The majority of Shanghai’s must-see attractions are accessible to the disabled and wheelchair users. In some cases, disabled travelers may be forced to adapt from the norm to participate in certain experiences, but it is possible with some advance planning. See the information below concerning many of the top sights Shanghai has to offer.
Oriental Pearl TV Tower
From 1994 to 2007, the Oriental Pearl tower was the tallest building in China. It is likely the most grandiose radio and TV broadcast tower in the world and is now a central landmark in Shanghai. Built in the highly accessible Pudong district, the tower is also home to shops, restaurants and viewing platforms from which to observe the Shanghai skyline. Many, but not all of the viewing decks are accessible to wheelchair users. The tallest platform, the “Space Capsule,” is a futuristic scene but is not fully accessible to wheelchair users due to steps. Wheelchair users can enter the space capsule (scenes are shown in the introduction video above), but will not be able to access the viewing area at the top of a flight of stairs. The tower also boasts a revolving restaurant with floor to ceiling windows. The restaurant is wheelchair accessible, but advance reservations are required. Tickets to the tower and its viewing decks range in price from 160 RMB to 220 RMB ($25 to $35 USD), depending on the levels you wish to access. Tickets which include a meal in the revolving restaurant cost 298 RMB ($48 USD) for lunch or 328 RMB ($53) for dinner. For more information on the tower, visit www.orientalpearltower.com.
(Nearest subway: 0.4 miles from Line 2 at Lujiazui station)
The Bund Sightseeing Tunnel
The Bund Sightseeing Tunnel is a tram which travels between the Pudong and Puxi districts of Shanghai, beneath the Huangpu River. The journey lasts 5 minutes and takes passengers through a tunnel filled with lighting effects, supposedly depicting the story of life, science, physics and more. It is a truly psychedelic experience, but has become one of Shanghai’s most popular attractions. A one-way journey between The Bund (Puxi side) and Pudong (or vice versa) costs 50 RMB ($8 USD), while a round trip ticket costs 60 RMB ($9.50). The entrance on The Bund is at 300 Zhongshan East First Road, while the Pudong entrance is at 2789 Binjiang Road. Elevators exist at both ends, but you will need to call the telephone number listed on the sign to have them unlocked. The entrance on the Pudong side is a short two blocks from the Oriental Pearl Tower.
(Nearest subway: Line 2 at Lujiazui station)
People’s Square & Park
People’s Square is the center of the city of Shanghai. The Shanghainese discuss distance and give directions to one another with the square as the point of reference. People’s Square and the area surrounding it is one of the most well kept parts of the city. In the 1990s, the Shanghai Municipal Government relocated its headquarters from The Bund to the square. People’s Park is a major component of the square area, with well kept paths & sidewalks passing green areas, ponds, gardens and amusement rides for children. The park is a free to access public park and a gathering spot for many Chinese and their families. Within walking distance of the square and park are attractions such as the Nanjing Road shopping district, Shanghai Museum, Shanghai Grand Theater and Tomorrow Square. The area is surrounded by western hotels and is a great place to stay as a tourist. Wheelchair users should note that while the area is accessible, many of the nearby restaurants, most of which are western brands like Pizza Hut and McDonald’s, are not accessible due to steps. The sidewalks, hotels, subway and a limited number of restaurants are accessible, however.
(Nearest subway: Lines 1/2/8 at People’s Square station)
Located at People’s Square, the Shanghai Museum is an art gallery containing centuries of Chinese art and artifacts. Paintings, calligraphy, sculptures, pottery, clothing and textiles, metal works and bamboo creations are all on display to showcase the history and development of Chinese culture. The museum is entirely wheelchair accessible and is free to the public. It is open from 9:00 am. to 5:00 p.m. daily. For more information, visit the museum website at www.shanghaimuseum.net.
(Nearest subway: Lines 1/2/8 at People’s Square station)
Bug Bus Hop-on/off Sightseeing Bus
The wheelchair accessible Big Bus is a hop-on/hop-off sightseeing bus which stops at many of Shanghai’s top attractions. Tickets to ride the Big Bus are $48.00 USD or $38.40 if purchased in advance for specific dates. The Big Bus is a faster way to tour the city than utilizing the subway system. For more information on the bus and routes or to purchase tickets, visit www.bigbustours.com.
Jin Mao Tower
The Jin Mao Tower is an 88-story skyscraper and lanfmark in the Pudong area of Shanghai. Its three basement levels include shops and a food court. The lower 50 floors consist of office space for businesses. Floors 53 to 87 feature the 5-star Grand Hyatt Shanghai Hotel. Floor 87 houses Cloud 9, a sky bar with panoramic views. The 88th floor is an observation deck, the “Skywalk,” which offers stunning views of Shanghai and is an excellent place to photograph the Oriental Pearl Tower. Admission to the Skywalk is 88 RMB or $14 USD.
(Nearest subway: 0.7 miles from Line 2 at Lujiazui station)
Yu Yuan Garden
Yu Garden, or the Garden of Happiness, traces its origins to 1559. The garden was at one time a jewel of Shanghai. The Opium Wars wreaked havoc on the gardens, but they were restored and opened to the public in the 1960s.
The garden is not accessible to wheelchair users due to several steps at its entrance and more throughout. The surrounding area, including the next door Yu Tourist Mart is accessible. The Tourist Mart is filled with shops, eateries, and tea/coffee houses. Within one block of the Mart and Yu Gardens are numerous western food and dining options, including Papa John’s, KFC and Starbucks. Some famous sights, including the Huxinting Teahouse, can be accessed in the area directly surrounding the Yu Gardens.
(Nearest subway: Line 10 at Yuyuan Garden station)