activities in Shanghai
Shutterstock.com
Updated 2 weeks ago

Shanghai has long earned the reputation of being a bustling metropolis that is all about long hours at the office, later dinners, and exciting nightlife. But the city also presents its residents with plenty of opportunities to get and stay in shape. Whether you are looking to play football, join a gym or even go mountaineering, you will find all the needed facilities at your disposal plus a group of like-minded individuals to keep you company.

Outdoor city activities

As busy as Shanghai may get, you will find that Shanghai residents do their best to set some time aside for exercise. In fact, you will often see groups of older people practicing tai-chi in parks and city squares in early hours of the morning. Another popular activity you will probably be a frequent witness to is square dancing (guangchang wu), which is a dance exercise routine often performed in parks and plazas by older women.

The most popular sports in China, when it comes to both watching and playing, are basketball, badminton, table tennis, and swimming. Soccer is gaining in popularity as well.

Another trending activity in Shanghai (and China in general) is running. Marathons, in particular, are growing in numbers across the country often organised for promotion, charity, as company team building, and more. Some of the most popular city marathons include the Shanghai International Marathon and Shanghai Colour Run.

Golf is becoming a well-liked pastime as well. Having first entered the country as a posh way to seal business deals, the sport is now deeply rooted into Shanghai business culture. The city’s biggest golf courses include Shanghai Binhai Golf Club, Lake Malaren Golf Club, Yintao Golf Club, and others.

If you are looking to join a sports club, you will find quite a few options to consider in Shanghai. There are both local clubs as well as clubs started by expats. Some of the popular expat sports clubs in Shanghai include the Shanghai Tigers (rugby and Gaelic football mix), Bashers Cricket Club, Shanghai Hockey Club, and others.

Indoor city activities

There are plenty of large fitness centres and small gyms in Shanghai that cater to a variety of needs and schedules. You will also find options for every budget from hole in the wall type establishments to expensive top-of-the-line clubs.

Wherever you live in the city, you are sure to see loads of advertisements for nearby fitness centres — in fact, you will probably see promoters on the streets near your apartment giving out flyers for a nearby gym.

Some of the big fitness centre chains have locations all over the city and you will be able to exercise at any of their branches depending on where you are. Some provide a full range of services including well-equipped gyms, swimming pools, group workouts, tennis courts, etc. while others offer just the essentials. Most centres will also offer popular group workout sessions including yoga and pilates. Naturally, membership prices differ. Most big fitness centres in Shanghai would expect you to commit to a rather long period of time with three months or even half a year often being minimal membership options. You should also get ready to negotiate — most gym membership salesmen work on commission and will often use aggressive bargaining tactics. Membership prices may are also rarely set in stone — and you can get a lower or higher price depending on how you handle the situation.

Some of Shanghai’s biggest fitness centre chains include Will's Gym, Physical, Wells, and others. You will also find smaller boutique gyms and fitness centres opened by expats living in the city like Olive Branch and Feel Good Fitness.

Nature activities

For those who prefer to exercise in nature, Shanghai can be full of surprises. Despite being the perfect example of an urban jungle, the city will not be a disappointment for an outdoorsman.

One of the best ways to get to know the city’s wild side is to go on one of its scenic hiking trails like the Sheshan Forest Trail in Shanghai She Mountain National Forest Park.

If you are looking for something a bit more extreme, there are plenty of options for experiencing rafting and zip lining in small picturesque villages near the city.

If you have more time on your hands, consider a day trip outside the city. There is a great variety of natural attractions within a day’s reach from the metropolis. These include Anji's Bamboo Forest (the set of the movie "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"), Putuoshan (a quiet island beach town), Jiaxing (one of China’s main waterways), and others.

Finally, you don’t even have to leave the city to experience some green zen. Shanghai is home to some of China’s most beautiful city parks like Fuxing Park, Zhongshan Park, Shanghai Botanical Gardens, and more.

 Useful links:

Wills Fitness
Physical Fitness and Beauty
Shanghai International Marathon

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.