Ah, Shanghai — The Pearl of Asia, The Paris of the East, and most especially, the city that defines Modern-Day China. It is best known for its busy streets and city lights that would make any night seem like it’s day.
Shanghai has the perfect mixture of modern and traditional landmarks with a lot of hidden gems in the city. When you think about visiting Shanghai, your mind would probably think of The Bund, The Pearl Tower, or even The Yu Gardens. Although these places are no doubt amazing with breathtaking views, there are still so many places to explore in the city! Even Meteor Garden 2018 is filmed in Shanghai!
Aside from its picturesque views, you would also see some of the most fashionably dressed people here. Don’t get too surprised if you suddenly pass by a celebrity. Here are 10 underrated places in Shanghai that you should definitely visit.
1) Old Shanghai
Photo courtesy of Viator
After walking around the busy city, you may want to visit Old Shanghai. It is a district that is filled with homes and neighborhoods that are over a hundred years old. If you have the time, try to also speak to the locals as they have a lot of stories to tell. The best part is there’s plenty of history hidden within the alleyways such as walled up homes, weird markings on the wall, and more.
2) Ancient Town of Qibao
Photo courtesy of China Travel Guide
Shanghai has amazing water towns just like Venice! From the Ming Dynasty up to this date, this ancient town is a 1000 year-old district full of historic streets, arches, buildings and canals. If you love taking pictures of landscapes and picturesque views, this is the perfect place to go to!
3) Shanghai’s M50 Art District
Photo courtesy of China Travel
The Moganshan Road Art District, also known as M50 Art District, in Shanghai is every artists’ haven. It houses a lot of interesting art galleries — paintings, sculptures, graffiti, experimental works and even photographs. It’s a good place to visit as you can visually recognize the difference between traditional and modern-day China. Plus, you’ll walk away with unique photos to post on your Instagram feed that most visitors won’t have!
4) Shanghai’s Marriage Market
Photo courtesy of CNN Travel
You would probably have heard or seen about this unique market in social media. Shanghai’s Marriage Market opened its doors in 1966 when parents made dating profiles for their children using just ink-and-paper that states their educational status, work history, age and other demographics. You may want to visit this market and, who knows, you might find the one for you.
5) Shanghai French Concession
Photo courtesy of Trip Hobo
The French Concession is a popular destination in Shanghai. Unfortunately, most travelers do not understand its history so they end up feeling as if it’s just another landmark. For those that are unaware about the French’s part in Shanghai’s history on opium wars and the Communist Revolution, try asking the locals or your tour guide in sharing with you stories and architectural history of the place in order to gain context and appreciate this part of the city more. If you’re looking for a place to get away from the city noise and appreciate the early European buildings, then this place is a must-go.
6) Tianzi Fang
Photo courtesy of Go Shop Shanghai
Tianzi Fang neighborhood contains tons of alleyways with old Shikumen style architecture. This place is the perfect mix of an Old Shanghai look with Modern-Day China shops, cafés, restaurants and souvenir shops. Don’t forget to stop by a tea house to relax and unwind.
7) Longhua Temple
Photo courtesy of Wendy Wei Tours
The Longhua Temple is a Buddhist temple that boasts the architectural design of China’s Song Dynasty. It is extremely rich in history and is considered as one of the quietest places in the city. It has over 1700 years of history and is known as the largest and oldest Buddhist temple in Shanghai. You’d see the amazing 40.4 meters’ pagoda and the 14,000-pound bell located just near the entrance.
8) Guilin Park
Photo courtesy of Fayhoo (Wikipedia)
Guilin Park is a small old park where you can see locals playing mahjong, practicing opera, and showing off their singing caged birds. Astonishingly, there are bird singing contests that usually take place every 9AM which are even scored by judges, according to their volume, tone change and song length.
9) Huangpu River
Photo courtesy of KLOOK
If you love taking instagramable pictures then this place is for you. Take a cruise along the river and gawk at the view of Shanghai’s skyline. You can even choose your desired cruise tour and set a time from 30 minutes to more than 3 hours that goes to different routes. Don’t miss the picturesque views of European buildings, skyscrapers, and even the city lights once the sun is about to set!
10) Shanghai’s 1933 Slaughterhouse
Photo courtesy of Unsplash
Known as one of history’s largest slaughterhouses in the East, the four-story building was designed by British architects and built by Chinese developers. Today, the building looks like an eerie structure with a Gotham-Deco interior built in with concrete, glass, and steel — one of the last remaining of its design in the world. Aside from its exquisite design, there is also a religious aspect to it as windows are all built facing the west which is considered as the Buddhist holy land and is thought to aid the cattle’s reincarnation process. It also has a massive interlocking staircase with 26 air bridges which connects to the outer areas from its circular core. If you’re interested in urban exploration, architecture, or an aesthetic backdrop, then this place is for you. This place is pretty popular to the millennials which means you may have to wait for your turn to have a photo without plenty of people bustling around the background.