Sophisticated and utterly cosmopolitan, Shanghai is one of the most fascinating cities in mainland China. Historic relics aren’t as prominent, but what China’s financial hub lacks in those it makes up for with epicurean cuisine, a robust nightlife, shopping, and splendid sights.
Take your love by the hand and explore Shanghai for couples. Here are our suggestions for a well-rounded and exhilarating trip that will ignite your passion together.
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Top 5 things to see and do
The iconic Bund is the most notable sight in all of Shanghai. Here, they call it “Waitan,” a place where you can see the landmark skyline jutting high above into the clouds with the Huangpu River below it. The area is wealthy, brimming with luxury at every turn from hotels to restaurants. Visit it during the day and then again at night to be dazzled by the romance of the lights.
Cruise the Huangpu River
Nothing says romance like a riverboat cruise. While on The Bund, get your tickets to take a beautiful boat ride on the river and enjoy the sights on both river banks.
Oriental Pearl Tower
This notable and futuristic-looking tower stands on the Pudong side of the river. You’ll know it as soon as you see it, for it features three gigantic pearl spheres. Views from up here are extraordinary and quite romantic indeed!
One of the few relics of Shanghai’s past is Yu Garden. Built in 1559, this serene oasis in the centre of the city is where you can take a romantic stroll among ponds full of fish, bamboo, and rock gardens.
The China Art Museum
Also known as the China Art Palace or the Shanghai Art Museum, art-lovers will adore spending time perusing the exhibits here. The artistically commanding red entry gives a taste of the beauty you’ll experience together with paintings, sculptures, and other works of art by China’s most renowned artists.
Top 5 places to eat
Mr & Mrs Bund
Helmed by famed Chef Paul Pairet, this is the best place for French food in Shanghai. A pricey meal for sure, but worth it!
This unusual place is the only Michelin-starred restaurant (three stars!) and features experimental dining with a unique twist. For couples that want an adventurous twist, Ultraviolet picks you up from a meeting spot and brings you to a secret place where you indulge in a multi-sensory feast that explores culinary alchemy.
An icon on The Bund, this is consistently named as Shanghai’s best restaurant of all. Their brunch is to die for, too!
At the top of the Ritz-Carlton Shanghai in Pudong, this is the place for al fresco dining on top of the world. Casually elegant, the food at Flair (feature image) is as mesmerising as the view in this upscale eatery.
For alluring contemporary Asian cuisine and sublime cocktails, Hakkasan makes for an ideal date night place with your true love.
Top 5 bars
Get intimate with craft cocktails at El Ocho. Western drinks and fantastically-flavoured Eastern options come together in this upscale bar.
Don’t be thrown off by the fact that this Asian-inspired speakeasy is hiding away in the corner of a sandwich store. Go behind the vintage Coke machine and you'll enter a whole new, utterly charming world of cocktails – very cool.
Long Bar at Waldorf Astoria
For luxury cocktails you don’t have to hunt for, this is one of the most notable bars in all of Shanghai. Beautiful and luxurious, it’s an indulgent and upscale experience.
It has a prohibition era vibe to it and features amazing bourbon cocktails. The sophisticated and refined setting with dim lighting is undoubtedly romantic, too.
On The Bund, this is one upscale yet unpretentious place to grab a drink. Mood music and a laid-back vibe make this a perfect place to cosy up together.
Top 5 shopping spots
An east-west shopping street, you just might mistake it for Times Square in New York. Hopping into luxury shopping venues along the way makes for a pleasant way to spend the day.
In this pedestrian mall, you’ll find pearls of all shapes in every size and price-range imaginable. You can also design your own or opt for other jewellery options. Not a bad gift for your love!
South Bund Fabric Market
Why not get matching clothes made? Choose from some of the most stunning fabrics around and have something truly unique handmade for you to take home as the ultimate souvenir.
Dong Tai Lu Antique Markets
Grab cool trinkets and fascinating souvenirs to decorate your home with here. Every time you gaze upon them, you’ll think of your romantic couples’ trip to Shanghai.
Art Galleries on Moganshan Lu
Shanghai abounds with art galleries but a huge concentration of them can be found on Moganshan Lu. It’s another place to choose something you love together to bring back home.
Shanghai is treated to four very pronounced seasons. Spring is nicely warm, while autumn is gently cool. Summer is humid and rather unpleasant. Winter is a bit cold, but you can always keep each other warm. The climate is mostly mild and enjoyable.
Don’t even think of leaving Shanghai without trying its signature dish – xiaolong bao. These are steamed soup dumplings that give regular dumplings a run for their money.
To visit Shanghai which is in mainland China, you need to get a visa. The most common visa is the tourist visa which allows for a 15-day maximum stay.
Choosing a luxury brand hotel will ensure you get the upscale couples’ escape in Shanghai that you’re looking for.
Mandarin Chinese is the language in Shanghai, though you will find people that speak English. Leave nothing to chance by printing out your hotel’s name and address in Chinese before arriving so there’s no miscommunication with your driver. Download apps that help you translate too so you can enjoy the city even more.
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Images sourced via: www.ritzcarlton.com/en/, www.hakkasan.com/. Credit: Derryck Menere