Off-Track Activities – Chinese Grand Prix

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Shanghai is a multicultural metropolis with something to offer for everyone. Here’s some ideas to keep you occupied away from the track at the Chinese Grand Prix on April 16-19, 2020.

FEBRUARY 12 UPDATE: The 2020 Chinese Grand Prix has been officially postponed due to the outbreak of the coronavirus and will not take place on April 17-19.

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Make sure you add a day or two before or after the race to experience vibrant Shanghai. Take a stroll along the Bund to admire the city’s colonial architecture contrasting with the futuristic Pudong skyline across the river. Shanghai is lively at night, offering everything from jazz at the legendary Fairmont Peace Hotel to countless clubs. For those who cannot stay away from shopping malls, Shanghai is a veritable paradise, offering everything from antiques to luxury goods. You can also choose to leave the fast-paced city by having a mini getaway at one of the nearby charming water towns. TimeOut Shanghai is a good place to start planning what you want to do in the city.

The Bund

A trip to Shanghai wouldn’t be complete without a stroll along the Bund. Join the tourists on the famous riverfront boardwalk and take pictures of the iconic Shanghai skyline. It’s also possible to take a short boat tour during the day or at night along this section of the river. To uncover some hidden gems, take TimeOut Shanghai’s Behind the Bund self-guided walking tour which starts at the Yu Garden Metro Station (Line 10). After the 2-hour walk, you can also visit The Bund Sightseeing Tunnel (CN¥55 for a return ticket) for a bizarre and trippy ride “into the core of the Earth” under the Huangpu River. The closest metro station is East Nanjing Road on line 2.

Shanghai Nightlife

From the shark tank in M1nt to the underground music scene at ALL Club, a night in Shanghai has been never dull and its clubbing scene is definitely worth checking out, if that’s your thing. Best rooftop bar to check out the skyline? Head to Vue Bar, located on the 32nd and 33rd floors of the Hyatt hotel on the Bund. If you want a more subdued form of night-time entertainment, head down to one of the many parks around the city. During the spring in Shanghai when the race is held, evening dances are organized in the parks. If you are lucky, you might have a chance to listen to a little bit of Chinese Opera singing. Alternatively, if you feel like belting out a tune without being laughed at, there are plenty of karaoke places in town.

Shopping on Nanjing Road

Everywhere you turn on Nanjing Road, there’s an opportunity to give your credit card a workout. Located right between the East Nanjing Road Metro Station and the Bund, you can find well known international and Chinese brands on this stretch of the road. There’s a real mix of modern and historic shops here, along with hotels, theaters and more!

China Art Museum

Shanghai hosted a major World Expo event in 2010 and the distinctive China Pavillion has since been turned into the China Art Museum. Inside you will find a huge collection of Asian art. It’s open from 09:00-17:00 each day (except Mondays) and tickets are free, but with a maximum of 4000 visitors per day.

Ding Tai Fung

You haven’t done Shanghai until you have eaten from a roadside stall. The food (especially dumplings) served at these stalls are some of the yummiest in Shanghai. If you must dine in a restaurant, we recommend Ding Tai Fung for some of the best xiaolong bao in town, priced from CN¥29 ($4.15 USD) per serving.

50 Moganshan Lu

Art collectors and admirers should head to the centre of Shanghai’s buzzing contemporary art scene on Moganshan Lu. Built from once deserted warehouses near Suzhou Creek, some of the best Chinese art can be found in the galleries here. For the best from the crème de la crème of the Chinese art world, head over to ShanghART.

New Star Bathhouse

After a long day at the track, pamper yourself at the New Star Bathhouse. Entry costs CN¥58 (approx $9 USD). You’ll be given a pair of slippers and a key for the changing rooms. In the single-sex bathing areas, you can have a good soak. A body scrub costs CN¥38 ($6 USD) extra. Foot massages and other treatments are also available.

Water Towns

To get a notion of how life was during the rule of the Chinese dynasties, make a day trip to one of the many water towns near Shanghai. One of the best is Zhujiajiao, a classic ancient water village situated an hour away from the big city. For CN¥24 ($4 USD), you can take a tourist bus that departs Shanghai Stadium at 9.00am and returns before 4pm. There are also tours of Suzhou and Zhouzhuang, with a boat trip included. Find out more about it here.

More Ideas for Your Trip to Shanghai

  • Take a trip on the Maglev train: The Maglev train is the fastest commerical electric train in the world, making it not only the most efficient way to travel in the area, but also quite an experience too! With speeds reaching over 430km/h, the train can get you from Pudong International Airport to Shanghai in less than ten minutes.
  • Visit the People’s Park: Fancy a moment of peace in the bustling city? The People’s Park is the place to go, with 24 acres of parkland.
  • Visit the Shanghai Museum: The Shanghai Museum is located within the People’s Park and is free to enter.
  • Visit the Yuyuan Garden: Also known as the Yu Garden, this extensive Chinese garden is the last surviving Ming Dynasty garden in the city. The garden features classic Chinese architecture, with its centerpiece being the Exquisite Jade Rock, a 5-ton boulder with an intriguing history.
  • Take a river cruise at night: Soak up the views of the impressive Shanghai skyline at night with a cruise down the Huangpu River. Find out more about a combined tour of the Yuyuan Garden and a cruise down the Huangpu River here.
  • Visit Shanghai’s Disneyland: If you’re travelling with children, or if you’re a big kid at heart, a trip to the Disneyland resort in Shanghai is recommended. The park features all the traditions of Disney parks, while also incorporating aspects of Chinese culture.
  • Explore Tianzifang: There’s something for everyone in the Tianzifang area of Shanghai. From galleries and arts and crafts shops to restaurants, bars and pubs.

 What’s your favorite thing to do in Shanghai? Leave a comment below.

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About the Author ()

Andrew Balfour is the Founder and Editor of He originally hails from Adelaide, where he went to his first F1 race way back in 1987. He's been resident in Europe for almost 15 years and travels regularly to F1 races around the world.

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