Before it starts to get chilly, and you’re haunted by the piercing shrill of “Mom I need a Halloweeeeeeen costume," here are nine funtastic suggestions you can do with the kids. If the teen pulls a face, we guarantee at least five SmSh editors who would gladly go with you in their stead.
The wonderful, fabulous land of the Mouse, it's Shanghai's own slice of the Disney universe. This is the greater area, inside which you'll find Shanghai Disneyland Park, featuring the largest Disney castle in the world, as well as the hotel, and Disneytown, the retail and commercial district located just outside the gates.
Suitable for ages 4+
For the insider tips on the best way to optimize your experience, we made a guide.
A 20,000sqm indoor theme park out in Songjiang dedicated to the little blue cartoon characters. It occupies the largest portion of a cavernous 20,000sqm indoor space, but also includes an outdoor area that curves around the edge of the Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland quarry (which it's right next to). Mostly for the kiddos, with no rides going higher than maybe shoulder height, and plenty of places for them to just run around and freak out in that adorable way kids do. It's 79rmb for kids and seniors to get in, or 149rmb for adults.
Suitable for ages 3-9 (unless your kid is a huge Smurfs fan)
If you want a millenial take on the experience, read about our recent adventure.
Xuhui Riverside Green Space aka West Bund Park is a huge outdoor space with a decent skatepark that's lit up at night, basketball courts, a climbing wall, places to run without the fear of cars, and plenty of grass to lay down in. Picnic anyone? There is also a very crowded dog park. This is more of a place to come and play sports, go for a long walk and appreciate views of the river or to simply enjoy the feeling of grass under your bum. It also happens to be a favorite for public workout communities like FitFam. You've also got two of Shanghai's biggest museums – Long Museum and Yuz Museum – both handy if it rains. Both are always free and open 24/7.
The area, in general, is suitable for all ages.
Skatepark suitable for ages 8+
A popular attraction for visiting and local families, the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium is the largest and most varied in China, and home to some 10,000 varieties of sea creatures, as well as the longest underwater tunnel in the world. Jellyfish, giant stingrays, sharks, oh my. Exhibitions and ocean animals are grouped according to their global origin, with all major oceans in the world represented. Honestly? The Shanghai Ocean Aquarium is a really great aquarium and highly recommended for an afternoon trip. Beautiful, mesmerizing, and captivating oceanic vistas. It even gives insight into the ocean ecosystem for young, inquisitive minds. Be warned, it can get busy — we recommend you visit early at weekends.
Ideally suited for ages 2-13
Check out our photo album from the Aquarium.
The Shanghai Botanical Gardens cover over 200 acres (81 hectares) including two indoor conservatories and are home to a variety of flora and fauna, including a collection of spectacular orchids. Tickets are 15rmb unless you're interested in the Bonsai Garden and other specialty areas in which case you'll have to pay extra. The Gardens are also a great place to have a picnic and play on the grass. You can even rent a boat and peddle around on a bicycle kart.
Suitable for ages 4+
Check out the trip we made back in the Spring.
A massive trampoline park in a 6,000 square meter building with basketball and volleyball courts, a water slide, an obstacle course, and of course, a ton of trampolines. Price to get in is 198rmb for two hours or 118rmb for one hour. They require a 100rmb cash deposit and socks with rubber grips, which you can buy for 10rmb.
Ideally suited for ages 8+
We spent a magical afternoon there back in 2016 and left with fond memories.
Surprisingly well run and managed theme park about an hour out of downtown Shanghai. It's huge and features four, large rollercoasters. On the weekends in the summer, expect long lines for the best rides, but there's plenty to see and do, even if you don't want to lose your lunch on the Diving Coaster. Be warned, some of the rides break down and have to be closed for maintenance. The last time we went in 2012, the two largest rides were shut, so call ahead if you want to check that out.
Ideally suited for ages 10+
Drive around like a maniac (safely, of course) at Shanghai's largest race track, which is also host to the famous Shanghai Grand Prix. Unfortunately, F1 cars are unavailable to the general public. 200rmb gets you an 8-minute session of go-karting, and also, if you are an avid fan of watching professionals drive, they practice on the international circuit every day and are open for observation. Closed during wet weather.
Suitable for ages 12+
For kids with a keen interest in learning how to ride horses, the Westend Equestrian Club offers individual and group classes to kids aged four and above with French, English, and Chinese-speaking coaches. It also has a pony club, overlooked by its lounge area. Being that it is on the island just before Chongming, it's a bit of a trek to the club. But on the plus side, it does mean you get out of the city center for a while, away from crowds and noise.
Suitable for ages 4+