Shanghai Travel Guide


Shanghai's revelling options are myriad; the city's inhabitants celebrate everything from the dead poets to beer, and they do it with a vibrant dash you'll remember long after you've licked away the last crumbs of mooncake.

The biggest event in Shanghai's calendar is the Spring Festival, otherwise known as Chinese New Year, when many people take a week off. The Longhua Temple has large celebrations, with dragon and lion dances. The Lantern Festival (February) is a lovely time to visit, with people carrying coloured paper lanterns. A Temple Fair is held at the Longhua Temple on the third day of the third lunar month (around April). It's eastern China's largest and oldest folk gathering. The Shanghai International Tea Culture Festival is usually at the end of April. Tomb Sweeping Day, also in April, is a day for worshipping ancestors; people visit the graves of their dearly departed relatives and often burn 'ghost money' (for use in the afterworld) for the departed.

The Dragon Boat Festival on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month (June) commemorates the death of Qu Yuan, a third-century-BC poet-statesman who drowned himself to protest against the corrupt government. The Shanghai Beer Festival staggers into town around the end of July. The Mid-Autumn Festival is also known as the Moon Festival and is the time to eat tasty moon cakes. It takes place in September, on the 15th day of the 8th moon. The Shanghai Tourism Festival kicks off in late September and offers a wide variety of cultural programs. In November and early December there's an annual International Arts Festival.

4 May - Youth Day
1 Jan - New Year's Day
1 May - International Labour Day
8 Mar - International Working Women's Day
Feb - Chinese New Year (Spring Festival)
1 Aug - Anniversary of the Founding of the PLA
1 Jul - Anniversary of the Founding of the Chinese Communist Party
1 Jun - Children's Day
1 Oct - National Day

When to Go

Above all the rule for Shanghai is to lay low during or, for the least complications, altogether avoid the Chinese New Year; the city grinds to a halt and public transport is flooded. The rest of winter offers good hotel discounts and few tourists. Summer is peak season and gets a bit muggy, while from September to November the temperate weather brings out several interesting arts festivals and fairs. These are probably the best months to visit but trade fairs and conventions do little to bring the prices down from peak season.

Visit these other interesting sites!

Hosted in