Shares
39
Share on Pinterest
Share with your friends










Submit

China’s largest city (population 24 million!) and financial capital is simultaneously a trip to the past and to the future. Here are 7 must-see things to do in Shanghai, all but one of which you can visit via the city’s modern, efficient and inexpensive subway.

The Shanghai subway is modern, well-lit and efficient, including ticket machines in Chinese and English. Platforms are marked with the train’s previous and next destinations, making it easy to know which direction to take. Transfers between subway lines also are clearly marked, including by arrows on station floors. Platforms have protective waist-high railings which remain closed until a train arrives, and doors open at precisely the same spot each time. Plus, the Shanghai subway is dirt cheap: Fares are $1 or less, depending on distance, and a lot faster than sitting in downtown traffic jams.

ALSO: 17 amazing places to travel in 2017

Shanghai Museum | Flickr CC: Kenneth Moore

Shanghai Museum | Flickr CC: Kenneth Moore

Shanghai Museum

With its eye-popping collection of 5,000 years of pottery, jade, calligraphy and bronze and stone sculptures, the Shanghai Museum belongs on the list of the world’s top museums. The creativity and workmanship is equally impressive in the Gallery of Chinese Minorities, devoted to China’s 55 indigenous populations. There’s at least one showcase for each tribe, displaying traditional dress, jewelry and ceremonial objects. The museum is located on the People’s Square in the Huangpu District.
SUBWAY People’s Square

Nanking Road

Nanking Road | Flickr CC: Matthias Ripp

Nanking Road

This famous pedestrian-only street features international brands like Apple and H&M interspersed with local restaurants and shops. More interesting are the side streets, where you’ll find vendors selling baseball-sized meat-filled dumplings for around $1 each. It’s a neon-filled delight after dark, when it’s less crowded than during the day, leaving room for street musicians.
SUBWAY Nanking Road East or Nanking Road West

The Bund | Flickr CC: Wenjie Zhang

The Bund | Flickr CC: Wenjie Zhang

The Bund

This is the city’s old financial district and features elegant Beaux Arts buildings and a broad promenade along the Huangpo River, which runs through the center of the city. It’s a great spot for people watching, especially at the historic bridge, a favorite spot for wedding photos. On any given day, you’ll see as many as a dozen couples being primped and posed. Another must-see is the 1930s hotel built by British millionaire Sir Victor Sassoon, now the Fairmont Peace Hotel. A hallway off the massive domed lobby is lined with photos of past guests, including Charlie Chaplin.
SUBWAY Nanking Road East

Pudong District

Pudong District

Pudong

Shanghai’s new financial district stretches out along the other side of the river from the Bund and is lined with towering skyscrapers, most of which are regional headquarters of international banks or tech companies. They are connected by elevated walkways, some of which also lead to high-end designer shops and mini-malls. On weekends, Pudong’s walkways attract vendors, buskers and families. Among the distinctive architecture here is the structure known as The Pearl, the city’s TV and communications tower. Unless it’s a clear day, skip the over-priced Observation Deck.
SUBWAY Lujanzui

RELATED: Orient yourself with great deals by signing up for Orbitz Rewards!

Yu Garden and Bazaar | Flickr CC: Lyn Gateley

Yu Garden and Bazaar | Flickr CC: Lyn Gateley

Yu Garden and Bazaar

This area mixes the old and the new. Old are the historic teahouses, including the popular Nanxiang Dumpling House, where the wait for takeout is 30 minutes or more. Make a reservation to avoid a similar wait for a table, or head to another one of the dozens of dumpling shops and restaurants. Also old are the formal gardens, which include waterfalls. New to the area are the modern shopsin old-style buildings selling souvenir-quality goods to mostly tourists, so go for the ambiance and food, not the shopping. Avoid weekends, when this is a popular destination for local families.
SUBWAY Yuyuan Gardens station

Circus World ERA | Flickr CC: Jing Qu

Circus World ERA | Flickr CC: Jing Qu

Circus World ERA

This jaw-dropping evening of acrobatics, tumbling, juggling and balancing includes women who do somersaults between fast-moving bicycles and a guy who balances on a four-story teeter-totter on one foot while flipping plates onto his head with the other. All the performers are amazing, which is why this show has been drawing sell-out crowds for eight years.
SUBWAY Shanghai Circus World station

Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum | Flickr CC: Harvey Barrison

Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum | Flickr CC: Harvey Barrison

Jewish Refugee Museum

This museum tells the story of the community of Austrian Jews saved by the Shanghai consular official in Nazi Vienna who signed more than 30,000 transit permits. Artifacts include communal cooking stoves shared with Chinese neighbors, and immigrant success stories like Dr. Jacob Rosenfeld, who was honored by the government for founding medical colleges. The museum is housed in a historic red brick synagogue on Chusan Road, which became known as Little Vienna.
SUBWAY None; visit via taxi

Orbitz, app, iPhone, travel, deals

 

Tagged: Destinations

Note: Orbitz compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

Evelyn Kanter

Evelyn Kanter

Evelyn is an NYC-based travel writer who would rather ride a chairlift, river raft or zipline than the subway. She's a regular contributor to major publications, including airline inflights, and has written more than a dozen travel guidebooks. Evelyn's website is www.ecoxplorer.com
Evelyn Kanter

Latest posts by Evelyn Kanter (see all)

One thought on “7 Shanghai adventures by subway”

  1. Just when I thought I’d seen so much in Shanghai, along comes this story to show me how much I missed.
    The acrobats were truly amazing. Wish I’d known about the subway stop nearby. What should have been a quick taxi hop took half an hour.
    Great tips here. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *