Christine & Max In Shanghai!

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Editor Christine Wolf and Assistant Editor Max Mooney traveled halfway around the globe for an incredible trip to Shanghai. Though the duo was traveling mainly for work, they had the pleasure of exploring & experiencing the city on their off time. Continue reading for their must sees, must eats, and travel tips sure to make your own cross-globe excursion as seamless as possible!

Shanghai street

The Fun Stuff

Where to eat

What was really interesting was how many options there were: you could get French, Italian, Mediterranean, or just about any other kind of food you might want. 

Christine: I don’t think we had a bad meal during our entire stay in Shanghai which is quite telling for a vegetarian like myself.  Qimin Organic Hot Pot was my favorite meal and it was the first time I ever tried it.  It was such a fun, interactive, and delicious experience. Everything was very flavorful, organic, and fresh.  I loved it.

Max:  Check out any place that has a long line of people. Yang’s Dumplings is like the In-N-Out of Shanghai and was definitely a highlight. Qimin Organic Hot Pot was definitely a highlight after a long week of work. My personal favorite was the Jianbing for breakfast, like a crepe but a thousand times better. You can these almost anywhere on the street. 

Qimin Organic Hot Pot
Jianbing (Chinese breakfast crepe)

Where to drink

Found 158 is an open air, underground bar and entertainment complex.  There was a magic bar, jazz club, German Beer Haus, pretty much anything you could think of. There were also tons of breweries that we did not have a chance to check out.

What to see

Christine: Shanghai is a really beautiful city.  There are so many green spaces and interesting neighborhoods.  There is a long list of cool landmarks to check out, but the thing I enjoyed the most was walking around the different areas and visiting the parks.  One landmark that stood out to me though was Jing’an Temple.  It’s right in the city and is still in use as a Buddhist temple.  It was originally built in 247 AD and has a long and interesting history.  It’s a very tranquil and beautiful place.

Max: The Bund is a must see: it’s amazing to think that that skyline did not exist 20 years ago. Yu Garden can be a lot with all of the people there and shops surrounding it, but once you’re inside it’s very peaceful. There are so many beautiful parks to relax in as well: the People’s Park located in People’s Square was like a smaller Central Park.

Jing’an Temple
Jing’an Temple
Jing’an Temple
Us at the Yu Gardens
The Bund

Where to stay

The Middle House was a fantastic hotel. The staff was super helpful and it was fairly central to everything. As long as you stay near a train line you can get anywhere.

Where to shop

The French Concession.  This part of town is a nice break from all the larger high end retail chains and malls that are very prevalent in Shanghai.  Its tree lined streets and mix of cafes, bars, boutiques and cool architecture make for a nice afternoon stroll.  There are tons of little shops around Yu Garden that are great for getting little souvenirs to bring home for friends and family.  There is also a great food court that is a fun spot for an interesting snack.

Boutique in The French Concession

What to experience

The train is a great way to explore the city. It’s cheap, fast and easy to navigate. The parks are an amazing place to be in the afternoon when large groups of elderly people are doing there exercises. 

Max: While I didn’t eat anything too crazy (spicy duck blood & jellyfish), I would recommend eating anything and everything you can and trying all there is to offer: there are so many options.

Christine: After a long day of walking around in the heat pop into a spa and get a foot massage.  They are cheap and reenergizing.

Best coffee

The Starbucks Reserve (aka Coffee Wonderland) is the world’s largest and has the strongest coffee we’ve ever had. Neither of us are a fan of Starbucks, but we’d highly recommend this one in particular. Sumerian was a cute little coffee shop with bagels too. People in Shanghai love their coffee so you can find great coffee pretty much anywhere.

Sumerian Coffee Roasters

What to pack

Cool breathable clothes, a hat, and comfortable shoes. We experienced a lot of rain too, so if you have a packable rain jacket definitely have one handy.

What to bring home

Max: Unfortunately, I didn’t try to bring any dumplings home, but we found lot’s of great souvenirs at Madame Mao’s Dowry in The French Concession.

Christine: I second Madame Mao’s Dowry.  It’s such a great boutique that had a great mix of vintage and new items.  Definitely grab a bag or two of coffee beans and if you are there around the Mid-Autumn Festival be sure to get some moon cakes to bring back. 

The Extra Stuff

What were you listening to/reading while on the trip?

Max: I was reading “Mind of My Mind” by Octavia E. Butler, and listening to “Acetone” by Acetone and “Immunity” by Clairo

Christine: I was reading “Black Card” by Chris Terry and listening to “You Feeling Me” by Mike Young.

Tips & Tricks

Since China bans a lot of apps and websites you will need a VPN app to access helpful tools like any Google product or social media platform other than WeChat.  We used Express VPN, it was easy to use and you can load it on multiple devices. A few apps we found very useful were The Shanghai Metro, Apple Maps (Google Maps didn’t work as well), Google Translate, Pleco (which is another translation app), Sherpa and Didi (Their Uber.) Make sure you have Chinese Yuan to pay for taxis and for certain businesses that might not accept your credit card.  Also, if you take a taxi it is very useful to have your destination written out in Mandarin as a lot of taxi drivers don’t speak English.

Give us you #1 travel hack

Eat as much as you can!  Drink lots of water on your flight and try to get on the local timezone as soon as you land. 

Tiny elevator!
Part of our team at MPC on our last day in Shanghai
Shanghai restaurant
Food market
Shanghai restaurant