Simply the Best: 5 Reasons to Live in Shanghai

Simply the Best: 5 Reasons to Live in Shanghai
By Andrea Scarlatelli ,

With all the hustle and bustle of everyday life – commuting to work, meeting up with friends for drinks, those Mandarin lessons you (try to) take on a regular basis – it can be surprisingly easy to forget that we are living in the best city ever. I mean seriously, glance up from your computer screen and look out the window right now – you are living in Shanghai, one of the hottest, most happening places to be. Here are just a few reasons why living in Shanghai is great.

1) Just a hop, skip, and a jump away…
…from pretty much everywhere. Shanghai is an amazingly convenient (and often times a pleasantly cheap) starting point for travel to other countries. So many countries that seemed like a major trek or a serious investment suddenly become the kinds of places that inspire, “Oh, we have a four day weekend? Let’s go to Japan!” types of conversations. That’s exactly what happened when my husband and I found tickets from Shanghai to Takamatsu, about a four hour flight, for the equivalent of $1.00 (this was when tourism between the two countries was so bad over that whole island kerfuffle last autumn that airlines were desperate to get people over there). After taxes, it came to about $100 per person and was one of the best trips we’ve had. Or what about Vietnam or the Philippines or Thailand, all of which are only a few hours by plane and can be cost effective if booked during sales or off seasons. Even India and Australia are much more doable from Shanghai than from anywhere in the Western world (or even many Chinese cities). World travelers, unite!

2) Yum yum!
Shanghai is truly becoming a food lover’s paradise. Obviously the Chinese food is the biggest draw – with all the authentic flavors from every province under the sun, those Western style Chinese buffets back home just won’t cut it anymore. But what if Chinese food isn’t your thing? No worries, Shanghai has cuisine from practically every other region in the world. From Singaporean to Russian to Indonesian, to this week’s “gastronomic tour of South America” (seriously), you will never not be spoiled for choice here. And while Shanghai is still struggling to get certain things down (a decent chef salad, perhaps?), appreciation should be felt that we have so many options to begin with.

3) It’s all about the $$$
Shanghai has become a huge draw for all sorts of job seekers. Whether it’s the young professional trying to get a foot in the door, a middle management type who is looking for a  promotion, or a CEO trying her hand at a new venture – Shanghai is where the money’s at (at least for now). Of course, not all expats live like kings and queens (just ask an English teacher), but the opportunities abound over here and money usually follows fairly quickly. And besides, if you stick to the cheap happy hour deals and street side noodles, it can certainly feel like you have a ton of money regardless of how much you’re actually making.

4) The “C” word
Culture, that is. And lots of it. Shanghai has an incredibly rich history (not to mention the country of China as a whole) and it makes even the most ordinary day feel imbued with something… extra. One day, while walking to work, I happened to glance up as I passed by Jing’An Temple and, despite having walked by it every day for years, I stopped and stared in utter fascination. The fact that I live in a city where skyscrapers tower over elaborate Buddhist temples – and the riveting cultural dichotomy that suggests – is something I never want to get used to.

5) Cosmopolitan in the city
While we live in a city full of rich, ancient culture, the fact remains that we also live in one of the largest cities in the world. And with that fact comes the cosmopolitan life that everyone quickly gets to know and love. Cocktails on the rooftop of a skyscraper that overlooks the entire city. “Exclusive” clubs where the dancing doesn’t stop until the sun comes up (and not even then, sometimes!). Seafood brunches, with its sinful, unending flow of champagne. Not to mention the fashion shows, art galleries, and Michelin star chefs that regularly grace the presence of this city. There is nothing quite like living in Shanghai… 

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Keywords: why live in Shanghai Reasons to live Shanghai


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