Shanghai is one of China’s most dynamic cities and a great city to explore with kids. There are so many things to do in Shanghai with kids. At Western International School of Shanghai we take full advantage of being based in this cosmopolitan city and plan incredible field trips around Shanghai that our students benefit from.
The following list is full of our suggested things to do with kids in Shanghai, whether you live here or are visiting this incredible city!
Shanghai Disneyland is probably the most popular thing to do in Shanghai with kids, and for good reason! Shanghai Disneyland opened in Shanghai in 2016 and is located in Pudong. One of the coolest things about this park is that you will find a mix of traditional Disney magic combined with Chinese culture and dining!
2. Shanghai Science and Technology Museum
This museum is a great educational and fun outing for the whole family. Adults are sure to learn something new too! The museum features interactive and fun exhibits about robotics, computing and space travel! A great tip is to stop by the fake market on your way in, located in the Shanghai Science and Tech metro station, to enjoy a morning of bargain hunting.
3. Yu Garden
If you live in Shanghai and haven’t visited Yu Garden than you are missing out on one of Shanghai’s gems! This giant complex of Chinese traditional gardens is a beautiful place to spend a morning exploring. Make sure to bring your camera on this outing! There are plenty of beautiful backgrounds to take some nice family photos!
4. Shanghai Ocean Aquarium
The Shanghai Ocean Aquarium is one of the most interesting places in Shanghai to visit with kids! It is home to over 10,000 varieties of fish and other sea creatures. It also boasts the longest underwater tunnel in the world! The jellyfish exhibition is a highlight, so don’t miss it!
5. The Bund Tunnel
If you are an expat in Shanghai, then you have definitely checked out the Bund a time or two. If you want to impress the kids then take them for this fun touristy excursion where you take a lit up tunnel from the Bund to Pudong! This is way more fun than taking a taxi over to Pudong!
6. The Shanghai Zoo
The Shanghai Zoo has more than 6,000 animals including many native Chinese animals such as the beloved giant pandas. The Shanghai Zoo isn’t too far from the Western International School of Shanghai Campus, and is adjacent to the Hongqiao International Airport.
7. People’s Park
A visit to People’s Park is a fun way to spend the day! Enjoy watching the dancing aunties (or even join in!) and soak in some greenery in the middle of this populated city. Kids and adults will also get to experience the Marriage Market in People’s Park as well!
8. Happy Valley Shanghai Theme Park
This amusement park is the perfect thing to do in Shanghai with older kids. The amusement park is part of the international Happy Valley brand and is known for their roller coasters! Happy Valley Theme Park also has plenty of rides for younger kids to enjoy as well!
9. Shanghai Sculpture Park
Shanghai Sculpture Park is another spot located in the Shanghai suburbs near to the Western International School of Shanghai campus. This park is a great place to have a family picnic or just explore for an afternoon checking out the interesting statues. Kids are sure to enjoy activities like boats for rent, a bounce house, and water zorbing!
10. Shanghai Natural History Museum
Looking for an educational activity to do with kids in Shanghai? Adults and kids will learn a lot by spending a day at the Shanghai Natural History Museum. The exhibits go far beyond a typical museum and delve into the start of the universe and where we all life came from. The place is also full of dinosaurs! And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love dinosaurs?
11. Century Park
Century Park is the largest park in all of Shanghai and the best place to go and let kids run around to get out all of their excess energy! The park is full of lakes, forests, and gardens to explore. Because of the size of this park we recommend renting a bicycle to really enjoy a full day there and see as much as possible.
12. Shanghai Circus World
Shanghai Circus World puts on two different shows regularly; “ERA: Intersection of Time” and “Happy Circus.” The ERA show is a more traditional acrobatic show with Chinese Acrobatics! The Happy Circus show includes animal acts and clowns and is more reminiscent of the typical circus scene. Both shows are a great evening of entertainment and fun family activity in Shanghai.
13. Dumpling-making Classes
A cooking class is a great way for any expat family or visitor to Shanghai to learn some skills that will be enjoyed for years to come. Trust us, when you get back home and your family is craving dumplings you will be happy to have these skills. Shanghai has plenty of classes that can teach the whole family Chinese Cuisine. The dumpling-making classes are especially fun because of how hands-on they are to make!
14. Shanghai Jeep Tour
Walking tours can sometimes be a bit tricky to do with young kids, but if you are looking for a way to explore Shanghai with kids then try out the Jeep Tours! They are family-friendly, and even offer car seats and tailor-made kid friendly itineraries. The jeeps are open air and a fun way to explore Shanghai with your family, whether you live here or are visiting!
15. River Dinner Cruise
The dinner river cruises in Shanghai are the perfect way to see city landmarks like the Oriental Pearl Tower and Shanghai Tower (the 2nd tallest in the world!). There are a variety of lunch and dinner cruises to choose from. But we recommend cruising the Huangpu River night to get a view of the Bund all lit up while eating a great meal.
16. Gongqing National Forest Park
A lesser visited park in Shanghai due to its location outside the city, this one is worth a visit with your kids and can even be turned into a weekend trip as they have lodges and cabins for rent in the park. If you go in autumn, you will see some spectacular foliage!
17. Shanghai Children’s Museum
This museum isn’t as impressive as the others, but is a decent outing for young kids in Shanghai. Its also free! There are a few exhibits and a kids reading area as well.
18. Shanghai Chocolate Factory
If your child is a chocolate lover, which most likely they are, then a day at Zotter’s Chocolate Factory is the perfect thing to do in Shanghai with a kid! This place includes a tour of the chocolate making facilities with a chocolate tasting! We doubt that you will leave without buying plenty of chocolate to take home for the whole family.
19. 3D Magic Fun House
This is a super unique activity to do with kids in Shanghai! The Shanghai 3D Magic Fun House is a mix between an art gallery, magic wonderland, and optical illusion bizarre! This place will be fun for all ages and you will leave with plenty of funny photos to keep for years to come. The paintings are combined with 3D scenes and visual illusions that visitors can step into!
20. Take a day trip out of Shanghai (Suzhou, Hangzhou, Zhujiaojao)
Shanghai is surrounded by so many towns that are waiting to be explored. We find Hangzhou, Suzhou, and Zhujiajao to be a few of the most family-friendly and easy to reach towns from Shanghai! Go ahead and make a weekend getaway out of it!
Although Shanghai might not come to mind as one of the best cities to explore with kids, at the Western International School of Shanghai we are excited to be based in a city with so many educational, fun, and unique family-friendly activities. Whether you live in Shanghai or are visiting with kids we hope you enjoy the city as much as we do!