With its modern skyscrapers jostling for space alongside ancient temples, Shanghai is an amalgam of high-tech futurism and Old World China. With so much to see in so little time, it’s a challenge to know where to begin an exploration of this electrifying city. Our whistle-stop 24 hours in Shanghai points you in the direction of its best spots to drink, dine, shop and sightsee.
Even if you’re not an early riser, set your alarm early and head to the Bund for sunrise. Seeing the sun emerge from behind Pudong skyline is a moment you’ll remember forever. It’s at this time the Bund is at its most peaceful – you’ll witness locals practicing the serene art of tai chi. Grab yourself a jianbing for breakfast. These legendary breakfast crepes are loaded with spring onions and coriander and are prepared fresh by street vendors across the city. Next, take a stroll along the Bund’s promenade to admire its classic old colonial architecture and round up your morning at the stunning Yu Garden.
For all its space-age modernity, the historic heart of Shanghai is where you can experience the soul of this dynamic city. Rich with heritage buildings, Nanshi (Old Shanghai) is awash with narrow lanes, picturesque pagodas and lively street markets. Follow your nose to Sipailou Road where you’ll discover an abundance of street vendors selling foodie delights. Piles of steaming bamboo baskets housing tasty dumplings and hot woks flash-frying fresh noodles await, so tuck into an authentic lunch, street food-style.
After lunch, spend an hour or two perusing designer flagship boutiques at Plaza 66. This elegant shopping haven unites the finest luxury labels like Balmain and Loewe. To soak up some culture, cross the Huangpu River and head to the Himalayas Center, in which Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel is located. A modern architectural marvel, the incredible complex houses the Himalayas Art Museum where you can admire everything from ancient Chinese artifacts to Renaissance masterpieces. For some downtime, check out a matinee at the DaGuan Theatre or catch a film at the cinema.
You’ve sampled authentic Shanghai street food so go all-out for dinner with a refined meal at the Michelin-starred Shang-High. Smart, elegant and sophisticated, the restaurant marries traditional local cuisine with fine dining finesse and promises to be the culinary highlight of your 24 hours in Shanghai. Relish Chef Frank Hu’s imaginative creations like braised cuttlefish with pigeon eggs or braised beef cheek with daintily sliced truffles.
The city is as buzzing after dark as it is by day, if not more so. Complete your 24 hours in Shanghai at the Shanghai World Financial Center. Its three observation decks are the best platforms to view the city in all its shimmering, illuminated glory – watch the metropolis twinkle beneath your feet. A more sedate city view can be experienced while gliding along the Huangpu River on a river cruise. It’s from this watery vantage point that you can really take in the city’s contrasting architecture and unique atmosphere.
Retire to the comforts of the Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel after your next 24 hours in Shanghai.