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Shanghai Tourist Attractions

Shanghai History

Shanghai, now one of China's biggest and economically most influential cities, was for a large part of its 2,000 year-old history a small and insignificant fisher-village.  Shanghai's evolution to one of the worlds's most modern and sophisticated cities in present days was not sparked until the British opened a concession following the first Opium War in 1842. Soon thereafter, other countries - like France, the USA and Japan - followed suit and opened their own concessions. From that point onwards, Shanghai soon grew in importance as a major economical center and trading port and is currently China's second largest city with a population of about 18 million.

Tourist Attractions 

The Bund

The BundThe Bund consists of a promenade of nineteenth century colonial buildings and is considered one of Shanghai's most scenic spots. With its many upscale shopping venues and bars, The Bund attracts many tourists and locals alike.
Originally the name "The Bund" - derived from the word "embankment" - was given to the British settlement area which was given to them in 1842 following the Treaty of Nanjing after the Opium War. The Bund soon emerged as Shanghai's richest and most prosperous part by the beginning of the 20th century and became also known as the "Wall Street of Asia".
The Bund spans about one mile on the western bank of the HuangPu river and is probably one of Shanghai's most well known sightseeing spots. The multitude of historical buildings, many of which had once been counted towards the tallest buildings in the world at some point, create an atmosphere of elegance and put the visitor instantly in touch with the history of Shanghai.

People's Square

People SquarePeople Square park is found at the site of the former colonial horse racing track and is home to a number of museums and concert halls, like the Shanghai Art Museum - occupying the old Racecourse Clubhouse , the Shanghai City Hall, the Shanghai Grand Theatre, the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall, and last but not least the Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art. Surrounding the square are many key landmarks, such as the Shimao International Plaza, Tomorrow Square and Raffle's Square, which offer not only an impressive sight during the day, but also one of the most fabulous nocturnal scenes with their myriad of lights.

Old City and Yu Garden

Yu GardenThe old city is the center around which modern Shanghai has grown and even nowadays the cities historical heart. The old city is believed to be established by the Song Dynasty (1127 - 1279) and occupied a circular walled-in space at the western bank of the HuangPu River. The major part of the old city consists of a large tourist-bazaar containing small shops, restaurants, temples, and much activity. In its center lies a small lake spanned by a zig-zagged bridge (Bridge of the Nine Turnings / Jiuqu Quiao - the reason for the serpentines lies in the belief that evil spirits can only move in straight lines). Immediately neighboring the lake, lies Yu Garden, which is worth visiting. The relatively small garden (only about 5 acres big) offers 30 pavillions surrounded by carefully planned landscape-designs of the Ming and Quing dynasties. The landscapes are made of small lakes, rivers, bridges, mountains, corridors, and walls. If you visit Yu Garden, it is best to see it early in the day to avoid the masses of tourists in the afternoons.


XintiandiXintiandi lies in the heart of Shanghai and is a gem of Shanghainese architecture. This small area - nowadays mainly offering restaurants, bars, small boutiques, and galleries - came into existence by a project to conserve the unique architecture of an old and run down quarter of Shanghai. Here you can still see the old Shikumen architecture style with its many winding alleys - all other Shikumen buildings in Shanghai had to yield to the contruction of modern steel and glass buildings. The small building complex additionally offers the Museum for Shanghainese Architecture and also a Museum in the very building in which China's Communist Party held its first congress in 1921. Xintiandi is mainly known for its vibrant - and western style - bar scene and nightlife.

Nanjing Road
Nanjing Pedestrian RoadNanjing-Lu, presumably, is Shanghai's most well known shopping street and spans about 3.4-miles in length. The eastern part of the street - from the Bund to People's Square - is a pedestrian area with many restaurants and shops, which offer very nice scenery at night due to their many colorful neon signs. The western part of the street - from People Square to Jingan Temple - is well known for its luxury shopping possibilities and draws many fashion-seeking buyers. Even though many new buildings were constructed in this area, the faded charm of the former colonial French Concession can still be felt passing the leftover building from the 1920's. A visit of the pedestrian street in the eastern part after dusk will be sure to provide a lasting memory for visitors to Shanghai.


PudongPudong - the newest of Shanghai's boroughs displays what China is striving for in the future. With its three dominating highrise buildings - the Oriental Pearl Tower, the Jin Mao Tower, and the Shanghai World Financial Center -  it is visible from many sites of Shanghai. The smallest of these buildings, the Oriental Pearl TV Tower rises 468 meters above ground. The Jin Mao Tower, currently the worlds 10th highest building rises with its 88 stories of unique architecture 420.5 meters into the sky and is still surpassed by the immense Shanghai World Financial Center, which counts a dazzling 101 floors and rises to a height of 492 meters - making it the highest building in Shanghai and the world's third highest building. Pudong is also home of the Shanghai Stock Exchange, the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium, the Science and Technology Museum, the Superbrand Mall, the Oriental Arts Center and many other tourist attractions.

HuangPu River Cruise

HuangPu River CruiseThe HuangPu River offers a spectacular view of both, the old, and the new Shanghai. During the round trip you can enjoy the entire length of the enigmatic Bund on one side, and the futuristic skyline of Pudong on the other. The cruise then continuous on downstream and leads under the impressive YangPu Bridge. During the cruise, you can also observe the lively ship-traffic, consisting mainly of large barges, up close. The river cruise leaves its harbor daily at 9 am and 2 pm and the round trip take about 3 1/2 hours. It is recommended to take advantage of the night cruise from 7 pm until 9 pm in order to observe the splendid lights of Pudong and of The Bund. Current information about the times and fares can be found here.