If you've already made your way through "Shanghai in 1 Day," your second full-day tour should be a bit more relaxed, though no less eclectic, and it covers a much wider swath of territory. Start the day early in northwest Puxi by beating the crowds to view some exquisite jade Buddhas, then hurtle into Shanghai's future by visiting the city's tallest buildings in Pudong (east of the Huangpu River). Come back down to earth — or rather, sea level — with a short cruise on the Huangpu River. Spend the afternoon strolling the former French Concession, with some of the city's finest colonial architecture and historical houses, or climb the Lupu Bridge for a view of the former World Expo grounds. Spiff up your final evening with a jazz concert.
Start: Jade Buddha Temple (Yufo Si).
1. Jade Buddha Temple (Yufo Si)
If possible, arrive first thing in the morning to beat the tour-bus crowd. The highlights at this Buddhist temple are two luminous white jade Buddhas brought from Burma in 1881. The larger and more impressive is in the Cangjing Lou in the back, and the sleeping Buddha is in the Wofo Si, northwest of the main hall. Throughout, you can observe the workings of a typical Buddhist temple, though this one is geared squarely for tourism.
Those with an interest in the Chinese contemporary art scene can take a detour up north to Moganshan Lu 50, a collection of industrial warehouses converted into artists' studios and galleries. It's a very short taxi ride, or if you prefer to walk, head east on Anyuan Lu for a block to Changhua Lu. Turn left (north) for 5 long blocks, and take a right onto Mogan Shan Lu until you arrive at the compound entrance.
Otherwise, take a taxi from the Jade Buddha Temple to Nanjing Xi Lu Metro Station. Take Metro Line 2 to reach Lujiazui Metro stop in Pudong, Shanghai's financial district.
2. Jin Mao Tower or Shanghai World Financial Center
You can now visit three observation towers in Pudong: the eyesore Oriental Pearl Tower with its globes meant to simulate pearls; the architecturally perfect Jin Mao Tower; the Shanghai World Financial Center (SWFC); or the tallest building in China, the Shanghai Tower. We recommend either the Jin Mao with its 88th-floor observation deck, or SWFC's all-glass 100th-floor observatory.
After your heady visit, walk toward the river to the riverside promenade Binjiang Dadao.
3. River Cruise
You have a choice now. If you need a break from the hustle and bustle take an hour-long Huangpu River Cruise. This cruise (40 min.) along the city's main shipping artery will give you a quick but wonderful opportunity to see Shanghai's working wharves and to take in the changing skyline. Boats depart hourly from 10am to 4pm. Alternatively, head south on Fucheng Lu for about 20 minutes to the Passenger Ferry Terminal (Lun Du Ma Tou) at Dongchang Lu, and take the water taxi (¥2) bound for Jinling Lu on the other side of the Huangpu River. This short ferry ride will give you a chance to get on the water while watching ordinary Shanghainese people get to and from work. From the Jinling Lu ferry terminal, take a taxi ahead to #4.
Take a cab to:
This trendy pedestrian mall of restaurants, bars, and boutiques in restored shikumen (stone frame gate) houses is good for a stroll, if only to see how today's hip young Shanghainese like to spend their free time and hard-earned yuan. There's also a small shikumen museum. The capitalistic lifestyle on display here is especially ironic given that the development is anchored in the south by the Site of the First National Congress of the Communist Party, the birthplace of China's Communist Party. Pop in for a quick look at the room where Mao and company conceived their grand plans.
6. Delicious Dumplings
Any of the restaurants and bars in Xintiandi can provide refreshments, but we recommend Crystal Jade Restaurant (Feicui Jiujia) (on the second floor of the south block) for some of Shanghai's best xiaolong bao dumplings. The dandan mian (hand-pulled noodles in a spicy peanut sauce) is a must-try as well.
For part of the afternoon, we recommend:
7. Strolling the French Concession/Climbing the Lupu Bridge
The French Concession, the most picturesque of Shanghai's neighborhoods, full of colonial mansions, leafy parks, and tree-lined avenues, is best appreciated on foot. If time is short, we recommend taking a cab from Xintiandi to Fuxing Gongyuan, one of Shanghai's loveliest parks and worth a stroll-through for photo opportunities of card-playing seniors and tai chi practitioners. From the park, visit Sun Zhongshan Guju, Sun Yat-sen's former residence, and — time and interest permitting — Zhou Gong Guan, the former residence of Chairman Mao's second in command, Zhou Enlai. Otherwise, you can walk or take a taxi to any of the sights listed on the itinerary that appeal to you, because you likely won't have time to cover the whole route on foot. Or if you prefer something a little more invigorating and panoramic, take a taxi to the Lupu Bridge (Lupu Daqiao) and climb to the viewing platform for a bird's-eye view of the city and the structures left over from the 2010 World Expo.
If you are visiting Shanghai for more than 2 days, we recommend taking an overnight trip to Hangzhou for the third day. Unless you're traveling by private car, it's best to take an evening train to Hangzhou the night before so you can make the most of your day there. If Hangzhou doesn't appeal to you, or if this is your last night in Shanghai, then by all means, jazz it up!
8. Live Jazz
There is a multitude of options for evening jazz in the city. The storied Peace Hotel Jazz Bar Band has finally returned to its original abode, playing all the usual pleasing popular standards in a splendid Art Deco environment. For more funk or experimental jazz, try the Cotton Club.