It possesses a population of 18.88 millions.
Shanghai occupies a part of the alluvial plain of the Changjiang Delta, It has a temperate and humid climate, with an annual mean temperature of 15.7 degrees Celsius and an annual precipitation of 1100 mm
The vernacular language is Shanghainese, a dialect of Wu Chinese; while the official language is Standard Mandarin. The local dialect is mutually unintelligible with Mandarin, and is an inseparable part of the Shanghainese identity. The Shanghainese dialect today is a mixture of standard Wu Chinese as spoken in Suzhou, with the dialects of Ningbo and other nearby regions whose peoples have migrated to Shanghai in large numbers since the 20th Century.
Nearly all registered Shanghainese residents are descendants of immigrants from the two adjacent provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang who moved to Shanghai in the late 19th and the early 20th Century. These are regions that generally speak the same family of dialects as Shanghainese - Wu Chinese.
Shanghainese cuisine is one of the lesser-known types of Chinese food, generally characterized as sweet and oily. The name "Shanghai" means "above the sea", so unsurprisingly seafood predominates, the usual style of preparation being steaming. Some Shanghainese dishes to look out for:
xiao long baozi (lit. buns from the little steaming cage, or little dragon buns), probably the most famous Shanghai dish: small steamed dumplings full of tasty (and boiling hot!) broth and a dab of meat. The connoisseur bites a little hole into them first, sips the broth, then dips them in rice vinegar (cu) to season the meat inside.
dazha xie (hairy crabs), best eaten in the winter months (Oct-Dec) and paired with Shaoxing wine to balance out your yin and yang xiefen shizitou (crab powder lion heads), actually pork meatballs containing crab meat zui ji (drunken chicken), chicken steamed then marinated in rice wine, usually served cold "You Tiao" , one kind of breakfast that is very popular in Shanghai.
Drink Tap water is not drinkable, but generally OK if boiled, though you may not like the taste. Tap water is also said to contain a high amount of heavy metals. Bottled water (and beer) are widely available.
The prices of drinks in cafes and bars in Shanghai vary depending on the location and target customers. They can be cheap or be real budget-busters, with a basic coffee or beer costing anything from ¥10 to ¥40 and up if ordered in the "wrong" place.
When buying bottled water you will come along a whole range of mineral water. Of course you could go for the "Evian", "Volvic", but you could also get yourself a bottle of the local Nongfu Spring brand (Nong Fu Kuang Quan Shui) mineral water.
Walk Along the Fu Xing Rd to see the old buildings and enjoy the neatness of the road. Take an elevator to the top of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower (the tallest TV tower in Asia with the height of 468 metres, and on a good day the sprawling views are spectacular!)
The Bund of Shanghai is a great meeting place for local Chinese and foreigners alike - people stroll up and down in search of vicarious excitement, often provided by street performers or free-marketeers. Pedlars sell anything from home-made underwear to naughty pictures. In the morning, its Taiji (or Taichi Chuan, shadowboxing) and the martial arts exercises on display; at night it is a lovers' lane. The Bund is an Anglo-Indian term for the embankment of a muddy waterfront - in Chinese it's referred to as 'Waitan' and on the map it's Zhongshan Donglu (Zhongshan Road East).
Enter Shanghai Xintiandi, located at Lane 181, Taicang Road. A small pedestrianised area of the city featuring rebuilt traditional shikumen [stone gate] houses. Housing a cinema complex, mall, numerous bars, cafes and art galleries marketed towards foreign visitors and the more affluent locals. Close to where the communist party headquarters were located.
Enter Shanghai International Convention Center Shanghai International Convention Center was opened for business in August 1999. The '99 Fortune Global Forum was held here. It is located in the southwest of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower in Pudong. It covers an area of 45,000 square meters with a landscaped square of 30,000 square meters. It consists of several modernized halls including a 42,000-sq.m. Multi-functional hall, a 25,000-sq.m. Exhibition hall, an 11,000-sq.m. Underground exhibition hall and 20 meeting rooms of different sizes. There are 259 guest rooms, including presidential suites, executive suites, standard rooms, Chinese and Western restaurants, a coffee room, a nightclub, a show room, a gym, a swimming pool, a bowling room, a billiard room, a sauna bath and a shopping arcade.
See the giant panda and many more exotic animals at the Shanghai Zoo. Located nearby Hongqiao airport, this is a spacious and modern zoo that's for the most part a far cry from the concrete animal prison in Beijing. Open daily from 6:30 to 17:00 (16:30 in winter), tickets are 30Y, or 40Y including an elephant show. One kid not taller than 1.2m gets in for free together with one paying adult. Take bus 925 from Renmin Square (3Y) for about 45 minutes. Please follow the signs (even if the locals do not) and do not feed or tease the animals.