10 Places All International Students Must See In Shanghai

Shanghai, with its blend of ancient culture and modernity, offers international students a plethora of sights to explore. Here are some must-see places:

  1. The Bund
  2. Yu Garden (Yuyuan)
  3. Shanghai Tower
  4. Shanghai Disneyland
  5. Xintiandi
  6. Shanghai Museum
  7. Tianzifang
  8. Jing’an Temple
  9. Zhujiajiao Water Town
  10. Shanghai French Concession

the Bund

As an international student visiting the Bund in Shanghai, you’re in for a treat! Here’s what you can expect:

  • Prepare to be mesmerized by the juxtaposition of historic buildings on one side of the Bund and the futuristic skyscrapers of Pudong on the other. The view is particularly breathtaking at night when the city lights up.
  • Take a leisurely stroll along the Bund Promenade, which stretches for about 1.5 kilometers (0.93 miles) along the western bank of the Huangpu River. Enjoy the fresh air, scenic views, and the vibrant atmosphere.
  • Marvel at the architectural wonders of the Bund, which showcases a mix of styles including Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Art Deco. Some notable buildings include the Peace Hotel, Customs House, and the former Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) building.
the Bund
  • Consider taking a river cruise on the Huangpu River to get a different perspective of the Bund and Pudong skyline. Daytime cruises offer panoramic views, while evening cruises provide a magical experience as the city lights up.
  • The Bund is a photographer’s paradise, offering countless opportunities for capturing stunning shots of the skyline, historic buildings, and bustling river traffic.
  • mmerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the Bund, where you’ll encounter a mix of locals, tourists, street performers, and vendors selling souvenirs. It’s a great place to soak up the energy of Shanghai.
  • Find a bench or grassy area along the promenade to sit back, relax, and enjoy the views. You can also rent bicycles or join group exercise sessions that sometimes take place in the area.
  • Explore nearby Nanjing Road, one of Shanghai’s premier shopping streets, for a wide range of retail options and dining experiences. Whether you’re craving traditional Chinese cuisine or international fare, you’ll find plenty of choices nearby.

Yu Garden(Yuyuan)

Visiting Yu Garden (Yuyuan) in Shanghai is a fantastic way for international students to immerse themselves in Chinese culture and history. Here’s what you can look forward to:

  • Yu Garden is a classic example of a traditional Chinese garden dating back to the Ming Dynasty. As you wander through its winding paths, you’ll encounter pavilions, rockeries, ponds, and meticulously landscaped gardens.
  • The garden is adorned with beautiful traditional Chinese architecture, including intricate wood carvings, colorful ceramic tiles, and elegant stone sculptures. Be sure to admire the ornate details of structures like the Grand Rockery and the Pavilion of Listening to Billows.
  • Within and around Yu Garden, you’ll find charming tea houses where you can relax with a cup of tea and soak in the tranquil atmosphere. There are also numerous souvenir shops offering a variety of traditional Chinese handicrafts, gifts, and trinkets.
  • Don’t miss the iconic Huxinting Tea House, a historic tea house located on a small island within Yu Garden. It’s not only a great spot to enjoy tea but also offers a glimpse into Shanghai’s past.
  • Outside the garden, explore the bustling Yuyuan Bazaar, where narrow lanes are lined with shops selling everything from traditional snacks and candies to Chinese silk, handicrafts, and antiques. It’s a lively area full of sights, sounds, and smells.
Yuyuan
  • Depending on the time of your visit, you might be treated to traditional Chinese cultural performances such as tea ceremonies, Chinese opera, or folk music and dance.
  • Yu Garden is a photographer’s paradise, offering countless opportunities to capture beautiful shots of its architectural details, lush greenery, and serene ponds.
  • Take some time to sit and relax in the garden, perhaps near the tranquil ponds or under the shade of a pavilion. It’s a peaceful oasis in the heart of bustling Shanghai, perfect for reflection and rejuvenation.

Shanghai Tower

Visiting the Shanghai Tower is an awe-inspiring experience for international students in Shanghai. Here’s what you can expect:

  • The Shanghai Tower is not just any skyscraper; it’s the tallest building in China and the second-tallest in the world at the time of its completion. Its unique twisting design makes it instantly recognizable on the Shanghai skyline.
  • Ascend to the tower’s observation decks, located on the 118th, 119th, and 120th floors, for panoramic views of Shanghai and beyond. On a clear day, you can see for miles in every direction, taking in the city’s sprawling urban landscape and the meandering Huangpu River.
  • For the adventurous, the Shanghai Tower offers a thrilling skywalk on the 118th floor. Walk on a glass-bottomed platform that extends out from the building’s facade, providing a vertigo-inducing view straight down to the ground far below.
  • Before or after your trip to the observation decks, explore the tower’s interactive exhibits that showcase the engineering marvels and sustainability features of the building. Learn about the cutting-edge technologies that went into its construction and operation.
  • The Shanghai Tower boasts several dining options where you can enjoy a meal or a drink with a view. Whether you prefer fine dining at a sky-high restaurant or a casual café experience, there’s something for every palate.
  • The tower is part of the larger Shanghai Tower complex, which includes a shopping mall, office spaces, and even a luxury hotel. Spend some time exploring the shops, catching a movie, or simply soaking in the atmosphere of this bustling urban hub.
  • Consider visiting the Shanghai Tower in the evening to witness the city lights come alive. As the sun sets and the skyscrapers illuminate, Shanghai transforms into a glittering metropolis, creating a truly magical sight from the tower’s observation decks.
  • The views from the top offer countless opportunities for stunning photos that you’ll cherish for years to come.

Shanghai Disneyland


For international students in Shanghai, a visit to Shanghai Disneyland promises a magical experience filled with fun, excitement, and wonder. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Shanghai Disneyland features classic Disney attractions along with unique experiences tailored to Chinese culture. From thrilling rides like TRON Lightcycle Power Run and Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure to family-friendly adventures and enchanting shows, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
  • Immerse yourself in the enchanting atmosphere of Shanghai Disneyland, where Disney magic comes to life around every corner. From beautifully landscaped gardens and whimsical architecture to beloved Disney characters roaming the park, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a fairy tale.
  • Meet and greet your favorite Disney characters throughout the park, from Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse to Elsa and Anna from Frozen. Don’t forget to capture photos and collect autographs to commemorate your magical encounters.
Shanghai Disneyland
  • Explore the park’s themed lands, each offering its own unique attractions, dining options, and entertainment. Whether you’re wandering through the futuristic Tomorrowland, exploring the exotic jungles of Adventure Isle, or strolling down the charming streets of Mickey Avenue, there’s always something new to discover.
  • Don’t miss the spectacular entertainment offerings at Shanghai Disneyland, including Broadway-style shows, parades, and nighttime spectaculars. Experience the magic of Disney storytelling through dazzling performances and breathtaking special effects.
  • Indulge your taste buds with a wide range of culinary delights available throughout the park, from classic theme park snacks like popcorn and churros to international cuisine and unique Disney-themed treats. Be sure to try some of the park’s exclusive offerings inspired by Chinese flavors and traditions.
  • Take home a piece of the magic with souvenirs and merchandise inspired by your favorite Disney characters and attractions. Explore the shops and boutiques scattered throughout the park for a wide selection of apparel, accessories, toys, and collectibles.
  • Keep an eye out for special seasonal events and celebrations at Shanghai Disneyland, including festivals, holiday-themed experiences, and limited-time offerings. These events add an extra layer of excitement and magic to your visit.

Xintiandi

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Xintiandi is a must-visit destination for international students in Shanghai. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Xintiandi is renowned for its preservation of Shikumen (stone-gate) architecture, a traditional style of housing in Shanghai. These historic buildings have been transformed into trendy shops, restaurants, cafes, and entertainment venues while retaining their original charm.
  • Explore the boutiques and designer stores in Xintiandi to discover unique fashion finds, jewelry, accessories, and souvenirs. Whether you’re looking for high-end luxury brands or local artisanal products, you’ll find plenty of shopping options to suit your style and budget.
  • Indulge in a culinary adventure at Xintiandi’s diverse array of restaurants and eateries offering cuisine from around the world. From upscale fine dining establishments to cozy cafes and street food stalls, there’s something to satisfy every palate. Don’t miss the opportunity to try traditional Shanghainese dishes like xiaolongbao (soup dumplings) and shengjianbao (pan-fried buns).
Xintiandi
  • Experience the vibrant nightlife of Xintiandi, where you’ll find chic bars, lounges, and clubs buzzing with energy well into the night. Whether you’re in the mood for cocktails, live music, or dancing, you’ll find plenty of options for a memorable night out on the town.
  • Keep an eye out for cultural events and exhibitions held in Xintiandi’s public spaces, such as art installations, performances, and festivals. These events offer insight into Shanghai’s cultural scene and provide opportunities to engage with the local community.
  • Take a leisurely stroll through Xintiandi’s pedestrian-friendly streets and squares, where you can admire the historic architecture, lush greenery, and public art installations. Enjoy a moment of relaxation in one of the neighborhood’s charming courtyards or parks.
  • Visit the Shikumen Open House Museum to learn about the history and evolution of Shikumen architecture in Shanghai. The museum showcases a restored Shikumen residence furnished with period-appropriate decor and artifacts, offering a glimpse into life in old Shanghai.
  • Explore the contemporary art scene in Xintiandi by visiting one of the neighborhood’s art galleries or studios. From traditional Chinese art to cutting-edge contemporary works, you’ll find a diverse range of artistic expressions waiting to be discovered.

Shanghai Museum

As an international student in Shanghai, visiting the Shanghai Museum is an enriching experience that offers insights into China’s rich history and cultural heritage. Here’s what you can expect:

  • The Shanghai Museum is renowned for its vast and diverse collections of Chinese art and artifacts, spanning thousands of years of history. Explore galleries dedicated to ancient bronzes, ceramics, jade, calligraphy, painting, sculpture, and more.
  • Marvel at the museum’s impressive collection of ancient Chinese artifacts, including intricately crafted bronze vessels, delicate jade carvings, exquisite porcelain, and stunning works of calligraphy and painting. These artifacts offer glimpses into China’s ancient civilizations, artistic traditions, and technological advancements.
  • In addition to its permanent collections, the Shanghai Museum hosts regular special exhibitions featuring temporary displays of significant artworks and cultural artifacts from China and around the world. These exhibitions provide opportunities to delve deeper into specific themes, periods, or artistic styles.
  • Take advantage of the museum’s educational resources, including guided tours, audio guides, and informative signage available in multiple languages. Learn about the historical context, artistic techniques, and cultural significance of the artworks on display through engaging multimedia presentations and interactive exhibits.
  • Admire the architectural design of the Shanghai Museum, which combines traditional Chinese architectural elements with modern construction techniques. The museum’s distinctive circular shape symbolizes the ancient Chinese concept of the “round sky and square earth,” creating a harmonious blend of tradition and innovation.
Shanghai Museum
  • The Shanghai Museum serves as a hub for cultural exchange, fostering dialogue and collaboration between Chinese and international scholars, artists, and cultural institutions. Attend lectures, workshops, and cultural events hosted by the museum to deepen your understanding of Chinese art and culture.
  • Located in the heart of Shanghai’s People’s Square, the Shanghai Museum is easily accessible by public transportation, making it a convenient destination for international students. Plan your visit during non-peak hours to avoid crowds and fully immerse yourself in the museum’s treasures.
  • Before or after your museum visit, browse the museum’s gift shop for unique souvenirs, books, and handicrafts inspired by Chinese art and culture. Relax and recharge at the museum’s café, where you can enjoy refreshments and snacks in a tranquil setting.

Tianzifang

Tianzifang is a vibrant and eclectic district in Shanghai that offers international students a unique blend of culture, creativity, and charm. Here’s what you can expect when visiting Tianzifang:

  • Explore Tianzifang’s narrow alleyways and maze-like lanes lined with traditional Shikumen (stone-gate) buildings. These historic structures, dating back to the early 20th century, have been transformed into art galleries, boutiques, cafes, and studios, preserving their original architectural charm while offering modern amenities.
  • Immerse yourself in Tianzifang’s thriving arts scene, where you’ll find a diverse array of galleries, studios, and workshops showcasing contemporary Chinese art, photography, sculpture, and crafts. Discover emerging artists, attend gallery openings, and engage with the local creative community.
  • Wander through Tianzifang’s eclectic mix of shops and boutiques, where you can shop for unique souvenirs, fashion, accessories, home decor, and handicrafts. From quirky boutiques selling handmade jewelry and vintage clothing to specialty stores offering Chinese tea, silk, and paper goods, there’s something to suit every taste and budget.
  • Relax and unwind at one of Tianzifang’s charming cafes, teahouses, or restaurants, which offer a variety of culinary delights from around the world. Whether you’re craving traditional Chinese cuisine, international fare, or artisanal coffee and pastries, you’ll find plenty of options to satisfy your appetite.
Tianzifang
  • Sample local street food and snacks from vendors scattered throughout Tianzifang’s labyrinthine lanes. Indulge in classic Shanghai specialties like xiaolongbao (soup dumplings), shengjianbao (pan-fried buns), scallion pancakes, and stinky tofu, or try regional Chinese snacks and desserts.
  • Experience Tianzifang’s vibrant nightlife scene, where you can enjoy live music performances, art exhibitions, cultural events, and street performances. Many bars and cafes host live music nights featuring local musicians and bands, creating a lively and eclectic atmosphere.
  • Participate in hands-on workshops and classes offered by local artisans and craftsmen, where you can learn traditional Chinese arts and crafts such as calligraphy, painting, pottery, and silk embroidery. Gain insights into traditional techniques and create your own unique souvenirs to take home.
  • Explore Tianzifang’s surrounding area, which is rich in historical landmarks and cultural attractions. Visit nearby sites such as the former residence of renowned Chinese writer Lu Xun, the SML Center for Contemporary Art, and the bustling Dongtai Road Antique Market.

Jing’an Temple

As an international student in Shanghai, visiting Jing’an Temple is a wonderful opportunity to explore the city’s rich cultural heritage and experience traditional Chinese spirituality. Here’s what you can expect when you visit Jing’an Temple:

  • Jing’an Temple is one of Shanghai’s most famous Buddhist temples, with a history dating back over 800 years. Originally built during the Song Dynasty, the temple has undergone renovations and reconstructions over the centuries, reflecting the changing architectural styles of different periods.
  • Marvel at the temple’s stunning architecture, which features classic Chinese temple design elements such as pagodas, pavilions, courtyards, and intricate wood carvings. Admire the ornate decorations, colorful roof tiles, and towering golden statues that adorn the temple’s halls and structures.
  • Explore Jing’an Temple’s interior halls and chambers, where you’ll find a wealth of cultural relics, Buddhist scriptures, statues, and artifacts on display. Learn about the history of Buddhism in China and the significance of different deities and symbols within the Buddhist tradition.
  • Experience the serene and contemplative atmosphere of Jing’an Temple as you observe monks and worshippers engaged in Buddhist rituals, prayers, and meditation. Take a moment to participate in the temple’s spiritual activities, such as lighting incense, making offerings, or reciting prayers for blessings and good fortune.
Jing’an Temple
  • Step away from the hustle and bustle of the city and find tranquility within the temple’s peaceful gardens and courtyards. Stroll along the pathways lined with ancient trees, lotus ponds, and stone sculptures, and enjoy a moment of quiet reflection amidst the serene surroundings.
  • Keep an eye out for special cultural events and religious festivals held at Jing’an Temple throughout the year, such as the celebration of the Lunar New Year, Buddha’s Birthday, and other traditional Buddhist holidays. These events offer opportunities to experience traditional rituals, performances, and cultural activities.
  • Explore the vibrant neighborhood surrounding Jing’an Temple, which is home to trendy cafes, shops, restaurants, and art galleries. Take a leisurely walk along Nanjing Road West, one of Shanghai’s premier shopping streets, and discover hidden gems tucked away in the nearby alleyways and lanes.

Zhujiajiao Water Town

As an international student in Shanghai, visiting Zhujiajiao Water Town offers a delightful escape from the bustling city and a glimpse into traditional Chinese culture and architecture. Here’s what you can expect when you visit Zhujiajiao:

  • Zhujiajiao is often referred to as the “Venice of Shanghai” due to its network of ancient waterways, canals, and stone bridges. Take a leisurely boat ride along the canals to admire the charming scenery and historic architecture from a unique perspective.
  • Wander through Zhujiajiao’s narrow lanes and alleyways lined with well-preserved Ming and Qing Dynasty-era buildings, traditional courtyard homes, and quaint shops. Explore ancient temples such as the Yuanjin Buddhist Temple and the Kezhi Garden, which offer insights into the town’s religious and cultural heritage.
  • Marvel at Zhujiajiao’s famous stone bridges, including the iconic Fangsheng Bridge with its five arches and the picturesque Langqiao Bridge adorned with carved stone lions. These ancient bridges serve as landmarks and symbols of the town’s rich history and architectural legacy.
Zhujiajiao Water Town
  • Sample traditional Chinese cuisine and local specialties at Zhujiajiao’s charming teahouses, restaurants, and street food stalls. Indulge in regional delicacies such as freshwater fish, rice dumplings, steamed buns, and sticky rice cakes, all prepared using fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
  • Discover Zhujiajiao’s rich tradition of handicrafts and artisanal skills by visiting workshops and shops specializing in silk weaving, rice paper making, bamboo carving, and other traditional crafts. Watch skilled artisans at work and shop for unique souvenirs and gifts to take home.
  • Explore Zhujiajiao’s tranquil gardens and parks, where you can relax amidst lush greenery, blooming flowers, and serene ponds. Visit the ancient Cao Family Garden and the Yuanjin Meditation Garden to experience the beauty and tranquility of traditional Chinese garden design.
  • Enjoy cultural performances and demonstrations of traditional Chinese arts and crafts, such as silk embroidery, dough figurine making, and Chinese calligraphy. Watch as local performers showcase traditional music, dance, and theater, bringing Zhujiajiao’s rich cultural heritage to life.
  • Capture the timeless beauty and charm of Zhujiajiao through photography, whether you’re snapping shots of ancient architecture, scenic landscapes, colorful boats, or candid moments of local life. Zhujiajiao’s picturesque scenery provides endless opportunities for stunning photos and cherished memories.

Shanghai French Concession

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Exploring the Shanghai French Concession is a must-do for international students seeking to immerse themselves in the city’s rich history, vibrant culture, and unique charm. Here’s what you can expect when visiting the Shanghai French Concession:

  • Wander through the tree-lined streets of the French Concession and marvel at the elegant European-style architecture that dates back to the early 20th century. Admire the well-preserved colonial buildings, including grand mansions, villas, and apartment complexes, which reflect the area’s colonial past.
  • Explore the French Concession’s trendy cafes, boutique shops, and art galleries, which occupy many of the historic buildings and offer a mix of vintage charm and contemporary flair. Discover hidden gems tucked away in alleyways and leafy courtyards, where you can shop for unique fashion finds, artisanal goods, and locally made crafts.
  • Visit cultural landmarks and historic sites in the French Concession, such as the former residence of Sun Yat-sen, the founding father of modern China, and the site of the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China. Learn about the area’s role in shaping Shanghai’s political, social, and cultural landscape.
  • Relax and unwind in Fuxing Park, one of Shanghai’s most beloved green spaces, which is located in the heart of the French Concession. Take a leisurely walk around the park’s scenic lake, admire the beautiful gardens and sculptures, and observe locals practicing tai chi, dancing, and playing traditional musical instruments.
  • Indulge in a culinary adventure in the French Concession, where you’ll find a wide range of dining options to suit every palate and budget. From upscale French bistros and fine dining restaurants to cozy cafes, street food stalls, and hole-in-the-wall eateries serving authentic Shanghainese cuisine, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
  • Immerse yourself in the vibrant arts and cultural scene of the French Concession by visiting art galleries, theaters, and cultural centers showcasing contemporary art exhibitions, live performances, and cultural events. Attend art openings, film screenings, and music concerts to experience the creativity and diversity of Shanghai’s cultural landscape.
  • Experience the nightlife of the French Concession by exploring its bustling bars, speakeasies, and live music venues. Whether you’re sipping cocktails at a rooftop bar, dancing the night away at a trendy club, or enjoying live jazz at a cozy wine bar, the French Concession offers endless opportunities for entertainment and socializing.
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