Fun Things to Do in Shanghai (That Don’t Involve Drinking)

Fun Things to Do in Shanghai (That Don’t Involve Drinking)
By Andrea Scarlatelli ,

Shanghai can get a bit wild, what with alcohol-fuelled events dominating the scene. But what if you don't drink? Or what if you're just looking for a much-needed detox session for a day, a week, a month? What in the world is there to do here? Read on for some ideas to get you up and out – sober.

1) Participate in a book club
Book clubs in Shanghai range from the laid back and loose to the glamorous to everything in between. For a more informal take on things, check out Shanghai Stuff's group that meets every Saturday over a casual coffee. They're like an eclectic social group that happens to talk mostly about books. The Community Center Shanghai limits their group to twelve people in order to make it more conducive to serious discussion. Each book spans five weeks, so there's always a chance to jump on board. For a book club with a sophisticated twist, try the Penguin Classics Lunch, hosted by Glamour Bar. This one charges 188 RMB for a three-course meal with coffee or tea but is really made worth it by the frequent author visits that occur.

Shanghai Stuff

Community Center Shanghai

Penguin Classics Lunch
Reservations: 021 6350-9988

2) Join a sports team
Sure, the after parties can get a little boozy, but for the most part sports teams here in Shanghai are ready to get down to business – the business of getting active and having fun. The Shanghai Hairy Crabs, for example, is a rugby team that regularly participates in tournaments throughout Asia. Practice is on Thursday and games are Saturday, both held at SRFC in Waigaoqiao (a bus picks up players outside Nanyang Lu's Big Bamboo for those who live in Puxi). For those wanting a less rigid schedule, check out Factory Five's frequent biking events, such as bike polo and Shanghai Alleycat races. They also hold night rides every Tuesday (weather permitting) at 20:30. If you're not sure what you're interested in, have a look at Active Sport Active Social (ASAS)'s website. They organize everything from dodgeball to soccer to flag football to paintball.

Shanghai Rugby Football Club
Tel: 021 6155 8211

Factory FiveView In Map
Add: 1/F, Bdlg 2, 876 Jiangsu Lu, Shanghai
Opening hours: Wed-Fri, 10:30-17:00; Tue, 10:30-21:00; Sat, 13:00-19:00

Active Sport Active Social
Telephone: 032 6361 6691

3) Visit an amusement park
Disneyland may still be years away, but in the meantime you can visit Shanghai's handful of surprisingly decent amusement parks. Dino Beach, the city's only water park, has all the basics like water slides, a wave pool, a lazy river ride, and kiddie pools. Expect lots of fun and lots of people. For more land-based activities, Jinjian Action Park is the largest amusement park in downtown Shanghai. You have to pay to get in and for each ride, but for the most part it's worth it. There's a ferris wheel, four roller coasters, and water rides – plenty to keep you busy for hours. If you don't mind travelling a bit outside the city, a visit to Happy Valley Amusement Park is a fun trek. With seven different "zones" (Happy Times, Typhoon Bay, Sunshine Beach, Ant Kingdom, Gold Mine Town, Shanghai Beach and Shangri-la Woods), you can easily spend a whole day here and still want to come back for more.

Dino BeachView In Map
Add: 78 Xinzhen Lu, Shanghai (near Gudai Lu)
Tel: 021 64783 3333
Opening hours: Daily, 10:00-23:00 (summer only)

Jinjiang Action ParkView In Map
Add: 201 Hongmei Lu, Shanghai (near Meilong Lu)
Tel: 021 5421 6858
Opening hours: Daily, 8.45-17:00 (22:00 in summer)

Happy Valley Amusement ParkView In Map
Add: 18 Linying Da Dao, Songjiang, Shanghai
Tel: 021 3355 2222
Opening hours: Daily, 9:00-18:00

4) Volunteer
It's easy to get a bit… self-involved here in Shanghai. Which is why it's always a good idea to volunteer and remind yourself of all those who are in need of a helping hand. For those needing help with depression and other social issues, Lifeline Shanghai is a crisis hotline made up of trained volunteers. You'll learn how to answer people's calls and refer them to the appropriate counsellors throughout the city. Roots and Shoots is an environmental and humanitarian group that organizes things like the "Million Tree Project" to help plant trees throughout China. BEAN is a good organization if you don't want to commit to just one type of project for a long period of time. It's a volunteer group that raises money for everything from the genocide in Darfur to AIDS assistance to orphans.

Roots and Shoots

Lifeline Shanghai


5) Watch a live performance
There's nothing quite like live theatre, and luckily Shanghai has plenty of acting troupes and theatres to host performances almost every day of the year. Shanghai Repertory Theatre is one of the more well-known groups, as well as East West Theatre and the up-and-coming Blue Lane. These groups put on just about everything, from obscure Shakespeare plays like "The Winter's Tale," to classics like "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" to modern favourites like "Closer." Whatever your taste in live theatre, you'll find something to satisfy it here.

Ke CenterView In Map
Add: 613-B Kaixuan Lu, Shanghai (near Yan'an Xi Lu)
地址:上海凯旋路613号, 近延安西路
Tel: 021 6131 3080

Shanghai Oriental Arts CenterView In Map
Add: 425 Dingxiang Lu, Pudong, Shanghai (near Century Blvd)
地址: 上海浦东新区丁香路425号
Tel: 021 5109 5091

Shanghai Grand TheatreView In Map
Add: 300 RenminDadao, Shanghai (near HuangpiBei Lu)
地址: 上海人民大道300号, 近黄陂北路
Tel: 021 6386 8686

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Keywords: Shanghai fun activities what to do in Shanghai hobbies in Shanghai expat fun Shanghai


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