Chinese New Year is just around the corner! While most expats and locals will return home to visit family and friends (or go basking on a beach in Thailand), some of us will stick around town, while others will use this time off from work to come and visit the great city of Shanghai. Despite the fact that many businesses will be closed, there are still tons of fun things to do. So if you’ll be in the Pearl of the Orient during the biggest Chinese celebration of the year, take a look at some of our recommendations to kick out the sheep and bring on the year of the monkey in style.
Longhua Temple Bell Ceremony
Longhua Temple is one of the most famous and most aesthetic temples in all of Shanghai. It’s also worth mentioning that it’s one of the oldest, having been built in the year 242 CE. On CNY eve, Buddhist monks climb to the complex to ring in the new year with a massive 3.3-ton bell. The century old bell is struck 108 times – the magic number which is said to eliminate all the evils that could possibly plague the upcoming new year – and there’s plenty of Buddhist chanting to accompany the thunderous knocks.
Helpful hint: Don’t forget your selfie stick! After the ceremony, the public is allowed to enter to check out the bell and take pictures with it.
Add: 2853 Longhua Rd, Xuhui DistrictView In Map
Phone: +86 21 6456 6085
Yuyuan Garden Lantern Show
History shows that the first lantern festivals were held during the Han Dynasty around 2,000 years ago. If you didn’t get a time travel machine from Santa, go to the Yuyuan to check out their version – it’s the most famous lantern show in the city. They also are known to use real lanterns and none of those electric ones that are found all over China these days. The festival is held all during the new year holiday, but it’s best to go at night when everything is illuminated in full force.
Helpful hint: Remember to bundle up, it will most certainly be cold outside.
Addr: 218 Anren St, Huangpu District View In Map
Phone: +86 21 6326 0830
City God Temple
Right next door to the Yuyuan Garden is the City God Temple, another one of Shanghai’s most famous landmarks. It was first established in 1403, but after taking a hiatus during the communist period, it has recently been reshuffled with Taoist priests. This is the place to go to check out the locals pray for the New Year, and you can even join them to ensure your Year of the Monkey is an awesome one!
Helpful hint: There are many souvenir stands, tea houses, and cafes nearby to sample traditional local foods, so it could be a nice place to grab lunch. A good plan is to check out the City God Temple in the day, grab lunch, then head to the lantern fest in the evening.
Add: 249 Fangbang Middle Rd, Huangpu DistrictView In Map
Phone: +86 21 6328 4494
Fireworks at the Bund
Fireworks were invented in China, and just like every other Chinese invention, the locals love showing them off. There is perhaps no better CNY firework show on the mainland, so if you’re in the Pearl of the Orient, definitely go to the iconic Bund to watch the brilliant display erupt over the magnificent Pudong skyline. FYI: Due to the deadly stampede on New Year’s Eve in 2014, security forces will be regulating the crowds on the ground. It might be better to go to to Bar Rouge, the rooftop bar at the Peninsula hotel, or another venue with a view of Pudong, to catch the fireworks in peace – even though it might cost an arm and a leg…
Helpful hint: If you plan on eating at one of the restaurants on the Bund during Chinese New Year’s Eve, you will most definitely need reservations. It might already be too late, but try calling ahead anyway just to see if there are any last minute openings.
Add: 18 Zhongshan East 1st Rd, Huangpu District View In Map
Phone: +86 21 6339 1199
Add: 32 Zhongshan East 1st Rd, Huangpu District View In Map
Phone: +86 21 2327 2888
Since many bars will be closed, get some of your friends together for a house party. For alcohol delivery, download the Bottles XO app (check out their website for more info) and get all the booze you need delivered right to your doorstep all by the touch of your cell phone. They have a great selection of top shelf liquors, alcohol and wine, which also comes in handy for non-CNY related events, or incase the party you attend has undrinkable champagne and you’re just dying for some of the good stuff.
Helpful hint: Have fun!
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Keywords: Shanghai CNY Shanghai Chinese New Year
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