Shanghai Attractions: Sightseeing in the City

Shanghai Attractions: Sightseeing in the City

shanghai bund
View of Shanghai’s The Bund on a hazy night

Shanghai is the largest and most developed city in China. It has a population of more than 18 million and over 5.8 million migrants!  This busy city has the nicknames of “Paris of the Orient” or “Pearl of China”, reflecting its importance and significance in China and the World.

Even during the 1930’s, Shanghai was already the largest and most prosperous city in the Far East regions. Today, Shanghai city still shines as a dynamic city. It homes to both western and eastern cultures and showcases the essence of new and old China.

Not only that, Shanghai also upholds a reputation of being a successful financial and commerical centre. A modern, International and fashionable metropolis, Shanghai attracts millions of visitors every year for business, shopping, sightseeing and entertainment.

With the current World Expo 2010 being held in Shanghai (2010 May – Oct), the city once again proves its capabilities to stand on the world stage and open its arms with warm hospitality to welcome visitors from over the world.

If you are one of the millions coming to Shanghai for the Expo 2010, you have to take some time to experience what else Shanghai has to offer – to engulf yourself in the unique flavours and cultures that makes Shanghai so appealing.

This article, we will bring you to the popular Sightseeing spots in Shanghai City!

The Bund


The Bund (外滩: wài tān) is one of the most famous Sightseeing Spots in Shanghai. It refers to Shanghai’s  waterfront running along the west shore of the 114 kilometres Huangpu River, which forms the eastern boundary of the old downtown Shanghai.

The Bund now forms a marvelous promenade for people to stroll along the river bank and admire the wonderful scenery along both sides. Along the Bund is one of Shanghai’s signature cityscape – a long stretch of colonial-era Europan buildings that were erected in the 1920’s by foreign governments, trading houses and expatriate millionaires.

Colonial architecture along the Bund in Shanghai
Colonial architecture along the Bund in Shanghai

On the other side of the river bank, are the towers and skyscrapers of modern Shanghai. These skyscrapers of the Pudong New Area include some of Asia’s and the world’s tallest and amazing structures.

Shanghai Attractions: Sightseeing in the City
Night scenes across the river viewed from the Bund

Walking down the long pedestrian walkway, you get to enjoy the sights of Shanghai’s tastefully old colonial architectures as well as the scenes of Shanghai’s spectacularly modern city skyscrapers. Visiting the Bund both during the day and the night offers you a different view altogether. At night, the bright and colourful lights across the Bund, give this place a new life and look! After 7pm, the colonial stretch of building along the Bund will light up, making it a gorgeous night scene.

Yu Yuan

The Yu Yuan (豫园: yù yuán) area is a famous and popular Tourist attraction in Shanghai; it’s a must visit spot if you come to Shanghai. In Yu Yuan area, you will find yourself absorbed in the lively atmosphere, where there are several popular attractions. Here, you can shop and eat local snacks at the bustling Yu Yuan Tourism Mart, visit the famous Shanghai City God Temple, enjoy the beautiful and serene Yu Garden and stroll along Yu Yuan Old Street.

Yu Yuan Tourism Mart

Yu Yuan Tourism Mart (豫园商城: yù yuán shāng chéng) lies in the heart of bustling Shanghai. The buildings date back to the fabled Ming Dynasty. Now Yu Yuan Area is still preserved and revamped to showcase to visitors the long history and rich cultures of Shanghai and of China.

yu yuan tourism mart

yu yuan tourism martYou can find charming opera theatres, Chinese tea houses and restaurants here. Local snacks are abundant and delicious. There are also many shops that sell Chinese traditional ornaments and handicrafts.

yuyuan mart


Address: Fang Bang Middle Road 方浜中路

(He Nan South Road 河南南路 – Ren Min Road 人民路 – An Ren Road 安仁路)


City God Temple


Shanghai’s City God Temple (城隍庙: Chéng huáng miào) is a famous and popular spot for both locals and visitors. Locals pray and make offerings at the temple, while visitors bask themselves in the rich cultures and traditions housed within.

City God Temples are common in China. According to the ancient Chinese tradition, every city is supposed to have its own city god temple. Shanghai being one of the most important cities in China also has a city god temple, which is the central shrine for Daoist worship in the city.

History of Shanghai’s City God Temple

The history of the temple dates back to 1403 AD, when Qin Yubo (秦裕伯), a local official was chosen as Shanhai’s patron town god by the Ming Dynasty Hongwu emperor. The temple was built to honor Qin Yubo and renovated in 1994.


Address: No. 1 Yi Cheng Road 邑城路 , No. 249 Fang Bang Middle Road 方浜中路


Yu Garden


Yu Garden (豫园: yù yuán) is located at the heart of Old Town, a few blocks southwest of the Bund in downtown Shanghai. It is one of China’s loveliest classical gardens. Its name means ‘Garden of Contentment‘, and it is indeed a pastoral world apart from modern and hectic Shanghai.

History of Yu Garden

Its construction was completed in 1577 by an official, Pan Yunduan, as the private estate for his father, who served in the Ming Dynasty as the governor of Sichuan. Laid out by a landscape artist, Zhan Nanyang, it has become one of the most renowned gardens in South China. The portion known as the Inner Garden (Nei Yuan) was added in 1709. It is a remarkable maze of gorgeous Ming Dynasty pavilions and elaborate rockeries, arched bridges, and goldfish ponds, encircled by a massive, undulating dragon wall. Occupying just 5 hectares (12.5 acres), it nevertheless seems as expansive as a small town, with room for 30 pavilions.

As the Pan family declined, the garden was gradually abandoned and overgrown until the local gentry restored it in 1760. It became the headquarters of the Small-Sword (Dagger) Society Uprising against foreign imperialists in Shanghai, Xiamen and other parts of China in 1853. During the early time of Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Revolution (1851-1864), it was damaged badly. Part of the garden became the bazaar and local guildhalls, but over 20,000 square meters remain of tall rockeries, halls, ponds and pavilions linked by zigzag corridors.

Garden Info

Address: No.218 Anren Street 安仁街

Opening hours: 8:30am – 5:30pm

Entrance Fee:

April 1st – June 30th & Sep.1st – Nov.30th      40RMB

Dec.1st – Mar.30th & July 1st – Aug.30th       30RMB


Yu Yuan Old Street / Shanghai Old Street

Yu Yuan Old Street (豫园老街: yù yuán lǎo jiē) or also known as Shanghai Old Street (上海老街: shàng hǎi lǎo jiē) is a 825m long street (Ren Min Road to He Nan Road), lying North of Yu Yuan Tourism Mart.

This street has a long history with old shop houses, consisting of goldsmiths, wine shops, tea houses, opera theatres and merchant shops. It now still retains its past glamour and showcases the more ancient Shanghainese traditions and businesses.

Yu yuan old street


Address: Fang Bang Middle Road 方浜中路 (Zhong Hua Road 中华路 – He Nan Road 河南路)

Oriental Pearl TV Tower

oriental pearl tower

The 468-metre-high Oriental Pearl TV Tower (东方明珠电视塔, Dong Fang Ming Zhu) is one of the most popularly visited attractions in Shanghai.  The Oriental Pearl Tower is often depicted as a symbolic representation of Shanghai, due to its unique and futuristic design as well as its prominent location and height.

Constructed from 1991 to 1995, Oriental Pearl Tower was the tallest structure in China, until it was surpassed by the Shanghai World Financial Center in 2007.

Inside the tower, there is a revolving restaurant (at 267m high) and Observatory level / scenery-viewing platform (263m), which can accommodate 1,600 people in the tallest ball. Here visitors can enjoy a clear and magnificent panoramic view of The Bund and the Pudong New Area.

Visitors can also explore the Shanghai City’s History and Development Exhibits in the tower which introduce Shanghai’s histories and cultures.

Oriental Pearl Tower


Address: No.1 Pudong Century Avenue

Opening hours: 8:00am – 9:30pm


100RMB      263m scenery-viewing platform

135RMB      the second ball + History and Development Show

150RMB      three balls

35RMB       History and Development Show

200RMB      revolving dining-room buffer lunch     11:00am – 2:00pm

280RMB      revolving dining-room buffer dinner     5:00pm – 9:00pm

oriental pearl tower lights up at night
The Oriental Pearl Tower lights up at night

Skyscrapers of Shanghai

Shanghai is a worldwide architects’ dream place to put their new angled large installations on this paradise of adventures. Skyscrapers as the symbol of metropolis definitely would be a part of the skyline of the city. The number of skyscrapers above 200 metres in Shanghai is more than thirty. Near the shore of Huangpu, it is a hypaethral skyscrapers museum. Here are two of them worthy of visiting.

One of the three most distinct Skyscrapers in Pudong of Shanghai
Three distinct Skyscrapers in Pudong of Shanghai

Jin Mao Tower

The Jin Mao Tower (金茂大厦: jīn mào dà shà) is an 88-story (420.5m) landmark super tall skyscraper in the Lujiazui area of the Pudong district of Shanghai. It contains offices and the Shanghai Grand Hyatt hotel.

Jin Mao Tower

Jin Mao Tower’s design draws on elements of traditional Chinese architecture such as the tiered pagoda. A rhythmic pattern is formed with its gentle tiered design.

The Tower’s design revolves around the Chinese lucky number – 8. There are 88 floors, its built around an octagon-shaped concrete wall core and many of the pillars and foundations of the tower coincides with the number 8.

inner Jin Mao Tower
Top down view of the atrium of Jin Mao Tower

Shanghai World Financial Center (SWFC)

Shanghai World Financial Center (上海环球金融中心: Shàng hǎi huán qiú Jīn róng zhōng xīn) is supertall skyscraper in Pudong, Shanghai. SWFC is uniquely designed, with the top somewhat resembling a bottle opener. It has received several design awards by its stylish looks and innovations in structural design.

Jin Mao Tower and Shanghai World Financial Center
Jin Mao Tower and Shanghai World Financial Center

At 492 metres, SWFC is currently the third tallest building in the world and the tallest in China.

SWFC consists of offices, hotels, conference rooms and shopping malls. There are also 3 observation decks. The highest deck being 474m high!

SWFC observatory
Observatory deck in Shanghai World Financial Center
Shanghai World Financial Center
Shanghai World Financial Center

The Shanghai Tower

Currently under construction and estimated to be completed in 2014, the Shanghai Tower will eventually become the tallest building in China and 2nd tallest in the World.

More of Shanghai

Can’t get enough of the wonders of Shanghai? Read on about Shanghai Famous Streets and Buildings where we will bring you to popular chill out spots as well as museums in Shanghai!

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