Best area to stay in Shanghai

Where is the best area to stay in Shanghai?

By Kirsty Simpkins. Aprill 09, 2022

Shanghai, often referred to as “The Pearl of China”, is a beguiling city of contrast. Where east meets west, and the tallest, most dazzling buildings in the country take their place alongside shikumen, which are traditional Chinese lane houses. Shanghai has something for everyone, achieving the incredible feat of catering to its population of approximately 24 million residents. Beautiful gardens, historical sites, excellent dining options, shopping, museums and galleries – to name a few! But don’t be fooled by its size. Separated into diverse and well-connected districts, Shanghai is an easy and accessible place to experience.


Undoubtedly, the best area to stay is The Bund. Hotels here offer incredible views of the alluring Pudong skyline as it glitters above the Huangpu River. Take a scenic walk along the riverside promenade and admire the varied historical buildings by day and by night. Known as the more luxurious area of the city, shopping and nightlife are vibrant here, with many hotels boasting rooftop bars and restaurants. The Bund is also a great jumping-off point for many attractions. You can easily hop across to Pudong or visit the neighbouring areas of People’s Square, Xintiandi and the Former French Concession.

Hotel   Avg price
Shanghai Fish Inn Bund
No.639 Henan Middle Road, Huangpu District
39€ - 43$
Atour Light Hotel Shanghai East Nanjing Road
130 Hankou Road
97€ - 106$
Hotel   Avg price
SSAW Boutique Hotel Shanghai Bund
No.839 Renmin Road, Huangpu District
78€ - 85$
Atour Hotel East Nanjing Road
Nanjinglu Street, Huangpu
85€ - 93$
Hotel   Avg price
Hotel Indigo Shanghai on the Bund Save
No.585 Zhongshan East Second Road, Huangpu District
212€ - 231$
Bellagio by MGM Shanghai
No.595 Jiujiang Road
315€ - 343$
Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund
No.2 Zhongshan Dong Yi Road, Huangpu District
335€ - 365$
The Peninsula Shanghai
No.32 Zhongshan East First Road
434€ - 473$

If you are interested in where to stay in Shanghai, you may also be interested in where to stay in Beijing, where to stay in Guangzhou, where to stay in Taipei and where to stay in Macau.

The Bund, the best area to stay in Shanghai


First Time / Tourists / Nightlife



The BundThe Bund is the most visually striking area of the city to stay, epitomising Shanghai’s essential quality as a city of contrasts. It is also number one on most tourist lists of things to see in Shanghai. The Bund boasts a selection of Shanghai’s best hotels, offering top quality service and amenities. The views of the buildings lit up at night is truly an attraction in itself. And staying at The Bund will cinch you a front row seat.


Not only this, but if you cast your gaze in the opposite direction as you’re strolling along the riverside, you’ll find an array of historical buildings to admire. The Bund is home to many 19th and 20th century buildings, in architectural styles ranging from Neoclassical to Beaux-Arts to Gothic to Baroque.


When you tire of sightseeing, you can take a cruise along the Huangpu River or enjoy a stroll around neighbouring Huangpu Park.



Hotels in The Bund

Other areas to stay in Shanghai




Business / Airport / Disney




Across the Huangpu River lies Shanghai’s business hub. More sparsely populated, the Pudong side of the river is lovely to walk along, taking in the views of The Bund on the other side. Pudong is rapidly growing, with buildings, hotels, restaurants and malls sprouting up constantly. It is also more conveniently located for those wishing to visit Shanghai Disneyland, fun for kids and grown-ups alike, and home to the largest Disney castle in the world.


Pudong is a great base for those wishing to visit its impressive skyscrapers. Shanghai Tower, the tallest building in China at 632m tall and 128 floors, boasts one of the fastest elevators in the world. It is also full of attractions, incredible restaurants and a stunning bookstore. It’s also very easy to hop onto the metro and visit the rest of Shanghai in a matter of minutes.



Hotels in Pudong






Expats / Nightlife / Shopping




Located practically in the heart of Shanghai, Jing’an is a bustling hub of restaurants, coffee shops, shopping centres and green spaces. With hotels to suit every budget, and very well connected metro stops, Jing’an is a great option for tourists looking to make the most of their stay in Shanghai.


Most notable in the area is the majestic Jing’an Temple, an ancient Chinese Buddhist Temple, sat right alongside a row of shopping malls and a main through-road. A truly unique sight to see. Other attractions include the Shanghai Natural History Museum and Jing’an Park.


People staying in this area also benefit from the plethora of eating options available. As a popular choice for expats, Jing’an also has a buzzing social scene. Though Chinese fare is readily available, for those craving more familiar foods, top-quality restaurants ranging from French to Mexican, Thai, Indian and Italian can all be found.



Hotels in Jing’an




People’s Square


Shopping / Sightseeing / Families



People’s Square

Within walking distance from The Bund and well-connected on metro lines 1, 2 and 8, People’s Square has something for everyone. Right in the centre of one of the busiest shopping streets in the world, Nanjing Road, staying at People’s Square allows visitors the chance to shop for traditional Chinese goods to the East and more modern items to the West. If all that shopping leaves you feeling peckish, there are many excellent restaurants, both local and international, to be found along this 3.5 mile-long shopping stretch.


There are numerous hotels and hostels surrounding the square, ideal for budget, mid-range and even luxury travellers. This makes People’s Square a suitable option for all. And, if all that shopping and sightseeing wears you out, staying in this area gives you fast access to People’s Park, a peaceful green area where large ponds are covered in lotus leaves and locals can be seen dancing or practising tai chi.



Hotels in People’s Square




French Concession


Shopping / Sightseeing / Families



french concessionThis area is partly responsible for Shanghai’s moniker as the “Paris of the East”. Its narrow, tree-lined streets are littered with coffee shops, book stores and interesting, boutique shops selling everything from dainty teapots to expensive jewellery. Nowadays, young people flock to this area in search of the perfect Instagram pic or to sip on coffee while they tap away on their laptops. If the hustle and bustle of a big city isn’t for you, then the French Concession is a perfect choice as you can walk or cycle around it easily. There are several green spots where you can sit and watch the (very stylish) people go by.


This area also comprises several homes that once belonged to important politicians from the Communist revolution. Some of these are now free, informative museums housing the owner’s old belongings – great to visit if you choose to stay in this area.



Hotels in French Concession






Restaurants / Shopping / Relaxation



XintiandiAn area set amongst beautifully restored, traditional shikumen buildings, Xintiandi is an excellent area for those wishing to sink their teeth into some truly delicious grub. As well as traditional Chinese, Shanghainese and Cantonese restaurants, tourists can easily find some of their European and international favourites. Covering just a small area, Xintiandi is also very manageable, and its welcoming atmosphere is attractive to foreign visitors.


Although known for being a little pricey, partly-pedestrianised Xintiandi offers a relaxed vibe with small, independent shops nestled quietly across from grand malls where shoppers can peruse a range of high-end products. Walking or cycling the area is a breeze and there are many picturesque spots for snapping the perfect photo. And Xintiandi is just a stone’s throw from the busier areas of People’s Square and Huangpu. With 2 metro stops within a 10-minute walking distance, it’s a great jumping-off point for exploring any other area of the city.



Hotels in Xintiandi

Spencer SamarooKirsty Simpkins

Kirsty Simpkins is a bilingual copywriter for the travel and hospitality industry. She spent the last 3 years living in Shanghai, where she wrote promotional copy for dozens of restaurants. She is now traveling through Central America while offering her services remotely. Find her on Instagram @kirsty.simpkins