My Shanghai in 24 Hours

October 24, 2019

Only a short stopover in Shanghai? Here are some hidden spots - told by a local

Who knows a city better than locals or people who have lived there for many years? MBA alumnus Ferdinand Klauser reveals his favourite bars, squares and hidden spots, which give it such a special flair. Get to know the city from a very personal - and most likely a completely new - perspective.

Pic of Ferdinand Klauser
Ferdinand Klauser exchanges ideas about brand and design development with students at Tongji University College of Design and Innovation.

Eating, drinking and having breakfast

What is your favorite restaurant/bar/café in Shanghai and why? What do I definitely need to try (food, drinks, meet people, etc.)?


Shanghai's expats and tourists suffer from bread draught symptoms. In the Jing'an area, there are numerous (admittedly high-priced) craft bakeries. We always go to Baker & Spice, a bakery with a cosy interior of wood, marble and leather and an oversized table where everyone sits together. The cinnamon rolls, the private label coffee and the fresh fruit smoothies are always a relief.


Tai Fung, actually a Taiwanese chain, is probably the best place in Shanghai to enjoy a basket of the famous steamed dumplings Xiaolongbao. The handmade local speciality always has exactly 18 elegant folds, is semi-transparent and filled with delicious filling of your choice.


Di Lao is an extremely popular Sichuan style hot pot chain. In 2018, the company raised nearly $1 billion when it went public in Hong Kong. Hai Di Lao is famous for his more than excellent service: While you wait for a table (which sometimes takes time), you can have your shoes polished, clean your glasses or smartphone, care for your nails or have your neck massaged. This restaurant chain is undoubtedly worth a Harvard case study. And, of course, some delicious dinner.

Hidden spots

You know Shanghai very well. What places do you recommend visiting which can’t be found in a tourist guide? Please share your hidden spots.

  • 5 a.m. bike ride: Get up super early and explore the city at 5 a.m. with the Ride Now Cycle Club. The well-deserved reward (and necessary refreshment) at the end of the trip is a strong coffee in one of the many great coffee shops in Shanghai.
Skyline Shanghai in the morning
The morning view of Shanghai is worth getting up early.
  • Walk through Jing'an Park: Watch the locals practice Tai Chi and play Mah Jongg and cheer the dancing Ayis (aunts) in Jing'an Park. The park is surrounded by a unique mixture of old Buddhist temple architecture and modern office towers.
  • Celebrate at Found 158: Spend an entertaining evening at Found 158, once known as an underground labyrinth of dubious bars, today there are many famous restaurants, bars, lounges and sometimes even live music. With a pizza slice at Home Slice Pizza you are always well advised.

Shanghai at its best

Why is Shanghai one of the greatest places in the world? What makes the city special?

Shanghai embodies a unique combination of cultural heritage and striving for the future. In China, Shanghai bears the epithet "capital of magic". A very fitting description. Shanghai is not only one of the most populous cities in the world, but also a logistics hub and financial center. The world's most heavily trafficked container port is located here. Compared to the West, Shanghai has the feeling of living in the future. E-mobility is omnipresent, mobile payment has made cash obsolete, and a new generation of young and proud Chinese celebrates its uniqueness with an expressive fashion style. The pace of life is dizzying, the start-up scene highly active and the range of business opportunities endless. However, one thing should always be borne in mind: Everything is possible, but nothing is simple.

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