Shanghai is one of China’s most exciting cities both if you are looking to explore local culture or feel right at home with a wide range of expat activities and international events. The scope of your activities in the city will, naturally, depend on your interests, budget and how much time you have to spare. In this article, we take a look at some of the most popular time-killing options in the city for both weekdays and weekends.

Things to do in Shanghai on weekdays and weekends
Things to do in Shanghai on weekdays and weekends


Depending on the nature of your work and your schedule, weekdays may be the days when you have the most or the least free time. Either way, there are quite a few things you can do in Shanghai during the working week.

Explore the city

There are plenty of cultural, architectural, and natural attractions in and around Shanghai ‘ but if you are new to the city and plan to call it your home, simply taking a stroll through the city’s neighbourhoods can prove to be an exciting undertaking. Taking some time to learn about the city by walking through its smaller streets, stopping at local street food stalls and tea shops would make a great first introduction.

Go for dinner

Shanghai is a whirlwind of choices when it comes to dining options ‘ and going for dinner with your colleagues or friends after work can be a great opportunity to bond as well as learn about the city. In addition to the abundance of western restaurants, there are local dining traditions to explore in the city as well like street barbecue joints, hot pot restaurants and beer bars.

See a show

Shanghai hosts a variety of cultural and other events ‘ and these are not solely reserved for weekends. Stay in touch with happenings in the city by following one of the many online event portals like That’s, TimeoutShanghai, and others.


Weekends can get pretty hectic in a big city like Shanghai ‘ and this refers to both the nightlife and the traffic: note that getting around the city on weekends will definitely take you more time than on weekdays and expect more people on the streets and especially in the city centre.

Weekend city events

If you are staying in town for the weekend, it makes perfect sense to check out the performances, concerts, exhibitions, and other events taking place in the city. Shanghai is a frequent host of world-class shows and you are sure to find something to your liking whether it’s music, movies, art, etc.

Go on a day trip

If you prefer to escape the urban jungle, there are plenty of interesting destinations not far from Shanghai. Suzhou, nicknamed ‘the Venice of China’ because of the numerous canals cutting through the city, is just a 30-minute high-speed train ride away. You can also get to the historic town of Hangzhou, home to the famous West Lake, in less than one hour. Other nearby attractions include the bronze statues in Wuxi, Nanjing hot springs, Yixing bamboo forests and more.

Splurge on a meal

Shanghai is home to some of China’s best dining venues and hotels and you will find plenty of buffet options and other treats and special promotions available on the weekends. It is a good time to consider splurging on brunch at a five-star hotel or indulging in a lavish seafood dinner at a local restaurant.

Sample Shanghai’s nightlife

While Shanghai is definitely one of the cities that never sleep, the weekend would definitely be the best time to dive into the city’s party scene. There are several popular bars and club areas in the city including the Bund, Henshang Road, Fuxing Park, and others.

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