What Can You Do With A Day in Shanghai, China?

By  |  1 Comment

we had one day in shanghai, china in between meetings and workshops and we packed it full! so if you only have one day in shanghai, here is what i’d recommend. we started the morning with a short workout basically to ‘earn’ a swim in one of our top favorite pools! i’m not sure the view can get much better of a city…

shanghai rooftop poolit was glass all around except for the bottom! our jaws literally dropped when we saw it. here’s where i sat and wrote my article about visiting ‘the great wall of china.’

view from shanghai workremember the building with the hole at the top because it makes an appearance later. after i barely made it 1.5 miles on the treadmill (and 20 minutes just sitting on the floor), we ventured with our great local tour guides/new friends to explore the city.

the first stop was yuyuan gardens. this was right near our hotel and really felt like we were in china. the yuyuan gardens used to belong to just one family and was first constructed 1577 by a government officer of the ming dynasty. he made it specifically for his parents to enjoy a tranquil setting in their older age! that’s pretty baller.

yuyuan gardens shanghaithis was also an ’empty day’ with not too many people, apparently. ‘crowded’ means something completely different in china…it’s basically like black friday crowds here constantly.

the yuyuan gardens underwent other changes and was most recently restored and reopened in 1961. i would highly recommend visiting here because there are tons of traditional chinese shops filled with tea, medicine, chopsticks and serving things as well as souvenir shops and even DQ!

shanghai yuyuan gardens DQwe’ve heard that you should haggle and pay no more than 50% of what people in the shops tell you for the price but when it came to this guy, we gladly accepted his full price for this art (a whopping $27 with the frame). all of what you see, he creates with paint on his hands. he uses his fingernail, finger prints, palm of his hand, etc. and it’s uber impressive.

shanghai yuyuan gardens finger paint

shanghai yuyuan gardens ryan and chelseawe were treated to dim sum, which basically means small and delicious snacks. shanghai is known for soup dumplings so please note the straw in the dumpling at the bottom right of the photo! it was crab in the inside, which they are also known for in this part of china so i only took a little baby sip and focused my energy on pork and cashew things.

yuyuan gardens dim sum averysi am SO glad i practiced my chopstick usage before we left because i’ve only been to one restaurant that had ONE set of spoon/fork/knife. ha! i have dropped many pieces of food on the table during the transition from center to plate but i’m pleased to say most of the food eventually makes it in my mouth.

a few moments after the picture above, ravery bit into a dumpling he did not know was filled with liquid and it literally burst all over him and the table with a very movie like “SQUISH/SPURT.” hilarious.

shanghai food is much sweeter than the other cities we’ve been in so my tastebuds were in heaven!

as we walked out of the gardens, we encountered this grand sight…some sort of fruit covered in sugar. also…we can’t stop doing ‘thumbs up’ in our photos because that’s what everyone does here and i sort of love it.

shanghai china candy stickswe couldn’t identify what fruit it was at the time but it’s incredibly sour (i’m salivating just thinking back to it) but the outside is coated in a candy glaze so the sour/sweet combo works. upon further internet research, i’ve discovered it’s a ‘hawthorn’ fruit (or haw) and has big seeds in the middle so be careful.

it’s called a ‘tanghulu’ and more traditionally found in beijing but thankfully appeared in shanghai so we got to try it. i’d recommend sharing one because it’s too much sour/sweet for one person.

after this, we ventured to walk “the bund,” and from my understanding has been the symbol of shanghai for hundreds of years. it stretches on the bank of the “huangpu river” and is a little less than a mile walk. it gives a spectacular view of 26 magnificent buildings, all very different architectural styles as well as many historic buildings on the other side.


shanghai bund walkwayapparently it’s supposed to be rainy and colder in shanghai at this time of year but as you can see…it was super gorgeous and sunny out. my portland skin soaked it in because we know how rainy it shall be once return to dark cave of oregon winter.

next stop was venturing to that building that sort of looks like a bottle opener. the top of the ‘opener’ part is on the 100th floor and has windows on the floor for your viewing (and passing out pleasure). totally made me dizzy and i had to close my eyes for a few seconds before my mind and body decided to pull itself together. it’s called the ‘shanghai world financial center.

shanghai view point observation deckit was pretty incredible. shanghai, china is like no city i’ve ever been to before. it’s MASSIVE. according to the world population review, 23.9 MILLION people live in this city and it has a population density of 9,700 people per square mile. while driving through the city, it is just high rise after high rise of apartment buildings. it is still hard to wrap my head around.

shanghai is very well-known for being the top financial capital in the world and has many foreigners conducting business there. it made us feel very fancy to be surrounded by such energy!

shanghai observation tower needle view

shanghai world financial centerwant to know what picture took my husband 5 solid minutes of convincing me to take because i felt like he was going to not only stand out like a crazy american but could also potentially cause the whole building to tip over? a jumping photo. that’s what.

shanghai world financial observatorymy faovrite part of this whole trip to the top of this was the bathroom. it was some sort of crazy, futuristic toilet/bidet (which i didn’t dare push any buttons in fear that i may be sucked into a vortex) but that view…

shanghai observation deck toiletoh, and this building holds the guinness world record for the largest observatory in the world!

after an action packed day, we enjoyed more delicious chinese food in shanghai.

shanghai foodtop left corner: a gelatinous mushroom something which i did not care for, next to that was dried fish, the black pot covered by a hand contained was excellent pork belly, then you see the shrimp, in the middle was something similiar to the taste of orange chicken and to the right of that was jicama with a sweet sauce on top and at the bottom corner was sweet, sticky rice with a cup of mango juice.

for dessert, we had a bowl watermelon slices, sticky rice balls and finished with a touch of rice wine which was very delicious though the rice balls took a little getting used to texture wise.

shanghai watermelon soupravery rocked his workshop and each of his speeches/workshops have turned out to be standing room only! people were lining the entire room. it makes me very proud to see how hard he works behind the scenes to deliver such amazing content on the scene!

IMG_0685we had a whirlwind of a time in shanghai with the next day consisting of ravery giving two workshops to toastmasters and one training to high level managers at SAP company. we cannot wait to venture back to this impressive, overwhelming and exciting city of shanghai.

if you only have one day in shanghai, get the most out of this city because you can sleep on the plane!

shanghai china at night

1) how do you feel about heights? would you go up 100 stories?
2) do you have a favorite dessert or candy you’ve tried that you can’t get in your current city?
3) where is the last place you felt excitement and overwhelm?