Shanghai is home to the last remnants of China’s colonial heritage. Budding photographers and history buffs will enjoy a stroll along the riverfront Bund Promenade, famed for its impressive 19th-century architecture. Hire a bike and cycle through the tranquil streets of Old Shanghai, a pocket of peace in the bustling metropolis, before swapping old-world grandeur for the ultra-modern World Financial Centre’s bird’s-eye view of the city. Art enthusiasts can peruse the gritty M50 district’s contemporary galleries and studios and marvel at Shanghai Museum’s collection of traditional Chinese masterpieces. As night descends, prepare to be wowed as the cityscape transforms into a kaleidoscope of colourful lights – a spectacle best enjoyed over cocktails from one of Shanghai’s many rooftop bars.
For a spot of retail therapy, you’ve come to the right place – Shanghai is a renowned international shopping hub. Its leafy Former French Concession boasts super-stylish boutiques and bespoke tailors, while you’ll find luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Cartier and Chopard in Plaza 66 on the famous Nanjing Road. More traditional arts and crafts can be found at the colourful Old Town Bazaar, and bibliophiles will lose hours browsing Fuzhou Road’s countless bookshops.
The Michelin Guide came to Shanghai in 2016, rightly recognising the city’s exciting culinary scene. From the Bund’s exclusive international restaurants and Pudong’s high-end hotel eateries to a plethora of privately run street restaurants, you’ll be spoilt for choice at mealtimes. Don't leave without trying the region’s famous soup dumpling, xiaolongbao, a snack with such cult-like status that you can even take a xiaolongbao tour of Shanghai.
Accommodation here is a who’s-who of lavish brands – Mandarin Oriental, Langham, Waldorf Astoria and Shangri-La all feature ultra-luxurious hotels. Standout options include the award-winning Peninsula Shanghai, which boasts two Michelin-star restaurants; Le Royal Méridien Shanghai, where floor-to-ceiling windows give way to unrivalled panoramas; and the art-deco Fairmont Peace, a landmark heritage hotel steeped in history. For a quirkier option, check-in at the acclaimed URBN Hotel Shanghai, a sustainable 26-room boutique bolthole in downtown Jing’An.