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Where to stay in Shanghai

Where to stay in Shanghai, the magic city of China

One of the most popular travel destinations in China is the magic city of Shanghai. This growing metropolis is a tourist paradise thanks to the amazing mix of modern and traditional. The economic growth and contemporary comfort that Shanghai offers pairs great with the remnants of the city’s colonial past. Shanghai is a huge city, which is why looking where to stay can easily get overwhelming. To make things more manageable for you, we have picked out the top 5 neighborhoods that will allow you to experience Shanghai to the fullest without breaking your bank.

Image by Leslin_Liu from Pixabay 

Transportation in Shanghai

Even though Shanghai is one of the largest cities in China, the transportation system is well developed and efficient, allowing you to get from one area to another without much issues and delays. There are public buses and bus tours, as well as the Maglev Train and 12 subway lines. You can also get a taxi just by calling out for it on the street. Ferry boats offer transport across the Huangpu River. It would be best to purchase the Shanghai Jiaotong Card, which is useful for taxis, metros, and buses. Learn more about transport in Shanghai here.

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Five best neighborhoods to stay in Shanghai

Shanghai can easily be called the most modern city in China. It’s located on the East China Sea coast. The city is divided into many neighborhoods, with something for everyone, from modern buildings and tall skyscrapers to traditional houses, great nightlife, and lovely museums. When looking where to stay in Shanghai you really can’t go wrong with choosing any neighborhood, but we decided to round things up for you to make things less challenging. These are the factors we considered for our top five neighborhood picks:

  1. Neighborhood vibe and atmosphere
  2. The cultural and historical importance
  3. Interesting things to do and see
  4. Neighborhood safety
  5. Cost of accommodation
  6. Ease of transport
Best neighborhoods to stay in Shanghai
Xujiahui For first-time visitors
Jing’an For a budget-friendly stay
People’s Square For nightlife fun
Former French Concession For the cool and boho vibe
Pudong For families/long-term stay

Image by 锦鹏 任 from Pixabay 

Where to stay in Shanghai for your first visit – Xujiahui

Xujiahui is located at the very center of Shanghai, which makes it well connected to all other areas you could be interested in visiting. This is one of the main reasons that makes Xujiahui ideal for first-time visitors looking for where to stay in Shanghai. It’s also a great shopping area, with plenty of international and Chinese brands to enjoy your shopping fun.

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Where to go in Xujiahui

From shopping to outdoor fun, Xujiahui has got you covered.

  • Xujiahui Park to relax and get away from the urban craze
  • The Shanghai stadium for sports enthusiasts

Best for outdoor lovers: Xujiahui Park

If you need a break from Shanghai’s urban hustle and bustle, take a stroll through the Xujiahui Park or relax on one of the benches. Beautiful greenery with an artificial lake and black swans will leave you breathless. And there’s a nearby Starbucks for all your caffeine needs.

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Best for sports lovers: The Shanghai stadium

The Shanghai Stadium is the third-largest sports stadium in China. You can watch many football matches here as Shanghai’s SPIG football team plays on this stadium regularly. This is also the stadium that will host League of Legends World Championship in 2020, so if you’re planning a visit soon and love gaming, you might want to check it out.  

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Where to stay in Xujiahui

It’s possible to find proper accommodation in Xujiahui from $24, but the average price per night is usually around $70. These are our favorite picks:

This budget-friendly apartment








This lovely mid-range place






This amazing lux home







Where to stay in Shanghai on a budget – Jing’an

Named after the Buddhist temple in the area, Jing’an is a great budget-friendly option for tourists interested in experiencing both the modern and traditional aspects of Shanghai. This is a great neighborhood to enjoy a cool vibe and nightlife as well but without the higher prices common for Former French Concession. Kerry Centre also provides great shopping fun, especially if you’re into high fashion brands.

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Where to go in Jing’an

Colonial architecture and natural beauty will make your stay in Jing’an truly enjoyable.

  • Jing’an temple to learn more about ancient China
  • Jing’an Park to relax and admire sculptural art

Best for history buffs: Jing’an temple

Jing’an temple is one of the most famous temples in Shanghai. It has three main halls: The Mahavira Hall, the Hall of Heavenly Kings and the ThreeSage Hall. Take a tour around the temple to see painting and calligraphy by Yangzhou’s Eight Eccentric Painters, a bronze bell from the Ming Dynasty, and many other historical and cultural Chinese treasures.

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Best for outdoor and art lovers: Jing’an Park

The Jing’an Park is located at the former Bubbling Well Road Cemetery. If you want to enjoy beautiful nature and take a break from the modern vibe of the city, don’t miss your chance to take a stroll or relax at Jing’an Park. In Jing’an Sculpture Park, you can also admire Chinese modern art.

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Where to stay in Jing’an

You can find great places in Jing’an for as low as $14, with the average price per night of around $50. Check out our favorites:

This stylish budget option








This chic mid-range condo








This lux hotel – The PuLi Hotel and Spa








Where to stay in Shanghai for nightlife – People’s Square

Tourists looking where to stay in Shanghai to experience the best nightlife should definitely check out People’s Square. This neighborhood is centrally located in the city and well connected to other areas and main attractions with efficient metro lines. The iconic riverfront called the Bund is close to People’s Square, so don’t miss your chance to take a nice walk along it. There are plenty of food stalls and shops along the Nanjing East Road, too.

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Where to go in People’s Square

Aside from many bars, clubs, and restaurants that make People’s Square a hotspot for nightlife fun, you can also make the most out of your days during your stay in this neighborhood.

  • Learn more about the city’s history at the Shanghai History Museum
  • Work on your fitness and mindfulness at tai chi practice on People’s Square

Best for people interested in history: Shanghai History Museum

If you want to learn more about Shanghai and its rich history, you should stop by the Shanghai History Museum. Their oldest relics are around 6000 years old. You’ll get a sense of the city up to the communist take-over in 1949. There are plenty of other exhibits focusing on art, culture, and industrialization, too.

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Best for fans of fitness and spiritual growth: tai chi practice

Every morning on People’s Square you can watch and even join the tai chi practice. This is a great way to experience such an important part of Chinese culture yourself. It’s also a beneficial exercise to help you connect with your inner self.

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Where to stay in People’s Square

You can book great apartments in People’s Square, going as cheap as $14 per night, but the average price is around $60. See our favorite picks:

This budget-friendly apartment – Hao Du Hotel Shanghai – a 10-minute walk from People’s Square.







This cozy mid-range house








This lovely luxurious apartment







Where to stay in Shanghai for bohemian fun – Former French Concession

Former French Concession was a French colonial area until 1943 and is known as one of the coolest neighborhoods in the entire Shanghai. Due to its popularity, this is also one of the most expensive areas in the city. The European feel is still very much present, with tree-lined streets and small colonial houses. A lot of these houses have been transformed into cool bars and cafes, art shops and unique restaurants, making Former French Concession a true hotspot for bohemian souls.

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Where to go in Former French Concession

Fashion, art, shopping, charm, breathtaking natural scenery, and much more await you in the coolest neighborhood in Shanghai.

  • Check out Maoist propaganda at the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre
  • Suit up at Shanghai Soft Spinning Fabric Market

Best for art lovers: Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre

Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre is a museum that features propaganda posters from the Maoist period of communist China. The two rooms of the apartment building have plenty of collections, especially from the Cultural Revolution period.

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Best for fashion enthusiasts: Shanghai Soft Spinning Fabric Market

There aren’t many opportunities to get handmade tailored suits for a bargain price these days. By heading over to the Shanghai Soft Spinning Fabric Market, you can get yourself a custom-made suit you can brag about. Tian Ze Fang alleys are also great for shopping.

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Where to stay in Former French Concession

There are many options in Former French Concession, with an average price per night around $50. Check out our top picks:

This budget-friendly home








This cute mid-range apartment








This luxurious option







Where to stay in Shanghai long-term – Pudong

Pudong is a great neighborhood for people looking where to stay in Shanghai for a long time or those traveling with their families. The most popular area is closest to the Huangpu river and full of modern buildings and skyscrapers. This is the location of Shanghai’s huge attraction that consists of four towers: the Jin Mao Tower, the Shanghai Tower (the second tallest in the world), the Shanghai World Financial Centre, and the Oriental Pearl Tower.

Image by shanghaibowen from Pixabay 

Where to go in Pudong

Even though it’s family-friendly, Pudong won’t leave you wishing for more fun and adventure.

  • Climb the towers for a unique experience
  • Enjoy a fun day in Disneyland

Best for unforgettable sights and experience: Pudong towers

If you want to see the whole city of Shanghai from the bird’s point of view, definitely head to the Shanghai Tower and climb to the 118th floor. The Oriental Pearl Tower Observatory will amaze you with its glass walkway. Don’t miss the chance to enjoy a refreshing drink at Grand Hyatt Cloud 9 bar by climbing to the 87th floor of the Jin Mao Tower.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay 

Best for families and Disney fans: Shanghai Disneyland

The first Disneyland theme park in mainland China is located in Pudong, Shanghai, and will let you experience some great Disney fun with amazing rides and cool recreational facilities. The park is the biggest in China (three times bigger than the one in Hong Kong), which allows for a full day of entertainment. You can learn more about it here.

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Where to stay in Pudong

Pudong offers some amazing options with an average price of $50 per night. These are our favorite places:

This stylish budget option







This modern mid-range apartment





This lux art hotel – Hotel Westin Bund Center