Shanghai is a city of wonders, but the majority of those wonders apply to adults. When traveling in China with children, limit your stay in Shanghai to three days, and use the bulk of your time in Xi'an and Beijing. This will allow you to catch the highlights of Shanghai in your peripherals while showing your children an amazing adventure.
Day 1 - Shanghai
Check into the JW Marriot Hotel at Tomorrow Square. This will put you in the middle of the city, near a subway line. More importantly, this hotel is easily recognizable should your children get lost they could easily find their way back to this stunning structure.
After a quick continental breakfast at the Marriot, get your kids excited for a full day of fun. Head to the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium in the morning and spend a few hours checking out underwater world. There are cafes on site for a nice lunch while you stroll. After you have eaten, head to the Bird and Flower market. This short street of spectacles offers something for everyone, and one can easily spend the entire afternoon walking the winding streets.
Once you have exhausted your children, wind them up again at Whick, a culinary work of genius that specializes in deserts. The hot chocolate here is one your children will remember forever.
After dinner, spend your evening strolling back to your hotel on foot. The amazing architecture of the Marriott makes it a spot easy to locate and head towards from Whisk.
399 Nanjing West Road
At Huangpi Bei Lu, west side of Renmin Gongyuan
200003 Shanghai, China
tel: 86 21 5359 4969
fax: 86 21 6375 5988
No. 1388 Lujiazui Ring Road
Pudong New Area
200120 Shanghai, China
tel: 86 21 5877 9988
fax: 86 21 5877 0088
Jiangyin Lu, off Huangpi Lu
214400 Shanghai, China
tel: 86 21 6333 2226
1250 Huaihai Lu
tel: 86 21 5404 7770
Day 2 - Shanghai
After a nice evenings rest, head down to the Bund for a day of adventure. While you take in the historic sights along the Bund's magnificent boardwalk, gear up your kids for a mysterious surprise. As you meander the Bund you will encounter countless river cruise options. Chose one that offers a meal service and take your family on board for a lunch cruise down the Huangpu River. From here you will be able to see most of Shanghai.
After your lunch cruise, continue to walk along the Bund until you get to the psychedelic tunnel. This underground ride is bright, flashy and will awe your children. The tunnel opens into Pudong, where you can stroll along the opposite boardwalk and look at the architecture, including the world's tallest building and the Oriental Pearl Tower. There is a park directly outside the entrance of the tunnel where you can buy kites and snacks, and spend the afternoon playing with your kids in the grass.
Head back across town to O'Malley's Irish Pub. This "pub" is the most child-friendly dinning location in Shanghai. With a full swing set, blow up jumping castle and large open area with toys, your children are sure to enjoy themselves while you take a much needed rest. O'Malleys also has a children's menu, but is stocked full of adult delights for you.
Hail a cab ride back to the hotel and get some much needed rest.
239 Second Eastern Zhong Shan Road
(Exterior Zone, Eastern Jin Ling Road)
200002 Shanghai, China
tel: 86 21 6374 4461
300 Zhongshan Dong Yilu
tel: 5888 6000
42 Tao Jiang Road
Between Heng Shan Road and Wu Lu Mu Qi Road
200031 Shanghai, China
tel: 86 21 6474 4553 (Reservations) / 86 21 6474 4533
fax: 86 21 6466 9358
Day 3 - Shanghai
For your last day in Shanghai, check out Renmin Park. Located near your hotel, this is a nice way to "see" what Shanghai has to offer. You will be in the middle of the city, looking out. Here you have access to any number of museums and exhibits, if your children are a bit older. Otherwise, the park is full of kites, snacks and toy salesmen. For a nice variation, walk down Nanjing Road which runs underneath the park. This active street is stocked with entertainment.
If your children liked the Ocean Aquarium, then they'd love Aquaria 21. Head down for a few hours to check out the more illusive underwater specimen. Shanghai is a city on the water, with your boat cruise yesterday and your underwater adventures on Day 1 and Day 3 your kids are sure to remember this city as fun, lively and coastal.
Head to the Rainforest Cafe for lunch before your departure, and be sure to bring a camera.
231 Nanjing Road West
200003 Shanghai, China
tel: 86 21 6327 1694
451 Daduhe Road
Gate 4, Changfeng Park
200062 Shanghai, China
tel: 86 21 6286 6399 / 86 21 137 0176 4231
1168 NanJing West Lu
4F Citic Square
200040 Shanghai, China
tel: 86 21 5298 4998