How to Spend 1 Day in Shanghai
China’s ultra-modern metropolis, Shanghai is home to tall skyscrapers, trendy cuisine, and a rich multicultural history. With a little planning, even time-restricted travelers can see the city’s top attractions in a day. Here’s what you need to know to make the most out of your 24 hours in Shanghai.
Morning: Modern Shanghai
Begin your day with a city sightseeing tour that starts in Pudong financial district. Head to the top of the Oriental Pearl Tower, World Financial Center, or Shanghai Tower to take in the views before descending back to street level for a photo op of the skyline from the Bund. Shanghai is perhaps most famous for its futuristic skyline, and this colonial-era promenade along the Huangpu River affords some of the best views.
Afternoon: Historic City Sites
After lunch, step into Old Shanghai and back in time on a walking tour of the French Concession with its collection of colonial mansions or check out the 500-year-old Yuyuan Garden in the heart of Shanghai’s Old Town (Nanshi). If time permits, stop by Jade Buddha Temple, one of China’s few working Buddhist monasteries, to see the statues within. If you prefer to explore the city at your own pace, consider taking a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus, which stops at these highlights and more.
Night: Dinner Cruise
End your day in Shanghai with a cruise along Huangpu River. Book a table at Din Tai Fung for dumplings beforehand, or have dinner onboard as you float past the illuminated skyscrapers of Pudong. If you still have energy after a day of sightseeing, upgrade your evening with some guided bar-hopping along the Shanghai riverfront or pub crawl through the French Concession.