The province of Shanghai is dominated by its eponymous metropolis, one of China’s major economic and cultural hubs. Here, modern skyscrapers sit near Buddhist temples and art deco buildings, while sleek museums stand alongside manicured gardens and cramped alleys. Shop for local crafts, slurp freshly made noodles, visit historic museums and enjoy a rare moment of peace in a tucked-away monastery.
Situated on the mouth of the Yangtze River, the city of Shanghai blends modern and historic elements, as well as drawing inspiration from both Eastern and Western cultures. At the Shanghai History Museum, find out more about the city’s origins as a small fishing and textiles town that transitioned into a popular destination for foreigners to establish homes and businesses.
To see the city from different perspectives, walk along the riverfront promenade known as the Bund. Marvel at the various architectural styles visible from the walkway. For a bird’s-eye view, head for the observation deck at the Shanghai Tower.
When the weather is nice, visitors and locals converge on the Yùyuán Gardens to stroll, sit in the shade and watch colorful fish swimming around in the pools. Soak up the sun with a boat trip in Zhujiajiao, a historic water town in the suburbs, known for its Ming- and Qing-era bridges. If it’s raining, consider taking shelter in Xīntiāndì, a shopping and entertainment complex packed with boutique shops and restaurants.
Explore the city’s religious past at the Buddhist Jìng’ān Temple. Smell the burning incense and inspect the ornate statues that decorate the halls. Other notable Buddhist sites include the Jade Buddha Temple, one of the only active monasteries remaining in Shanghai.
Book your vacation in the spring or fall for the best weather or visit in the first week of October during the National Day holiday when crowds flock to the city for celebrations. Fly into one of two international airports, Hongqiao or Pudong, to start your journey through the region.
Upscale shopping complexes, ancient temples and relaxing gardens make Shanghai a top destination for travelers looking to experience modern-day China.