Answers from Our Experts (1)
While certainly not the cheapest city in China, Shanghai nevertheless offers several free activities, particularly if the weather is nice enough to afford a pleasant stroll outside. Here are our Forbes Travel Guide editors' top five free things to do in the port city:
1. Dongtai Lu Antique Market. Even if you don't intend to buy anything, this open-air market is an interesting place to scope out some curious bric-a-brac, mementos and Communist-era memorabilia. Just be forewarned that the authenticity of many of these so-called antiques may be debatable. Remember to bargain, bargain, bargain.
2. People-watch. Nothing could be more entertaining than watching people in padded pajamas do tai chi en masse, a common early morning sight in the city. Shanghai is rife with ideal people-watching locations, but some of our favorites include the Bund promenade and People's Square.
3. Visit the marriage market. While you're in People's Square, go to the north end of the park to check out this unusual market that pops up every weekend. Don't expect to find food or clothing here. Instead, Chinese locals and their parents scour this market every Saturday and Sunday for a mate. Foreign visitors are sure to gain a new insight… and maybe more.
4. Stroll the French Concession. The popular French Concession neighborhood offers some of the city's most pleasant walks past grand villas and down leafy lanes. Meander along the historic streets, where you'll find ancient relics situated next door to bustling noodle shops and chic boutiques.
5. Explore Tianzifang. This maze of narrow alleyways is another great place to just wander. Through there are shops galore (selling everything from kitschy knickknacks to finely woven silk scarves) to tempt you to break out the RMB, you can find plenty to see and do here without spending any money at all. Visit the numerous galleries and shops or simply admire the ancient architecture of the shikumen-style lane houses.