Whether this is the first New Year that you'll be celebrating in Shanghai or the twentieth, here are a few FAQs and tips from the SmSh crew to make sure you do it properly and avoid epic failures (we know from experience):
Are NYE parties still selling tickets?
Yep. Here's our full list of places still selling tickets.
Where can I buy ice, alcohol, etc. for a house party?
DrinKuaidi delivers ice (25rmb for 2kg) as well as beer, wine, cider, spirits, pre-made cocktails, glasses, wine coolers, and cocktail kits — plus, new addition, non-alcoholic spirit Seedlip and soft drinks if you plan to take it easy this NYE. Order via their WeChat store (search for Drinkuaidi), JSS, Eleme or Sherpas store.
Sherpas has some stores selling ice and alcohol, as do Eleme, JSS and Meituan. Search for 冰块 bing kuai (ice), 红酒 hong jiu (red wine), 啤酒 pi jiu (beer), 伏特加 fu te jia (vodka), etc. Stock up as early as possible!
Epermarket also sells ice at 11rmb for a 1kg bag. Plus wine, beer, spirits, etc. but you need to order early for same-day delivery.
Hot tip: If you don't plan to drink alcohol this year for whatever reason but want something other than soda water/ginger ale, some stores on Eleme sell alcohol-free beer. Search 无酒精啤酒 wu jiu jing pi jiu. (Ed's note: abomination!)
How late are the metros running?
On New Year's Eve aka the evening of December 31, metro lines 1, 2, 7, 9, 10 and 13 will operate extended hours following the same timetable as the weekend, according to their official website. Last metros will be passing downtown between 12-1am. Here's the timetable. Check carefully.
For crowd control, Line 2/10's East Nanjing Road Station (the station closest to the Bund) and Line 14's Yuyuan Garden Stationwill be closed from 8pm, meaning passengers cannot enter or exit these stations after 8pm on Friday. If you're using the metro to get to the Bund and are traveling after 8pm, get off at either People's Square or Yuyuan Garden(Line 10). It's roughly a thirty minute walk from there, but with the crowds, allow for more.
Can I use Didi/Meituan/etc during New Year's?
Sure! A couple hundred thousand people will be having the same idea. Get into the Didi/Meituan queue early or book a Didi in advance (hit the "schedule" button).
These days, we're using T3, a fancy Didi alternative. It also has a feature where you can book a car in advance. Read about it here.
Even as a last second-option, fake taxis are not an option. They'll take weird routes, try to overcharge you, often don't accept WeChat or Alipay and they'll just get stuck in traffic anyway. Avoid!
You can also rent a car for the evening. GTA Motors offer a seven-person van for around 2,000rmb for the day, including a driver, or for the full limousine thing, a chauffeured Mercedes R class that can seat seven people and cost around 2,700rmb. Shanghai Driver can do a Mercedes van with a driver for 1,500rmb for a night. Maofeng (ASD Car central) has more options, from 600rmb for 4 hours with a Buick up to 2,000rmb for 8 hours with a Mercedes S class. Most of them add parking fees on top.
Failing that, shared bikes are a treasure for navigating New Year's Eve Shanghai, but don't expect them to be your saving grace for the Bund: police will be stopping people on bikes several blocks back from the riverfront. Wear walking shoes.
Is New Year's Eve bar hopping a thing?
Of course it is! But in general, don't party hop unless the places are within walking distance of one another. Our best advice is to pick a place and hunker down.
Any tips for partying on the Bund?
If you're partying on the Bund, prepare way in advance. Taking a Didi 40 minutes before the count-down is going to see you spending your first hour in 2021 in the back of a car. Get there early, like two-three hours early, and plan your egress for after the clock strikes midnight. Easiest is if you arrive before 8pm.
The police cordon off an enormous bit of the Bund to traffic, so taxis/didis won't be able to pick you up or drop you off. Here's the map of the no-fly zone, which is in effect from 8pm on December 31 to 1am on January 1.
The nearest spots to the Bund that isn't blocked is the Bei Suzhou Lu / Daming Lu intersection (北苏州路大名路路口) right by the Garden Bridge near Astor House, or the Fuxing Dong Lu / Zhongshan Nan Lu intersection (复兴东路中山南路路口) by the Huangpu River Ferry Station.
Will there be a fireworks display or light show on the Bund?
Fireworks have been banned inside Shanghai's Inner Ring Road since 2016. In a city of 24.6 million people where sound and air pollution are already concerns, that's a good thing.
This year, due to Covid, authorities are trying to break up crowds, even actively discouraging gatherings of more than 10. To these ends, the annual Bund light show has been cancelled.
If you've got your heart set on seeing some fireworks, Shanghai Disneyland will have two fireworks displays on New Year's Eve above the castle inside the resort at 8pm and 9.30pm. You might even make it back downtown in time for champagne and crackers.
I need some last-minute party decorations...
If you don't want to chance it with Taobao / Eleme arriving on time, Shanghai's favorite party supplies supplier Ruby's is openfrom 9am to 6pm on December 31. Add their wechat ruby64016323 to order stuff. They also speak English and can go through exactly what's available -- streamers, party hats, banners, and more. They do same-day Shansong delivery.
I'm planning a rager at mine. How can I get some clean-up help the next day?
You can rent ayi services from Jia Jie Bang. They charge on how long you need the ayi and the size of the blast zone that needs cleaning. Add their WeChat, and they will quote you a number For example, for a 50-90sqm apartment, the charge 140rmb for regular cleaning (3 hours) and 165rmb (3 hours) for deep cleaning (including dishes etc). You are suggested to book one day ahead of time.
French owned Ayi-service MinuteCare also does some great one-off Ayi services. We tried it recently clean up before a Christmas soirée, and it was great. Ayi was thorough but doesn't bring her own equipment. It costs about 80 RMB per hour for one-off services.
Any last bits of advice?
Even if you plan to cocoon yourself in a bar, you'll have to spend at least a little time outside getting to and from your bed, so wrap up warm! It's going to be cold!
Happy New Year, Shanghai! See you in 2022!
Looking for something to do on New Year's Eve? Check our New Year's special page.