Once in a Lifetime: Spectacular Shanghai Experiences

By: Katie Manning

January 14, 2013

The largest city in the world never disappoints us, especially when it comes to its unforgettable sights, sounds and activities – all of them the epitome of “larger than life’. The memories of these experiences in Shanghai will last a lifetime.

Lupu Bridge Climb

Lupu Bridge Climb | Shanghai

The Lupu Bridge Climb © Jakob Montrasio

For us, there’s nothing better than a vertiginous 360-degree view of the city from the world’s second longest steel arch bridge, spanning 550 metres. It’s 367 steps to the bridge’s highest point, but the climb is less strenuous than it looks. Be prepared for some knee-trembling photo opportunities and an unparalleled panorama view of the city. A guide will be with you the whole way, giving you the history and some facts about the bridge if you ask, and you’re welcome to stay up there as long as you like.

909 Luban Lu, Puxi Expo Area, Shanghai, + 86 800 620 0888, Open: daily, 8.30am-5pm.

Shanghai Insiders

Once in a Lifetime Shanghai | Shanghai Sideways Tour

Shanghai Sideways Tour © Lars Ploughmann/Flickr

We think seeing the city from the sidecar of a vintage motorcycle is a really unique experience. With a Shanghai Sideways tour, you choose from a variety of routes, then sit back and enjoy the view as a qualified driver and tour guide whizzes you through the streets. What we love about this is that you see sights you might not find on your own and appreciate it all without having to move a muscle – the perfect way to get knee deep in this city of contrasts.

+86 21 138 1761 6975

Crab Banquet, Wang Bao He

Once in a Lifetime Shanghai | Crabs

A Crab Banquet © Jeremy Keith/Flickr

The humble hairy crab creates a storm in Shanghai every autumn, when nearby Yangcheng Lake yields up its harvest of crustaceans. Restaurants in the city serve crab banquets all year round, but September to November is peak season. For this delicacy, we head to Wang Bao He – the oldest crab joint in Shanghai, dating from the 1700s. Although it can get understandably crowded during the crab season, it’s definitely worth the wait.

603 Fuzhou Lu, People’s Square, +86 21 6322 3673. Open: daily, 11am-1pm & 5pm-8.30pm.

Dinner in the Cupola

The Cupola | Shanghai

The Cupola at Three on the Bund  © Marc van der Chijs

Like several international celebrities, when in Shanghai, we like to hire the Cupola at Three on the Bund for private dining. We find it’s a great way to make like Beyoncé and enjoy butler service with your gourmet food as you admire the view. There’s a minimum spend of ¥1,500 (£150) on food per person, so it’s not for the faint hearted. But we guarantee, after you’ve tasted just one of the dishes, you won’t regret the investment at Shanghai’s most exclusive restaurant.

Cupola, Three on the Bund, 7/F, 17 Guangdong Lu, The Bund, Shanghai, +86 21 6321 0909,

Climb “The Bottle Opener”

Once in a Lifetime Shanghai | Bottle Opener

The Shanghai World Financial Center or the ‘Bottle Opener’ © Bill Lehane/Flickr

For our money, the view from 100 floors above the city on a trip up to the tallest observatory deck in the world is unbeatable. The SWFC is nicknamed “The Bottle Opener” thanks to its distinctive shape, and at 492 metres, the mega-skyscraper is the tallest building in China (for now). If you’re looking for a great souvenir, we suggest an actual bottle opener in the shape of the building from the observation deck gift shop.

Shanghai World Financial Center, 100 Century Avenue, Pudong, Shanghai, +86 21 4001 100 555, Open: daily, 8am-11pm.


Header image © Joan Campderrós-i-Canas/Flickr


Katie Manning

Katie is an author for the Virgin Atlantic blog. Despite her urban London residency, Katie can often be found exploring far-flung corners of the globe in search of exciting new experiences and stories. A self-confessed night-owl, she makes it her mission to search out the best cocktail bars and live music venues on each and every expedition. Follow Katie @kt_saramanning

Categories: Our Places