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Shanghai surprise! Time magazine once labelled it the ‘world’s most happening city.’ It has come a long way, China’s place ‘above the sea’, from squelchy farmland to something truly spectacular. What better place then for people to get a taste of the amazing everyday. If you’re one of life’s adventurers, to whom a new city means infinite new experiences waiting to happen, here’s why you’ll love Shanghai. 

It never sleeps, stops or lives in black and white

This city’s colours would make a rainbow blush. Neon nights. Frau Ana fashion. A brave bright metropolis that attracts graffiti artists, DJs, film makers, musicians and even architecture aficionados.  

Think Art Deco, Gothic, Baroque and Romanesque buildings on the Bund (Zhongshan Dongyi Road.) Or modern hustling market life and space age buildings straight from Blade Runner in the rest of the city. The scenic Yu Garden, Shanghai Zoo….the buzz here is incredible. Increasingly popular film, art, and music festivals exist side by side with the traditional Lantern and Dragon boat festivals. It’s impossible to be bored.


It oozes art and culture

Moganshan Art Centre (called M50) is the place to be if artists telling stories in interesting ways turn you on. There are galleries, studios, workshops and painters like Wang Xingwei who attract international collectors.

Not forgetting the influx of international companies and clothes shops in the area. Art is popular: a 2,500 strong snake-like queue of people rocked up to the new Power Station of Art recently. In 12 halls, 98 artists from 27 countries were exhibited.

You can eat your way to heaven

So much choice! Choose from four menus and indulge in champagne and candlelit gazing at The Cupola. Find lunchtime treat Bouquet hidden on the third floor of Xinhua Bookstore. Or seek out delicacies like ‘hairy crab’ or even risk a Pi Dan (a so-called 1,000 year old egg) Shanghai’s ‘secret’ blend that makes up their characteristically gloopy sauce is deceptively simple soy sauce and sugar.

You can flip between fine dining and street smart on a whim. Xiaolongbao (pork dumplings) at Fu Chun will see you probably sharing a lively table with a complete stranger. Hungry for it yet?

Give your ears a treat

Every year the World Music Festival here gets bigger, an indication of just how much music matters to the region. Even the taxi drivers sing. There are gigs during the Festival happening at places all over Shanghai.

But all year round, whatever your musical taste – garage, blues or opera – you will find a somewhere to listen. Live gigs happen at The Shelter or if you fancy a bit of jazz – Cigar, Jazz, Wine is the place to hang. You can’t ignore the musicality of the city.

It’s so quirky you’ll fall in love

In People’s Park, older people pin up sheets with details of their single children – interesting facts about them, physical attributes and even salary. There are folks happily doing karaoke in Fuxing Park and outdoor ballroom dancing …. just about anywhere.

Things getting a bit frenetic? Then jump on board a boat along the Huang Pu River and get a slower, different perspective on the city. Whatever you choose, it will get the adrenalin pumping and before you know it, you will be happily Shanghaied.

Eager to visit the largest proper city in the world? Or already enjoyed its pleasures? Either way, we’d love to hear your thoughts about this incredible metropolis.

Image credit: KittyKaht + adactio + JSolomon+Malik Aberkane