Best places to visit in Shanghai: architecture of the past & future

Shanghai is a beautiful city in China, and its beauty comes from a mixture of old and historic buildings to new jaw-dropping modern structures.

This city has been drawing tourists over the years just like the North Pole cruise, leaving even returning tourists in awe because you can never get enough of Shanghai China.

Are you curious about what are the top places to visit in Shanghai? The following lines summarize some of the many attractions that dot the streets of Shanghai.

17 best places to visit in Shanghai China

places to visit in shanghai bund
Places to visit in Shanghai: Bund

1. Bund

Bund is the area that housed the city’s financial center during the colonial period. While the British presence was hegemonic at the time (as reflected in some 24 historic buildings), the area was also controlled by Russians, Americans, and Japanese. Bund remained isolated from the rest of Shanghai’s urban fabric during those years.

nanjing street places to visit in shanghai china
Most beautiful places to visit in Shanghai China: Nanjing Street

2. Nanjing Street

This busy road, more than 5.5 km in length, has become one of the most important commercial streets in the world, hobnobbing with Fifth Avenue (New York), Oxford Street (London), and the Ginza district (Tokyo). It brings together the top names in fashion and accessories on the planet.

places in shanghai chenghuang miao temple
Best places in Shanghai you must visit: Chenghuang Miao Temple

3. Chenghuang Miao (Temple of the Gods of the City)

This Taoist temple, located next to the Yuyuan Gardens in the historic heart of Shanghai, is dedicated to the protective deities of the city. At first, however, this shrine worshipped the mountain spirit Dorada (Jinshan), located in the vicinity. The building acquired its current name in 1403 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

4. Fake Market

Located in the Pudong district, this large commercial area lives up to its name. It has many shops, and visitors can buy all kinds of imitated products from leading brands at bargain prices.

attractions shanghai grand theater
Attractions Shanghai: The Shanghai Grand Theater

5. Shanghai Grand Theater

Located on Central Boulevard (Huangpu district), it was designed by French architect Jean-Marie Charpentier and opened in 1998. Its programming consists of several shows, among which there are many chamber music concerts and operas known internationally but also Chinese ones. Its rooms can accommodate 1,800 spectators.

things to do around shanghai yuyuan gardens
Things to do around Shanghai: Visit Yuyuan Gardens

6. Yuyuan Gardens

This garden complex, located north of the city, is one of the most famous in China. Its authorship is attributed to the official Pan Yunduan, who designed it between 1559 and 1577, inspired by the gardens of the Ming emperors. The complex was renovated in 1760 and 1957; after several decades, it functioned as a bazaar. In 1982, the enclave was declared a National Monument.

must see places in shanghai jin mao tower
Modern places to visit in Shanghai: Jin Mao Tower

7. Jin Mao Tower

Designed by U.S. company Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and Thomas Boada and located in the Pudong district, the Jin Mao Tower was built between 1994 and 1998 and inaugurated in 1999.

With its 420.5 m height and 88 floors (the latter is a viewpoint), it’s the fifth tallest building in China and one of the highest in the world. Between levels 50 and 79, the tower accommodates a luxury hotel.

best places to visit in shanghai china jing an temple
Best places to visit in Shanghai China: Jing An Temple

8. Jing An Temple

This temple is located in the district of Jing An. Originally from the year 247, it was built during the period known as the Three Kingdoms. In 1216, under the Song dynasty (960-1279), it was moved to its present location.

Renovated in the Qing times (1644-1911), the shrine was used as a factory during the Cultural Revolution by Mao Zedong. It continued until 1983 when the building became a religious site. Inside, they erected the image of a seated Buddha of 3.8 m in height.

longhua temple, one of the top 10 places to visit in shanghai china
Longhua Temple is one of the top 10 places to visit in Shanghai China

9. Longhua Temple

It’s a spectacular shrine to Buddha Maitreya. Although it has undergone many transformations throughout its history (beginning in 242 AD), the temple still retains some of the strongest features of the architecture. Its most striking feature is its slender pagoda.

10. Shanghai Malecon

Located along the Huangpu River, from where you can admire the stunning Pudong district. This district is home to some of the most striking skyscrapers in the city.

Among the tall structures are the Development Bank, the Pearl of the Orient, the Jin Mao Hotel Dongfeng, and the Peace Hotel (easily recognizable by its pyramidal roof and the green color of its facade), without forgetting the Nanpu Bridge.

places to visit near shanghai maglev
Visit the best places to visit near Shanghai with the Maglev train

11. Maglev train

Shanghai has the privilege of having the only Maglev train in the world: the Transrapid Maglev, capable of reaching a top speed of 430 km/h.

12. Fuyou Antiques Market

Located on Dongtai Street, west of the Huangpu River is one of the city’s most famous places. Despite its name, the products marketed are not real antiques but are perfect replicas of old items. Sunday is usually the busiest day; visitors can find many establishments open.

must visit places in shanghai museum
Popular places to visit in Shanghai you must add to your itinerary: The Shanghai Museum

13. Shanghai Museum

Located in People’s Square in Huangpu District, the museum’s current building opened in 1996. Without ignoring its spectacular architectural design, it’s noteworthy that the main attraction lies in its extensive collection of paintings, sculptures, and ceramics, consisting of about 120,000 pieces.

In addition, this institution is the repository of the world’s most extensive collection of Chinese bronzes. Through the exhibits, visitors can familiarize themselves with the artistic evolution that the country has experienced over the past 4,000 years.

14. Museum of the City Planning

Situated in the Town Square, its facilities offer visitors an exhibition on the intense urban transformation in the city since its birth. It also wows visitors with multiple photographs of various times.

top places to visit in shanghai world financial center
Top places to visit in Shanghai: The World Financial Center

15. Shanghai World Financial Center

Opened in 2008, it holds the record for the highest height in mainland China (492 m) and is among the world’s tallest structures. Its original design is crowned with a square opening, giving it a distinctive look.

beautiful places to visit in shanghai tower of oriental pearl
Beautiful places to visit in Shanghai: Tower of Oriental Pearl

16. Tower of Oriental Pearl

Considered the main icon of the city and opened in 1995, its 468-meter height makes it the third-highest TV antenna in the world. It’s only surpassed by the CN Tower in Toronto and the Ostankino Tower in Moscow (and shortly, The Tokyo Sky Tree). The highest of the three viewpoints is located 350 m high. The building receives about three million visitors yearly.

places to visit in shanghai yufo si jade buddha temple
Places to visit in Shanghai: Yufo Si Temple or Shanghai Jade Buddha Temple

17. Yufo Si Temple (Jade Buddha Temple)

Built in 1882, this sanctuary is the repository of two superb Burmese Buddhas made with jade. The monk Hui Gen was responsible for bringing them to China. The most venerable of the two images is a representation seated nearly 2 m high and 3 tons. At the same time, the second structure consists of a reclining Buddha.

Who recommends these places to visit in Shanghai China

guest post writer on the travel bunny blog

Karla Lopez lives in Miami. She started freelance writing as her full-time job when the COVID pandemic closed her office. She lives with her mother and younger brother, and their parrot, Sinbad. When she isn’t writing, she loves to read and chill, watching Netflix. She also enjoys traveling.

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