With the Huangpu River bisecting the city’s Pudong and Puxi areas, Shanghai is very much a city split in two. Across the river is Pudong, Shanghai’s glimmering monument to modernity where skyscrapers disappear into the clouds and the Oriental Pearl Tower, mega malls such as SWFC and IFC and the China Art Palace are all gathered there. The world’s fastest train, the Maglev is in Pudong, as is China’s tallest building. On the western side of Puxi rests the Old Town area of Yu Gardens and the concession-era structures along the Bund and French Concession, where architecture is decidedly colonial.
Shanghai is home to around 24 million people and to the most vast single-bus network in the world. Attractions include stolling along the Bund or shopping on Nanjing Road. Visit Yu Gardens for a flashback to the past or pray at the Jing’An Temple. The China Art Museum and Shanghai Museum near People’s Square offer the opportunity to gaze into China’s long history. Catch a show in Shanghai, the birthplace of Chinese cinema, or soak in fresh contemporary art at Xintiandi. Nearby watertowns are worth a daytrip. Plan your trip around China’s major festivals and holidays. Below you’ll find the top seasonal highlights for Shanghai.
The majority of China's holidays and festivals are determined by the lunar calendar, and can vary as much as a few weeks from year to year. Please consult a lunar calendar for corresponding dates in the Western calendar.
- New Year’s Day is celebrated in China, however the lunar new year is a far more important holiday often called Spring Festival.
- The Double-Second Festival/Dragon Heads-Raising Day falls on the second day of the second month in the lunar calendar and celebrates the dragon as humanity’s distant ancestor as well as the bringer of spring rains.
- Longhua Temple Fair, held in Longhua Old Town, has a history of more than 300 years. Legend tells that the Laughing Buddha was born under the Longhua Tree, preached Buddhism and saved people from secular sufferings. This later developed into a temple fair.
- Nanhui Peach Festival includes admiring the blossoms as well as fun swine-related games and parades.
- Shanghai International Fashion Festival celebrates the creations and achievments of the fashion and textile industry in Shanghai.
- Shanghai International Music Festival brings together local artists with famous imports.
- Shanghai International Tea Culture Festival is a national gala to promote tea cultural exchange.
- Spring Festival is the most important Chinese holiday and is marked by a grand fireworks display. The dates vary each year, but it usually falls in late-January or early-February and lasts for 15 days.
- The Lantern Festival, held on the 15th day of the first lunar month, marks the end of China's new year celebrations. Traditional dancers in colourful costumes take to the streets.
- Tomb Sweeping Festival, (Qingming) is a nationwide day for mourning the dead. The Chinese people use the occasion to pay their respects to their ancestors and to tidy tombs and grave sites by removing weeds and leaves. This festival is also celebrated as a day that welcomes the coming of spring, when all is new and fresh.
- The Shanghai International Film Festival takes place for approximately one week in June and highlights the cinematic achivements in the city.
- The Shanghai International TV Festival takes place in mid-June, and is a fun event for celebrity spotting.
- International Labour Day, aka May Day, is celebrated as a public holiday in Shanghai. Join the crowds of thousands on Nanjing Road or along the Bund on May 1st.
- Dragon Boat Festival, (Duanwu) commemorates the death of ancient poet Qu Yuan. Locals eat zongzi (bamboo-wrapped rice dumplings) and watch the exciting and vibrant dragon boat races. Qu Yuan lived as a courtier in the Chou Dynasty until he was one day tossed into the sea at the hands of a corrupt and evil official. When the local fishermen heard of the poet's demise, they searched the waters to find him. Unsuccessful, they threw rice dumplings into the sea and slapped the water with their paddles to distract the fish from the poet's body. Today, boats race along the Huangpu River and Shanghai locals dine on zongzi.
- Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, is held on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. Signaling family reunion to the Chinese people, it is also a very important traditional festival in China. Admiring the full moon and eating delicious moon cakes top the to-do list for this occasion.
- The Shanghai Sweet-Osmanthus Festival honors the beautiful flower, and involves eating, drinking and taking in the blossoms.
- The Shanghai International Fireworks Festival is an event that should be viewed from the rooftops of Shanghai.
- Shanghai International Tourist Festival involves parades, fireworks and sculptures highlighting the tourism industry in the city.
- National Day. Brave the crowds on October 1st as National Day celebrations happen around China. Marking the day the Communist Party came into power, the events include floral sculptures on Nanjing Road, concert series and large-scale fireworks displays in major parks.
- The Shanghai International Art Festival takes place in November and brings together the top artists in the region.
- The Shanghai International Marathon offers an intresting mix of urban and rural sightseeing as runners race to the finish.
- Christmas is not a major holiday in China, but you'll find Shanghai's savvier restaurants and bars catering to expats and diplomats, as well as winter tourists, with Christmas promotions. There is even a small Christmas market.
GMT +8 hours
Nearly everyone in Shanghai speaks Mandarin, the national language of China, but many also speak a local dialect whose pronunciation can vary greatly. You can usually find someone who speaks English in Shanghai and other major cities in China. Outside the cities, it can be difficult to get around without speaking the local language.
Local voltage is 220 to 240 volts AC.
Adapters are available upon request.
Monday to Sunday 10:00 am to 10:00 pm
The Concierge would be pleased to verify these times.
Monday to Friday 9:00 am to 5:30 pm
CHINESE PUBLIC HOLIDAYS 2016
|New Year's Day||January 1|
|Spring Festival||February 7–13|
|Lantern Festival||February 22|
|Tomb Sweeping Day||April 2–4|
|Labour Day||May 1–2|
|Dragon Boat Festival||June 9–11|
|Mid-Autumn Festival||September 15–17|
|National Day||October 1–7|