Nightlife & Entertainment in Shanghai

Before we start our trip through Shanghai, in the dark, let me tell you a little bit about the city’s area and divisions that I will be addressing. Shanghai is a city of more than 23 million, so it is easy to get lost, but also easy to ask someone for directions. Shanghai is divided into a few districts and then those are divided into a few areas. It is much like New York with the Bronx and Queens.

One of the districts is Xin Tian Di, or Xintiandi. This is a very fashionable pedestrian area and has become a huge tourist attraction because of the modern being incorporated into the ancient architecture style. The Lujiazui and Pudong areas are new and hold many sightseeing attractions on the east side of the Huangpu River, which flows down the centre of the city. The Bund is west of the river and has a popular walking tour that you should take.

Like any tourist, sightseeing and shopping is done during the day and you could use a little “me” time out on the town. However, as a tourist, you want to go to where the locals go and not where the tourists go. The best place to have dinner if you are in Shanghai for a short period of time is the Pudong district. For those who want to have a special night out, Jade 36, located on the 36th floor, is a place to have a fancy dinner with a great view before dusk. As a result, it is fairly expensive but this place is famous for its dumplings and noodles. However, other street stalls and smaller restaurants are just as good and make for a great cultural experience.

After dusk, head over to the harbour and board an old Chinese wooden dragon boat. This boat will take you upstream and as the night falls upon you, the lights of this city will become alive. This is the best vantage point to take advantage of the greatest tourist attraction – the city skyline. There really is nothing as breathtaking as seeing Shanghai's lights from the river.

After hopping off this boat, you could take an additional night cruise. However, one of the best ways to have some fun is walking to the Xintiandi Entertainment District which is just a few blocks west of the river. Here, you can find teahouses that are open 24 hours a day, bars, pubs, karaoke venues, and nightclubs. You can stop at any place that looks interesting – there is a wide variety to choose from so you can make the most of any.

If you are looking to have a really looking to paint the town red, the best way is to hop around to different nightlife venues in Shanghai. A place that many recommend to start off the night is the Mural Bar (Mo Yan). They do have all you can drink deals on certain nights of the week for those who just want to stay on, or you can just have a cocktail or two before heading off somewhere else.

You can also hear the sweet sound of jazz in Shanghai. A dark hole in the wall is a club called the Cotton Club (Mianhua Julebu). This cool club is where you can sit down at a small table and take in the music and golden tunes of a live jazz band.

Just a few blocks away from the Cotton Club is Club Bonbon, where music and noise filter out onto the streets, enticing guests to enter. Club Bonbon is the hippest electro/techno music nightclub. Dance the night away here or laugh with friends for a few hours.

After this, you can zip over to the Orient Pearl TV Tower for some of the most amazing views. This rocket ship shaped tower has truly remarkable views during both the day and night. If you are unable to get into the Orient Pearl TV Tower, then the Jinmao Tower which is just a few blocks away offers great views as well.

When you have had enough of the glorious views from either the Jinmao Tower or the Orient Pearl TV Tower, then you can take the Pedestrian Transit Tunnel to get across the river, you can walk along the riverbank to the Bund area. Along the way, there are many night markets to explore. While walking through the markets, you can watch acrobatic shows at a square. Chinese acrobatics have become one of the most popular evening entertainment for tourists and locals alike in Shanghai. One of the most famous acrobatic troupes is the Portman Acrobatic Show, which performs at the Shanghai Centre Theatre.

Whatever route you take, there are plenty of things to do in Shanghai which makes for a truly magical night.