Shanghai is an extremely large city, so it can be a bit overwhelming when trying to find the perfect place for your stay here. And despite the city’s great public transportation system, location will still inevitably affect your overall trip experience. That being said, it’s important to ask yourself some initial questions first:
What are your interests, be it sightseeing, culture, cuisine or shopping?
What’s your preferred budget?
How do you plan to get around?
To help you decide on a location, here are our top recommendations for the best areas for travelers to stay in while visiting Shanghai:
The Bund (Wai Tan)
As it is probably the most iconic part of Shanghai, the Bund is one of the best locations for sight-seeing and transportation, especially for first-time visitors to Shanghai. The Bund is conveniently located at the end of Nanjing Shopping Street (Nanjing Road (E) ), one of the world’s busiest commercial streets, leading to the famous People’s Square and its many museums. Also within walking distance of the Bund is the historic Yuyuan Gardens.
Facing the Huangpu River, the architecture of the Bund harkens back to the European colonial period of Shanghai’s history. In contrast, when looking out over the river, you see the amazingly lit up skyscrapers that form the city’s futuristic skyline. It’s this breathtaking mix of old and new that perfectly reflects Shanghai’s unique character.
Nearby Attractions: The Bund, Yuyuan Garden, Nanjing Road Shopping Street, Fairmont Peace Hotel, People’s Square, Shanghai Museum
Lujiazui (Pudong New District)
Situated within the many futuristic high-rise buildings on the other side of the Huangpu River in Pudong is the financial center of Shanghai, Lujiazui. From here, you can look back to see a full view of the Bund and its many historic buildings in Puxi. For travelers visiting Shanghai for work, the Lujiazui financial and commercial hub is the location of many of the city’s most prominent business offices.
As it’s in Pudong, Lujiazui is also the closest to Pudong International Airport and Shanghai Disneyland of the areas listed in this article. If you’re in Shanghai for work or for entertaining family, Lujiazui functions as a great base between the two sides of the city, Pudong and Puxi.
Nearby Attractions: Oriental Pearl Tower, Shanghai Jinmao Tower, Shanghai World Financial Center, Shanghai Ocean Aquarium, Bund Sightseeing Tunnel, Super Brand Mall and A.P Plaza Market
Named after its famous landmark, the Jing’an Temple, this central district is one of the most popular areas for both Chinese locals and foreigners in Shanghai. It’s not as busy as the Bund, has many trendy restaurants, bars, and hotels, and is located just west of People’s Square and north of the Former French Concession. Jing’an is best for those who want to stay somewhere with a cool, relaxed vibe that’s also conveniently located.
Nearby Attractions: Jing’an Temple, Shanghai Exhibition Center, Shanghai Centre, West Nanjing Road
Xintiandi (Former French Concession)
Xintiandi is known for its nightlife and popularity among the city’s expat community. This affluent, car-free area of well-preserved Shikumen buildings now holds mostly bars, restaurants, and cafes, along with some historic sites like the site of the first congress of the Communist Party of China. This vibrant, architecture-rich location is best for travelers who want a taste of Shanghai’s nightlife and foodie culture.
Many confuse Xintiandi with the Former French Concession, but it is only one very small part of the old colonial area. Non-the less, it is a beautiful location to stay in, when traveling in Shanghai, and close also to Line No. 10 of the Metro which runs through most of the must-see places in Shanghai.
Nearby Attractions: Fuxing Park, Museum of the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China, Shikumen Open House Museum
Other areas to explore – Xujiahui and Tianzifang – are great for second time visitors to Shanghai and will give you a more “local” feeling of the city
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