Shanghai gets quiet during China’s National Day week-long break, but there’s still plenty to do. In fact, with many residents leaving the city, it’s one of the best times to be in town. To help you maximize your stay-cation, here’s a list of things to do (and not do) during the Golden Week.
Do: some al-fresco drinking and dining in the Former French Concession.
Many of us are drawn to the bustle of Shanghai, but sometimes a little quiet is nice. Take advantage of the lack of crowd by touring the old architecture and leafy streets of the Former French Concession. After that, stop at XO Bar for some wine and beer starting at ¥25 per glass, paired with dishes with a European bent. Then, sip, savor, and soak it in all in at the bar’s street-side seating.
🕒 Fri – Sat: 5.30pm to 2am
Sun – Thurs: 5.30pm to 1am
📍 237 Hengshan Road | 衡山路237号
📞 6433 0779
Don’t: take a train at the last minute.
You thought you’d take it easy, skip the planning and just stay in the city. Now you’re getting pangs of regret and considering a last minute trip out of Shanghai. But have you ever seen a Chinese train station during the holidays? A sea of heads, a mountain of bags, and forget about even getting a ticket. If you’ve left it this late, you’re better off taking advantage of Shanghai in its downtime.
Do: hit up the parks for a picnic.
Gongqing Forest Park
Even if you’re not leaving the city, you still can get some ways out by visiting some of Shanghai’s parks. There’re downtown green spaces like Fuxing and Zhongshan, but for somewhere less crowded, go further afield to places like Gucun Park (north on Line 7) or Gongqing Forest Park at the very northern end of Line 8.
Don’t: visit Yu Garden.
Yu Garden is one of the city’s top attractions, which is why it’s one of the top places to avoid. Flag-waving tour guides leading hordes of out-of-towners, aggressive salesmen pushing cheap plastic souvenirs, and unruly children threading all over your toes. It makes the train station almost pleasant.
Do: go on a bike ride.
Thanks for the boom of rental bikes in China, Shanghai has become a great place for cyclists. Hop on Line 9 towards Songjiang and explore the area around Sheshan, or head south to Jinshan City Beach in Pudong, which is about a 45-minute train ride away. For somewhere closer to the city, the new bike path along West Bund Binjiang takes you from the Yuz Museum all the way to Nanpu Bridge.
Don’t: miss Shanghai’s music festival season.
Good October weather means a great time at music festivals. Take advantage by checking out JZ Festival, China’s biggest jazz event. Happening on October 14 and 15, this year’s headliners include Kool and the Gang, Andy Summers, and Theo Croker. There’s also Simple Life Music Festival (October 4 to 6), which features local indie and hip-hop acts at Expo Park. Further out, there’s Shalanaya Festival (October 3 to 5) at Dianshan Lake, with a techno and psytrance line up.
Do: spend a day at the pool.
Although only reserved for guests, the pool at the newly-opened W Shanghai has such an epic view of the Pudong skyline that it’s worth paying good money for a swim. For something a little more low-key, the Mandarine City pool in Gubei is family-friendly enough to take the kids, yet still replete with their own bar.
Do: get drunk at home, if all else fails.
The last resort, possibly the best one, is to stay home and crack open a bottle or two (or ten). No crowds, no surly waiters, and no need to stumble home. Making it easy is BottlesXO, which is starting their delivery service as early as 10am during the holidays (except on October 2 to 5, which starts at 2pm), and goes all the way till midnight. Additionally, they’re doing deals throughout the break, with a different discount or drink offer every day. Download their app today and spend your Golden Week sloshed.