Shanghai’s 34 best sights – descriptions and photos

Shanghai’s main attractions with photos and descriptions

A man from the Russian countryside or a resident of a small town Shanghai will seem like a “monster”: 24 million people rushing somewhere, going somewhere or standing in traffic jams. In fact, to fall in love with this city, you can’t come here for just a couple of days.

There are so many sights here, it would be enough for several countries. From nature, which the Chinese carefully preserve, to skyscrapers so high you have to stick your head up as high as possible to see where they end.

It’s all worthy of study and admiration. Read more about the sights of Shanghai in the article.


There are parks in Shanghai that have been preserved since the days of ancient dynasties . Neither the cultural revolution nor modernity has not affected their pristine and beauty.

Garden of Joy

Although the park covers an area of only 20,000 m2, it’s a corner of Ming Dynasty China. It has been carefully preserved for hundreds of years and has been fully restored.

It has:

  • hidden corners,
  • pavilions,
  • ponds,
  • paths and even rocks.

The area is divided into six zones, which “fit” 40 places for rest, contemplation and meditation.


Sheshan Mountain

It is unusual to call this peak a mountain but it is a sight to see. Here you can wander through thickets of bamboo forest and visit a bird garden and enjoy its chirping.

In addition to the natural beauty, on the mountain you can visit the architectural monuments of Shanghai, such as the Basilica of St. Mary, the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Space lovers are welcome at the observatory and butterflies are welcome at the garden where they live . To see all the sights on the mountain, it is worth devoting a whole day to it.



The people of Shanghai love their city’s history, collecting its best artifacts in museums, but they also keep up with the times by opening museums of modern art, automobiles and others.

Shanghai Museum

Although the museum building is built in a futuristic, modern style, it houses thousands of years of Chinese history. A total of 120,000 exhibits await antiquities lovers in 11 themed halls.

Everything is here:

  • ancient coins,
  • ancient weapons,
  • bronze and jade products,
  • paintings,
  • and, of course, the famous Chinese ceramics.

The museum has a pleasant rule for tourists: 8 thousand people can visit it free of charge per day.


City History

Shanghai people’s approach to demonstrating the history of their city is interesting: in the museum it is displayed not only with artifacts, but also with sketches from the everyday life of its inhabitants.

The wax figures, like living figures, show the interests and aspirations of the people of different eras, their appearance, clothing, occupations, with real utensils standing around them.

It is also interesting to see how Shanghai changed during the colonization period, when two cultures – Eastern and Western – collided.


Temples and Monasteries

Shanghai has temples and churches of all major religions :

  • Catholicism,
  • Buddhism,
  • Confucianism,
  • Orthodoxy.

Some of them are very old, others are closer to our time.

St. Ignatius Cathedral

Built between 1905 and 1910 on the site of a 17th-century church, this cathedral embodies the beauty of the Gothic style at a time when Catholicism was one of the religions of China. During the Cultural Revolution, its spires were demolished and its rooms were turned into warehouses.

The restoration of the cathedral began in the 1970s and is still going on. Noteworthy: services in the cathedral are conducted in Chinese.


Jade Buddha Temple

This temple in Shanghai has long been a place of “pilgrimage” for tourists. People from all over the world come here to look at the numerous statues of Buddha, to see the ancient building, traditionally painted with ochre, the statue of enlightened and heavenly kings.

Buddha figures are made in different sizes, in different poses, but all made of jade. Also on display in the temple are utensils for prayers and ceremonies.

Here you can relax from the noise, meditate and enjoy the skill of the masters of carving figures of solid pieces of jade.

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In the huge metropolis there are a lot of squares. Some are more modern and newly built, others are corners of old Shanghai. They are meeting places and places of recreation for residents and visitors to the city.


This is the biggest meeting place in Shanghai. Young people not only “hang out” here, but also the whole families have a cultural rest, because the area spreads over 150 thousand m2, there is a singing fountain, a park, walking paths. Here almost all year round performances of artists, singers and music bands are held.

Especially attractive for tourists in the evening, when the area is lit by 620 spotlights, and the game of shadows and light makes it fantastically beautiful.



Built on the site of a former hippodrome, this square has become the starting point for many tourist itineraries around Shanghai. It is home to the City Museum, the Grand Theater, and the City Hall, the heart of Shanghai, but what is a must-see is the Planning Center.

Here are not only realistic models of skyscrapers already built, but also models of the future. A must-see is the Center’s working cinema with a 360° screen to see how the city will change in the next few decades.


Amusement Parks

The Chinese know how to work well, but they do not forget about recreation. There are more than 400 parks in total in Shanghai, some of which are designed specifically for entertainment. It may be a Western influence, but the Chinese understand that tourism brings a lot of profit to the city and travelers want unforgettable spectacles and experiences.


The amusement park opened in 1985 and is now considered the “oldest” in the city. There are 4 roller coasters here, with two of them going backwards. You can admire Shanghai on the Ferris wheel and then take a boat ride on the rough “river”. There is a ghost train, a boomerang ride, and many more interesting and breathtaking sites.


The Valley of Happiness

There is always a line to this amusement park in Shanghai, but the wait is worth the experience it leaves behind. High and extreme lovers come here: 7 slides of different lengths and heights await the visitors. The park was built in 2009 and since then it is a favorite destination for locals and visitors.


Places for hiking

Walking enthusiasts should “scout out” places in advance where they can enjoy their favorite form of recreation. Apart from the park areas, there are many streets in Shanghai where the traffic is blocked. They are “given” to the citizens and tourists for hiking.

Art Zone

In this place, those who love to create and those who love to enjoy art and buy the works of artisans meet. Abandoned warehouse buildings in the M50 Shanghai area have become a haven for creative people. Anyone can come here and show off their drawing skills, create sculptures, crafts, and more.

Noteworthy: although the open creative workshop is located in Shanghai, craftsmen from Britain, Israel, Canada, France and several Chinese provinces present their work there.


Nanjing Road

The peddlers on this street are the envy of the merchants: a million visitors a day. Nanjing Road was originally built as a place for trading back in 1845. It was once built up with shops, but today it features chains of famous brands, hotels, and restaurants.

In fact, this street is the largest open-air shopping center. It’s a shopaholic’s paradise, but regular tourists will also find it interesting to dive into a world of sales, sophistication, and flavors of the world’s cuisines.


Historical sites

Founded in 1291, Shanghai has seen many events, dynastic changes and wars. An ordinary fishing village has evolved over the centuries into the world’s most populous metropolis. Although Shanghai today has kept up with the times and futuristic skyscrapers are being built there, the historical sites have been preserved.

French Quarter

This is the best place for a walk . The small streets, cozy houses in the French style of the mid XIX century, cafes, old fashion shops, small restaurants will help you forget that the quarter is located in the center of a huge metropolis.

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After a walk under the old plane-trees and visiting the stores, you can relax at a table in a cafe, soaking up the atmosphere of this place, which at the beginning of the last century was inhabited by the French and white emigrants from Czarist Russia.

This little European corner of two- and three-story colonial-era houses is surrounded by modern high-rises, making it an oasis of calm and measured life in a “crazy” and bustling metropolis.



You can step 100 years back in time at Chenghuangmao Street in the Chenghuangmao neighborhood. Every tourist tries to take a picture of himself in front of the old archway with the inscription 上海老街 (Shanghai Old Street).

The houses here are preserved in the traditional Chinese style: with white facades and black roofs. There are many Taoist temples, stores and cafes with local food in the area.


Skyscrapers and towers

Shanghai is changing. Its skyscrapers look up into the sky like spaceships, towering above the rest of the city. They are concentrated in the Pudong district, which grew out of rice paddies.

Construction began in the 1990s, and by 2020 this place has become the financial center of all China. The most visited attractions in Pudong are:

  1. Jin Mao Tower with 93 floors. Tourists are attracted by the observation deck on the 88th floor, which offers a view not only of the city, but also, thanks to the glass floor, on the courtyard of the Grand Hyatt Shanghai Hotel. The platform can hold 1,000 people at a time.
  2. Shanghai Tower . This 632-meter-high skyscraper has 128 floors and is the second highest in the world. There are high-speed elevators and an observation deck on the 121st floor.

The business world community is familiar with the Shanghai World Financial Center. International financial companies, a hotel and a shopping mall are based here.


Rivers and Embankments

Huangpu flows through Shanghai. The best way to explore the city is by boat. Evening boat rides are especially popular, but Shanghai also looks great from the river during the day.


It’s a favorite meeting and walking place for locals and tourists often make the waterfront a landmark to start or end their walks. You can walk along it to Shanghai’s skyscrapers or other landmarks of the city represented by Gothic, Romanesque and other Western as well as Chinese architectural masterpieces. Its total length is 1.5 km.



This lake was artificially created for the construction of a new housing estate on its shore. It is located in the middle of Pudong in Nanhui. The district itself covers an area of only 5.6 km2 and is located on the banks of the lake. A distinctive feature of the water body of Shanghai is its perfectly round mirror.


The best places to visit with children

While adults are enticed by skyscrapers, local restaurants and ancient architecture, kids are interested in completely different values of Shanghai. Kids love sightseeing and contact with wildlife, so you should include the attractions below in your itinerary.


Every child dreams to get into a fairy tale. You can make this dream come true by visiting Shanghai Disneyland. It covers an area of just under 4000 m2, but they could accommodate the hotels, restaurants, theme park and stores.



In this place you can forget about time. Representing two pyramids with a total area of 20,000 m2, Shanghai Oceanarium is the first in Asia and the second largest in the world.

It is difficult to get lost here, because 13 thousand m2 of the interior area of the entertainment marine park is divided into zones, which are inhabited by more than 400 species of marine animals – representatives of the four oceans and five continents.

That’s how its designers decided to divide the oceanarium. Once inside, the visitors along the corridors visit all the continents and oceans represented here by their aquatic inhabitants. It is in this oceanarium and nowhere else in the world that endangered fish and aquatic animals from China itself are represented.

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For your child to enjoy his or her trip to Shanghai as much as possible, you need to take him or her to the local zoo. It is considered one of the best zoological gardens in the world. There are about 6,000 animals on display here, 600 of which are native: panda, hoopoe, snub-nosed monkey and others.

Endangered species from all continents are collected here . For their survival the best conditions have been created, resembling their natural habitat, although in cages.


Dino beach water park

This is an outdoor area in Shanghai for swimming and fun on the water. Dino Beach Waterpark is the largest in Asia, it has its own lakes and rivers, water slides and attractions for children, pools with waves, a beach with real clean sand. There are daily competitions and performances of animators.


You can not come to Shanghai and not go to the show at the circus. Each performance of Chinese circus artists, whether it is day or evening, – a masterpiece. Children will meet magicians, gymnasts, animals and motorcyclists.

Older kids love to visit the water circus, while the little ones prefer clowns and trained animals.


Children’s Museum

This place will be interesting for children from two to twelve years old. On 9,000 m2 there are 6 thematic zones: the moon, outer space, the sea, a planetarium and two information halls. For the youngest children there is a toy town with cars, stores, beauty salons, farms and a theater.

Kids will also be interested in visiting the movie theater, which shows cartoons.



Like any metropolis, Shanghai has its suburbs. Some of them are “occupied” by students, while others are the old districts of the city.


The ancient culture of China is concentrated here (year of foundation 514 B.C.). A special place are natural parks, which for centuries preserved ancient pavilions, ponds, bridges over them and plants. In Suzhou must visit the ancient pagodas, take a ride on the water streetcar.

This town was one of the first settlements on the water. In many parts of the town, canals are streets and bridges over them are sidewalks.



This town has become not only a suburb of Shanghai, but also a concentration of seven Chinese universities. It has its own:

  • campuses,
  • gymnasiums,
  • stores,
  • cinemas and dormitories.

It even has its own film studio, where entertainment and educational shows and films are filmed. One of Sunjiang’s oldest monuments is a 9th-century Buddhist stele.



Lovers of romance should definitely visit this small town . Zhouzhouzhuang grew from a small village in the 770s to 476 B.C. to become a cultural center on the outskirts of Shanghai where the intellectuals and artists from all over China gathered.

It has about 100 ancient courtyards and buildings from the Ming and Qing eras. The city itself is called the Venice of China because it is built on a network of canals.



Shanghai is an ancient city that has managed not only to preserve its history, but also to embrace modernity. To get to know it and love it, it is worth devoting more time to it than a tourist trip or vacation, you can familiarize yourself with the main sights in 3-7 days of vacation.

Shanghai Sights

Shanghai Tower Yu Yuan Garden Jade Buddha Temple French Quarter Shanghai World Financial Center Maritime Museum Weitang Quay Shanghai University

This site compiles Shanghai’s attractions – photos, descriptions, and travel tips. The list is based on popular travel guides and presented by type, name and rating. Here you’ll find answers to questions: what to see in Shanghai, where to go and where are the popular and interesting places in Shanghai.

Shanghai Tower

Shanghai Tower (photo)

The Shanghai Tower is a super-tall building being built in the Pudong district of Shanghai, China.

Soon there will be one more skyscraper in Shanghai. The new giant will grow in the Pudong district, specifically in the famous Luqiazui Financial Center. Next to the Shanghai Tower, as the developers call it, there are already two towers: the Shanghai World Financial Center and Jin Mao, which the Chinese call the Golden Building of Success.

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According to the project, the building will be 632 meters high and have a total area of 380,000 square meters.

The developers said that when completed in 2014, the Shanghai Tower will be China’s most majestic building and the third tallest structure in the world, behind the Tokyo Sky Tree (634 meters) and the Burj Khalifa Tower (828 meters) in Dubai.

In 2015, it will give way to the first Chinese and third world position to the Pingan International Financial Center under construction in Shenzhen, and after 2016 it will become the 5th largest in the world, also taking into account the India Tower in Mumbai.The Shanghai Tower is one of the most remarkable architectural projects of the new times.

Coordinates : 31.14070000,121.30030000

Yu Yuan Garden

Yu Yuan Garden (photo)

Yu Yuan Garden was built more than 400 years ago, during the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644). Its magnificent layout, picturesque scenery and exquisite artistic style of architecture made it rightfully one of the main attractions of Shanghai.

Its name means “Garden of Joy” or “Garden of Unhurried Rest” and today it is truly a pastoral world inside an ultra-modern and hectic metropolis. This garden is located in the heart of Shanghai’s old city, a few blocks south of the Bund promenade. There are many rocky spots, trees, ponds, passageways, walls with dragon lines, and winding bridges that separate the garden’s various places and pavilions.

Yu Yuan Garden covers quite a large area and includes several halls and other interesting buildings. Cultural relics of the garden include: furniture over a hundred years old, examples of calligraphy and oil paintings by famous artists, clay sculptures and brick carvings and various inscriptions.

One of the garden’s main attractions is the Magnificent Jade Rock. It is a large, porous 5-ton rock with a bizarre shape that is said to have been brought here from Lake Taihu in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province.

There are many stores around the garden where you can buy traditional Chinese goods as well as gold and jewelry.

Coordinates : 31.13000000,121.29000000

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Jade Buddha Temple

Jade Buddha Temple (photo)

Jade Buddha Temple gets its name from two sculptures of Buddha Shakyamuni from Burma. The temple was founded in 1882 when the first statue was brought to China. The Jade Buddha Temple can be seen from afar – the walls are painted bright yellow, the roof with cornices topped with statues.

The main hall of the temple is the Jade Buddha House, in the center of which stands a two-meter statue made of white jade and decorated with precious stones. The statue depicts Buddha in a moment of contemplation. A smaller statue represents Buddha in a moment of nirvana.

Of particular interest are also the Hall of the Heavenly Masters, the Hall of the Great Sage, the halls of contemplation of inner being and the halls of sutra reading.

Coordinates : 31.23526100,121.43300100

In photo mode, you can view landmarks in Shanghai by photo only.

French Quarter

French Quarter (photo)

A small part of Shanghai within the boundaries of Huaihai and Jiulu Streets, a small island of France in China, a city within a city.

The area was originally occupied by a French concession, and in the 1920s and 30s the quarter was completely populated by white immigrants, a third of whom were Russians. They worked as tailors, driving instructors, bodyguards, and created numerous cafes along Huaihailu Street. Cafes and ateliers are still clustered in the city around this street, many buildings have survived here since the 1930s. The cathedral, built in 1933, also survived.

Nowadays, this fashionable quarter is especially good for romantic strolls on foot. There are small stores and various boutiques, residential cottages and villas. Sycamore trees grow on both sides of the block, some of which were planted by the French, the first inhabitants of the town, 100 years ago.

Coordinates: 31.21443500,121.44478000

Shanghai World Financial Centre

Shanghai World Financial Center (photo)

The Shanghai World Financial Center is currently the fourth tallest building in the world. The skyscraper, which is 492 meters high, has 101 floors. The building is located in Shanghai’s Pudong district, next to the Jin Mao Tower. The skyscraper is equipped with hotels, office space, conference rooms, restaurants, banquet halls, viewing platforms, among which the highest in the world, with a glass floor.

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Construction of the skyscraper, which began in 1997, had to be frozen because of the financial crisis until 2003. Later the real estate market dynamics and the terrible event of September 11, 2001 forced the builders to make significant changes in the project. The building became 101-storey instead of initial 94 floors, and grew from the original 460 m to the present 492. Safety was also considerably improved: additional staircases, elevators and fire-resistant steel silos on each twelfth floor were added to ensure that people would not be exposed to fire until rescue personnel arrived.

The building was completed on August 28, 2008. The same year, the Shanghai World Financial Center was named the best skyscraper of the year.

Coordinates : 31.23496800,121.50724400

Maritime Museum

Maritime Museum (photo)

The Maritime Museum is the first maritime museum in China to learn about the country’s maritime culture, history and technology.

The three-story museum building has a peculiar architectural shape – the shape of a soaring sail. Museum area is 24. 833 square meters. Museum collection consists of 20 thousand items, divided into six thematic groups. This is the history of seafaring, ships, ports, maritime safety, information about famous sailors, military navigation. In addition to exhibition halls, the museum has a 4D screen, interactive displays and lecture halls.

Coordinates : 31.23394000,121.54403700

Weitang Embankment

Weitang Waterfront (photo)

Weitang is one of the symbols of Shanghai, also known as the “architecture fair of ten thousand states”. And it’s true – the atmosphere of other states is felt here like probably nowhere else in the city. The word “Waitan” means “outer shore”. Here, on the banks of the Huangpu River, are dozens of European buildings from the colonial period – former banks and trading companies.

On a stretch of one and a half kilometers there are 52 buildings of different architectural styles, among which you will find classicism, gothic, neoclassicism, baroque and art deco. As for Art Deco, Shanghai has the right to claim to be one of the richest collections of buildings in the world in this style.

Thanks to such architectural diversity, the Weitang Embankment is often referred to as a “museum of world architecture”. The city authorities have banned high-rise construction in the area in order to preserve historic monuments and the landscape in which they are inscribed.

The Weitang promenade is one of the most popular and well-known tourist areas in Shanghai. It is especially beautiful in the evening when illuminated by hundreds of colorful lights.

Coordinates: 31.23977500,121.49007200

Are you wondering how well you know the sights of Shanghai?

Shanghai University

Shanghai University (photo)

Shanghai University was established in 1922 as a multidisciplinary educational institution. Education is provided in several areas of study – engineering, humanities, business, economics and management. The structure of the university includes 23 faculties.

Shanghai University has a highly professional team of 2,500 professors and teachers, including members of the national Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering Sciences. Shanghai University has about 43,000 students and about 10,000 part-time students. Shanghai University was among the first universities to receive permission to educate international students. Since 1976, more than 12,000 students from 107 nations have studied here.

The ideology of the university is constant self-improvement, innovation and the pursuit of harmony. This is the atmosphere of the university campus, where life is organized in such a way as to instill in students a love of science, culture, sports and the arts.

Coordinates : 31.31850300,121.38781100

The most popular attractions in Shanghai with descriptions and photos for all tastes. Choose the best places to visit famous places in Shanghai on our website.

More Sights in Shanghai

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