- The Bund
Going to Shanghai and not seeing the Bund is equivalent to going to Beijing and not seeing the Great Wall. The Bund borders the west side of the Huangpu River and faces Pudong District, another famous area in Shanghai. After living in Shanghai for a while, you will hear people talking about being in Puxi District or Pudong District as Shanghai is primarily split up into two sections: west of the Huangpu river (puxi) and east of the river (pudong).
Walking down the Bund takes you back in time as you appreciate the high quality and classic architecture of buildings that are around 100 years old. At the beginning of the 20th century, the area near the Bund was the expat part of town and home to citizens from a variety of countries such as the USA, the UK, France, Netherlands, Russia, and Italy. The area was also the financial center of Shanghai. Today, tourists, not traders and bankers, walk up and down the impressive Bund to enjoy a glimpse into Shanghai’s past on the west and the bright, fluorescent lights of Lujiazui to the east.
- Lujiazui area
Lujiazui is a special zone directly across from the Bund and is China’s only finance and trade zone. This area is newly developed and packed full of state-of-the-art office buildings and luxurious 5-star hotels. It also boasts of a brand new building, the Shanghai Tower, which just completed construction in 2015 and is the 2nd tallest building in the world. Lujiazui may look very different than Shanghai’s previous financial center across the river, but could never had existed without the commerce the Bund provided over the years which turned Shanghai into the financial capital of China.
- Shanghai French Concession
Oui! Oui! If you want to see history, unique architecture, high-end shopping, fun cafes and an exciting nightlife all in one place, this is the area to check out. The French Concession started as a French settlement in Shanghai in the mid-1800’s. As a result, the area has French-built architecture that you won’t find anywhere else Shanghai. Some of the older buildings have now been converted into trendy, new shops and houses making it a great urban hangout.
- Tian Zi Fang
While you’re checking out the French Concession, be sure to stay on the lookout for one area in particular. Tianzifang is part of the French Concession which has been renovated into boutique shops that are the epitome of fashion and art. You’ll also find lots of great eateries, bars and cafes to enjoy while you meander the tree-lined streets.
- Nanjing Pedestrian Street
Nanjing street is not only Shanghai’s most popular shopping area to walk around but also one of the busiest pedestrian streets in the world! In addition to the shopping and diverse offerings of food available, it’s a great place for some people watching and to get a better feeling of what Shanghai is all about. If you ever wanted to confirm that Shanghai is the most populated city in China, check out Nanjing Street and see for yourself.