What are the best outdoor activities in Shanghai?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

The best outdoor activity in Shanghai is walking. It's the only authentic way to experience the city and its many tucked-away streets. If you're not convinced that this is where the action is, look down any alley, where locals can be seen animatedly arguing over the price of vegetables at the wet market (outdoor shops with food that's usually fresher and cheaper than supermarket groceries) or engrossed in a riveting game of Chinese chess. Worthy walks include the leafy French Concession neighborhood — we particularly love strolling through the French-style gardens of Fuxing Park for its mix of locals and foreigners and the excellent people-watching — the popular Bund promenade and People's Square, the center of the city and home to Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai and the Shanghai Museum. Plus, you have to be on foot to wander through pedestrian-only areas like the maze of craft and food stalls in the touristy bazaar just outside Yuyuan Gardens, the eastern part of famous shopping street Nanjing Road and the narrow paths of vibrant Xintiandi, where you can shop in stores housed in traditional shikumen (stone gate) buildings.

When you tire of walking, board one of the Huangpu River tours. Our Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend cruising at night, so you can see the city's refined Bund buildings and out-of-this-world Pudong skyscrapers all lit up. Don't book one of the half-day tours; a 45-minute ride is plenty of time to see both sides of Shanghai's unusual skyline.

For the adventurer, a short trip outside the city will take you to the up-and-coming (but still non-touristy) area of Moganshan, where you can go mountain biking or hiking on one of the many trails.

Finally, if you're looking for a less-intensive way to soak in the sun, Shanghai offers a number of alfresco dining options that will make you never want to go back inside. Try M on the Bund, a legendary Shanghai outpost and weekend brunch spot serving Middle Eastern-European fusion fare, or Kommune, a café in a sunny courtyard among the winding alleyways of the Tianzifang art area.

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