A very modern and lively city, full of surprises.
Great tips and exploring
Take the Maglev train in to the city from the airport. Relatively inexpensive and it’s worth the experience to go 270 MPH through the Shanghai countryside even if you have to take a cab after you get off.
In Shanghai I stayed at the beautiful JW Marriott. It's centrally located, right in front of the People's Square Park, and you can walk to many sights and shopping area. Make sure to try their breakfast, it's probably one of the best I have ever experienced and the views from the 38th floor are quite impressive.
If you are not the train type, taxis are quite inexpensive, so also recommended.
If you want to do a fun tour and find a new great way to see the city, both old and new, try the Shanghai Insiders.
Make sure to explore The Bund and the area around it. The Bund is the most famous tourist destination in Shanghai, facing the river and Pudong district. During night time is the best time to walk around the area. With all the lights, it is so beautiful. The Shanghai Bund has dozens of historical buildings.
The Former French Concession is another great place to walk around. It's one of the trendiest neighborhoods and you will find certainly plenty of trendy bars and restaurants.
The Oriental Pearl Tower is by the side of Huangpu River and opposite of the Bund. It was the tallest structure in China from 1994 – 2007. Go up to the observation level, you can have the panoramic view of Shanghai. It also has all glass flooring around the observation deck, if you are courageous to walk on it! It's so cool.
Yu Garden: Located in the center of the old city district; considered one of most finest Chinese gardens in the region. The Xiao LongBao with crab meat in the restaurants near the garden is famous.
Shanghai's old town Nanshi is also very interesting to visit. Although a little of a tourist trap, make sure to go and enjoy the amazing architecture, and people watching. It's so crazy busy there. I would not recommend necessarily to eat around there. There are other places in the city, you will be able to eat much better.
One of the nice surprises I had when walking around Shanghai was Tianzifang. This area seems that has been transformed in the last years to an artsy area with bars, cafes, crafts shops, design studios, galleries and boutiques.
Shopping & Dining
Bar and Restaurants
Go the Xin TianDi, a pedestrian-only shopping, eating and entertainment district. It is composed of an area of reconstituted traditional stone gate houses on narrow alleys. It has many good restaurants and bars there. My favorites are “Ye Shanghai 夜上海 （shanghai style）”, “Ding Taifeng 鼎泰丰 (Taiwan style)” and “Xing JiShi 新吉士 （shanghai style）
Shanghai is full of high-end and countless department stores, but in general things are not cheap. To get the best prices for small things, you can go to Hongqiao Pearl Market, the equivalent of the silk market in Beijing. You can negotiate big time and get good deals on accessories and bags, etc.