Shanghai, the largest Chinese city and the financial hub that joins glorious ancient temples and futuristic skyscrapers, is still gentle enough to be a caring host to the youngest visitors. That is why you should put it on your list for your next family vacation.
PLACES TO VISIT
Whichever way you choose to walk in Shanghai, there is something interesting to see and do. Either it is the Oriental Pearl Observation Deck, a TV Tower in Lujiazui, or Shanghai Tower, the tallest tower in China also in Lujiazui, Shanghai's financial district that outlines Shanghai's skyline.
It may be Qibao, one of the eight ancient water towns surrounding Shanghai, known for its delicious street food and its beautiful canal views.
You may also want to visit Fuxing Park, once the largest Park in Shanghai, a wonderful escape from the city's hustle and bustle.
In Shanghai's Old Town, you can visit Yu Garden next to the City God Temple. These are classical Chinese style gardens that you will admire.
You can regain some peace in Shanghai temples, so visit the Buddhist Temple of Longhua, the oldest one in Shanghai.
Although the Bund may be just an ordinary place for people who live in Shanghai, visitors enjoy the sight of the left river bank with the old European colonial buildings and the skyscrapers on the right. The glory of this area reaches the peak at sunrise, with the senior citizens practicing tai chi and flying kites.
SHANGHAI FOR FAMILIES
Shanghai is a great city for families. Take your kids to Shanghai Ocean Aquarium, the world's longest underwater tunnel, and they will have a wonderful time. They will also learn about the importance of the environment while visiting the part of the aquarium dedicated to endangered Chinese sea life.
Shanghai 3D Magic Fun House is another magical place for the youngest. In this 3D museum, kids can do surreal things like standing in a piece of art while actually, they are standing in front of it and many other interesting things.
Take the kids for a ride through Bund Sightseeing Tunnel with psychedelic light displays. Although the ride is only a few minutes, it will be an adventure underneath the water's surface.
You can also visit the Shanghai Natural Wildlife Insect Kingdom, People's Park, and People's Square. People's Park is an extraordinary place for kids to run around if they get bored with sightseeing.
Shanghai Disney for all Disney lovers, parents and kids alike, is a little different from other Disney's Parks, having been adjusted to Chinese tourist visitors.
Although tourists most often come to see the most famous attractions, they can sometimes want to spend some time in a more secluded place. Lu Xun Park is such a spot, with many locals, but few tourists. You can relax in the beautiful gardens near a charming lake.
In the Park, you can sit in the Te Li Ming Tea House to enjoy the traditional Chinese atmosphere of drinking tea.
There is much to see behind the splendor of the modern city center in Shanghai. You should wander around the back streets to see the genuine life of the city that is not always opulent, hidden by high walls from people visiting Shanghai.
Instead of getting costly tourist boats, take a low-cost ferry to ride across the Huangpu River, especially at night to see the neon of the Huangpu river banks.
MUSEUMS & GALLERIES
You will need much time to visit all important museums and art galleries in Shanghai so don't leave the city before you have visited at least some of them, including the Yuz Museum Ming, the Contemporary Art Museum, the Long Museum West Bund, the Rockbund Art Museum, the Power Station of Art, the Jing'an Sculpture Park, M50, the Fosun Foundation, and the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre.
Shanghai is a city with numerous family-friendly accommodations, featuring family suites and large family rooms with many kid-friendly amenities – kid's menu, kid-friendly DVDs, cribs, kid's clubs, kid's playroom and many more things that will keep the kids engaged. If parents want to spend some special time, babysitting services provided by certified professionals will take care of the children.
WHAT TO EAT
In Shanghai, you should try different Chinese cuisines, as food in China is a big part of the culture.
Dumplings and noodles are the top things that come to mind first, but there is so much more.
You should certainly choose Soup Dumplings (with pork, vegetable, shrimp or crab fillings, served in bamboo baskets), Steamed Hairy Crab or Shanghainese braised pork dish (red-cooked pork), a famous Chinese dish.
There is something for everyone's taste, like Baozi (steamed buns stuffed with vegetables or meat) that you can eat for breakfast, Scallion (Chinese type of pancakes), highly spiced Smoked Fish Slices, Beggar's Chicken, the famous Peking Duck and much more.
A huge variety of vegetable dishes won't let vegetarians be hungry.
• In China, the standard voltage is 220V, 50 Hz. You may need a socket converter, which is often available at the hotel.
• Don't be surprised at squat toilets in public places, although western toilets can be found in shopping malls and airports.
• WIFI is available almost everywhere, but sometimes the Internet speed is rather slow.
• There are several international hospitals with English-speaking staff.
• You can exchange your money at most hotels and banks.
TIME TO VISIT
The autumn months of October and November and the spring months of March, April and May are the best time to visit Shanghai. The temperatures are comfortable, and it is not overcrowded. It doesn't rain much as it does in the summer. You will mostly have dry weather in the winter, but it can get cold enough to make exploring the city unpleasant.
You needn't worry how to understand Chinese while getting around Shanghai, because all the signs and station announcements are both in Chinese and English. Shanghai is an international city, and it takes care of its visitors. The public transportation system is a large network of trains and buses. The most popular are 1 and 2 subway lines because they link famous tourist spots, the train station, and airports.
You can also take a taxi which is safe. You hail a cab by waving your hand top down. You can even check out the levitating Maglev Train that runs to Pudong Airport. You can't use Uber, but instead, you can download the Didi app on your phone and use it everywhere. The service is convenient and quick.