Things to do in Shanghai with Kids
Things to do in Shanghai with Kids
Shanghai, China, may not be in your radar when thinking of child friendly destinations, but it should! After living here for two years (and going through the ups and downs of expat life), I can assure you there are plenty of things to do in Shanghai with kids of all ages.
Some of the things listed here are not specifically FOR children. I have included them anyways, because I believe that traveling with children does not mean you should ONLY do activities FOR children. You can also do and see things for yourself, even if your children are tagging along.
I hope this list of things to do in Shanghai with kids may inspire you to consider coming, and adding this city to you family travel bucket list!
Located in the metro station “Yuyuan Garden”, the Old City is a renovated area from the 11th century, where you can find traditional Shanghanese constructions. This is the perfect place to get souvenirs, shop for traditional chinese crafts, and eat Shanghanese food.
You can also find Yuyuan Garden here, which was built in 1559. “Yuan” actually means “garden” in Chinese, so sometimes this place is simply called “Yu Garden”. Like all traditional Chinese gardens, Yuyuan is carefully designed and planned. There is a section with a rockery, peaks, cliffs and winding caves. There are also several ponds and bridges, pavilions and halls where you can see antique furniture pieces. This is a great activity for kids in Shanghai, as they will love exploring the different areas of the garden.
Take note that this place is not very stroller friendly as many of the pathways are filled with large, uneven rocks on the ground.
This area is the city’s government headquarters. Important government buildings can be found here, as well as the China Art Museum, which is in a round building shaped like a giant pot, with two structures that look like handles on the sides. Here, you can see several collections of antique art and porcelain. There are also sculptures and figures of Buddhist origin, and a few items related to Chinese minorities.
The Shanghai Museum of Modern Art is also located inside the park.
But what is truly interesting of this part of the city is People’s park. A large pond is in the middle of the park, and in summer it is filled with beautiful lotus flowers. At the center of the pond there is a café / bar where you can have a pit stop, which are so important when traveling with kids.
There is a small children’s amusement park within People’s park, where in the spring you can also see the cherry blossoms in full bloom. This will surely be a hit when traveling to Shanghai with kids, especially if they are between the ages of 2 and 8.
If you visit this park on a Saturday or Sunday you will see tons of people lining the corridors of the park with open umbrellas. This is the Shanghai marriage market, where parents of single men and women go to meet potential sons and daughters in laws to arrange a meeting.
The most iconic temples in Shanghai are Jing’An and Jade Temple. If you have to choose one temple to visit, I highly recommend that to be Jing’An Temple. Its golden rooftop and large lion decorations are beautiful. Also, it is located right near Jing’An Park, which is another great place to stop for some free play or snacks.
Parks in China are generally very active community places, where people of all ages gather for dance lessons, tai chi, badminton, card games, and even writing chinese characters with water on the asphalt. They truly make for an interesting activity to do with kids in Shanghai, as you can relax as your children have some free time and you witness everyday life in China. You will surely enjoy an afternoon stroll around Jing’An park – and most parks around Shanghai.
After taking about 300 photos of our morning at Zhongshan Park, editing with five different filters, and cropping to remove other random people in the shot, I finally have a beautiful photo that makes an albeit super fun and memorable moment, look magical and fairy tale like 😂. Hands up if you also make all this effort to get the perfect Instagram pic!!!!! Be honest!!! (I might just print this one out for our family gallery at home) . . . #motherandson #carrousel #horses #sunday #mommyandme #toddler #familyfun #momblog
Although this museum is a bit far away from other tourist spots in Shanghai, it’s a great activity to do in Shanghai with kids, especially in the age range of 5 to 15. It is located in Pudong and you can access it by metro, on the subway station that has its same name.
It has several exhibitions and it is quite large, so you could spend an entire day there. Some of the exhibitions are interactive and very fun for children, such as the “World of Robotics” or “Children’s Rainbow Land”. There is also a large section displaying animals and other living things, one dedicated to the human body and health, another in relation to Space.
As a side note, I should mention that right below the museum, accessible through the subway, you will find a large shopping market. This market mainly sells bags, suitcases, purses, and jackets, as well as electronics, although note that all of these are fake. You should also be very prepared to bargain absolutely everything you consider buying. Start by offering a 20 or 30% of what they tell you originally, and don’t even dare to touch, look, or ask about something that you don’t really want, because the salesperson will pester you incessantly until you will have to give in! (you can decline to buy it, of course, but be prepared for the salesperson to follow you along a few aisles trying to convince you!).
This museum is a great activity to do with kids in Shanghai because it is also very centrally located and within the Jing’An Sculpture park. It has a large collection of animal models, that follow the path of evolution, starting with dinosaurs.
Another photo of our afternoon at the Shanghai Natural History Museum in Jing’an. So many great exhibits about dinosaurs, the evolution of species and animals in general! We really enjoyed running after this baobao all afternoon as he desperately tried climbing over the rails and glasses to touch everything 😰 what other museums around the world would you recommend? I want to add too my bucket list!
Hoy pasamos la tarde en el museo de historia natural de Shanghai en Jing’an. Tiene exposiciones que explican los origines de la vida en la tierra, desde el Big Bang, pasando por la evolución de las especies, hasta la actualidad. Un museo MUY bueno, y lo mejor de todo, la entrada costó 3.000 CLP!! Por supuesto, este baobao pasó gran parte del tiempo sobre-revolucionado haciendo ruido de dinosaurios y tigres. Fue un hit! ¿Qué otros museos de este tipo me podrían recomendar?
The park where this museum is located is a great pit stop, and has some sculptures that you can see, but best of all, one in particular that all kids love to climb!
I don’t have a snow photo like everyone has lately, which makes me a bit jealous… but I do have this late autumn shot of the very cold day we had Saturday 🍂 ❄️ As we walked to this park in Jing’an, we told baobao we were going to a playground. When we got there, he said “this no playground!” – he can’t be fooled. He did end up having a great time climbing this sculpture though. . . #ExpatLife #ExpatMoms #ExpatsOfInstangram #ExpatLiving #Sculpture #SundayFunday
This building is an icon of Shanghai, which means that most of the time it is packed, which may make visiting it a bit challenging. I suggest you visit this building in the morning, during a weekday, so that you don’t have to put up with so many crowds.
The entrance ticket is more expensive than other buildings, such as the Shanghai Tower and the Shanghai World Financial Center, so if you don’t feel like paying to enter all of these, I suggest you skip the inside of the Pearl Tower, and admire it only from the outside (Lujiazui Ring Road is a walkway that goes over the road from where you can admire this and other buildings).
If you do go up the Oriental Pearl Tower, you will enjoy the observatory which is 350 meters high, where you can find an observation platform made of glass, which makes for quite an exciting activity for older children.
The Shanghai Tower is still quite new in Shanghai, as its highest observation deck was opened to the public in april, 2017. This thrilling sightseeing deck is on the 119th floor (which you can reach in a super fast elevator that only takes 55 seconds!) and makes for fabulous views. One section of this deck’s floor has screens that make it look like the floor of the building is broken when you jump on it. This is children’s favorite! As you step on that section of the floor, the image shows cracks that then collapse and reveal what would be happening underneath the building. If you have to choose only one building in Lujiazui to enter, I would suggest you to go up this one!
<🇪🇸abajo> 🇬🇧The best of living abroad is you get to be a tourist in your own home. We spent Sunday afternoon at Shanghai Tower, the second highest building in the world, but the highest occupied floor (because the Burj Khalifa has a spire of about 244 meters). It’s amazing to feel like you’re at the top of the world, and everything below you looks like toys…! The building also has the worlds fastest elevator, it takes 55 seconds to reach floor 128, if it weren’t for the pressure in your ears you wouldn’t even notice you are moving. If you’re in Shanghai, don’t miss watching a sun set from here! 🇪🇸Lo mejor de vivir en el extranjero es que puedes ser turista en tu propia casa. Pasamos la tarde del domingo en el Shanghai Tower, El Segundo edificio más alto del mundo, pero el más alto si cuentas los pisos que se pueden ocupar (porque el Burj Khalifa tiene una aguja en la punta de 244 metros). Es increíble sentir que estas en la cima del mundo y todo lo que hay abajo parecen maquetas de juguete. El edificio también tiene el ascensor más rápido del mundo, tardas solo 55 segundo en llegar al piso 128 y si no fuera por la presión en los oídos, ni te darías cuenta que te estás moviendo. Si estás en Shanghai, no te pierdas un atardecer desde este mirador!
Another building located in this same area is the Shanghai World Financial Center, also known as “the bottle opener” because of its shape. Upon entering this building you will be shown a video in a huge screen, which shows the history of the city’s growth, and is quite interesting. It’s observation deck is located 474 meters above ground level, and also offers very nice views of Shanghai.
This aquarium is located in Lujiazui, Pudong, a few steps away from where all the skyscrapers are located. It has several exhibits showcasing ocean life from all over the world. My favorite section of this aquarium is the jellyfish exhibit, where they use different colored neon lights to make the jelly fish shine. Another great section of the aquarium is the viewing tunnel, which is the world’s longest and measures 155 meters.
A stroll around The Bund is a must if in Shanghai. Zhongshan Road is filled with art deco style buildings, and the walkway along the river offers spectacular views of Lujiazui. Although this place gets quite packed towards the end of the evening, this is the best time to visit. As the sun sets, the views of the skyscrapers on the other side of the river are beautiful, especially as the buildings start to slowly light up with all sorts of fancy light arrangements.
It is also possible to take a short boat or cruise ride from The Bund, which is another great opportunity to view the sights and lights. You can also cross over to Lujiazui through an underwater tunnel, called the “sightseeing tunnel”, which has special multimedia effects. This is a great activity for kids in Shanghai, especially up to age 9 or 10.
Another great activity to do in Shanghai with kids, but also a bit far away, is Century Park. However, it is easily accessible in the subway station of its same name. This park has lawns, woods, and lakes across 140 hectares and make for a great day outdoors.
A post about things to do in Shanghai with kids would be incomplete without a mention to Shanghai Disney World! However, as I have not been here yet, I’d like to recommend this post, which is filled with great information and tips on visiting Shanghai Disney World.
As you can see, there are tons of things to do in Shanghai with kids. Some activities will be more entertaining than others, but I would encourage you to do them all if you are around Shanghai! Even those that seem not as appropriate for young children – such as visiting Jing’An Temple!