Shanghai Top 20 Sights - Global Storybook

Shanghai: Top 20 Sights

Home to over 24 million of people – Shanghai is the biggest city in China, and is considered to be its ‘financial capital’.  It is one of the most beautiful, modern and expensive cities in the whole World, rival only to Tokyo and New York.

In this guide on Shanghai’s top 20 sights – we have compiled some of the most visited and interesting attractions in the city, to help you get to know it a little bit better, especially if you are going there on your first visit.

1. Oriental Pearl Tower 

Oriental Pearl Tower, Shanghai, China - Global StorybookThe Oriental Pearl Radio and TV Tower, as it is officially called, is the most famous sight in Shanghai, and it’s widely recognized around the World by its unique and interesting form.  It’s primary purpose is to offer beautiful, panoramic views from its 360-degree, round observation platforms, located on different levels.

Its highest deck is called the “Space Capsule” and is located at 351 meters above the ground.  It’s the smallest of the three “ball-shaped” figures of the Oriental Pearl Tower, and requires a separate ticket for its entrance.  The second and the third observation decks are located in the medium-sized “ball-shaped” figure – at 263 and 259 meters respectively.  While the second highest observation deck only offers large panoramic windows, the third one is famous for its glass-bottom ‘transparent observatory’.

In addition to these 3 main sightseeing decks – there’s also a revolving restaurant, located at 267 meters, which offers buffet-style lunch and dinners; and an amazing museum (Shanghai History Museum – sight #8), located on the ground floor.

  • Address: 1 Century Ave, LuJiaZui, Pudong
  • Time required: 2-3 hours (expect big lines)
  • Hours of operation: everyday: 8:30am – 9:30pm
  • Price: 220 Yuan (includes the “Space Capsule”, plus Upper and Lower spheres, and the Shanghai History Museum (sight#8)); 160 Yuan (includes Upper and Lower spheres, plus the Shanghai History Museum)  The restaurant prices: Lunch Buffet: (11am – 2pm) 298 Yuan, per person, Dinner Buffet: (5pm – 9pm) 328 Yuan, per person
  • Official website: http://orientalpearltower.com

2. The Bund

‘The Bund’ is commonly known as the wide, waterfront promenade which runs on the Huangpu river’s west bank, and offers beautiful views of Shanghai’s skyline, including the famous Oriental Pearl Tower (sight #1).  It’s one of the most popular touristic sights in the city, and must be visited at least twice during one’s first visit to Shanghai – once during the daytime and a second time during the nighttime.

The name ‘Bund’ actually stands for the promenade’s adjacent historic buildings, located mostly in the central part of this sight.  Featuring numerous banks, foreign embassies, publishing houses, and many other prominent institutions – this area quickly became the financial and the economic hub of the city, when it was first developed.  Most of these beautiful buildings were designed and built by the British, during their early occupation days.

  • Address: Zhongshan East 1st Rd, WaiTan
  • Time required: 1 hour or less
  • Hours of operation: 24/7
  • Price: free

3. Shanghai Tower

Shanghai Tower, Shanghai, China - Global StorybookShanghai Tower is the tallest building in Shanghai and in Asia in general, and it’s the second tallest building in the whole World!  It measures 632 meters in height, and includes 127 floors above ground.  It is also famous for having the speediest elevators on the planet – which run at 18 meters per second, and can deliver one to its 118th floor’s observation deck, in 55 seconds.

In addition to the above mentioned observation deck, the ground floor features numerous interactive displays about the Shanghai Tower – its history and early construction days, as well as about other famous skyscrapers around the World.

  • Address: 501, Middle Yincheng Road, Pudong
  • Time required: 1-2 hours
  • Hours of operation: everyday: 8:30am – 10:00pm; ticket counter closes 30 minutes prior
  • Price: 180 Yuan (adult)
  • Official website: http://www.shanghaitower.com/

4. People’s Park + People’s Square

Located literally in the heart of the city – the People’s Square is one of the largest squares in Shanghai, and it’s where the city’s main government’s headquarters building is standing.  Once upon a time – it used to be a… horse-racing track, but nowadays, it’s the most important and famous public square in Shanghai.

Right next to the Square there’s the People’s Park – a beautiful, vast and green public park, where two of the city’s most important museums (Shanghai Museum – sight #5, and Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art – sight #14) are hosted.

  • Address: Wusheng Rd, RenMin GuangChang
  • Time required: 1 hour or less
  • Hours of operation: 24/7
  • Price: free

5. Shanghai Museum 

With its breathtaking collections of antique porcelain pottery, Buddhist statues, seals, coins, calligraphy, beautiful paintings, jade, period furniture, and many more items – Shanghai Museum is one of the most important museums of the city, and of the country in general.

One of its most interesting galleries is an ethnic minority exhibition on the fourth floor, that includes national costumes, jewelry and footwear, costume masks, and other unique items collected and brought from various, distant regions of China.  In addition, the museum often runs temporary exhibitions in partnerships with different museums from all over the World.

  • Address: 201 Renmin Ave, RenMin GuangChang
  • Time required: 2-3 hours
  • Hours of operation: everyday: 9:00am – 5:00pm, last entry at 4:00pm
  • Price: free, but admission is caped at 8,000 visitors per day
  • Official website: http://www.shanghaimuseum.net/en/

6. Nanjing Road

Nanjing Road is one of the most famous shopping streets in Shanghai – a somewhat unique blend of NYC’s Broadway and Times Square.  It runs from The Bund (sight #2) on one end, and the People’s Square (sight #3) on the other, and is wide and long enough to accommodate thousands of pedestrians.  In fact, it’s total length is estimated to be 5,5 kilometers.

The numerous stores that fill up this street range from cheap take-out snack stands, to high-end luxury boutiques, and therefore one will have a wide range of options, if one is interested in buying something.  But even if one is not interested in shopping in the least – this is a great street to explore on foot, especially during nighttime.

  • Address: Nanjing Rd Pedestrian Street
  • Time required: 1 hour or less
  • Hours of operation: 24/7
  • Price: free

7. Yu Garden

This beautiful garden, located in the old quarter of the city, is one of the most picturesque places in Shanghai.  Occupying an area of almost 5 hectares (or 20,000 square meters) – this garden is one of the few remaining original, ancient landmarks.  It’s history dates back to the mid-1500s, when it was once the largest (and the richest) private garden of its kind in Shanghai.

The garden is full of amazing pagodas, pavilions, towers and halls, bridges, small ponds, and interesting courtyards.  In order to get the most of this experience – one must plan to spend at least 2 hours at the site.  Please note – in order to find Yu Garden’s main entrance, one must pass through a lively and colorful market, that has a large number of street vendors offering different items, including snacks.  There’s also a very famous, beautiful and historic temple, called ‘City God Temple’ located right opposite the Yu Garden, which is worth checking out

  • Address: 218 An Ren Street
  • Time required: 1-2 hours
  • Hours of operation: everyday: 8:30am – 4:45pm
  • Price: 40 Yuan

8. Shanghai History Museum 

Located right inside the Oriental Pearl Tower (sight #1), on its ground floor, this fascinating museum was opened only recently in 1984.  It’s dedicated primarily to the history of the city, and includes some very interesting exhibitions – such as old cars, trains, buses, pedicabs, rickshaws, and carriages from the mid-19th to the late 20th centuries; some recreated scenes related to the city’s old days, as well as numerous artifacts, posters and small scale ‘real-life’ showpiece installations.

Some of these installations depict scenes from Shanghai’s ‘rural life’, before the invasion of the British; some are related to its old seaport area – showing merchants, sailors and traders; some present various shops, selling pretty much everything – from herbs, bamboo, tobacco to cotton.  The museum’s main halls are divided by themes, which are: “Trace back to Huating”, “Old footsteps in Shanghai”, “Sketch of the port-opening”, “Foreign settlement” and some others.

One is surely guaranteed to never look at Shanghai the same – after visiting this incredibly enlightening museum.

  • Address: 1 Century Ave, LuJiaZu
  • Time required: 1-2 hours
  • Hours of operation: 8:00am – 9:30pm
  • Price: 35 Yuan (regular entrance), or 160 Yuan in combination with the Oriental Pearl Power (sight #1)
  • Official website: http://www.historymuseum.sh.cn/index.php/index/index

9. Jing’an Temple and Park

Translated literally as the “Temple of Peace and Tranquility”, this beautiful Buddhist temple includes several halls, a strikingly gorgeous Tower, and a large central courtyard.  It’s filled with amazing statues of Buddha and some other deities.  Built originally in 247 AD, the Jing’an Temple was moved to its current location only later, in the early 1200s.

Right across the road from the temple there’s the charming Jing’an Park – a favorite place for locals to hang out, practice tai chi, sing, dance, play cards, or just socialize with friends.

  • Address: 1686 Nanjing W Rd
  • Time required: 1-2 hours
  • Hours of operation: 7:30am – 5:00pm
  • Price: 50 Yuan

10. Century Overbridge (Lujiazui Bridge)

Century Overbridge, ShanghaiThe Century Overbridge is a footbridge located right between the Oriental Pearl Tower (sight #1), Shanghai Tower (sight #3), Shanghai World Financial Center (sight #11), Jing Mao Tower (sight #13) and the Lujiazui Central Green Space (sight #12) in the Pudong district.  It’s two official names are derived from the avenues (‘Century Ave’ and “Lujiazui Rd’) above which it was built.

One of the bridge’s most interesting features is the circular intersection, located above ‘Mingzhu Roundabout’.  Along its path the bridge is accessible by both – stairs and escalators, and it’s easy to get on and off at different location points.

This beautiful pedestrian footbridge is an amazing place to take a walk on, especially during the sunset and the evening hours – to enjoy some stunning views of Shanghai’s most famous towers, sparkling with a rainbow of colors.

  • Address: Lujiazui E Rd
  • Time required: 1 hour or less
  • Hours of operation: 24/7
  • Price: free

11. Shanghai World Financial Center 

Shanghai World Financial Center, Shanghai, China - Global StorybookThe second tallest building in the city, Shanghai World Financial Center, is also famous for its particular, unique shape – it looks like a very narrow… purse, with a top handle.  When you see it once – it’s not so easy to forget.

There are several main observation decks inside this skyscraper – one on the 100th floor, at 474 meters (includes a glass-bottom floor – aka ‘skywalk’), the second on the 97th, at 439 meters (also includes a ‘skywalk’), the third one on the 95th, at 423 meters, and the last one on the 94th floor.  In regards to the panoramic views – it has the least best position from other skyscrapers, and we include it here mostly for its significance (it’s the 8th tallest building in the World), and its stunning design.  For more information on the city’s best views, see this post: Shanghai: Top 5 Panoramic Views.

  • Address: 100 Century Ave, LuJiaZui, Pudong
  • Time required: 1-2 hours
  • Hours of operation: 8:00am – 11:00pm, ticket counter closes 1 hour prior
  • Price: 180 Yuan (includes all decks); 120 Yuan (includes only the 94th floor)
  • Official website: http://swfc-shanghai.com

12. Lujiazui Central Green Space

This charming green ‘space’ is ideally located right next to Shanghai’s famous skyscrapers – Shanghai Tower (sight #1), Shanghai World Financial Center (sight #11), Jin Mao Tower (sight #13), and it’s also not far from the Oriental Pearl Tower (sight #1).  So when you do get tired from looking up at all these fancy constructions, you can come and rest in the shade of this beautiful park.  Featuring a tiny lake, some benches and small pavilions, as well as several interesting statues – this amazing place is definitely worth stopping by.

  • Address: 15 Lujiazui E Rd, LuJiaZu
  • Time required: 1 hour or less
  • Hours of operation: 24/7
  • Price: free

13. Jin Mao Tower 

Jin Mao Tower, Shanghai, China - Global StorybookThe third tallest building in Shanghai, the Jin Mao Tower is also known for its unusual shape.  It’s a modern version of a traditional wooden pagoda – though one made of steel and glass.  Inside it’s hosting a number of offices, a 5-star hotel (Grand Hyatt Shanghai), a shopping mall, a few restaurants, and even some nightclubs.

It also has an observation deck – located on the 88th floor.  Though it cannot compete with other skyscrapers for offering the highest views from above – it has something that none other buildings have, in any other cities in the World.  Its most popular and unique feature is the outdoors… skywalk (on the 88th floor)!

  • Address: 88 Century Ave, LuJiaZui, Pudong
  • Time required: 1-2 hours
  • Hours of operation: everyday: 8:30am – 9:30pm
  • Price: 120 Yuan (reg. ticket), 388 Yuan (includes the skywalk)
  • Official website: http://www.jinmao88.com/html/index.php

14. Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art

This small museum located in the heart of People’s Park (sight #4) often runs very interesting and unique exhibitions, in partnership with various local and international artists.  As the name implies – it is dedicated primarily to the modern art.  It was opened fairly recently, in 2005.  It’s absolutely worth checking out – to have a different perspective of Shanghai.

  • Address: People’s Park, 231 W. Nanjing Rd
  • Time required: 1 hour or less
  • Hours of operation: everyday: 10:00am – 6:00pm
  • Price: depends on the current exhibition
  • Official website: http://www.mocashanghai.org/en/

15. The Bund Sightseeing Tunnel

The Bund Sightseeing Tunnel is one of the most famous attractions in Shanghai.  It’s also one of the most interesting ways to cross the tunnel underneath the Huangpu river.

The attraction consists of a continuous, rolling number of glass cabins, which can take between 10-15 people.  The cabin then proceeds to move through the tunnel, where an incredible light and sound show takes place.  While this is not the cheapest way to cross the tunnel – it should be experience at least once.

  • Address: 300 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, next to Nanjing Dong Lu
  • Time required: 30 minutes or less
  • Hours of operation: everyday: 8:00am – 10:00pm (open until 10:30pm during the Summer)
  • Price: 50 Yuan (one way), 70 Yuan (return ticket)

16. Lu Xun Park

Lu Xun is considered to be the father of modern Chinese literature, and therefore he is one of the most important writers in China.  This park, which was named in his honor – includes a large, free museum (‘Shanghai Lu Xun Museum’) with some of Lu Xun’s personal items, including some letters, photographs, and books; several of his statues, and his grave.  His private house, where he lived from 1933-1936, is also located not far from the site.

The park itself offers a number of recreational activities, such as boat rides, various outdoor games, some regular local festivals, and much more.  It’s a great place to spend a few hours in, away from the hustle and bustle of the big city.

  • Address: 2288 Sichuan N Rd
  • Time required: 1-2 hours
  • Hours of operation: Museum hours: everyday: 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Price: free

17. People Memorial (Monument to the People’s Heroes)

This interesting, 24 meters long, concrete landmark is dedicated to all the revolutionary heroes, as well as all those who died while fighting natural disasters in China.  It’s located right next to the Huangpu Park (sight #20), at the far end of the Bund (sight #2), on its North side.  The monument was completed in 1993, and it depicts three rifles leanings against each other in an upward position.

  • Address: 500 Zhongshan East 1st Rd
  • Time required: 30 minutes or less
  • Hours of operation: 24/7
  • Price: free

18. Gucheng Park

Gucheng park is a small, beautiful and green park located not far from The Bund (sight #2) and the Yu Garden (sight #7).  It features a small pond, several large lawns, a number of benches and some interesting flower exhibitions, depending on the season.  There are over a hundred different plant species, and one of its most interesting features is the “bamboo forest” which contains around 8,000 bamboo trees!

  • Address: 333 Renmin Rd
  • Time required: 1 hour or less
  • Hours of operation: 8:00am – 8:00pm
  • Price: free

19. Shanghai Grand Theater

Shanghai Grand Theater is one of the largest concert venues in the World, and it is absolutely worth seeing – if not from the inside, then at least from its grand and gorgeous outside view.  It was opened in 1998, quickly becoming one of the most prominent concert halls in China, offering not only operas or ballets, but also musicals, symphony orchestra concerts, chamber music concerts, drama performances, and much more.  Of course, one is also welcome to attend one of its amazing performances – but, as with most other ‘high-end’ shows, one must plan and buy one’s tickets early.

Shanghai Grand Theater, Shanghai, China - Global Storybook

  • Address: 300 Renmin Ave
  • Time required: 30 minutes or less
  • Price: 100-1080 Yuan (depends on the seats and the show)
  • Official website: http://www.shgtheatre.com (Chinese only)

20. Huangpu Park

Huangpu Park is a charming, green park located on the North-end side of the Bund, offering a much needed rest stop to anyone who might get tired of exploring this huge megapolis.  This beautiful and historic park is one of the oldest (and the smallest) public parks in the city, and it’s also hosting the Bund Historical Museum (dedicated to the history of the Bund).

  • Address: 500 Zhongshan East 1st Rd
  • Time required: 1 hour or less
  • Hours of operation: 24/7
  • Price: free

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