Shanghai is bothhistoric and futuristic, fashion- and food-forward, and full ofcultural sights to explore. The food scene (of local, regional, andinternational variety) is strong, and some of Asia’s (and theworld’s) top ranked bars and restaurants can be found here. Thecity’s wealth of museums and exhibition halls chronicle thecountry’s history and house its art. The skyscrapers of Pudongdistrict vie for world records of height and luxury, and the ShanghaiFashion Weeks are two of the most important events of the year forthe fashion industry. Plan some of your days here, but allowyourself time to wander and discover its diverse neighborhoods. Youmight find yourself at a jazz show, discover anamazing xiaolongbao (soup dumpling) restaurant, or evenstumble into a 400-year-old garden. Make a few plans, but also keepyour schedule somewhat open to let Shanghai surprise and delight you.


Planning YourTrip


Best Time toVisit: Fall is the best time to visit Shanghai. The plum rains(heavy showers) are over, and the weather is temperate with a mix ofwarm and cool days. Visitors can take advantage of the clear skies tosightsee outdoors, as well as enjoy the views from Shanghai’sfamous rooftops.


Language: Mandarinand Shanghainese (Shanghai dialect)1?


Currency: Yuan.The currency is also called renminbi (RMB).


GettingAround: The Shanghai Metro is cheap, fast, reliable,and easy to navigate. All signs are in Chinese and English.


Travel Tips: Alwayscarry a tissue pack and hand sanitizer; restrooms at more localplaces might not have toilet paper or soap in the bathrooms. Anddownload WeChat, called "Weixin" in Chinese. Youcan pay for pretty much everything in China using the wallet feature,and it also has a great written translation function.


Things to Do


Ascend some of theworld’s tallest buildings. Shop for the latest pieces fromlocal designers or some of the best knock-offs on the market. Wanderactive religious sites. Stroll through historic neighborhoods thatshow off European grandeur, art deco design, and Shikumen houses (astyle of Shanghainese architecture). See live jazz, independent, ororchestral music in different venues throughout the city. Attend atea ceremony, and buy your favorite brews. Go clubbing with livesharks—Shanghai has a vast and evolving list of activities, buthere are a few of our favorites to get you started.


Head to the Bund tosee the sunrise (known locally as “Bundrise”). Here youcan observe or join in local tai chi classes, run along the river,and see the city slowly wake up.


Go shopping onNanjing Road, one of the world’s most famous shopping streets.This three-mile (five kilometer) strip has high fashion malls,specialty stores, street vendors, and historic jewelers. If you gettired, swing into the Shanghai Museum or Jing’an Temple, alsoboth found along the road.


See Shanghai fromthe top of the Shanghai Tower, the world’s second tallestbuilding. Take some of the fastest elevators in the world (at a speedof 46 mph) to its observation deck on the 118th floor, the highestobservation deck in the world.


Getting There


Shanghai has twointernational airports: Shanghai Pudong International Airport(PVG) and Hongqiao International Airport (SHA). Mostinternational flights from outside of Asia will fly into Pudong. Mostdomestic flights will fly into Hongqiao. High-speed trains areanother popular and quick form of long-distance travel, connectingShanghai to Beijing, Chengdu, Shenzhen, and other cities in China.


What to Eat andDrink


Shanghai is famousfor its regional cuisine, which capitalizes on its proximity to thecoast. Dishes are known to be sweeter and oilier than other regionsin China. Their most famous culinary claims to fame are xiaolongbao(soup dumplings), which were invented in a village just north of thecity. Other Shanghai specialties include si da jin gang (thefour warriors of breakfast), yellow croaker noodles, and hairy crab.A large number of highly skilled chefs and restaurateurs have alsoshaped the culinary scene and made the Bund area the epicenter ofcreative and fine dining in Shanghai. However, for street food,head to Fangbang Xi Lu by Yuyuan Garden.

上海以其地方美食而闻名,这种美食充分利用了它靠近海岸的优势。众所周知,中国的菜肴比其他地区更甜更油腻。他们最著名的美食是小笼包(汤团),它是在城市北部的一个村庄发明的。上海的其他特色菜还包括四大金刚(早餐的四大勇士)、黄鱼面和大闸蟹。大量技艺高超的厨师和餐馆老板也塑造了上海的美食风景,并使外滩地区成为上海创意和美食的中心。然而,如果想吃街边小吃,可以去Yuyuan Garden 的方邦西路。

Microbreweries, winebars, speakeasies, and rooftop bars can all be found in Shanghai. Fora drink with a view, head to the Bund. For hip haunts, head to theFormer French Concession. Baijiu is the national cheap spirit, but inrecent years, it has received a makeover by being used as a base incocktail bars, featuring higher-end varieties from differentregions. Healer in theFFC is particularly known for their baijiu creations.


Tea culture ispervasive throughout China, and Shanghai is no exception. Go to ateahouse to experience a traditional Chinese tea ceremony in whichyou can see the tea prepared in front of you by a tea master. A teaceremony will have several varieties of tea for you to taste and thetea master will explain not only about the properties and qualitiesof tea you are sampling but also how they are important to Chineseculture as well.


According to theShanghai Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism, the tapwater is not safe to drink.2?Instead opt for bottled water which is readilyavailable at most hotels.


Where to Stay


Unless you havebusiness in Pudong, stay on the Puxi side of the river. Neighborhoodshere include the Bund, People’s Square, the Former FrenchConcession, Jing’an, and Xujiahui. For central, more affordableareas well-connected to the rest of the city by the metro, stay inJing’an and Xujiahui. Jing’an in particular is known forits historic sites, and both Xujiahui and Jing’an are known fortheir extensive shopping options. The Bund and People’s Squarehave luxury hotels, superb restaurants, high-end nightlife options,and are easily accessed by public transport. The Former FrenchConcession offers pleasant avenues good for walks, lots of greenery,French colonial and old Shanghainese architecture, and excellent barsand restaurants.


Culture andCustoms


Tipping is not atypical practice in Shanghai. In the fancier hotels and high-endrestaurants, a tip might be included (10 to 15 percent), but mostrestaurants, taxis, and other services will not include or expect atip. If you try to tip people at a local restaurant, they mightactually be offended, as it could be seen as a loss of face(embarrassment, but the concept of “face” goes deeperthan that).


It might be hard toflag down a waiter in more local Chinese restaurants. Should you needto get their attention, it’s perfectly acceptable to belt out“Fuwuyuan!” (meaning “waiter” in Mandarin) toget their attention while raising your hand. Keep in mind thatwhoever is paying for the meal is the person that orders thedishes.3?


If someone hands yousomething like cash or a business card with two hands, you shouldreceive it with two hands as a sign of respect. Also, if you receivea business card you should take a minute to carefully look over thefront and back, before putting it in your wallet. Again, this is asign of respect.


There are some scamsin Shanghai targeting tourists, but they can be easily avoided.Should anyone approach you and ask for you to buy art, go to a teaceremony, or get a drink, it’s best to decline. If you thinktheir offer is genuinely made though, you can test it by suggestingto go to another bar or teahouse. If they insist on going to one oftheir choosing, just walk away. Also, always use official taxis andinsist on the meter being used. If a driver is unwilling to comply,hop out and get another one.


Money Saving Tips


Take a metro overthe taxi. Shanghai has the most expensive taxi fares in all of China.


Visit in the lowseason (November to March) for cheaper accommodations, flights, andentrance fees to some attractions.


Instead of takingthe Maglev train to or from the airport, take metro line 2 the wholeway.


Shop at markets andnot malls.


Most of the museumsand parks in Shanghai are free or have a low entrance fee.


Many of the mainattractions in Shanghai are free to visit: the Bund, Nanjing Road,the Former French Concession, and more.


Buy a one-day orthree-day pass for the metro, or one- or two-day hop-on-hop-off passfor a bus, if you know you will be taking several rides a day.


Shanghai is famousfor its delicious and varied street food that doubles as a supercheap breakfast, lunch, or dinner option.


Pulling money out ofan ATM will give you a better exchange rate than exchanging cash inperson.


Get on a promoter'slist to get into clubs for free. (Usually just as simple as askingfor their WeChat).