8 Local Things to Do in Shanghai


People always told me, “Shanghai is not Chinese enough!” .

“It’s a metropolis,” they said. “It has many skyscrapers and western restaurants,” they said.

Pssh, Shanghai is in China! There are definitely some Chinese aspects. Trust me, I know this, man!

**This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive compensation.

Since 8 is a lucky number in Chinese, here are 8 Local Things to Do in Shanghai.


1. Visit the Yuyuan Garden, a classical garden from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD) and home to the “Exquisite Jade Rock”.

[ADDRESS]:137 Anren Jie,near Fuyou Lu 豫园, 安仁街137号, 近福佑路
Yuyuan Garden(豫园)
When I first visited the garden in 2014, the city was still working on the Shanghai Tower.  Do you see it peeking out behind the old building?
Yu Garden-Shanghai Tower being built
Old vs New architecture. Shanghai tower being built in the back

2. Dance with  Chinese Grandmas and play games with Grandpas at a park. I recommend these three:

1. Fuxing Park

[ADDRESS]: Chongqing Nan Lu,near Fuxing Zhong Lu, 复兴公园。重庆南路, 近复兴中路 ( My favorite)

2. Century Park:

[ADDRESS]: Century Park Pudong,Huamu Lu, corner of Fangdian Lu 浦东世纪公园 五号门花木路1359号

3. Lu Xun Park:

[ADDRESS]: 2288 Sichuan N Rd.
Grandmas at fuxing park, singing at fuxing park
The Ayi’s practicing singing at Fuxing park


3. Get Hitched at the Marriage Market in People’s Park!

At People’s Park, Chinese parents advertise their sons and daughters by posting descriptions of them on open umbrellas. They normally circularize there on Saturday and Sunday, but I’ve seen parents working hard the whole week!

[ADDRESS]: 75 Nanjing Xi Lu,near Huangpi Bei Lu 人民公园 南京西路75号 近黄陂北路
Shanghai Marriage Market Ads- people's park marriage market
Marriage Market Ads

4.  Make a wish on the wishing tree at the top of Shanghai Tower – the tallest tower in China and the second tallest in the world (for now).

Wishing Tree on the Shanghai Tower
My bestie, Ellie, placing a wish on the tree

[ADDRESS]: 479 Lujiazui Huan Lu,near Dongtai Lu陆家嘴环路479号, 近东泰路


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5. Celebrate Red Lantern Festival at Old City God Temple. Or, you can light some incense and say a prayer.

[ADDRESS]:  249 Fangbang Middle Rd, ChengHuangMiao, Huangpu Qu (near Yu Garden)
Shanghai City God Temple
Lantern Festival-Year of the Horse. Old temple in the back.
incense burning at a temple
Photo by Camille Bremer- one of my study abroad friends on the 2014 CET Shanghai China Studies & Internship Program


If you’re looking for accommodation in Shanghai or any other place in China,the only place I use is booking.com, unless I was recommended a certain place and I can’t find it on the website.


6. Walk through the longtang alleyways while they are still here.  * Best Local Thing to Do 

They are called hutongs in Beijing. These historic lane houses are being demolished in favor of high-rise apartments.  

I recommend : Fuxing West Road, Huaihai Zhong Road, Yunnan Zhong Road

Tyra walking in Longtang Alley
Walking in Shanghai Longtang Alley

7.Eat fried goat’s cheese and spicy barbecued fish at Lotus Eatery- restaurant specializing in Yunnan Cuisine.

Yunnan Kaoyu, Yunnan spicy red fish
Yunnan Spicy Red Fish
[ADDRESS]: 1112 Dingxi Lu, near Wuyi Lu 定西路1112号, 近武夷路


8. Experience  Chinese Propaganda at the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Center.

[ADDRESS]: RM. BOC 868 Hua Shan Rd  华山路868号BOC室

Chinese Propaganda- obama flyer

What am I missing here? If you been to Shanghai, let me know in the comments below!

P.S. If you want more info on Longtang Houses feel free to email me at toochineseforu@gmail.com. I wrote a research paper and gave a presentation on them in college.



  • I think that ‘old China’, is very beautiful especially when it comes to their gardens. You really opened my eyes as I always saw Shanghai as very corporate but I am so glad that you proved me wrong x

    • Tyra Skinner

      Thanks for the comment! You’re my first! It’s been difficult this past week getting this commenting system to work 😀 Glad to hear you got a new view on Shanghai. I love that place. It’s an interesting city.

  • Laura Dove

    I would LOVE to visit China, Shanghai looks absolutely amazing with so much to see and do! One day I’ll get there!!

    • toochineseforu@gmail.com

      Let me know when you do! I’ll help you out!

    • toochineseforu@gmail.com

      Let me know when you do! I’ll be down to meet up!

    • Tyra Skinner

      Let me know when you do! I’ll be happy to meet up!

  • I have been to South Korea and Japan before, but not China. It is on my list of future places to visit!

    • toochineseforu@gmail.com

      I love South Korea and Japan! They each have a unique culture! I’m excited to hear it’s on your list!

    • Tyra Skinner

      I’ve been to South Korea and Japan. They have such unique cultures.

  • Agnes Vazhure

    Love that first picture with the garden! very beautiful. Would certainly love to visit China one day.

    • Tyra Skinner

      Yeah I love Chinese gardens! Let me know when you stop by!

  • Ania Ewelina

    I love this. I love traveling with or as a local. I’ve only been to beijing but have been dying to go to Shanghai. This just upped my list.

    • Tyra Skinner

      Working in China has helped me make some local Chinese friends! They love showing me around! What did you do in Beijing?

    • toochineseforu@gmail.com

      Whoop whoop! I’m glad to here!!

  • My best friend is currently in ShangHai so I’ll show this to her!

    • toochineseforu@gmail.com

      That’s awesome! I hope she can visit some of these places!

    • Tyra Skinner

      Awesome! I bet she is having a great time! Love that city

  • Elizabeta Kuzevska

    This is such a wonderful and useful post with awesome pictures ! I have shared it to all my socials Thank you!

    • Tyra Skinner

      Thanks for reading! Happy to hear you liked my photos. I mainly took these with my phone!

  • Maya Maceka

    This is awesome! I plan on visiting Shanghai next year to visit some family. Bookmarking this post so I can refer to it later 🙂

    • Tyra Skinner

      Awesome! Thanks for reading! Shanghai was the first place I went to out of the country. Fell in love! If you need to know anything g else about China. Feel free to hit me up. I know I just started this blog on its own domain, but I have a wealth of information since I’m work in China 😀

  • Patricia @ Grab a Plate

    Looks amazing! I have family living in Shanghai right now who love it! I have a friend who just traveled there and said exactly as you mentioned, “It’s a big city and doesn’t seem like China!” Thanks for your great review!