The Best Areas to Stay in Shanghai: Top Districts & Hotels

Where to Stay in Shanghai – What you Need to Know

Shanghai is an authentic Asian super metropolis. It is known for being the financial capital of the People’s Republic of China.

Best areas to stay in Shanghai - Best districts and hotels
Best areas to stay in Shanghai – Best districts and hotels

This city is located in Eastern China, very close to the mouth of the Yangtze River and 40 kilometers from the coast of the China Sea.

Shanghai is a world-class city with great attractions and infrastructure. Its appeal is based on a mixture of huge skyscrapers, traditional neighborhoods, and a port city atmosphere.

Shanghai is near the sea in a humid region. This means winters (December-March) are gray and rainy, and summers (June-September) are hot and humid.

The city’s metro system is very effective and connects each area of Shanghai. The Transrapid Railway (a magnetic levitation train) is the most innovative way to travel in Shanghai, its connections only reach, for the moment, the international airport of the city (Pudong).

Shanghai is a destination of contrasts, on the one hand, it offers ultra-modern urban areas and on the other, ancient neighborhoods.

When it comes to the best areas to stay, Huangpu and Pudong boast a valuable collection of skyscrapers and avant-garde structures and at the same time are two of the most central and best-connected districts, which makes them the best areas to stay in Shanghai. See accommodation in Huangpu | See accommodation in Pudong.

Accommodation Options in Shanghai

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The best hotels to stay in Shanghai

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Hostels and cheap stays in Shanghai

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Bed & Breakfast in Shanghai

Inns, B&Bs and guest houses in several areas around Shanghai

The Best Areas to Stay in Shanghai, China

1. Recommended Area: Huangpu & Bund

Huangpu is Shanghai’s central district and true heart of the city.

The Bund (Shanghai’s river promenade) is home to the most important collection of colonial-era monuments in town. It also hosts a variety of galleries and museums.

Shanghai’s famous shopping street; Nanjing East Road is also located in this district.

Six lines of the Shanghai subway system cross this district.

People’s Square Station is the most important of the eleven metro stations in the Huangpu district. It is located next to the People’s Square and Nanjing Road.

Staying in the center of Shanghai has its advantages; you can get to know the area on foot and move to many attractions with ease. The city center also offers the best view of the famous skyscrapers of Pudong, across the river.

As expected, hotels here are among the most expensive in Shanghai, however, it is still a recommended area to stay in Shanghai given its central location and historical value.

Best area to stay in Shanghai - Huangpu

Best area to stay in Shanghai – Huangpu

Shanghai - Huangpu - Click to see all hotels on a map

Shanghai – Huangpu – Click to see all hotels on a map

What makes this the best area to stay in Shanghai

  • Shanghai city center
  • Best area for tourists
  • Great area for business travelers
  • Very well-connected
  • Tourist attractions
  • Bund
  • Views over Pudong

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    The Waterhouse at South Bund, located in the southern part of the Bund, it is an award-winning design hotel. It is a 2-minute walk from the old pier and the artificial beach. Parking is available nearby and free Wi-Fi is available in the entire property.

  • Budget Option

    Chunshengjiang Hotel is located in the center of Shanghai, on the famous shopping street of Nanjing Road, surrounded by several shopping centers and restaurants. It is a 2-minute walk from People’s Square metro station (lines 1, 2 and 8), and features karaoke and cozy rooms.

  • Midrange Option

    Eryi Hotel, located just a 14-minute walk from Xintiandi, offers air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi. It houses a restaurant. It is a 6-minute walk from the Soho Fuxing Square area.

  • Luxury Option

    Sofitel Shanghai Hyland enjoys a central location in the commercial district of Shanghai and offers 4-star accommodation, a spa and fitness center. The property has a business center, 4 dining options and free private parking.


2. Xuhui & French Concession

Xuhui is a mostly residential district located in the southwest of central Shanghai.

Xijiahui, one of the sub-districts that make it up, is known as a shopping mecca within Shanghai, with shopping centers such as Grand Gateway Shanghai and Pacific Sogo.

The French Concession is another of Xuhui’s famous neighborhoods, in the past, it had some of the most expensive mansions and residences in the city. Currently, many of these buildings are modern boutiques, cocktail bars, and nightclubs.

Xuhui is relatively central, however, do not expect to be able to walk to Huangpu.

The good news is that this district is served by seven metro lines and one suburban public transport, operated by China Railways.

Metro station Xijaihui and Changshu Road offer the best metro connections in the area.

Xuhui is a good alternative to stay in Shanghai considering its great connections, charming European-inspired architecture and wealth of accommodation.

Where to stay in Shanghai - French Concession

Where to stay in Shanghai – French Concession

Shanghai - Xuhui - Click to see all hotels on a map

Shanghai – Xuhui – Click to see all hotels on a map

What makes this the best area to stay in Shanghai

  • Well-connected area
  • French Concession
  • All kinds of hotels
  • Charming streets

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    Courtyard By Marriott Shanghai Xujiahui, located in the lively area of Xujiahui, it offers luxurious rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows and a 32-inch flat-screen TV. There is also a 200 m² gym and a Roman-style indoor pool.

  • Budget Option

    Vivian’s Home is located in Shanghai, 1.3 km from Jing’an Temple, 2.3 km from Xintiandi and 3 km from People’s Square. This property is 3.3 km from the pedestrian street of East Nanjing Rd. Free WiFi is available.

  • Midrange Option

    Light Luxury Homestay Xiyu’s Home is located 2.3 km from Jing’an Temple and 2.4 km from Xintiandi in Shanghai, it offers accommodation with free Wi-Fi. All units have air conditioning and a flat-screen TV.

  • Luxury Option

    Renaissance Shanghai Caohejing Hotel offers luxury accommodation and refined attention, and is located in the Caohejing high-tech park. It is just a 10-minute walk from Hongmei Subway Station (line 12) and features an indoor pool, wellness center and modern decor.


3. Pudong (Shanghai’s Financial District)

Pudong is the financial and commercial center of Shanghai. It is located east of the Huangpu River.

It is a popular area for business travelers, as it houses the Shanghai Stock Exchange, as well as some of the city’s famous skyscrapers such as the Pearl Tower, the Jin Mao Tower and the Shanghai World Financial Center.

The city’s international airport is also located within this district of Shanghai.

Pudong is crossed by ten metro lines and a tram services, making it a very well connected area to stay in Shanghai.

The best way to get to the airport is through Shanghai’s magnetic levitation train. Its terminus is Longyang Road, located on the outskirts of the city center.

Pudong is the best area to stay in Shanghai for business.

Accommodation in Pudong tends to be on the luxurious side, with several local and international high-end hotel chains.

Pudong - Best district to stay in Shanghai

Pudong – Best district to stay in Shanghai

Shanghai - Pudong - Click to see all hotels on a map

Shanghai – Pudong – Click to see all hotels on a map

What makes this the best area to stay in Shanghai

  • Very central area
  • Very well-connected
  • Best area for business travelers
  • Tourist attractions
  • Business-style hotels

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    Shanghai Grand Trustel Purple Mountain Hotel is located in the financial area of Lujiazui, a 40-minute drive from Pudong Airport. This luxurious 5-star hotel features a fitness center and a rooftop garden with an outdoor pool.

  • Budget Option

    Lijing Selected Hotel Shanghai is located in the Pudong district of Shanghai, 7 km from the Shanghai Disneyland theme park. It also has a 24-hour front desk, luggage storage and free WiFi in all areas.

  • Midrange Option

    DoubleTree by Hilton Shanghai – Pudong is located just 500 meters from the Lancun Road metro station (lines 4 and 6). It has modern rooms in 2 independent wings, indoor pool and massage service.

  • Luxury Option

    Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel Shanghai is a luxurious establishment inspired by feng shui philosophy, decorated with elements of oriental and modern design, and has a restaurant awarded with a Michelin star. The hotel has an indoor pool and spa.


4. Huaihai Road

Huaihai Road, also called Huaihai Lu, is a popular shopping street.

Huaihai Rd. is much more exclusive than the aforementioned Nanjing Road.

The shops, shopping centers, restaurants and boutiques of Western brands such as Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., Cartier, are all located in this area.

There are also several entertainment options in this area.

Huaihai is very well-connected by metro.

Huaihai is a great area to stay in Shanghai if you want to go shopping.

Huaihai Road - Recommended area to stay in Shanghai

Huaihai Road – Recommended area to stay in Shanghai

Shanghai - Huahai Road - Click to see all hotels on a map

Shanghai – Huahai Road – Click to see all hotels on a map

What makes this the best area to stay in Shanghai

  • Luxury shopping
  • High-end hotels

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    The Bright Lane House is located in Shanghai, 800 meters from Jing’an Temple and 2.3 km from Xintiandi, it offers accommodation with amenities such as free Wi-Fi and a flat-screen TV. The apartment is 2.8 km from People’s Square.


5. Jing’an & Zhabei

Jing’an and Zhabei were formerly independent districts, nowadays they are a single entity and cover a part of Shanghai’s city center.

The area is located east of Huangpu and is one of the business districts in the city.

This district hosts the Buddhist Jing’an Temple and, across from it, Jing’an Park.

Undoubtedly, the main attraction of Jing’an is its nightlife.

This area displays a collection of lively bars and nightclubs that remain open during the Shanghai nights.

As is characteristic of the city center, Jing’an is a well-connected area of Shanghai. It has seven metro lines, strategically located in the most dynamic points of the district.

Jing’an and Zhabei are some of the most budget-friendly neighborhoods in the city center, especially when compared to Huangpu and Nanjing Road.

Jing’an has a varied offer of accommodation and the best nightlife in Shanghai.

Convenient area to stay in Shanghai - Jing'an & Zhabei

Convenient area to stay in Shanghai – Jing’an & Zhabei

Shanghai - Jing'an & Zhabei - Click to see all hotels on a map

Shanghai – Jing’an & Zhabei – Click to see all hotels on a map

What makes this the best area to stay in Shanghai

  • Budget accommodation
  • Best area for nightlife
  • Central location

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    Campanile Shanghai Natural History Museum Hotel, renovated in June 2017, it is located in the Jing’an District of Shanghai and offers views of the Suzhou River. It has meeting rooms, a lounge bar open all day and compact accommodation with free Wi-Fi.


6. Changning & Hongqiao Airport

Changning extends from near the French Concession west of Downtown and just north of Xuhui District.

The district is not known for its attractions or entertainment. It is an urban and modern area of Shanghai, but a bit far from the downtown Bund or the vertiginous Pudong.

Shanghai’s Zoo is probably the best-known attraction in Changning. It has more than 6000 animals, including giant pandas and golden monkeys.

It is a good place to stay in Shanghai if you wish or have to be near Hongqiao airport.

Staying at the east end of the district is the most convenient way to access the secondary airport of Hongqiao.

You can also choose to stay in another corner of the area and use the metro lines 2, 3 or 11 to the Hongqiao Airport Terminal 1 station.

There are affordable prices and good hotel options to stay in Shanghai near the airport.

Where to stay in Shanghai - Changning

Where to stay in Shanghai – Changning

Shanghai - Changning & Honqiao Airport - Click to see all hotels on a map

Shanghai – Changning & Honqiao Airport – Click to see all hotels on a map

What makes this the best area to stay in Shanghai

  • Hongqiao Airport
  • Budget hotels

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    Grand Mercure Shanghai Hongqiao is a luxury hotel located 10 minutes drive from Hongqiao Airport. It offers elegant rooms, a fitness center, 2 restaurants and free Wi-Fi.


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