Shanghai

Travel Guide
Oriental Pearl Tower featuring a city, skyline and night scenes
Visit this bustling eastern province to explore glitzy shopping malls, marvel at historic temples and climb to the top of towering skyscrapers.

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.

Where to stay in Shanghai

Andaz Xintiandi Shanghai - a concept by Hyatt
Andaz Xintiandi Shanghai - a concept by Hyatt
4.5 out of 5
88 Songshan Road, Shanghai, Shanghai, 200021
The price is $140 per night from Aug 21 to Aug 22
Stay at this 4.5-star luxury hotel in Shanghai. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and 2 restaurants. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the bathrooms in our ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (369 reviews)
"Amazing hotel with a great location."

Reviewed on May 4, 2020

Andaz Xintiandi Shanghai - a concept by Hyatt
Ramada Plaza Shanghai Pudong Airport
Ramada Plaza Shanghai Pudong Airport
4 out of 5
1100 Qi Hang Road, Pudong International Airport, Shanghai, Shanghai, 201207
The price is $144 per night from Aug 20 to Aug 21
Stay at this 4-star business-friendly hotel in Shanghai. Enjoy free WiFi, 2 restaurants, and breakfast. Our guests praise the comfy beds and the property condition ...
4/5 Very Good! (1,000 reviews)
"good service"

Reviewed on Aug 8, 2022

Ramada Plaza Shanghai Pudong Airport
Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland, an IHG Hotel
Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland, an IHG Hotel
4 out of 5
5888 Chenhua Road, Songjiang District, Shanghai, 201619
The price is $310 per night from Sep 7 to Sep 8
Stay at this 4-star spa hotel in Shanghai. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and 5 restaurants. Popular attractions Tian Ma Country Club and Shanghai Chenshan Botanic ...
4.3/5 Excellent! (49 reviews)
Nice space for vacation
"Overall it's good. The water curtain show looks great."

Reviewed on Jun 30, 2021

Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland, an IHG Hotel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Green Court Residence City Center Shanghai
Green Court Residence City Center Shanghai
4 out of 5
55 Beijing Xi Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai, Shanghai, 200003
The price is $85 per night from Aug 20 to Aug 21
Stay at this 4-star spa aparthotel in Shanghai. Enjoy free WiFi, a full-service spa, and a fitness center. Our guests praise the comfy rooms and the family amenities ...
4.2/5 Excellent! (1,242 reviews)
"Very nice and well maintained apthotel located in the city center. Staff is helpful and nice. Definitely will stay again ."

Reviewed on Dec 29, 2021

Green Court Residence City Center Shanghai
Ifc Residence
Ifc Residence
5 out of 5
8 Century Avenue Pudong Lujiazui, Shanghai, Shanghai, 200120
The price is $135 per night from Sep 17 to Sep 18
Stay at this 5-star luxury aparthotel in Shanghai. Enjoy free WiFi, breakfast, and a children's pool. Our guests praise the pool and the helpful staff in our ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (579 reviews)
"It's nice stay and very clean everywhere."

Reviewed on May 6, 2021

Ifc Residence
Ascott Huai Hai Road Shanghai
Ascott Huai Hai Road Shanghai
4.5 out of 5
No 282,Huai Hai Road Central, Huangpu District, Shanghai, Shanghai, 200021
The price is $133 per night from Aug 18 to Aug 19
Stay at this 4.5-star luxury aparthotel in Shanghai. Enjoy free WiFi, breakfast, and a bar/lounge. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the spacious rooms ...
4.1/5 Very Good! (459 reviews)
"The breakfast was less than desirable."

Reviewed on Sep 21, 2021

Ascott Huai Hai Road Shanghai
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Getting around Shanghai

The Shanghai Metro is a fantastic network that connects all the major sightseeing, shopping and business areas of this vast city. The station names are written in both English and Mandarin, making the system easy to navigate. The public bus network is also comprehensive, though less tourist-friendly. Taxis are affordable and are easy to hail on the streets, but renting a car of your own is not advised. Visit the The Ministry of Transport of the People's Republic of China website.Browse Shanghai rental cars.

Best time to visit

Most tourists visit Shanghai in the summer months. While this time of year has its charms, with lively streets and bouts of sun, it also brings sudden rains and intense humidity. Go for September, October or early November instead, when the weather is warm and the streets and parks will still be buzzing with energy. Good, affordable accommodations will be easier to find in fall, too.

Popular places to visit

Things to do

Read travel guides and advice on visiting Shanghai

Cities near Shanghai