10 coolest activities to stave off Shanghai’s sweltering summer
Alternating between sweltering heat and torrential downpours, the summer in Shanghai can be unrelenting. So take some time to kick back, chill and enjoy.
1. Ice Skating at the Mercedes-Benz Arena
Teenagers skating to blaring pop music, kids holding onto the glass as they slowly circumnavigate the rink and funky retro-shaped blue lights on the walls: this brand new facility is probably the best skating spot in the city. If the temperature is too low for you, be sure to warm up in the café that overlooks the ice after a lap or two.
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Hours: 10:30 a.m.–10 p.m. (daily)
Price: RMB 50 for two hours (Monday – Thursday before 4pm); RMB 60 for two hours (Monday – Thursday after 4pm); RMB 60 for two hours Friday – Sunday. Skates included.
Mercedes-Benz Arena, 1200 Shibo Da Dao, near Zhoujia Du Lu 世博大道1200号, 靠近周家渡路, +86 400 18166 88
2. Beach it on the Bund
Work on your tan or catch up on your reading against the Pudong skyline at the Bund’s latest addition. Wooden beach chairs fill up fast on the weekend, but on weekdays you’ll often have this sandy retreat to yourself. At the time of writing, a pool and complete barbecue and bar are due soon.
Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (daily)
Price: RMB 20 entry fee including free cup of tea
Sunny Beach, 421 Waima Lu, near Maojiayuan Lu 外马路421号, 近毛家园路, +86 21 6152 6712
3. Smoothies at Umoo
Battle the heat by sucking down a Kiwi & Peach, or Mocha Cocoa smoothie made with yogurt imported from New Zealand. Add free honey or condensed milk if you've got a sweet tooth; three extra kuai will get you a vitamin boost. Check out the lengthy yogurt menu (Blueberry & Watermelon is superb) for a more substantial snack.
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Hours: 8 a.m.–11 p.m. (daily)
Price: All smoothies RMB 22
Umoo, 166 Xikang Lu, near Beijing Xi Lu 西康路168号, 近北京西路, +86 21 2206 8085
4. JW Marriott’s Pool
For pleasure-seekers who can’t fork out the cash to sleep at the Marriott, spend a day at their pool for a taste of luxury. Entrance fee includes access to both the 125-square-meter indoor pool and two more up on the roof. Sweat it out in the sauna and Jacuzzi between dips.
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Hours: 6 a.m.–11 p.m. (daily)
Price: RMB 150 for entire day for non-guests
JW Marriott, 399 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Huangpi Bei Lu 南京西路399号, 近黄陂北路, +86 21 5359 4969
5. Dive with Sharks
Don’t worry -– no one can tell if you go in your wet suit. First, meet your dive master at the Changfeng Aquarium shark tank. Then, after a quick rundown of basic scuba skills (no experience required), spend an intimate hour with eels, sea turtles, manta rays and more than 100 sharks. Equipment and private instructor provided.
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Hours: 10 a.m.–8 p.m. (daily)
Price: RMB 800 per person, or RMB 1,440 for two
Big Blue Diving International, Building 10, Lane 10 Jinbang Road, near Hami Lu 金浜路10弄10号, 近哈密路, +86 21 6291 2110, www.big-blue.cn
Changfeng Aquarium, 451 Daduhe Lu, near Yunling Dong Lu大渡河路451号, 近云岭东路, www.oceanworld.com.cn
6. Shanghai Museum
As one of the most comprehensive free museums in the city, Shanghai Museum deserves an entire afternoon of toddling in Chinese history and air conditioning. The museum has expansive collections of Chinese paintings, bronzes and ceramics. Not sure where to start? Check out Shanghai-based guide Daniel Newman’s recommendation of 12 best relics in that building. The café is pleasantly situated for a coffee or tea break between rooms.
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Hours: 9 a.m.–4 p.m. (daily)
Shanghai Museum, 201 Renmin Dadao near Xizang Zhong Lu 人民大道201号, 近西藏中路, +86 21 6372 3500
Grab a big blue bag and join the masses following the arrows in search of sleekly designed home furnishings. If you’re feeling IKEA-weary, do as the locals do and enjoy the air conditioning in a recliner or power nap in your temporary, climate-controlled bedroom. Don’t miss the RMB 1 ice creams at the snack bar.
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Hours: 10 a.m.–10 p.m. (daily)
IKEA, 126 Caoxi Lu, near Huashi Lu 漕溪路126号, 近华石路，+86 400 800 2345
8. Snow Bar
Slamming frigid shots of vodka with your friends in North Face parkas will make you forget it’s even summer. Perhaps the coldest place in Shanghai (-5 C) in summer, it’s the ideal backdrop to sample more than 100 vodkas. Try the much-heralded espresso-flavored Van Gogh, or go classic with one from the Grey Goose line.
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Hours: 11:30 a.m.–midnight (daily)
Price: RMB 70-90 for average vodka shots
Snow Bar at The Binjiang One, Youlong Garden, Shibu Jie, Fucheng Lu, near Huayuanshiqiao Lu, 滨江富城路拾步街由隆花园, 近花园石桥路, +86 21 5877 7500, www.bln.com.cn
9. City Sightseeing Bus Tour
Relish the air conditioning or the breeze from the double-decker’s open top as you’re escorted around the city’s major tourist attractions. The free audio guide (in eight languages) and unlimited chances to get on and off make the idea of venturing in Shanghai a bit more appealing.
Line 1 runs within Puxi every 30 minutes. Line 2 connects Pudong with Puxi every hour. Both lines start at 100 Ren Min Da Dao at People's Square.
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Hours: 9 a.m.–9:30 p.m. for Line 1 in Puxi; 9 a.m.–7:30 p.m. for Line 2 in Pudong
Price: RMB 30 for a 24-hour ticket
Call Shanghai Spring International Travel Agency (+86 21 6252 0000 ) for more information, www.springtour.com
10. Jin Jiang Park Water Rides
The best-known and most historic theme park in Shanghai has something for everyone and every season. In the sweltering summer, go straight to its water section. The more adventurous can career down a waterfall on a plastic log at the Flume Ride; the Royal Scenery Raft ride allows for a leisurely tour of the park and stellar people-watching.
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Hours: 8:45 a.m.–5 p.m. (daily)
Price: RMB 50 entry ticket includes two rides. Additional rides start at RMB 10
Jin Jiang Park, 201 Hongmei Lu, near Humin Lu 虹梅路201号, 近沪闵路, +86 21 6436 4956, www.jjlysh.com