By Travel + Leisure and Travel + Leisure Staff
February 22, 2016

With more than 24 million people and a skyline torn straight off the cover of a futuristic novel, Shanghai is arguably China’s most dynamic city—and one of its most unforgettable.

Fuel up for an epic Shanghai tour with soup dumplings, or xiaolongbao—a Shanghainese specialty. Keep your eyes peeled for long lines and stacks of steaming baskets: the best indicator of a superb soup dumpling stand. Jia Jia Tang Bao is perhaps the most famous joint in the city, where those pork and pigskin-jelly dumplings are combined with crab.

Even if you’re still trying to decide what to do in Shanghai, it helps to get a lay of the land. Ascend one of the towering skyscrapers for a great view (the world’s highest nightclub can be found perched atop the Park Hyatt), and an iconic Instagram shot of the city’s financial district, Lujiazui.

Related: Shanghai Travel Guide

Unique Shanghai experiences include drinking the Chinese sorghum wine baijiu, easy to find in any of the city’s bars (though we recommend seeking out one of the clever speakeasy-style joints), and visiting the marriage market at People’s Square. Every weekend, parents flock here with flyers featuring their child’s best features, in hopes of finding him or her a spouse.

Ask locals hanging out at Fuxing Park for more ideas about fun things to do in Shanghai. In the mornings, the green space is full of elderly residents practicing Qigong, while others visit at night for square dancing.

If you’re overwhelmed by all of Shanghai’s neon-lit attractions, head to Longhua Temple and light an incense to purify the soul. You can also take a Chinese-style gondola for a quiet ride down the canals of Qibao Ancient Town.