The city of Shanghai, China emerged from modest origins to rise to its current position as one of the most important centres for trade, culture and technology in China. Shanghai is full of restaurants, museums, tourist attractions and hotels, all nestled in an architectural landscape that spans from traditional Chinese to western styles. Shanghai is one of the most popular cities to visit in China and caters to a wide variety of vacationers.
Shanghai lies on the coast of the East China Sea along the south bank of the Yangtze River. With more than 18 million people, this city is China's largest. It was originally a village, but following the first Opium War in 1842, the land was declared an open port to western powers that wished to trade without the influence of Chinese law. Germans, Russians, Italians, French, British and other foreign powers were granted areas in Shanghai where they were free to do business. Over time, Shanghai grew until it eventually became the modern city that it is today.
Shanghai has many attractions to do and see, whether visiting alone or with family. Shanghai Happy Valley is an amusement park located in the centre of the city with more than 100 attractions, including a water park and a themed area for children. Shanghai Circus World is an indoor circus where families can enjoy unique and exciting performances. Dino Beach Water Park is popular among both tourists and locals and can be the perfect place to mingle with the residents of Shanghai while relaxing in Asia’s largest wave pool. At night and on the weekends, Dino Beach caters to a more lively crowd and features parties, food, drinks and live performances by local bands.
For those more interested in the modern side of Shanghai, there are plenty of attractions to see. The birthplace of the Chinese Communist Party is a small museum where one can go to see where the First National Congress was held and get an idea of the Chinese point of view regarding their adoption of communism. The Shanghai World Financial Centre is a gigantic skyscraper which towers over Shanghai and is home to malls, hotels and the world’s tallest observation deck at 474 m (1555 feet). The Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower is truly a sight to behold at 468 m/more than 1500 feet of stylistic architecture and features a revolving restaurant.
To those who wish to see the historical side of the city, the Bund is home to the formerly colonial area of Shanghai. It is filled with historical buildings whose styles originate from both east and west and combine into some very unique blends of the two. The Yuyuan Garden is filled with pavilions, halls, ponds and cloisters, some dating from as far back as 1577. The Jinshan Donglin Temple was originally built in 1308, destroyed and rebuilt many times over the centuries and was, in 2004, finally made into the form it holds today.
For those who wish to simply relax, Century Park is the largest park in Shanghai and hosts concerts and a landscape of gardening styles from many different countries. The Binjiang Dadao riverside promenade offers a relaxing walk with a spectacular view of the Bund across the river. Xintiandi district is one of the best places to go at night when looking for good food and a night on the town.
With over 1000 restaurants and dozens of quality shopping districts, tourists can find anything they desire to make their vacation memorable. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of tour options for Shanghai as well, including those for nearby tourist destinations such as Hangzhou, known for its green tea and West Lake, Suzhou, famed for its silk, classical gardens and canals, Wuxi, Ningbo and Shaoxing, known for its rice wine. Whether one is looking to spend all of their time in Shanghai or go on a longer tour of China, it is easy to get into the city, as well as get around. No one should go to China without spending some time in this magnificent and culturally rich city.