 things to do in Shanghai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • What a view. 28/05/2015
    • Amazing View from the Top - Fun Ride Up! 27/05/2015
    • Shanghai World Financial Center
    Address:
    Building 1, No.100 Century Ave, Pudong New Area
    Shanghai
    China
    Phone:
    021-68777878
    Other:
  • Save
    Shanghai Chic
    Restaurants (Shanghai)
    See more photos
    Johannes G Says:

    Shanghai Chic belongs to the family of new and modern restaurants that specialize in local cuisine but take it to a different level. The restaurant has a huge menu, with items like ostrich meat and crocodile soup next to more commonly known dishes. From a Western perspective, it's hard to believe that a restaurant of this quality would be located on the fifth floor of a shopping mall, but this lovely spot provides a memorable culinary experience.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Trendsetter
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Great value for your money. Beer is surprisingly cheap here, too.
    • Timeout Magazine praised this restaurant for its "hongshao rou." If you don't know what to order, start with this famous braised pork dish!
    • Despite its size, this restaurant is rather quiet, and a great place to discuss the events of the day.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #347 of 4,408 restaurants in Shanghai
    • Best meal in shanghai 27/05/2015
    • Excellent meal 06/05/2015
    • Shanghai Chic
    Address:
    489 Henan Lu
    Near fuxing Dong Lu
    Shanghai
    China
    Phone:
    021-63357779
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