Shanghai is a city of complications and successes. It’s one of the most modern cities in China, yet still holds sacred its roots in China’s history. It’s lived in the shadows of Beijing and Hong Kong for centuries but today offers travelers a new experience, thanks in part to its hosting the World Expo Shanghai. Shanghai is a juxtaposition of old and new on every street. A five minute walk from the world’s largest Louis Vuitton store is one of Shanghai’s oldest parks, where locals converge to practice the art of Tai Chi and take part in morning dance rituals as a form of expression and exercise.
Imagine you have exactly 24 hours to explore one of the world’s most historical and modernized cities. What do you do first? Whether you’re heading to Shanghai as a stopover to somewhere else in China, or your spending your vacation in the Expo City, make sure to save a day for the following:
Early morning in Renmin Park 7 – 8 a.m.
Only a short walk from The Portman Ritz-Carlton at Shanghai Center (where I stayed during my trip to Shanghai), Renmin Park at People’s Square of Puxi offers a unique glance at the life of old Shanghainese. Early Sunday mornings are filled with generations of Shanghainese taking part in familiar rituals including Tai Chi and ‘disco’ – their version of what Americans would consider “line dancing.” Join the dance or just stop and take it all in. Everyone is wonderfully friendly in the park and welcome tourists to join the dance or take part in Tai Chi.
Read more and see photos from my column on Gadling.com