Early mornings in Shanghai are a special treat since it is one of the rare times of day when Shanghai is not hustling and bursting with life, culture, and sound. If you can, wake up before the sunrise to catch a glimpse of this calmer side of the city, it won’t last long!
I recommend starting off a morning in Shanghai with a visit to the Bund. The Bund is located in the middle of Shanghai, right on the Huangpu River, with a spectacular view of the futuristic Pudong skyline. While this view is equally striking in the evening, all lit up, I prefer visiting in the morning when far less tourists are clamoring for the view. If you can, I recommend going for a walk or a run along the waterfront to really soak in the sunrise.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, I recommend a little out of the way place called Mr. Pancake House. This wonderful restaurant has a couple locations within Shanghai, one being on Wuding Road. While you won’t find a traditional Chinese breakfast at Mr. Pancake House, you will find delicious egg based breakfast dishes, and the most delectable stacks of pancakes to choose from. This restaurant is also a guaranteed crowd pleaser for families with children or those with picky stomachs.
Now that you’ve got your fuel for the day, try going for a trip to Xintiandi. The Xintiandi District houses quite a bit to do! First off, for those interested in history and learning more about Shanghai and China in general, you’ll find the Site of the First National Congress of the Communist Party. The site has since been converted into a museum that showcases interesting exhibits about the history of China, the history of the city of Shanghai, and of course, the events surrounding the foundation of the Chinese Communist Party. Usually, the museum is not excessively crowded and there is some peace to admire the exhibits.
Xintiandi not only possesses a historical side, but also a bright commercial district. In the main square of Xintiandi, one can find shopping, cafes, and numerous restaurants covering an entire spectrum of tastes. A new mall has also just opened for those looking to do some more high-end shopping or those looking for familiar chain stores.
While there are more than enough restaurants to choose from within Xintiandi, they tend to be overpriced without offering anything especially unique. For lunch, I recommend Din Tai Fung. While this restaurant has expanded to other cities in Asia and even Los Angeles, its origins are in Shanghai, and its famed original dish “xiaolongbao” or “soup dumplings” deserves to be tried in its home city. Trust me and get at least two orders of the pork xiaolongbao!
By: Melina Melouttis