If you intend to stay in Shanghai for more than a few days the Shanghai Jiaotong Card (上海公共交通卡) is a must. You can load the card with money and use it in buses, the metro and even taxis, saving the hassle of buying tickets at each metro station and keeping change for buses and taxis. You can get these cards at any metro/subway station, as well as some convenience stores like Alldays and KeDi Marts. These come in regular, mini, and “strap” size (the latter being made for hanging on mobile phones), with various limited editions available for each. Only regular-sized cards can be loaded at machines (with a few exceptions, mainly at line 6/8 stations which have a special type of recharge machine made to take all sizes of cards) and only in multiples of ¥50 or ¥100 (this applies to the big blue machines- certain smaller machines mostly located in line 8 stations will accept any bills the service counter will as well as most sizes of SPTC). Most likely you will need to go to the service counter to recharge if you have an irregularly-shaped card or you want to recharge in multiples of ¥10 or ¥20.
Also, this card allows you to transfer lines at Yishan Rd, Shanghai Train Station, and Hongkou Football Stadium stations, as well as discounts for bus<->bus and metro<->bus transfer (the fare is discounted ¥1 each time you transfer).
- Yuyuan Gardens (豫园), (in Old City). For a feel of the China of yesteryear loaded with classical Chinese architecture (the countless vendors just outside the gardens may lead to some frustration, so don’t come here thinking ‘tranquility’). ¥40.
- Classic (Western) architecture (西方古典建筑). For a taste of 1920s Shanghai, head for the stately old buildings of the The Bund or the French Concession–too many to list here! Some of the best sections are along Hunan Rd (湖南路), Fuxing Rd (复兴路), Shaoxing Rd (绍兴路) and Hengshan Rd (衡山路). The area is fast becoming famous for boutique shopping along Xinle Rd, Changle Rd and Anfu Rd (安福路), all of which also have interesting restaurants.
- Modern architecture (现代建筑). Some of the tallest and most inspiring structures in Asia and the world can be found along the Huangpu River bank in Pudong’s Lujiazui District. Two of considerable mention are Oriental Pearl Tower, one of the tallest structures in Asia, providing visitors with city views (different tours available) or light shows (at night) from below (free), Jin Mao Tower, which is staggering 88-story behemoth, and the Shanghai World Financial Center, the third largest building in Asia and the world, and world’s largest by roof height, containing the world’s highest observation deck, at 474 m (1555 ft) . Admission for Shanghai World Financial Center (as of November 2013): Y150 for 94th, 97th, and 100th floor; Y120 for 94th floor only. Discount available for students under 16 and senior citizens, and free if it’s your birthday.
- Shanghai Museum (上海博物馆), S side of People’s Square. 9AM-5PM. The Ancient Bronze exhibit is particularly impressive. Audio guides available. Also, there are often volunteer guides providing free service. Some of them speak English.Free.
- Temples. Some of the more popular ones include the Jade Buddha Temple, Jing’an Temple, Chenghuang and Longhua Temple.
- Oriental Pearl Tower. Right in the middle of the skyline+ This is a must see! (120 RMB for going up, Oct 2012)
- Zhujiajiao Water Town (朱家角镇). The picturesque Zhu Jia Jiao is a classic water village, over 400 years old with a signature five-arch bridge spanning the Cao Gang River. Zhu Jia Jiao was an important town for local trade, shipping goods in and out of its manmade canals to the river. After about 40 minutes drive from the city,you will arrive at Zhujiajiao-the Ancient Water Town. Its main street is lined with quaint shops and restaurants serving local favorites. You can stroll the maze of paths and bridges, and take a boat ride to view the residences of this nicely-preserved water village. Zhu Jia Jiao is also home to two impressive temples, which add to the charm and historic significance of the village.
- Personal and Free Guided Tours (Shanghai Greeters). Visit their website to register and request a Shanghai Greeter. Greeters are mainly university students and locals enthusiastic in introducing new foreigners to their city. Completely free however, be aware that if you’re going to a fancy lunch or Cafe, the greeters may not be able to afford to join you. It would be a nice gesture to pay for your greeters entry fees and lunch as they are so nice in giving their time freely for you.Free.
- Drink at a tea house. Visit Shanghai’s many tea houses, including Tang Yun tea house (199 Hengshan Lu, Hengshan Road stop on Line 1, at Exit 4). Tang Yun serves many varieties of tea along with traditional Chinese delicacies. Many of the snacks at the common table are free. Serve yourself. Be careful not to order too much food. Also, beware of tea house scams, see Stay safe below. Alternatively, you can also head to Yu Garden to sample some tea, but not at a dining establishment, rather at one of the many tea shops selling the product. In hopes to make a sale, the store owners will call out to you to sample some of their tea. You may enter – they will offer the best (or most expensive) to foreigners to taste. If you decide to do this, be courteous and purchase a small amount of tea – but be sure to ask the price before you try it. **Note: Prices mentioned are always by 斤 jin1, which is equivalent to a pound or half-kilo.
- Play Weiqi (the game of Go), (firstname.lastname@example.org). As a symbol of Chinese culture, with more than 3000 years of age, Weiqi(go) is the world’s greatest strategy board game where a few simple rules lead to limitless possibilities. Shanghai Weiqi Classroom is probably the only place where foreigners can study this game with English speaking assistance.
- Take a boat on the river. There are many companies that run river tours. Look for one of the cheaper ones. This is a great way to see the striking Shanghai skyline and river banks and shoot some good photos. A cheaper but less scenic alternative is to take one of the many ferries that cross the river for a couple yuan.
- Shanghai Happy Valley, 888 Linhu Rd, Songjiang (上海松江区林湖路888号). Theme park. ¥200.
- Jinjiang Amusement Park, No. 201 Hongmei Rd (in Xuhui District, Line 1 to Jinjiang Park).
- Shanghai City Beach. Beautiful Jinshan City Beach is on the north bank of Hangzhou Bay, at the southern end of Jinshan District. The area combines great scenery, points of interest and entertainment all in one strip, and is composed of 2 square kilometers of blue waters, 120,000 square meters of golden sands and a 1.7 kilometer silver walkway. Every spring, Jinshan beach hosts the national kite flying competition and the world beach volleyball tournament; in the summer thousands of visitors come for the Fengxia Music Festival. Sail boating, speed boating, bungee jumping and 4-wheeling activities makes this place a great spot for athletics as well.
- Jinshan Donglin temple, Shanghai Jin Shan Qu Dong Lin Jie (Take the Metro to Line 1 to Lianhua Rd Station. Leave station from the north exit, to the left you will see a bus station. Find the bus 莲金专线空调, 莲花路地铁站-朱泾(lianjin zhuanxian kongtiao, lianhua lu ditiezhan-zhujing) (lianjin special purpose bus (AC), from Lianhua station to Zhujing Town, where the temple is). To confirm the bus is going there, ask, ‘Zhe liang dao zhujing ma?’. The final stop is a few blocks from the temple. Ask someone to point the way. Take the same bus back, but towards Lianhua station. One way without traffic should take less than an hour.). Jinshan Donglin temple (金山东林寺), located in Shanghai’s southern suburbs (Zhujing Town) has over 700 years of history, the temple has been renovated, and is a magnificent sight to see. Donglin Temple has large-scale, high artistic value, and three Guinness World Records: The Goddess of Mercy and the world’s tallest Buddha Cloisonné—Sudhana (5.4 m) the highest bronze door in the world-qian fo door (20.1 m), The world’s tallest indoor statue– the statue of Guanyin Bodhisattva with one thousand hands and several heads(34.1 m). ¥30.
- Shanghai Propaganda Poster and Art Centre (PPAC), RM. BOC 868 HUA SHAN RD SHANGHAI 上海华山路868号BOC室 (Take a taxi to 868 Huashan Road. The museum is inside the apartment complex here. With any luck, the complex guard will point you in the right direction. The museum is found in the basement of building B.). Daily10:00-17:00. This private collection is one of the most relevant and uncensored exhibits available to visitors interested in a glimpse of the politics and art of Mao-era China. Posters, memorabilia, photos, and even “大字报” (dazibao: big character posters) can be found in this rotating exhibition. Due to the controversial nature of the historical items stored here, the museum is quite difficult to find, and unlabeled from the outside. Well worth the hunt, the museum boasts a wide array of art and political relics from 20th century China. ¥20.
- Navy Shanghai Museum, 68 Tanghou Rd., Wusong, Shanghai, ☎ +86 21 56163295. Not open to foreigners. Only Chinese citizens. Easy to find on the north side of town where the Huangpu River meets the Yangtze. Also good signs on the roads leading to the museum. Nothing to see outside. (Qingdao Navy museum can be visited without problem.)
- Madame Tussauds Shanghai, 10/F, New World Building, No.2-68 Nanjing Xi Rd, ☎ +86 21 6358 7878. Madame Tussauds Shanghai, a must go for leisure, near people park centre, From Nan Jing Road, take walk to West and go to People Park, you can see the building after take underground road
- C3 Cafe (Creative Co-working Cafe), 700 Huang Pi South Rd, Suite 黄陂南路700号 A105室 (Based between Metro Stations Xintendi, Laoximen, Madang. 700 Huang Pi South Road, Building A, back from the street.), ☎ +86 13916171091. 11:00-??. An Event Café built up on Shanghai Couchsurfing Community, designed to support the events in different areas such as Art, Cultural, Business or Travelling. Aims to be the cultural bridge between Chinese and foreign communities and has been working with some entrepreneur organisations and several NGOs. Events partners include Couchsurfing.org, Community Center Shanghai, Drink Entrepreneur, TEDx and People Squared. Events are easy to join and pretty much EVERY night of the week. Free admission.