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Places to Visit in Shanghai when Short on Time

Updated on December 3, 2014

Great Places To Visit In Shanghai

Shanghai is China's largest city when considering population. There are many things to see and do there. However, a great deal of these places requires multiple days in order to take in all that such sites have to offer. This lens briefly discusses four locations that are ideal for quick visiting: The French Concession, the Bund, the Yu Garden, and the Moganshan Road Art District. These areas offer an insightful look at Chinese history from various periods while not requiring a tremendous amount of time.

Places to Visit in Shanghai when Short on Time

Traveling to Shanghai

The largest city in the Peoples’ Republic of China, Shanghai, is also the biggest city in the world when considering population. Approximately 23 million people live within Shanghai and its suburbs. Known civilization in what is referred to today as Shanghai dates back to roughly 2500 BC. It is a city with a long illustrious history that has grown tremendously. Shanghai played an important role in the development and sustainability of the Great Silk Road which started seeing its first commerce travel during the Han Dynasty (r. 206BC - 220AD). Today the Silk Road is travelled primarily by tourists via cars, tour buses, and bicycle rides. Many of these visitors are only able to stay for short periods of time before continuing their tours. Therefore, most of these travelers desire things to do and see that are time efficient. The scope of this article intends to briefly discuss four locations that are ideal for this purpose: the French Concession, the Bund, the Yu Garden, and the Moganshan Road Art District.


The French Concession

The French Concession in Shanghai

The French Concession is an interestingly unique portion of Shanghai. Despite being within a city of 17 million people counting only its metropolitan area, the French Concession is a quaint and quiet neighborhood containing a European feel. The neighborhood’s current look dates back to the first decade of the 20th century when French and European merchants began trading heavily with the ruling Qing Dynasty which by then was in its waning years. The streets of the French Concession are still lined with plane trees that were imported from France. Currently the area has been undergoing great infrastructure improvements with old lane houses and villas being renovated into charming shops and private residencies while keeping the neighborhood’s European theme. Another district within Shanghai that is known for its European roots is the famous Bund.


Visiting the Bund

The Bund is perhaps Shanghai’s most well known landmark. Its history, like that of the French Concession begins in the early 20th century. It is also an area that may be considered familiar to Western tourists due to its architecture, restaurants, and shops specializing in European styles. The Bund extends for roughly one picturesque mile along the Huangpu River. It was here that European foreigners governed and protected their profitable yet illegal opium trade from any efforts made by the crumbling Qing Dynasty to stop it. Therefore, the Bund consists of several Victorian-era styled buildings that served as meeting halls for private business men and politicians. The Bund is infamous for being the home of many racist policies enacted by the European foreigners against their Chinese hosts. Until 1927 much of the Bund was off limits to locals except when accompanied by a European. However, not everything is Western inspired in modern Shanghai

Shanghai China Travel Guide - Visiting Shanghai


Yu Garden

Visiting Yu Garden

Yu Garden, located inside Shanghai’s Old Town is an ancient garden that has been renovated to resemble its original appearance from 16th century Ming China. The garden itself is filled with gorgeous plants and flowers that are indigenous to the area. Moreover, the building that surrounds the garden is a 16th century pagoda, a staple in ancient Chinese architectural practice. Surrounding the garden are restaurants serving local cuisine of all price ranges as well as Central Fanghang Road, the main artery of Old Town which is loaded with interesting curio shops. In spite of its long history, Shanghai is not without its things to do and see that have a more contemporary feel

The Moganshan Road Art District

The Moganshan Road Art District In Shanghai

The Moganshan Road Art District was once an area of closed factories and warehouses. However, in recent years thousands of young artists have flocked to the area near Suzhou Creek and have since built a quasi contemporary art colony. Today, the district is replete with art galleries and cafs that all have a unique and modern feel to them. It is a perfect destination for anybody whose just passing through or for those with more time, it is also ideal for a full day visit.

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    • Aussieteacher profile image

      Di 2 years ago from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

      The Hop On Hop Off buses are worth going on. There certainly is a lot to see. Nanjing Road is my favourite.

    • ChenB profile image

      ChenB 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Hello Tipi! Thank you for visiting my lens. Shanghai is well worth the visit. It is an incredible city.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I would love to visit Shanghai, maybe someday! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I would love to visit Shanghai, maybe someday! :)