Things to Know Before You Go to Shanghai, China

Got your bags packed for a trip to “Asia’s Magic City”? Make sure you’re all set as your suitcase with this guide on all the fundamental things to know before you go to Shanghai.

The Yu Garden in Shanghai, China
The Yu Garden in Shanghai, China

As the third-largest city in the world, Shanghai is a metropolis that promises to surprise and delight every visitor with its dynamic and continuously evolving cityscape and lifestyle. If you haven’t finalized your itinerary yet, don’t worry. We can guarantee that by the end of this blog, you’ll be armed with all the important things to know before you go to Shanghai. 

From understanding the city’s longest metro network to making your way to the iconic Shanghai Tower, ThisCityKnows is here to help you navigate this bustling metropolis with ease. 

When To Go & How To Get Around Shanghai

Shanghai is a city that’s captivating at any time of the year, each season offering its unique charm and challenges. Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) are widely regarded as the best times to visit, featuring mild weather and clear skies that are perfect for exploring the city. 

However, these months also coincide with peak tourist seasons, so expect more crowds at major attractions.

On the other hand, summer in Shanghai (June to August) can be a bit hot and humid. Nonetheless, the city comes alive with festivals and outdoor activities during these months. And if you can bear the mild heat, you can perhaps go and enjoy a livelier urban atmosphere. 

Conversely, winter (December to February) shrouds the city in cool, crisp air, with fewer crowds.

Meanwhile, getting around Shanghai is pretty straightforward, thanks to its reliable and extensive public transportation system. The city boasts the longest metro system in the world, which is often the quickest way to navigate the vast cityscape. 

Additionally, buses and taxis are plentiful, and apps like Didi (the Chinese equivalent of Uber) make hiring a car just a tap away. For a more scenic route, consider renting a bicycle to explore the city’s charming streets and waterfront areas. 

You might also like: Your Ultimate Guide To Exploring The Heart of Asia

People walking along the Nanjing Road in Shanghai at night
People walking along the Nanjing Road in Shanghai at night

Know Before You Go: Things To Do in Shanghai for First-Timers

With pretty much everything you’d want from any global city, it’s totally easy to fall in love with Shanghai. 

And of course, we want to make sure you’re not overwhelmed, so you can make the most of your visit. That’s why we’ve included a list of must-see places in this guide on things to know before you go to Shanghai:

  • Feel the tranquility of Yu Garden, a lush oasis in the heart of Old Shanghai. Here, dragon-lined walls and centuries-old pavilions offer a serene escape from the city’s modern frenzy.
  • Find peace (and maybe a bit of enlightenment) at the Jade Buddha Temple, where the gleaming white Buddha carved from a single piece of jade is a site to respect and behold.
  • Stroll along The Bund, where Art Deco meets Neoclassical right across from the futuristic skyline of Pudong. It’s the perfect spot for that “I’m in Shanghai!” selfie.
  • A treasure trove in a very literal pot-shaped building, the Shanghai Museum houses tons of artifacts that history buffs won’t know where to start.
  • Iconic and surreal, the Oriental Pearl Tower pierces the skyline with its futuristic design and multicolored spheres. Head to its observation deck for dizzying views, or dine with a twist in its revolving restaurant.
  • Zip up to the Shanghai Tower’s observation deck through one of the fastest elevators on earth, and let the city sprawl beneath you take your breath away.
  • Feel the bustle of Nanjing Road, a shopping paradise where you can practice the fine art of retail therapy. From high fashion to kitschy souvenirs, it’s all here, lit by neon and packed with energy.
  • Foodies shouldn’t miss the Wujiang Road Food Street. From spicy Szechuan to sweet local treats, eating your way through here is a must!

Where To Stay in Shanghai

Whether you’re looking for luxury, convenience, or a touch of local charm, these neighborhoods in Shanghai boast their unique beauty and advantages:


As Shanghai’s premier shopping district, Nanjing Road is best for those who want to be in the heart of the action. The area is bustling day and night, offering easy access to shops, restaurants, and entertainment. Consider Hotel Massenet for a luxurious stay, or the Jinjiang Inn for a more budget-friendly choice.


Situated in the city center, People’s Square is the ideal spot for culture enthusiasts. For an authentic experience, consider renting an apartment that’s close to the city’s major attractions.


If you’re looking to soak up Shanghai’s famous skyline, The Bund is the place to be. Colonial-era buildings line this iconic waterfront area, offering spectacular views of modern skyscrapers across the Huangpu River.


For shopaholics, Xujiahui is your best bet. Known for its large shopping malls and the Shanghai Stadium, you’ll never be far from the action. Best of all, Xujiahui caters to every budget, from luxury hotels to affordable yet charming apartments

A woman in a colorful costume performing a traditional dance in Shanghai, China
A woman in a colorful costume performing a traditional dance in Shanghai, China

Have The Best Time in Shanghai with ThisCityKnows

As one of the world’s most exhilarating cities, Shanghai promises an unforgettable experience with its blend of modern dynamism and deep-rooted cultural heritage. From exploring the historic streets to indulging in the high life at the city’s towering skyscrapers, there’s never a dull moment in this vibrant metropolis. 

And remember, ThisCityKnows is here to guide you through every step, ensuring you’re well-equipped with all the essential things to know before you go to Shanghai and other stunning cities around the globe.

As you set off on this exciting adventure, don’t forget to share your own stories, tips, and experiences with us. Whether it’s a hidden gem you discovered in Xujiahui or a memorable evening along The Bund, your insights will surely ignite the wanderlust of our fellow travelers. 

So, step out, explore confidently, and let Shanghai leave its mark on your heart— your story awaits, and we can’t wait to hear it!

Author: Katie

Katie is all about hitting the road solo, always on the lookout for spots the internet hasn't fully discovered yet. She’s the one turning left when the map says right, hunting for those genuine, "you had to be there" moments. With a style that's as engaging as a late-night chat by the hostel fire, her stories aren't just about places, but the raw, unfiltered joy of exploring them on your own terms.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Low-angle shot of the Se Cathedral in Sao Paulo, Brazil

    Sightseeing Spots in Sao Paulo, Brazil That Are Worth Visiting

    A selfie of a couple inside a car

    Scenic Drives Near Sao Paulo, Brazil, For Your Sponty Road Trips

    A pathway between lush green trees in Sao Paulo Botanical Gardens

    Relaxing Things To Do In Sao Paulo, Brazil: Best Ways To Chill Out!

    The glass bookshelves of Livraria Vila Lorena in Sao Paulo, Brazil

    Instagrammable Spots in Sao Paulo, Brazil, For Your Next Photo Ops

    People walking along the street in Dotonbori in Osaka, Japan

    Top Things To Do In Summer In Osaka, Japan For First-Timers

    Artworks on the wall of a museum in Sao Paulo, Brazil

    Best Things To Do In Summer In Sao Paulo, Brazil

    The rooftop garden of the University of Warsaw Library, a popular sightseeing spot in Poland

    Sightseeing Spots In Warsaw, Poland, To Add To Your Itinerary

    A car speeding on a highway in Warsaw, Poland

    Scenic Drives Near Warsaw, Poland For Your Next Road Trip

    Two people walking along the pathways of Wilanow Palace in Warsaw, Poland

    Relaxing Things To Do in Warsaw, Poland, To De-Stress and Recharge

    People walking in front of the Presidential Palace, an instagrammable spot in Warsaw, Poland

    Instagrammable Spots In Warsaw, Poland To Amp Up Your Travel Feed

    People dining al fresco in Warsaw, Poland during summer

    Best Things To Do In Summer in Warsaw, Poland

    A chateau with colorful flowers in the foreground

    Planning A Trip To France: Your Chic Cheat Sheet!

    The Loch Ness in Scotland

    Planning A Trip to Scotland: From Highlands To Hebrides

    low angle shot of Eiffel Tower

    Planning A Trip To Paris: From Baguettes To Boulevards

    Alaskan malamutes walking on the snow

    Planning A Trip To Alaska: Where Wild Wonders Await

    People walking along New York City

    Planning A Trip To New York City: The ABCs of NYC

    People swimming in Tamarindo Beach

    Planning A Trip To Costa Rica: The Pura Vida Guide

    A turtle swimming underwater in Hawaii

    Planning A Trip To Hawaii: Your Ultimate Island Guide

    Houses by the lake in Italy

    Planning A Trip To Italy: A Quick Starter Guide

    A gondola winding through a canal in Venice

    Things to Know Before You Go to Venice, Italy

    A panoramic shot of Prague during the day

    Things to Know Before You Go to Prague, Czech Republic

    The iconic “HOLLYWOOD” sign in Los Angeles

    Things to Know Before You Go to Los Angeles, California

    The view of the sunset in Orange Beach

    Things to Know Before You Go to Orange Beach, Alabama

    A panoramic view of Moscow during the day

    Things to Know Before You Go to Moscow, Russia

    A row of colorful houses in Copenhagen

    Things to Know Before You Go to Copenhagen, Denmark

    The Grand Palace in Bangkok with trees in the foreground

    Things to Know Before You Go to Bangkok, Thailand

    Aerial shot of houses and buildings in Lisbon

    Things to Know Before You Go to Lisbon, Portugal

    The bustling Medina in Marrakesh lit up at night

    Things to Know Before You Go to Marrakesh, Morocco

    Tall buildings standing against a clear night sky in New York City

    Things to Know Before You Go to New York City

    The illuminated Eiffel Tower at night, glowing against the dark sky in Paris

    Things to Know Before You Go to Paris, France

    The Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo, Japan at night filled with people walking around

    Things to Know Before You Go to Tokyo, Japan

    The Dubai Marina with boats and skyscrapers at sunset, reflecting on calm water

    Fun Things To Do in Dubai, Tips on Where To Stay, and More

    A red bus passing by the Big Ben in London

    Visit London On A Budget: Tips On What To Do, Where To Stay, and More

    A panoramic shot of New York City during daytime

    Navigate To New York City: Fun and Easy Ways to See the Big Apple

    A woman meditating at a secluded beach getaway

    A Curated List of the World’s Most Secluded Destinations

    Discover the breathtaking beauty of Maui's coastline.

    Journey to Maui: Your Ticket to Tropical Bliss

    Misty morning view of the Blue Mountains and coffee plantations in Jamaica.

    Your Guide to Planning a Trip to Jamaica

    Experience vibrant events like the Independence Day Celebration with stunning fireworks.

    Discover The Best Things To Do in Summer in Orange Beach

    Immersive museum experience showcasing music history and icons

    Planning a Trip to Nashville: Rock On in Music City, USA

    Smiling woman taking a selfie on Tower Bridge

    Planning a Trip to London: Unveiling the Mysteries of The Big Smoke