Stay Cool with these Summer Activities in Shanghai
Summertime in Shanghai can be a brutal, shower-twice-a-day kind of experience, but if you're getting cabin fever from lurking by the AC at home, there's no shortage of alternative ways for staying cool around town. From pools to urban "beaches" and more, we recommend venturing out beyond your usual mall, cafe, or restaurant haunts to these chill (albeit hidden) spots to spend a sticky afternoon!
Starbucks Reserve Roastery
The average Starbucks might come a dime a dozen, but this much-hyped coffee wonderland is a worthy stop for its air-conditioning, tasting rooms, artisan bakery, and shop. As part of your "journey of coffee," baristas at the pairing bar will help you find dishes to complement your ice-cold coffee. Not a caffeine person? This roastery, currently the largest in the world, offers craft beer and wine as well. Sit back, relax, and watch fresh coffee beans teleport, Jetsons-style, from gleaming copper pipes straight to the coffee bar.
Address: 789 Nanjing West Road, near Shimen Yi Road
Metro: Nanjing West Road (Lines 2/12)
MVP Rooftop Pool Party
MVP Events is no stranger to hosting some of the hippest happenings around town, like Chinese New Year bashes at Bar Rouge to Model Nights at M1NT. This summer, they're slinging cocktails and good times while live DJs spin tunes at the Pudong Shangri-La every Sunday until 24 September. Take a spin around the new poolside iKandy UltraLounge too, where the rattan decor and refreshing cocktails will transport you straight to the sands of Palm Beach.
Address: 33 Fucheng Road
Metro: Lujiazui (Line 2)
Hours: 12pm-6pm every Sunday
Admission: 100RMB (includes 1 drink with the password "MVP") or RMB150
WET Pool at W Hotel Shanghai
Rather have a quieter swim? The WET deck has proven to be the swankiest addition to the Bund, not to mention the only outdoor pool in Shanghai with a postcard-perfect look-out of the futuristic skyline. True to its artistic yet trendy nature, the W plays up that advantage to the max: a sprawling deck, replete with cushy sunbeds, grants access to the cityscape anywhere on deck as underwater speakers drop beats through the evening. Non-guests have to purchase a day pass, which includes the outdoor pool, indoor pool, and FIT gym.
Address: 66 Lvshun Road, near Dongchangzhi Road
Metro: Dalian (Line 12)
Admission: 480RMB on weekdays, 580RMB on weekends
Jinshan Urban Beach
Malls and museums aside, Shanghai actually has a beach. An actual beach! Well, okay, it's technically man-made, but don't write it off just yet. It's a choice destination for escaping to BBQ, sunbathe, kayak, and bump-set-spike like Walsh and May. A grill costs only 200RMB for the day; bring your own meats and beers, or snag some street snacks from the nearby fishing town if you're yearning for more local tastes. As a disclaimer, you can't go into the water past your knees, but consider it part of the Chinese beach experience.
Take the Jinshan Line fast train from Shanghai South Railway Station for 10RMB and 28 minutes. From the Jinshan train station, walk for 20 minutes or take a short cab.
Address: 5 Xincheng Road, near Huhang Gong Road
Admission: 30RMB weekdays, 50RMB weekends
Shanghai History Museum
Shake off the humidity at the newly opened Shanghai History Museum, an icon originally built in 1934. Three floors of exhibits (and blessed air-conditioning) take you to ancient Shanghai and beyond, going 6,000-7,000 years back. Unlike older museums, this one offers in-depth English translations and well-kept facilities. Once your body temperature has cooled enough, why not venture up to Roof 325 for happy hour drinks?
Address: 325 Nanjing West Road, near Huangpi North Road
Metro: People's Square (Lines 1/2/8)
Hours: 9:00am-5:00pm Tuesdays to Sundays. Closed Mondays
For a quirky and unique alternative activity, try the escape rooms at Mr. X, where you and your group have to work together to break out of a themed puzzle room. Any of the objects, photos, and furniture are fair game, and you'll need to call up all your Sherlock powers of deduction to succeed. It's fully immersive with varying levels of difficulties. Best of all, you're literally locked into an air-conditioned room for at least an hour.
Address: 550 Jumen Road
Metro: Luban Road (Line 4)
Hours: 10am-3am daily
Convenience Store Ice Cream
Do as the locals do, and drop into any of the ubiquitous convenience stores around town for a quick, cheap ice cream bar. From creamy Magnums to Japanese ice cream sandwiches to eclectic flavors like red bean or sweet potato, your closest convenience store is a place where everyone comes sweaty and leaves happy. Select Lawsons and Family Marts have seasonal flavors of soft-serve available, like the new addition of melon.
If you want to splurge with a view, then head to perhaps one of the best secrets around town: the bar at the Park Hyatt on the 91st floor of the Shanghai World Financial Center. The cocktails are only about 20RMB (UDS$3) more than the average libation at downtown digs, but the view of the Huangpu River and the surrounding skyscrapers is unbeatable - not to mention quieter and cheaper than the Oriental Pearl.
Address: 100 Century Avenue
Metro: Lujiazui (Line 2)