12 New and Exciting Things to See and Do in Shanghai

A Roman bath in the city, underwater hotel suites, a must-see festival, and more in China's largest city.

No other district encompasses modern China like the energetic Shanghai, the country's largest city. With its size and population, Shanghai is the center for economic development, where one finds the latest innovations. It's a marriage of heritage and tradition with technological advancements, which means there's always something different brewing somewhere in the city.

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Recently opened establishments worth your attention  

InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland

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Forbes has dubbed it the world’s first underground hotel. The recently launched InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland is an architectural achievement situated in a former quarry in the outskirts of Shanghai. There are 16 floors underground, while two are submerged underwater, with a handful of suites featuring an installed saltwater aquarium. If you don’t mind being away from the metropolis’ action in favor of a once-in-a-lifetime hotel stay, then book your visit here.

1945 Chinese Tavern

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Is it a traditional Chinese teahouse or a modern speakeasy? The 1945 Chinese Tavern fuses both into its interiors and its mood. Beyond the cherry blossom wallpaper and the tiny Chinese teacups, however, lies an after-hours drinks menu that stars Huangjiu, a traditional alcoholic beverage made from rice, water, and wheat also known as yellow rice wine. For starters, try the Shaoxing Huangjiu, a tasting set of four variations of the yellow liquor.


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On the rooftop of a heritage building in The Bund lies Fogo, a gastro-lounge serving up intercontinental cuisine. Fogo attempts to be playful with its international dishes. The sea urchin croquette is stuffed with a Thai green curry and topped with a sliver of sea urchin, there’s an edible cocktail that requires you consume an orange soup with Campari jelly, and perhaps the oddest dish is its Pigs on a Tree, an odd take on finger food that wraps Iberico ham around finger-sized pastries.


Kimmik Pop-Up

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This eye-catching pop-up store creates a fun space to exhibit the eccentric furniture of Kimmik, the home label of Berlin-based artist Kim Ye. Coffee tables, couches, and ottomans are all bursting with color and splashed with an animal pattern that’s meant to be the statement piece in any room.

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Establishments receiving newsworthy buzz

Rye & Co.

This two-story food emporium is part-bakery and café, and part-bar. The first floor features a brightly-lit bakery that also dishes out a selection of breakfast food and a few healthy options. One floor above is its big sister, a cocktail lounge with a bar that faces a stunning view of the city.


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Located at the fairly recent Shanghai Edition, Hiya is acclaimed chef Jason Atherton’s izakaya-inspired dining concept. The menu is a classic tale of east meets west, best demonstrated in the ‘temaco,’ something like an open-rolled sushi in the form of a taco. The menu also has a contemporary take on sashimi, tempura, and rice bowls like gyudon.


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Upcoming events, concerts, exhibits, and exclusive screenings

Peach Blossom Festival 

If Japan has its cherry blossoms, Shanghai celebrates the bloom of its peach blossoms every spring. The festivities include the performance of traditional Chinese music and dances with the burst of pink flowers as their background. This is usually a time spent outdoors, when the locals prepare a spread for picnics.  

Louise Bourgeois: The Eternal Thread

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The Long Museum at The Bund is bustling with exhibitions all-year-round but you may still have time to catch the large-scale sculptures by Louise Bourgeois on display. Tap into the mind of this French-American artist and discover what her signature spider sculptures truly mean.

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The Long Museum, 3398 Longteng Avenue, Xuhui District Shanghai

Design: Shanghai 2019

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Shanghai has always championed arts and design and for the past six years, Design Shanghai has been one of the premier fairs to celebrate great design. Its growing network of designers and galleries, as well as the participation of established brands, is making it out to be the biggest edition yet.

Shanghai Exhibition Centre, March 6 to 9, 

Best Kept Secrets

Under-the-radar spots

Monkey 3.0

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Resurrected a third time, Monkey version 3.0 is a more intimate space than its predecessors Monkey Lounge and Monkey Champagne. The menu, developed by 2018 DMBA Bartender of the Year Jackie Lo, features a bevy of craft cocktails that appeal to the Instagram generation. Lo uses unconventional ingredients such as Thai tea, jackfruit, and Sichuan peppercorn.

Chongming Island

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Shanghai is also rich in natural treasures and Chongming, its third largest island, can attest to that. Some of its top attractions include the Dongtan Wetland Park, where one can admire the migrant birds, and the Dongping National Forest Park is home to miles and miles of flora and therefore perfect for a leisurely stroll or a hike. The best time to visit Chongming if you have a hankering for seafood is during the hairy crab season, which starts between late September and October.

The Bulgari Spa


A spacious 2,000-square meter spa takes residence at the new Bulgari Hotel in Shanghai. The hotel itself marries heritage with modernity and it seems the namesake spa has taken its lead. Treatments use techniques from traditional Chinese medicine partnered with luxurious products like La Mer. The spa has eight private treatment rooms and two couples’ suites that have installed a connecting sauna. The shared space consists of a Roman bath-inspired pool complete with natural light from seeping from ceiling and some foliage.

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