A lot of travelers end up in Shanghai at the end of a group tour, especially those that visit the Yangtze River and the Three Gorges Dam, or on a business trip and aren't sure what to do with themselves when they're free. Here are some suggestions to fill your time - you might even end up extending your stay!
The former French Concession is a lovely part of Shanghai because, despite the fact that you're in the heart of a city with a population exceeding twenty million, it feels like you're just in a local neighborhood. The French imported platane trees in the early 1900s and these trees still line both sides of every street in the area. These days, old villas and lane houses are being renovated and turned into lovely shops and homes. It's fun to wander the less-congested streets and watch oldies chatting on the sidewalks and vendors market their wares.
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Not to be missed:
- A walk through the renovated Fairmont Peace Hotel (at night, don't miss a stop into the Jazz Bar
- The HSBC Building's fully restored lobby
- Brunch or a drink at M on the Bund (see "Sundowners" below)
- The former Shanghai Club (now Waldorf Astoria) and the Long Bar
- Strolling along the far side on the promenade next to the Huang Pu River
- Art Scene Warehouse, Building 4, 2F
- EastLink Gallery, Building 6, 5F
- Shanghart, Building 16 & 18
6. Xin Tian DiXin Tian Di is a restaurant, bar, club development that utilizes Shanghai's traditional shikumen architecture. Shikumen buildings are recognizable by the gray and red brick facades, numerous ornamental front gates and low two to three story heights. Originally built by the thousands in rows for middle-class Chinese, these classic Shanghainese houses are being destroyed and replaced by modern skyscrapers. Enjoy the restaurants and shopping, but don't miss the small free-entry museum that educates visitors on what life was like in the lane-houses of the past.
The Shanghai World Financial Center (or SWFC) is Shanghai's tallest building (for now) as well as China's (for now). There are multiple viewing platforms, one of which has a glass floor. Beware if you have vertigo! It's quite a fun experience to see Shanghai from so far above but it is rather pricey. If you just want to go up high, try the Jin Mao next door. At 88 floors, its remarkable architecture is recognizable on a clear day from all over the city. Enjoy great views over a cup of coffee or a cocktail in the Grand Hyatt hotel (inside the Jin Mao). You can do the same from within the SWFC's resident hotel, the Park Hyatt, but they have a table charge in the lounge (boo!).
Cross-street/intersection: Taikang Road and Sinan Road | 泰康路近思南路
Cross-street/intersection: Dong Tai Road near Fuxing Road and Xizang Road ｜ 东台路近复兴东路和西藏路
10. Tea at Yongfoo EliteSupposedly this building used to house the British Consulate. Whoever the former residents, the building and gardens are superb and the current occupant spent over two years refurbishing the villa with period European and Chinese pieces. The villa houses a Shanghainese restaurant. But the gardens are so lovely, it is nice to take advantage of the terrace or garden seating by taking tea and cake outside. Gurgling fountains and relaxing swing chairs help complete the feeling of tranquility it's a nice end to a busy day and a good break before heading out for dinner.
Yongfoo Elite, 200 Yongfu Road ｜ 永福路200号 ｜ Tel: 021-5466-2727