18 Apr 2019
The metropolis of Shanghai sits by an estuary of the Yangtze River and casts its many colourful lights across the water. A spectacular skyline jumps between low-lying art deco architecture and futuristic skyscrapers. Shanghai is a city forever marching upwards – a hub for luxury shoppers and careerists – where the local residents are known by the rest of China as ‘little capitalists’. And yet, the tall monuments of business notwithstanding, there’s quiet romance to be found amongst the enclosed Buddhist temples, sleepy waterways and Michelin-accredited restaurants. Here’s our selection of the most romantic things to do in Shanghai.
STROLL ALONG THE BUND
Shanghai’s green lungs, hidden temples and many meandering paths make it the perfect place to get lost together. Use the well-lit river as a guide as you wander along the Bund in Huangpu District. Soak-up the cinematic atmosphere. Stroll down the glittering promenade and pass between shops, bars and restaurants (Lost Heaven is especially good – if you’re partial to a little South China cuisine). Drift between street scenes and marvel at the mixture of colonial-era architecture and sky-rocketing towers. Finally, kick-up your weary feet and clink cocktails in one of the laid-back rooftop lounges, overlooking the waterfront.
ENJOY A QUIET MOMENT AT JING’AN TEMPLE
If you’re looking for time alone together in tranquillity – why not spend the afternoon strolling the Jing’an garden? Keep a slow natureful pace: start at the café for a variety of coffee and pastries, find benches to relax under the leafy canopies and willow trees, watch lotus flowers spinning in the ponds and sprawl-out on the deck with your toes in the water. Deeper within the park you’ll also find a Balinese restaurant, but don’t get too attached – you’ll have to pry yourself free when the garden closes around 6pm. That’s when the real fun begins as you walk across West Nanjing Road and wander to Jing’an Temple before the sun sets. You’ll find the temple draped in mysticism and when night closes the whole building is illuminated in a spectacular tiered display of fiery light– surely one of the most enchanting views in the city.
BALLROOM DANCING AT JZ JAZZ CLUB
A short walk from the nightly lightshow at Jing’an Temple, you’ll find the grand façade of Paramount Theatre. Inside there’s a traditional ballroom and an opportunity to dress-to-the-nines and spin together over the polished wood. Alternatively, if you’re looking for something a little more free-flowing, the best Shanghai jazz cuts loose at the low-lit JZ Jazz Club on the leafy streets of the French Concession. Much-loved amongst locals, international musicians, from America to Mauritius, play nightly busting-out empowering tunes and drawing large crowds of cocktail-toting guests.
HOP THE BARS AND CAFES OF TIANZIFANG STREET
Once a withdrawn residential area, this trend-setting neighbourhood is now a ramshackle playground for art-lovers and chasers of curiosities, from the stone-doorways of the shikumen buildings to the rivers of unique bars, cafes and restaurants. There’s no better place to spend an evening hand-in-hand, drifting between lounges, craft shops, studios, boutiques and galleries. The secret lanes and festive avenues offer an ever-changing environment for the perfect date – a charming melange of slow-flowing photographers, gleeful sightseers and laconic coffee sippers.
ZHUJIAJIAO WATER TOWN, SHANGHAI
When it comes to river cruises, the Huangpu River is often mentioned as a smooth conveyer to take you between the city’s landmarks. We much prefer the less ruffled waters of the fan-shaped Zhujiajiao Water Town. Some call it the Venice of Shanghai, a place where you can stroll old lanes, wander through Yu Garden with its huge Jade Rock centrepiece, ride the canals, find vantage points on bridges, recline in old courtyards and experience 1,700 years of history. For couples, the night cruise is an unforgettable option, offering a buffet dinner and a variety of tour highlights. You’ll also be able to spend time amidst the ever-changing flow of the city, nudged along by the moonlit waters with the muffled backdrop of Shanghai at night.
Stay at Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel to be at the heart of this vibrant city.