10+ Things to Do for Adults During Your Shanghai Vacation (Ideas for Couples & Groups of Friends)

Shanghai, which translates to “City on the Sea” in English, seamlessly combines features of old-world China with cutting-edge architecture from the modern world. There’s always something open for exploration at any time of the day or night.

That makes it the perfect getaway for adults looking to have a good time and find a little escape from day to day family responsibilities. We’ve brought you a selection of some of the best attractions Shanghai has to offer.

Pick and choose from any of the attractions on this list, though we’d recommend checking them all out if possible. We put together a list of top things to do for adults in Shanghai during your trip, including…

  • Yu Garden
  • Shanghai Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
  • Pujiang River Cruise Tour
  • Jin Mao Tower Observation Deck
  • Grand View Garden
  • Shanghai Film Park
  • Shanghai World Financial Center Observatory
  • and More!

Save on Admission to Popular Adult Attractions

Many of these must-see attractions and things to do in Shanghai with teens are available on the Go Shanghai Card.

Choose as you go from lots of popular Shanghai attractions and save up to 30% off combined admission vs. paying at the gate.

See all available Shanghai passes, attractions, & prices – Learn more.

Please keep in mind that some of the attractions listed in this post may be separately ticketed and not be currently included with the Go Shanghai Card.

Yu Garden

Yu Garden landscape with classic architecture

The architect of the Yu Garden designed it as a place of tranquility for his parents in their retirement years back in the 16th century. Millions of modern-day visitors experience the same sense of peace and beauty exploring the opulent displays put out by mother nature.

The Exquisite Jade Rock serves as the centerpiece of the garden. Smoke flows from its many holes when you light a piece of incense at the bottom. It’s said to have been originally commissioned by the Huizong Emperor sometime in the early 1100’s. After being lost at sea, it was eventually recovered and put on display in the garden.

Other attractions:

  • Exquisite dragon walls surrounding the garden
  • The Great Rockery
  • The Inner Garden
  • Dianchun Hall

Many of the original structures from the early days of Shanghai remain on display. Let your eyes feast on a visual history of one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Getting in: Yu Garden tickets are included with the Go Shanghai Card.

Shanghai Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

Want to get off your feet for a while? Why not jump on one of the double-decker buses on the Shanghai Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour. Make your way around the entire city in around 2 ½ hours.

Take your pick of two different bus routes and travel through places like the People’s Square and the Lujiazui Financial District. Since it operates 365 days a year, you’ll get the chance to explore during any season.

Other sightseeing stops:

  • Huangpu River Cruise Dock
  • Shanghai Museum
  • Shanghai Concert Hall
  • Century Square
  • Shanghai Old Street

Make sure you don’t miss anything on your Shanghai visit by taking advantage of this bus tour. Just hop off when you come across a place you want to explore further, then hop on again when the next bus comes by.

Getting in: Shanghai Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Tour tickets are included with the Go Shanghai Card.

Pujiang River Cruise Tour

Pujiang River Cruise lit up at night

View the city from the water by taking a Pujiang River Cruise Tour. This 71-mile river never freezes and separates the city into East and West Shanghai.

You’ll get to see the old-world side by side with the new along the West bank. Officials preserved many of the older buildings now residing alongside other cultural and entertainment sites. The East side contains lots of modern steel and class buildings home to many of the city’s financial and commercial centers.

Ships from around the world visit ports along the river bank. A convergence of three different rivers during high tide gives water the appearance of having three different colors — gray/white, yellow, and green.

Getting in: Pujiang River Cruise tickets are included with the Go Shanghai Card.

Jin Mao Tower Observation Deck

view from the Jin Mao Tower Observation Deck in Shanghai

You’ll find this 420-foot tower located in the center of the Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone district. The Jin Mao Tower houses a number of offices and an observation deck capable of holding up to 1,000 people at a time.

Elevators within the building take visitors from the ground floor straight to the top in only 45 seconds. It contains plenty of conference rooms and exhibition halls for anyone looking to hold an event within the building.

Other attractions:

  • Grand Hyatt Shanghai hotel
  • Entertainment facilities
  • 66-yard skywalk without rails on the 88th floor

The convenience of its location makes it accessible from Puxi (near the Huangpu River), by the nearby tunnel, or from the Hongqiao and Pudong International Airports.

Getting in: Jin Mao Tower Observation Deck tickets are included with the Go Shanghai Card.

Grand View Garden

bridge in the Grand View Garden in Shanghai

The beauty of these gardens inspired many chapters of the classic Chinese novel “A Dream of Red Mansions”. The Grand View Garden is home to a number of pavilions and compounds designed to inspire artistic pursuits like writing poetry or creating music.

Several walls surrounding the garden still bear the engravings of classical Chinese myths. A number of buildings still hold furniture put in place when the garden was first built.

You’ll find lots of pools and waterways populating the landscape. Feel free to wander also wander among landscaped woods, beautiful flowering trees, and well-maintained gardens of all sizes.

Getting in: Shanghai Grand View Garden tickets are included with the Go Shanghai Card.

Shanghai Film Park

nostalgic cars at Shanghai Film Park

The vast array of historical buildings located in the Songjiang District made it an ideal place to turn into one of China’s busiest film lots. These structures allow the Shanghai Film Park to create film and TV series with historically accurate settings.

It’s also become a prime hub for tourists eager to see where their favorite entertainment emerges from. You’ll often find actors wandering back and forth in period garb getting ready for filming.

Unlike most film lots, visitors are encouraged to film themselves as part of the action with their phones or other recording devices. They’ll find wax figures of famous Chinese actors like Zhou Xuan, Gong Li, and Shangguan Yunzhu.

Getting in: Shanghai Film Park tickets are included with the Go Shanghai Card.

Shanghai World Financial Center Observatory

View of the iconic Shanghai World Financial building

The top of the second-largest building in Shanghai resembles a bottle opener by design. It lets visitors see the city from different viewing angles from the observational deck.

You’ll start from the Sky Gate, which provides you with a visual overview of the major changes to Shanghai along with a miniature of the entire city. Next, take a stroll along one of the skywalks. You’ll feel like you’re walking among the clouds as you look out over the vast city.

These floors also house venues to put on different events. You could come across a fashion show, product launches, or galas being showcased against the backdrop of the Huangpu River.

Getting in: Shanghai World Financial Center Observatory tickets are included with the Go Shanghai Card.

Guanfu Classical Art Museum

exhibits at the Guanfu Museum in Shanghai

Take some time to visit the city of Beijing and the Guanfu Classical Art Museum. It’s the first private museum built in mainland China. Its founder, Ma Weidu, used it to house his own artifacts he’d been collecting since the 1980s.

The building houses classical Chinese furniture, oil paintings, and other works of art showcasing the history of China. It also holds 140 pieces of porcelain from the 10th to 18th century.

Getting in: Guanfu Museum tickets are included with the Go Shanghai Card.

City God Temple of Shanghai

This nearly 600-year old temple draws visitors from around the world. They come to observe the classic Taoist temple used to worship classic Chinese figures like General Huo Guang and General Guan Yu.

The area outside the temple contains numerous vendors selling all sorts of wares unique to the area. You can also stop and watch performances by acrobats or have some custom calligraphy designed.

Grab some local dining fare when you get hungry from one of the restaurants along the way. Make sure to finish off your meal with a special dessert like Plum Flower Cakes or Black Rice Balls.

Getting in: Viewing the City God Temple of Shanghai is free.


Don’t forget to stop by the Xintiandi district to do some shopping and experience more of the Shanghai culture. Shop for clothing and accessories from some of the top fashion houses in the world or find little out of the way boutiques for one-of-a-kind souvenirs.

You’ll find a lively nightlife scene here once the sun goes down. Sit down at a restaurant for some delicious food or visit a nightclub and dance the night away. There’s always something going on in this part of the city.

Getting in: Xintiandi is open to the public.

Let’s Recap

There’s our selection of some of the most popular and top things to do in Shanghai for adults.

From guided tours to sweeping views and cruises along the Pujiang River, there’s something for everyone in your group to enjoy.

Consider visiting some of these attractions on your next trip to Shanghai for a fun-filled experience. Whether you’re traveling with your significant other or a group of adventure-minded friends, you’ll have a blast.

Don’t forget to pick up a Go Shanghai Card and save up to 30% on combined admission prices. Happy travels!

The information contained in this post, to the best of the author's knowledge, was accurate at time of publishing. We do our best to ensure and maintain the accuracy of this information.

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