Best Places to Stay, Eat, Drink and Party in Shanghai

Shanghai is one of the most vibrant, intriguing, and weirdest cities in the world. The city is continually growing, changing and evolving. Shanghai is not afraid to test and push the boundaries. You can find anything from the historically charming streets of the French Concession to bars and clubs that seem to be from another planet.

In such a diverse and busy city it can be overwhelming to decide where to spend your time in Shanghai. This insider’s guide to Shanghai will help you explore just some of the many incredibly amazing and unique places to stay, eat, drink and party in China’s largest metropolis.

Where to Stay

Luxurious

Mandarin Oriental Pudong
Mandarin Oriental Pudong

If you are looking for a luxurious hotel that will make you feel spoiled, then the Mandarin Oriental Pudong Shanghai hotel is for you. The hotel sits on the Huangpu River, and is filled with luxurious amenities including incredible toiletries and bath tubs you will never want to leave. However, the most impressive feature of the Mandarin Oriental has to be its spa. The spa itself is in the shape of a butterfly, and includes a crystal steam room, aromatic experience showers and a tepidarium. It’s impossible to be disappointed with the luxurious and beautiful Mandarin Oriental.

Boutique

Hotel Indigo, Shanghai
Hotel Indigo, Shanghai

At Hotel Indigo you will find a boutique hotel that manages to capture a little local culture, and bring it to your stay. It’s bright and vibrant design gives the hotel a lively and fun vibe. At the hotel you will also find CHAR, an incredible steakhouse, a fun cocktail bar, and breathtaking views. This hotel is perfect for anyone who wants a hotel that will provide them with a unique but enjoyable experience.

Budget Friendly

Rock&Wood International Youth Hostel, Shanghai
Rock & Wood International Youth Hostel, Shanghai

For those that want a cool experience, but don’t want to drain the bank account, then Rock & Wood International Youth Hostel is the perfect choice. The hostel is clean, well maintained, and has incredibly friendly staff. But, what makes it truly stand out is its cool and hip vibe that keeps travelers coming back again and again. However, Rock & Wood International Youth Hostel is not in the city center, but is conveniently located near one metro stop.

By using a map app like Explore Shanghai and Google Translate, you will be able to easily navigate around Shanghai. If you encounter any problems using apps abroad in China, due to the country’s strict internet censorship, try using a VPN to get around internet restrictions and stay safe.

Where to Eat

Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet

Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet
Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet

This restaurant is not only one of the best restaurants in Shanghai, but in the world, ranking number three on the list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2015. This restaurant is extremely challenging to get into, and not for anyone who wants to even try to keep a budget. But, if you find yourself seated at Ultraviolet, get ready for the dining experience of a lifetime. 10 diners per night are treated to a 20 course meal. Each dish is synced with music, fragrance, lighting and a video projection on the walls. Each course consists of not just a dish, but a whole experience.

Din Tai Fung

Din Tai Fung dumpling house Shanghai
Din Tai Fung dumpling house Shanghai

Din Tai Fung is a chain with locations all throughout Shanghai. However, even though it’s a chain, it is still incredibly delicious. If you are craving true authentic Shanghai dumplings, or xialong bao, then Din Tai Fung is your place to go. They serve all different kinds of dumplings, and other Chinese snacks, but be sure to try their famous pork dumpling. You can’t go wrong with their delicate dumpling skin, and delightful pork filling.

Lost Heaven

Lost Heaven Shanghai
Lost Heaven Shanghai

This Yunnanese restaurant is perfect for a classy night out, but it’s much more budget friendly and easier to gain access to than the infamous Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet. The authentic but exotic Chinese cuisine is very impressive, and pair greatly with the romantic and enchanting décor and atmosphere. It is almost impossible to be disappointed with a dining experience at Lost Heaven.

Senator Saloon

Senator Saloon Shanghai
Senator Saloon Shanghai

If you are craving quality cocktails, then you will not be disappointed with this prohibition-era cocktail themed bar. The Senator Saloon has a dark ambiance and interior that creates an old fashioned late night atmosphere. You will be able to find unique barrel-aged cocktails, along with all varieties of bourbon. You can also find tasty American fusion bar food snacks.

Where to Drink and Party

Haven

Haven Club Shanghai
Haven Club Shanghai

This exclusive vampire themed nightclub is perfect for anyone who is looking for something a little out there (or is just a really big Twilight fan). For starters, this club is located in a factory that was once owned by ‘Big Eared’ Du Yuesheng, a former Shanghai gangster (as if being a vampire themed club was not enough).

Haven is also known for being extremely exclusive. They mostly only host private parties with the rich and famous, and rarely have public nights where everyone is invited. But, it’s this exclusivity and slightly strange vibe that makes Haven stand out from the crowd.

Phoebe 3D Club

Phoebe 3D Club Shanghai
Phoebe 3D Club Shanghai

From miniature golfing, to video games, to extravagant toilets, Phoebe 3D Club is sure to blow your mind. Every room you enter and turn you make is filled with something extravagant, silly, weird or all of the above. The drinks are not cheap, but it is one of the places that you just need to try once at least once.

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I'm never in one place for very long. My parents were travelers before I was born. Even in the womb, I was able to travel all over the place! Boy, did things NOT change as I grew older! Knowing there’s more to the world than the bubble I live in made me want to travel even further. Traveling is my drug and I’m addicted. (Please, no intervention!)