Although it’s a tough contest, I think Shanghai may have overtaken New York City in my heart. While I’ll always love NYC, my very brief visit to Shanghai completely captivated me. I’ve already been plotting how to get back – maybe to live there? I was recently asked by Accor Hotels to participate in a contest around the theme of “Three things I love about my favourite city”; they’re giving away a 9-night European getaway, so I couldn’t resist entering! If you’re a blogger, check out more info about the contest here.
I could go on and on about everything I love about Shanghai, even though I was there for such a brief time. There is so much more exploration I need to do here, but here are my top three favourite things about Shanghai:
It’s the biggest city in the world
Now for some, this would be a huge turnoff. However, I’ve always been a city girl (living in a town of 4,000 for school is killing me). I love New York City because it’s so big. Then I got to Shanghai, which has almost twice the population of New York. Excuse me!? I loved it. The intoxicating feeling of being alone in such a massive metropolis makes you feel simultaneously insignificant and like you’re a part of the biggest thing in the world.
There’s a constant cacophony of Mandarin, car and bike horns, and just the noise that comes from packing almost 25 million people into one city. People handed me promotional posters written entirely in Mandarin despite my clear lack of understanding, sometimes even throwing them in my face on the subway. On East Nanjing Road, people demonstrated weird electronic toys by divebombing small electric helicopters toward unsuspecting passersby. People stood outside of restaurants shouting about their wares, trying to encourage me to go to their restaurant instead of the other twenty places on the same block.
It has an incredible mix of old and new
Shanghai’s status as ancient city and business hub makes it a unique place. Walking along the Bund, on your right you see historic European buildings and on your left you see futuristic skyscrapers. A couple subway stops away is Yuyuan Gardens, full of traditional Chinese buildings. Beijing was more modern than I expected, but Shanghai is leaps and bounds ahead in terms of technological advancement. In my opinion, Shanghai provides the perfect taste of China by giving you all the authentic Chinese aspects you’re looking for, but also that incredible big-city feel that embodies the future of China.
It has world-class cuisine
I mean, I wrote a whole post about the food. It was just so good! Kind of like in the previous point, you can find amazing Chinese (and specifically Shanghainese) food here, but since it’s such a modern city you can honestly find any world cuisine that you could ever want. I could have stayed in Shanghai for weeks and eaten at a different restaurant for every meal, although I probably would have had egg tarts for breakfast every day! I still rave about Songyelou (an amazing vegetarian restaurant) to anyone who will listen, and I’m desperate to find some xiaolongbao anywhere in Nova Scotia.