12 Most Beautiful Places in Shanghai to Visit

by Jem
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Are you thinking about visiting Shanghai this year? Here are some of the most beautiful places to visit in Shanghai. These beautiful spots and places are guaranteed to leave you speechless.

Shanghai is a city where the pulse of China’s future beats in harmony with the echoes of its storied past. Imagine wandering through narrow, lantern-lit alleys one moment and marveling at jaw-dropping skyscrapers the next. It’s a city that never sleeps, yet always dreams; a place where East meets West in a kaleidoscope of culture, cuisine, and sheer charisma. If you’re yearning for an adventure that’s as eclectic as it is electric, look no further. Shanghai is your siren call.

But let’s talk specifics. What makes Shanghai truly unforgettable are its hidden gems and iconic landmarks, each more photogenic than the last. From the historic allure of The Bund to the futuristic vibes of the Oriental Pearl Tower, this city is a playground for explorers and a canvas for photographers. Whether you’re a foodie diving into the world of xiaolongbao (soup dumplings) or a history buff tracing the remnants of Old Shanghai, there’s something here for every kind of wanderer.

So buckle up, fellow travelers! We’re about to embark on a journey through the most beautiful places in Shanghai. Trust me, by the end of this article, you’ll be itching to book your next flight and experience the magic yourself. Ready to get started?

The most beautiful places in Shanghai right now

The Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Shanghai    

Ready to set foot in Shanghai’s most captivating places? As stated before, the options are endless. Continue your journey through this article to experience the visual delights of Shanghai. Be it the allure of cityscapes and cultural wonders or a laid-back nature escape, this gem in China can make it happen. Here are the key spots in Shanghai to keep on your radar.

1. Fuxing Park

Ohh Fuxing Park, where the old soul of Shanghai dances with modernity. Picture this: Tai Chi practitioners moving in poetic silence, while just a stone’s throw away, youngsters are engrossed in their smartphones. This park is one of the most beautiful places in Shanghai, offering a tranquil escape right in the heart of the bustling city.

The park’s design is a blend of French and Chinese influences, making it a unique spot for leisure and photography. You’ll find manicured lawns, intricate sculptures, and even a lake where you can rent paddle boats. It’s a destination that invites you to slow down and savor the moment.

What sets Fuxing Park apart is its community vibe. From morning to evening, the park is a lively hub for locals. You’ll see people practicing calligraphy with water on the ground, playing mahjong, or simply enjoying a peaceful walk. It’s a must-see in Shanghai for anyone looking to experience the city’s local culture up close.

So, next time you find yourself in Shanghai, make sure Fuxing Park is on your itinerary. It’s not just a park; it’s a slice of Shanghai life waiting to be discovered.

Where modernism and Shanghai's ancient soul meet in Fuxing Park.
Where modernism and Shanghai’s ancient soul meet in Fuxing Park.

2. Longhua Temple and Pagoda

Step into a world where spirituality meets architectural grandeur. Longhua Temple and Pagoda stand as iconic symbols of Shanghai’s rich history and spiritual depth. This is one of those stunning locations in Shanghai that you’ll want to explore with both your camera and your soul.

The Longhua Temple is one of the oldest and most authentic Buddhist temples in Shanghai. As you walk through its halls, each filled with intricate carvings and golden statues, you’ll feel a sense of serenity wash over you. The pagoda, equally captivating, offers a panoramic view of the city. Together, they make for one of the best places to visit in Shanghai.

Local lore and festivities add another layer to this destination. The temple is famous for its evening bell-ringing ceremony on New Year’s Eve, a tradition that dates back centuries. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Shanghai during this time, it’s an experience you won’t want to miss.

Longhua Temple and Pagoda aren’t just stops on a tourist map; they’re gateways to understanding the spiritual and cultural fabric of this vibrant city. Make sure to add this Shanghai beauty to your travel bucket list.

Shanghai's rich history and profound spirituality are embodied in the Longhua Temple and Pagoda.
Shanghai’s rich history and profound spirituality are embodied in the Longhua Temple and Pagoda.

3. Oriental Pearl Tower

Elevate your Shanghai experience—literally. Oriental Pearl Tower pierces the sky, offering a bird’s-eye view of the sprawling city below. As one of the most beautiful places to see in Shanghai, it’s a must-add to your travel itinerary.

Begin your adventure with a high-speed elevator ride to the observation deck. Once you’re up there, the city unfolds before you like a dynamic tapestry of lights, skyscrapers, and the winding Huangpu River. It’s a sight that captures the essence of Shanghai scenery in a single, breathtaking panorama.

While the view is the main attraction, the tower also houses a revolving restaurant, a museum, and even a mini roller coaster for the young and young-at-heart. Each level offers a different experience, making it one of the prettiest places in Shanghai for a multifaceted adventure.

Don’t forget to check out the glass-bottomed observation deck if you’re up for a little thrill. It’s a surreal experience to look down and see the bustling city beneath your feet. The Oriental Pearl Tower isn’t just a tall structure; it’s a vertical journey through the many layers of Shanghai.

Oriental Pearl Tower provides a panoramic perspective of the vast metropolis below.
Oriental Pearl Tower provides a panoramic perspective of the vast metropolis below.

4. People’s Square

Welcome to the beating heart of Shanghai—People’s Square. This sprawling public space is more than a square; it’s a microcosm of the city’s diverse lifestyle. From art aficionados to nature lovers, it’s one of the most scenic places in Shanghai that caters to a wide array of interests.

First up, the Shanghai Museum, located right in the square, is a treasure trove of Chinese art and history. Just a short walk away, you’ll find the Shanghai Grand Theatre, a mecca for performing arts. These cultural hubs make People’s Square a must-see in Shanghai for anyone with a penchant for the arts.

The square isn’t all about man-made marvels, though. The lush greenery of People’s Park offers a serene escape from the urban hustle. Here, you can enjoy a leisurely boat ride on the lake or simply relax by the water’s edge. It’s one of those places where you can catch your breath and soak in the local vibe.

End your visit with a stroll through the bustling shopping district that surrounds the square. From high-end boutiques to local souvenir shops, there’s something for every shopper. People’s Square is a place that encapsulates the multifaceted charm of Shanghai.

The varied lifestyle of the city is encapsulated in People's Square.
The varied lifestyle of the city is encapsulated in People’s Square.

5. Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park

Ready for an underwater adventure without getting wet? Welcome to Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park, a marine wonderland that brings the ocean’s mysteries to your fingertips. This park is a standout among the most beautiful places of Shanghai, especially if you’re traveling with family.

Start your exploration with the Polar Adventure Zone. Here, you’ll come face-to-face with adorable penguins and majestic polar bears. The experience is both educational and awe-inspiring, making it a Shanghai beauty in its own right.

Next, venture into the Mermaid Bay, where you’ll be mesmerized by the colorful coral reefs and exotic fish. The underwater tunnel offers a 360-degree view of this aquatic paradise. It’s a must-see in Shanghai for marine life enthusiasts.

Don’t miss the exhilarating rides and attractions that add a dash of adrenaline to your visit. From roller coasters that mimic the movements of a manta ray to virtual reality experiences that take you deep into the ocean, there’s never a dull moment.

Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park isn’t just an amusement park; it’s an immersive journey into the world of marine life. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or a nature lover, this destination offers a sea of possibilities.

Shanghai Haichang water Park is a marine paradise that unveils the secrets of the ocean.
Shanghai Haichang water Park is a marine paradise that unveils the secrets of the ocean.

6. Shanghai Museum

Step into a realm where history whispers through artifacts and art. Shanghai Museum is a sanctuary for anyone keen to delve into China’s rich cultural tapestry. As one of the most beautiful places in Shanghai, it offers a feast for both the eyes and the mind.

Upon entering, you’re greeted by an array of galleries, each dedicated to a different aspect of Chinese art and history. From ancient bronzes to delicate ceramics, the museum is a treasure trove of wonders. It’s a place to visit in Shanghai that promises a journey through time.

The museum’s architecture is a spectacle in itself. Designed to resemble a bronze cooking vessel, the building is a nod to China’s ancient Shang Dynasty. This makes it one of the best parts of Shanghai, especially for architecture enthusiasts.

Interactive exhibits and guided tours add another layer to your museum experience. Whether you’re an art lover or a history buff, there’s something here to captivate your imagination. Shanghai Museum isn’t just a building filled with artifacts; it’s a gateway to understanding the complexities of Chinese culture.

Anyone interested in learning more about China's diverse cultural heritage can visit the Shanghai Museum.
Anyone interested in learning more about China’s diverse cultural heritage can visit the Shanghai Museum.

7. Shanghai Ocean Aquarium

Dive into an aquatic adventure at Shanghai Ocean Aquarium, a world where the ocean’s wonders come alive right before your eyes. This destination is one of the beautiful places in Shanghai that offers an immersive experience unlike any other.

The aquarium is divided into different zones, each representing a unique aquatic environment. From the Amazon Rainforest to the icy waters of the Antarctic, you’ll get to explore diverse ecosystems without leaving Shanghai. It’s a place to see in Shanghai that promises a journey through the world’s oceans.

One of the highlights is the underwater tunnel, one of the longest of its kind in the world. As you walk through, you’ll be surrounded by a myriad of marine life, from sharks to rays to colorful schools of fish. It’s a surreal experience that makes you feel like you’re visiting Shanghai’s very own oceanic universe.

Whether you’re traveling with kids or simply a fan of marine life, Shanghai Ocean Aquarium offers a captivating experience. It’s not just another tourist spot; it’s a place to visit in Shanghai that educates, entertains, and enchants.

Visit Shanghai Ocean Aquarium to embark on an aquatic journey.
Visit Shanghai Ocean Aquarium to embark on an aquatic journey.

8. Shanghai Zoo

Welcome to Shanghai Zoo, a sanctuary that brings you face-to-face with the animal kingdom. This expansive zoo is one of the most beautiful cities in Shanghai—yes, you read that right. Think of it as a city within a city, where each enclosure is like a different neighborhood, each with its own unique residents.

From the majestic lions to the playful pandas, the zoo offers a diverse range of animals to admire. It’s a place to see in Shanghai that provides a unique blend of education and entertainment. The enclosures are designed to mimic the animals’ natural habitats, offering them a comfortable living environment while providing visitors an authentic experience.

The zoo also features a beautiful lake, surrounded by lush greenery. It’s a perfect spot for a leisurely stroll or a family picnic. This makes it one of the pretty places in Shanghai where you can relax and unwind.

Shanghai Zoo isn’t just about observing animals; it’s about understanding them. Through various interactive exhibits and educational programs, the zoo aims to raise awareness about wildlife conservation. It’s a place to go in Shanghai that offers more than just a day of fun; it offers a day of learning and inspiration.

The Shanghai Zoo offers an up-close and personal encounter with the animal kingdom.
The Shanghai Zoo offers an up-close and personal encounter with the animal kingdom.

9. Suzhou Creek

Experience Suzhou Creek, a waterway that tells a thousand tales. This creek is more than a body of water; it’s a living narrative of Shanghai’s history and transformation. As one of the most beautiful cities in Shanghai, Suzhou Creek offers a picturesque setting that’s perfect for a leisurely day out.

Begin your exploration with a boat ride along the creek. As you glide through the water, you’ll pass by a mix of old and new architecture, each building a chapter in Shanghai’s ever-evolving story. It’s a visiting Shanghai experience that offers a unique perspective of the city.

Don’t miss the M50 Art District that sits along the creek. This area is a hub for contemporary art, featuring galleries, studios, and murals that add a splash of color to the surroundings. It’s one of those pretty places in Shanghai where art and nature coalesce.

End your day with a visit to the Suzhou Creek Park. This green oasis offers walking paths, sculptures, and even a man-made beach. Suzhou Creek is not just a scenic spot; it’s a multi-layered destination that offers a blend of history, art, and natural beauty.

Suzhou Creek is a river with a thousand stories to tell.
Suzhou Creek is a river with a thousand stories to tell.

10. The Bund

Ah, The Bund, the iconic waterfront that serves as Shanghai’s postcard to the world. With its stunning skyline and historic architecture, it’s a visiting Shanghai must-do that captures the city’s essence in a single frame.

Start your experience with a walk along the promenade. The view here is a visual feast, featuring a juxtaposition of historic European-style buildings on one side and futuristic skyscrapers on the other. It’s one of the pretty places in Shanghai that offers a perfect backdrop for your travel photos.

As the sun sets, the area transforms into a spectacle of lights. The buildings illuminate, and the river reflects the kaleidoscope of colors, creating a mesmerizing scene. This is a place in Shanghai that you’ll want to capture not just through your lens, but also in your heart.

But The Bund is not just about the views. The area is also home to luxurious hotels, gourmet restaurants, and high-end boutiques. Whether you’re looking to indulge in some retail therapy or enjoy a romantic dinner, The Bund offers a range of experiences that cater to different moods and preferences.

The Bund is not just a destination; it’s an experience that encapsulates the glamour and diversity of Shanghai.

Shanghai's famous shoreline, known as the Bund, is its postcard to the outside world.
Shanghai’s famous shoreline, known as the Bund, is its postcard to the outside world.

11. Xujiahui Cathedral

Step into a sanctuary of serenity at Xujiahui Cathedral, a Gothic masterpiece that stands as a testament to Shanghai’s diverse cultural landscape. This cathedral is one of those beautiful places in Shanghai that offers a peaceful retreat from the city’s bustling pace.

As you approach the cathedral, its towering spires and intricate stonework immediately catch your eye. The architecture is a visual treat, making it a place to see in Shanghai for anyone who appreciates art and history.

Once inside, the cathedral’s grandeur continues to captivate. Stained glass windows cast colorful patterns on the floor, while the altar showcases exquisite craftsmanship. It’s a visiting Shanghai experience that transports you to a different era, even if just for a moment.

The cathedral also hosts regular services and musical events, offering a glimpse into the local Christian community’s vibrant culture. Whether you’re attending a service or simply soaking in the atmosphere, Xujiahui Cathedral provides a unique blend of spiritual and aesthetic enrichment.

Xujiahui Cathedral is more than just a place of worship; it’s a cultural landmark that offers a tranquil escape in the heart of Shanghai.

Shanghai's varied cultural landscape is exemplified by the Gothic masterpiece known as Xujiahui Cathedral.
Shanghai’s varied cultural landscape is exemplified by the Gothic masterpiece known as Xujiahui Cathedral.

12. Yu Garden

Discover a slice of tranquility in the midst of Shanghai’s hustle and bustle at Yu Garden. This classical Chinese garden is a place to visit in Shanghai that offers a serene escape, complete with intricate pavilions, koi ponds, and winding pathways.

Begin your exploration by crossing the iconic zigzag bridge, which leads to the garden’s main entrance. The design is intentional, meant to ward off evil spirits according to Chinese folklore. It’s one of those pretty places in Shanghai where every detail has a story to tell.

Once inside, you’ll find various sections, each offering a unique experience. The Grand Rockery, for instance, is a man-made mountain featuring cliffs, caves, and gorges.

Don’t miss the chance to sip some tea at the Huxinting Teahouse, one of the oldest teahouses in China. Located in the middle of a pond, the teahouse offers a peaceful setting to relax and reflect.

Yu Garden is not just a garden; it’s a labyrinth of natural beauty and cultural richness, waiting to be explored.

In the middle of Shanghai's crowds, Yu Garden offers a little peace and quiet.
In the middle of Shanghai’s crowds, Yu Garden offers a little peace and quiet.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Visiting the Beautiful Places in Shanghai                

Want to deepen your understanding of Shanghai’s beautiful places? Here are some questions that often come up regarding the best sites to visit in Shanghai.

What is special in Shanghai?

Shanghai is a city of contrasts, where modern skyscrapers coexist with historic temples and gardens. It’s a visiting Shanghai experience that offers a blend of the old and the new. The city is known for its vibrant culture, diverse culinary scene, and bustling markets. From the iconic skyline of Pudong to the historic charm of The Bund, Shanghai is a city that never ceases to amaze. It’s a place to see in Shanghai that offers something for everyone, from history buffs to foodies to shopaholics.

What are some notable places in Shanghai?

Some of the most notable places in Shanghai include:

  • The Bund: A historic waterfront area offering stunning views of the city’s skyline.
  • Yu Garden: A classical Chinese garden in the Old City of Shanghai, known for its intricate designs and peaceful atmosphere.
  • Oriental Pearl Tower: An iconic skyscraper that offers panoramic views of the city.
  • Shanghai Museum: A must-visit for history buffs, this museum houses a vast collection of ancient Chinese art.
  • Longhua Temple and Pagoda: One of the oldest religious sites in Shanghai, known for its beautiful architecture and spiritual atmosphere.
  • Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park: A family-friendly attraction featuring marine life exhibits and thrilling rides.
  • Shanghai Zoo: Home to a variety of wildlife, this zoo is a great place for a family day out.
  • Suzhou Creek: Known for its art district and scenic boat rides, it’s a quieter, more artistic side of Shanghai.
  • Xujiahui Cathedral: A stunning Gothic cathedral that offers a peaceful retreat in the heart of the city.
  • People’s Square: A large public square that’s home to several key attractions like the Shanghai Museum and the Shanghai Grand Theatre.
  • Shanghai Ocean Aquarium: One of the largest aquariums in the world, featuring a diverse range of marine life.
  • Fuxing Park: A European-style park that’s popular for leisurely strolls and people-watching.

What are the best times to visit Shanghai?

The best times to visit Shanghai are during the spring and autumn months when the weather is mild and pleasant. These seasons offer the best opportunity to explore the most beautiful places to visit in Shanghai without the extreme heat or cold.

What is the most famous street in Shanghai?

The most famous street in Shanghai is Nanjing Road. This iconic street is renowned for several reasons:

  1. Shopping: Nanjing Road is one of the world’s longest shopping districts, stretching over 5 kilometers. It’s divided into two parts: Nanjing Road East and Nanjing Road West. The East section is more commercial, featuring numerous shops, department stores, and malls. It’s a pedestrian street, making it a comfortable and enjoyable place for shopping and leisurely strolls.
  2. Historical Significance: Nanjing Road has a rich history dating back to the Qing Dynasty. It has been a commercial hub for over a century, evolving from traditional stores to modern shopping malls and luxury boutiques.
  3. Cultural Experience: The street offers a vibrant mix of old and new, with historic buildings alongside modern retail spaces. It’s a place where you can experience the hustle and bustle of city life in Shanghai.
  4. Dining and Entertainment: Along with shopping, Nanjing Road offers a variety of dining options, ranging from traditional Chinese eateries to international cuisine. There are also theaters and cinemas for entertainment.
  5. Nightlife and Illumination: At night, Nanjing Road is beautifully illuminated, creating a lively atmosphere that attracts both locals and tourists. The neon lights and bustling crowd make it a great place to experience Shanghai’s nightlife.
A wonderful mosaic made from elements of culture, modernism, history, and the beauty of nature.
A wonderful mosaic made from elements of culture, modernism, history, and the beauty of nature.

How do I get around Shanghai?

Shanghai has an extensive public transportation system, including buses, metro, and taxis. It’s a Shanghai scenery experience in itself to navigate the city’s diverse neighborhoods. Many of the Shanghai top attractions are easily accessible via public transport.

Is Shanghai a good tourist destination?

Yes, Shanghai is an excellent tourist destination, offering a unique blend of modernity and tradition. It’s known for its vibrant cityscape, rich history, and cultural diversity. Here are some reasons why Shanghai is a great place to visit:

  1. Architectural Marvels: Shanghai is home to some of the world’s tallest skyscrapers and architectural wonders, like the Shanghai Tower, the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, and the unique Shanghai World Financial Center.
  2. The Bund: This famous waterfront area offers stunning views of the city’s skyline and is a great place for a leisurely walk, especially at night when the buildings are lit up.
  3. Historical Sites: The city has a rich history, with sites like the Jade Buddha Temple, Yuyuan Garden, and the ancient water town of Zhujiajiao.
  4. Cultural Experiences: Shanghai offers a range of cultural experiences, from traditional Chinese opera and acrobatics to contemporary art galleries and museums like the Shanghai Museum and the Power Station of Art.
  5. Shopping: Whether you’re interested in high-end luxury brands or local markets, Shanghai is a shopper’s paradise. Nanjing Road and Xintiandi are popular shopping destinations.
  6. Culinary Delights: The city’s food scene is diverse, offering everything from street food to Michelin-starred restaurants. Don’t miss trying local specialties like Xiaolongbao (soup dumplings) and Shengjianbao (pan-fried buns).
  7. Green Spaces: Amidst the urban landscape, there are several beautiful parks and gardens, such as the Century Park and the Shanghai Botanical Garden.

What are some local dishes to try in Shanghai?

Here are some local dishes you should try when you’re in Shanghai:

  • Xiao Long Bao: These are soup dumplings filled with meat and a rich broth. A must-try!
  • Sheng Jian Bao: Pan-fried buns filled with meat and soup, crispy on the bottom and soft on top.
  • Hairy Crab: A seasonal delicacy, usually available in autumn. The crab is steamed and served with a dipping sauce.
  • Shanghai Noodles: Thick, chewy noodles stir-fried with vegetables and meat.
  • Peking Duck: Though originally from Beijing, it’s a popular dish in Shanghai as well. The duck is roasted to perfection.
  • Squirrel-Shaped Mandarin Fish: Deep-fried fish served with a sweet and sour sauce, the dish resembles a squirrel’s tail.

Each dish offers a unique taste of Shanghai’s culinary landscape. Enjoy your food journey!

Are there any hidden gems in Shanghai?

Absolutely, Shanghai has its share of lesser-known but equally captivating spots that can offer a more local and unique experience:

  • Tianzifang: An artsy area tucked away in narrow lanes, filled with boutiques, galleries, and cafes. It’s a quieter, bohemian side of Shanghai that many tourists overlook.
  • French Concession: Known for its tree-lined streets and European architecture, this area offers a peaceful escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. It’s great for leisurely strolls and discovering quaint shops and cafes.
  • Zhujiajiao Water Town: Often referred to as the “Venice of Shanghai,” this ancient water town offers charming canals, historic bridges, and traditional architecture. It’s a bit of a journey from central Shanghai but well worth the trip.
  • 1933 Old Millfun: A former slaughterhouse turned into a creative hub, this architectural marvel is now home to art galleries, design studios, and unique shops.
  • Jing’an Sculpture Park: A lesser-known green space featuring modern sculptures and a tranquil pond. It’s a great place for a picnic or a quiet afternoon.
  • Duolun Road Cultural Street: A pedestrian street filled with historic buildings, antique shops, and literary references. It’s a must-visit for history and book lovers.
  • Qibao Ancient Town: Another water town within Shanghai’s city limits, Qibao offers narrow alleys, traditional snacks, and a glimpse into local life.
  • Long Museum: While not exactly hidden, it’s less crowded compared to other tourist spots. The museum offers a mix of traditional and contemporary art.

Final Thoughts on Visiting Beautiful Places in Shanghai      

Shanghai is a city that defies easy categorization, a fascinating tapestry woven from threads of history, modernity, culture, and natural beauty. It’s a bustling metropolis where each neighborhood offers its own unique flavor and each destination is a unique Shanghai destination that tells its own compelling story. From the awe-inspiring skyline that defines the city’s modern aspirations to the tranquil gardens and temples that speak of its ancient past, Shanghai is a city of contrasts that never fails to captivate.

Whether you’re a history buff keen to explore the city’s rich past, a foodie looking to dive into its diverse culinary landscape, or a traveler simply yearning to discover Shanghai’s beautiful places, this city has something to offer for every kind of explorer. It’s a place where you can stand atop one of the world’s tallest buildings in the morning and find yourself wandering through a centuries-old garden by afternoon.

But beyond the landmarks and the tourist spots, what truly sets Shanghai apart is its ability to offer a multitude of experiences in a single trip. It’s a city that invites you to wander, to taste, to live, and to learn. So pack your bags, buy a ticket to Shanghai, and set off on an adventure that promises not just sights to see but experiences to cherish and stories to tell. In Shanghai, every street is a narrative, every corner turned is a new chapter waiting to be written in your travel diary.

The most beautiful places in Shanghai for all types of travelers
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