From the historic art-deco buildings lining the Bund to the futuristic skyscrapers lighting up Pudong, Shanghai begs for exploration.
To find out where to go the next time we’re in the city, we consulted Billy Yin, guest relations manager/chief concierge of Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai. Yin knows the area well: he’s worked at the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel for 15 years and is a 43-year Shanghai resident. Read on for his recommendations.
What is the best way to spend one day in your city?
Tour the attractions in the morning. Visit the Shanghai Museum and Jade Buddha Temple to learn the history of Shanghai. Enjoy lunch at Yuyuan Garden — the old town — to try some local traditional snacks and dim sum. Then take a walk in the French Concession, which is very cosmopolitan.
Have dinner at Xintiandi, which is famous for its restaurants and bars. And the Bund area is a must-visit spot at night. Take a cruise along the Huangpu River to see the best night view of Shanghai.
What is new in Shanghai?
Shanghai Disney opened in 2016 in the Pudong district. The company’s first destination resort in mainland China included six themed lands: Adventure Isle, Gardens of Imagination, Mickey Avenue, Tomorrowland, Treasure Cove and Fantasyland, all centered around the Enchanted Storybook Castle, the largest and tallest castle at any Disney theme park.
In 2018, a seventh was added: Disney-Pixar Toy Story Land. The new land offers three attractions based on the Toy Story film series.
A new state-of-the-art Starbucks Reserve Roastery sits near the hotel. The 30,000-square-foot roastery is the first of its kind in Asia and is the world’s largest Starbucks. An augmented reality app allows you to scan anywhere in the roastery and learn more about the various components.
What is Shanghai’s most underrated attraction?
The Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum memorializes the time during the Second World War when Jewish refugees sought sanctuary from the massacre. It is housed in the former Ohel Moshe Synagogue, where the Jewish refugees gathered for religious activities.
The museum holds many scrolls and other cultural relics. Built in 1927, the former Ohel Moshe Synagogue was also the headquarters of the Jewish Youth Organization. Between 1937 and 1941, Shanghai received 25,000 Jewish refugees. It was one of the few cities in the world that did not refuse entry to Jews under persecution.
What are the hottest restaurants right now?
For Italian, try 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana or Mercato. Go to L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon or Mr & Mrs Bund for French, and Canton 8, Yongfoo Elite, Imperial Treasure, Hakkasan for Chinese.
What are some great bars to get a drink?
Speak Low, Sober Company, Bar Rouge, M1NT and Pop.
Give us your favorite insider tips.
Avoid traveling during rush hours from 7 to 9 a.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. Always bring cash in case you find yourself in a place where credit cards are not accepted. Taxi drivers cannot speak English in Shanghai, so it’s best have an address written in Chinese in advance.