They say Shanghai is the biggest city in the world, well if you measure a city by its population anyway. If 23 million people weren’t overwhelming enough, Shanghai’s heady mix of the East and the West, the old and the new, and the communist and the capitalist can leave first-time visitors bewildered. Take a day to get your bearings with this must-see sightseeing itinerary. Our gorgeous featured image is by SF Brit.



Stop 1: Just as with New York, London or Paris, a river cruise gives you the opportunity to get a feel for Shanghai from a calm, detached place, free from the intensity of the streets.

Dividing Shanghai into Pudong and Puxi, the Huangpu River has the Bund on one side and the skyscrapers of Lujiazui on the other. A cruise, quite literally, puts you in the centre of things.

The three-hour trip meanders from The Bund to the point where the Huangpu meets the Yangtze at Wusongkou (a one-hour cruise stops between the Nanpu Bridge and the Yangpu Bridge). It’s best to book at least a day in advance – ask your hotel for assistance in organising tickets.



Stop 2: After disembarking, head to Huanghe Lu food street via Nanjing Dong Lu. Packed with a huge range of local restaurants and dumpling stalls, this street will inevitably leave you with a welcome dilemma – “What to have for lunch?” Whatever you choose, be sure to sample some Shanghainese pan-fried shengjianbao dumplings at Yang’s (97 Huanghe Lu, +86 21 5375 1793).



Stop 3: Take a taxi up to the pedestrianised culture street Duolun Lu. This is the place to stock up on quirky “antique” souvenirs. Anyone looking to take the weight of their feet could do worse than grabbing a coffee and a movie at the Old Film Café (123 Duolun Lu, +86 21 5696 4763).





Stop 4: Recharged, go walkabout in the Hongkou backstreets in search of the old Jewish Quarter known as Tilanqiao. Hongkou has an intriguing mix of Communist architecture and crumbling colonial buildings.




Stop 5: Taxi over to People’s Square for dinner at Barbarossa (231 Nanjing Xi Lu, inside People’s Park, +86 21 6318 0220) – one of the most attractive venues in the area. Watch the sun set over the trees as you dine on Moroccan delicacies overlooking a lily pond.



Stop 6: Take the Metro from People’s Square to Dongchang Lu on Line 2 for an after-dinner drink at Cloud 9 (Grand Hyatt Hotel, 87/F, Jin Mao Tower, 88 Century Avenue). Combine cocktails with spectacular vistas in this, one of the world’s highest bars – the views are the best in Shanghai, bar none.


Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…

About the author

Brett AckroydBrett hopes to one day reach the shores of far-flung Tristan da Cunha, the most remote of all the inhabited archipelagos on Earth…as to what he’ll do when he gets there, he hasn’t a clue. Over the last 10 years, London, New York, Cape Town and Pondicherry have all proudly been referred to as home. Now it’s Copenhagen’s turn, where he lends his travel expertise to

Explore more articles