Top Things to Do in Winter in Shanghai

Plan your Shanghai tour in winter? Shanghai’s coldest weather falls on the three months: December (average lowest: 3℃ and highest: 11℃), January (average lowest: 1℃ and highest: 8℃) and February (average lowest: 2℃ and highest: 9℃).

Periodically the northern gale will sweep across Shanghai accompanied by a sudden and short drop of temperature ( -5℃ lowest). With the consistent cold air from the north and the wet and warm currents from the southwest, Shanghai tends to be in the period of low temperature and lack of sunshine, featuring cold and damp.

Though winter is not the best season to visit Shanghai in terms of weather, it doesn’t make much difference to visit Shanghai in winter from other seasons due to its static city landscapes. Shanghai winter tour has its own advantage – less crowded, big discounts for admission fees, hotels and flights.

Festival activities during Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) add much colors to the cold and wet Shanghai. If you are going to visit Shanghai in winter, we’d like to show you some of the top attractions to visit in winter in Shanghai.

1.  Exploring Shanghai by Hop On/Hop Off Bus

Hop on and hop off bus our is a quick and easy way to get around Shanghai. The open top deck city sightseeing bus tours are designed to give you a glimpse of Shanghai’s culture and city landscape. The loop trips take you around the major attractions in Shanghai. If you are a newcomer to Shanghai, it is advisable to take a loop Shanghai Bus Tour.

Currently Spring Tour Bus offers the loop lines daily bus tours. Many local Chinese choose Spring tour bus  with the cheaper option with a ticket costing just  RMB 30 ( 24 hour); RMB 50 (48 hours).

The Spring Tour city sightseeing bus follows two major  routes: the Red Line, which goes through Puxi, and the shorter Green Line route in Pudong. Both bus lines begins their routes in front of the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Centre in People’s Square.

The red line passes the Shanghai Museum and turns toward West Nanjing Road with several stops along the Bund, Yuyuan GardenXintiandi, then back to Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Centre, a loop ride.

The 24 hour ticket is valid for one person (with the option of an accompanying child under 1.4 metres in height), and includes one pair of earphones.

The GPS-triggered audio tour comes with 8 language options: Chinese, English, Korean, French, Spanish, German, Russian and Japanese.

If you prefer door-to-door Shanghai bus tour or guided day tours with an English-speaking tour guide, please check out Shanghai day tour for more travel information.

Shanghai Hop On Hop Off Bus
Shanghai Hop On Hop Off Bus

2. Ascending the one of the Iconic Tall Landmarks in Shanghai

No Shanghai Tour is complete without ascending the 88-floor building and having a panoramic view of Huangpu River, the Bund and the city of Shanghai.

The Jin Mao Tower
The Jin Mao Tower is located next to Oriental Pearl Tower and Shanghai World Financial Center in the Lujiazui area of the Pudong district in Shanghai. It is composed of offices and the Shanghai Grand Hyatt Hotel. It is one of the centerpieces of the Pudong skyline.

The 88-storey observation deck is open from 8:30am to 10:00pm. It’s better to have the tower tour on a bright clear day or one a fine evening. You will enjoy different views visiting Jin Mao Tower in the daytime or in the evening.
Check out How to visit Jin Mao Tower for more travel information.

Viewed from Jin Mao Tower in the evening
Viewed from Jin Mao Tower in the evening

Shanghai World Financial Center
The Shanghai World Financial Center is the second highest building in mainland China with a total height of 492 m (1,614 ft). The skyscraper is located in the Pudong district, an essential structure on the spectacular Pudong Skyline.

It was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox. The tower’s foundation stone was laid on 27 August 1997 and it was declared complete on 17 July 2008.

Check out How to Visit Shanghai World Financial Center for more information.

Shanghai Tower
The Shanghai Tower is a megatall skyscraper in Lujiazui, Pudong, Shanghai. It is designed by Gensler and owned by a consortium of Chinese state-owned companies.

It is the tallest building in China accompanied by the other three supertall buildings in Pudong – the Jin Mao Tower, the Shanghai World Financial Center and Oriental Pearl TV Tower. The megatall structure is 632 metres high with128 stories.

Check out How to Visit Shanghai Tower for more information.

3. Yu Yuan Garden and Bazaar Shanghai

If you are not a history buff, these two connected places till remain interesting. This area is the old core city from which the metropolitan has been developed.

Yuyuan Garden was first built as a private garden created by Pan Yunduan in Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644). He used almost 20 years and all of his savings to build a garden in trying to please his parents in their high ages.

Yu Yuan Garden and Bazaar Shanghai

Next to the gardens is Shanghai’s bazaar, the former old downtown area, now with a great number of small streets and lanes where vendors sell their products and food stuffs to the tourists and local people.

This is a typically  “Chinese” area you can’t afford to miss. Check out Yu Yuan Garden and Bazaar Shanghai for more information.

4. Cruise Huangpu River

Sail along the Huangpu River, view the skyline of Pudong (modern high rises ), take the awesome sight of the Bund (colonial buidlings)… These are just a few things you will do on your cruise.

Check out Huangpu River Cruise Ticket Booking for more information.

There are several ways to tour the Huangpu River. If you have time, a 3-hour (60km) voyage along the Huangpu to the mouth of the Yangzi River and back allows for the most leisurely and complete appreciation of the river.

There are also shorter river cruises (1 hour) that tours the main waterfront area between the two suspension bridges, Yangpu Qiao in the north and Nanpu Qiao in the south.  At present, 19 cruise boats of different sizes are available cruising on Huangpu River. The largest cruise ship (Huangpu River Cruise No.01) holds as many as one thousand passengers witht he smallest boat carrying 80 people.

The cruise pier is located on Shiliupu Wharf, just south of the Bund,  No.171, Zhongshan Nan Lu, Shanghai. The embarking dock is Gate 3, Shiliupu Wharf Tourism Center. There are two embarking areas along the long Shiliupu Wharf. Either areas are all right as long as you come the right dock for your boating.

Huangpu River cruise in the evening

Take the subway line 2 and get off at Nanjing Dongl Lu (Nanjing East Road), then walk along the Bund to the Shiliupu Wharf.  If you have a hop on and hop off ticket, you can easily get to the wharf since the double-deck bus route has a stop at Shiliupu Wharf.

5.  Shop and Dine at Tianzifang Street 

Tianzifang should be included on your Shanghai winter travel plan.  Tianzifang is an art, craft  and Shikumen (stone-door-frame houses) enclave developed from an old residential area of the former French concession,  a shikumen residential  built in 1930s in Shanghai.

In 1980s artists, designers and vendors began to set up their studios, art galleries, craft stores, design house, cafes, bars, and restaurants  a kind of creative industry precinct in an old residential area of Shanghai.

Check out How to Visit Tianzifang for more information.


It is a great place to shop and dine though a bit overpriced. But you do find some original gifts and souvenirs you cannot find elsewhere in Shanghai.  If you are not a big fan for shopping and eating, just concentrate on its architecture.

The most convenient way of getting to Tianzifang is taking subway line 9 and get off at the station of Dapuqiao (打浦桥) and using Exit 1  and the Taikang Road ( where the three lanes are located) is just opposite the Exit 1.

You may start your exploration of Tianzifang by entering the Taikang Road Lane 210, then duck into the Lane 248 and 274.

6. Visit Shanghai Museum

Shanghai Museum is amazing! What can be better than visiting a free museum filled with Chines3 relics and tangible cultures? Occupying a construction site of over 28,000 square meters, the museum has four exhibition halls holding bronze ware, calligraphy, paintings, pottery, porcelain, jade ware, stone carvings, Jiaguwen imperial seals and more.

Many exhibitions from the Shanghai Museum have been put on show to Hong Kong, Japan and America and other countries. These shows include the Bronzeware Exhibition of the Shanghai Museum, Exhibition of Chinese Art in Six Thousand Years, Porcelain Exhibition of the Shanghai Museum, Exhibition of Calligraphy of the Ming and Qing Dynasty, Exhibition of Works by the Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou, Exhibition of Studies of Scholars in the late Ming Dynasty and etc.

Take subway line 2 or 8 and get off at People’s Square and the walk to Shanghai Museum.

Shanghai Museum
Shanghai Museum

7. Stroll from West Nanjing Road to the Bund

It is a great walk from West Nanjing Road to the Bund, the sharp contrast of the modern days and the colonial era, tracing back from the present Shanghai to the old day. You may walk from Shanghai Museum (People’s Square ) to West Nanjing Road,extending to the Bund.

Nanjing Road is a walking street that is always packed with people watching other people. It is regarded as the first commercial road in Shanghai. Nanjing Road is the most bustling and prosperous street in Shanghai.

the Bund

The Bund (Waitan) is one of the most noted architectural symbols of Shanghai. The word “Bund” derives from an Anglo-Indian word for an embankment along a muddy waterfront.

The Bund in Shanghai was first used when the first British company opened an office there in 1846. The Bund, or the waterfront,is now surrounded by about 50 various buildings of different architectural styles including Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, Classicism and the Renaissance.

8. Taste the Local Shanghai Cuisines

Shanghai enjoys a good reputation in Chinese gourmet circles, boasts one of China’s most characteristic and distinctive cuisines.

During your Shanghai tour, you can appreciate the beautiful scenery and enjoy the local food culture as well. We’ve rounded up the top 10 best restaurants in Shanghai, so  get ready to have a bite! Check out the Top 10 Best Restaurants in Shanghai.

Shanghai Food
Shanghai Food

9. See Acrobatic Show in Shanghai!

The Acrobatics at Shanghai are not to be missed. They are held each night and last for about 2 hours. The Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe, established in 1951 is one of the best in China. It frequently tours internationally and perform routinely at Shanghai and other cities in China.

An acrobatic show has become one of the most popular evening entertainments for tourists in Shanghai. You can enjoy gravity-defying contortion,  juggling, cycling, chair-stacking, and plate-spinning acts at the following stages.

Shanghai Circus World and Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe both become the members of Shanghai Culture, Broadcast, Film and TV Group. Joining hands with media and other cultural undertakings, acrobatics has made unparalleled development.

Keeping the trend in the development of acrobatics and circus both at home and abroad, Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe is striving for new and higher goals of first-class city and first-class culture. Check out Shanghai Acrobatic Show for more information.

Acrobatic Theater in Shanghai:
Shanghai Center Theatre:
Address: No. 1376 Nanjing Road (W), Shanghai 021-62798600
Shanghai Circus World – Middle Theatre:
Add: Gonghe Xinlu 2266, Baoshan District, Shanghai 021-56656622‎

Shanghai Acrobatics
Shanghai Acrobatics

10. Leisure Excursion to Qibao Water Town

If you want to feel and have a glimpse of a traditional China old town after seeing too much glinz of the metropolitan Shanghai,  Qibao Ancient Town (七宝古镇), a tiny water town would be a nice alternative if you cannot make it to other water towns like Zhujiajiao Water Town, Zhouzhuang Water Town and Tongli Water Town.

Qibao Ancient Town is a tiny water town which is also the closest ancient town in the southwest of Shanghai. It is located south of Qingnian Road in Min-Hang District, about 15km southwest of Shanghai.

Qibao literally means ” Seven Treasures” named after the same name temple –  Qibao Temple in Qibao ancient town. The old town is mainly composed of three stone arch bridges, two canals and 4 major streets and several side lanes.

Qibao Water Town is a “city within the city of Shanghai”.  You just take Shanghai subway line 9 and get off at the station of Qibao (七宝)and use the exit 2. For a short stroll,  you will get to Qibao old town.

Check out How to Visit Qibao Ancient Town for more information.

Qibao Ancient Town
Qibao Ancient Town

Hassle-free Shanghai Guided Tours

If you don’t want to do a self-guided tour and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Shanghai:

Shanghai Tour
Shanghai Day Tour
Shanghai Multi-Day Tour
Shanghai Evening Tour
Shanghai Cruise Port ( Transfer& Excursions )
Shanghai Beijing Tour
Shanghai Xian Tour
Shanghai Car Rental with Driver

Further Readings

Top 10 Attractions in Shanghai
Shanghai’s Top 10 Iconic Landmarks
Top 10 Markets in Shanghai
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Shanghai
Top 10 Things to Do at night in Shanghai
Best Places for Autumn Leaves in Shanghai
Top 10 Things to Do in Winter in Shanghai
Top 10 Souvenirs in Shanghai
Top 10 Photo Spots in Shanghai
10 Non-Touristy Things to Do in Shanghai
Huangpu River Cruise Ticket Booking (Tickets, Photos and Map)
Shanghai Cherry Blossom Festival

How to Plan a Trip to Shanghai
How to Visit Shanghai on a Budget
Where to stay in Shanghai
Shanghai Layout, the city layout of Shanghai
Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station
Public Transportation at Shanghai Pudong International Airport
Shanghai Hongqiao Airport, Hongqiao Airport Shanghai
Shanghai Hop On Hop Off
Ferry from the Bund to Pudong
The highest al fresco dining venue in China
Feeling Chinese New Year’s Atmosphere in Shanghai
Night walk along Nanjing Road in Shanghai
Top family-friendly spots to visit in Shanghai
Doing things the local way in Shanghai
How to Visit Wuzhen Water Town from Hangzhou and Shanghai
Shopping in Pudong Shanghai
Top 10 Shanghai Classic Vegetarian Restaurants
The Bund at Night pictures
Beijing Shanghai high speed rail
Ticket Booking for Beijing Shanghai High Speed Rail
Top 10 Shanghai Budget Hotels
Top 10 Shanghai Luxury Hotels
Top 10 Shanghai Boutique Hotels

Best time to visit Shanghai
Visit Shanghai in December
How to Visit Shanghai in November
Visit Shanghai in October
How to Visit Shanghai in March
Visit Shanghai in February
Visit Shanghai in January

Tips for Visiting Nanjing Road in Shanghai
The Neon-Colored Nanjing Road
How to Visit the Bund in Shanghai (Tips, Photos & Map)
Foggy Pudong Skyline at Sunrise, Shanghai
The Bund and Small Pool of Rainwater
Early Morning Kite Flyers on the Bund in Shanghai
Historic Buildings on the Bund in Shanghai (the 22 heritage buildings)
Evening View of the Bund and Pudong Skyline Shanghai
How to Visit Yuyuan Garden and Bazaar
The Old World Charm in Shanghai (Tips, Photos & Map)
How to Visit Lujiazui in Pudong
How to Visit Zhujiajiao Water Town
How to Visit Qibao Ancient Town
How to Visit Tianzifang
How to Visit Xintiandi
How to Visit Shanghai World Financial Center
How to Visit Shanghai Tower
Tips for Visiting People’s Square, Shanghai
How to Visit Shanghai Auto Museum

Huangpu River in Shanghai VS River Thames in London
Some similarities and differences between Paris and Shanghai

Any questions, just drop a line.

8 thoughts on “Top Things to Do in Winter in Shanghai

  1. Hi, we plan to Travel to Shanghai on December 21 to December 28 2017. I will be with my husband and 5 year old daughter and we plan to get the private car tour with our own driver. Please send me an email as to ehat possible itinerary we will have and how mich. We also plan to visit Disneyland in Shanghai.

  2. Hi Mary Pauline Obias,

    Happy Holidays!

    Thanks for your inquiry! One of our trip advisors will contact you by email for the details later today. Much apprecaited!

  3. I am planing to travel to SHANGHAI ON DECEMBER 24,2018 TO JANUARY 8

  4. Hi I will be in Shanghai mid december. How is the air quality then? do we need face mask? Thank you

  5. Dear Suz,

    Thanks for your inquiry and welcome to Shanghai!

    It is a tough question. It is hard to predict the actual air quality at that time. Basically it is a not a bad idea to have a light face mask on hand.

    Have a nice trip!

  6. Hi, is there any countdown celebrations anywhere in Shanghai this year? Any fireworks near Bund?

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