New York vs. Shanghai

New York and Shanghai are two of the world's most vibrant and dynamic cities, each offering a unique blend of culture, history, and modernity. While both cities are known for their iconic landmarks and bustling streets, they have distinct differences that make them stand out from each other.
New York vs. Shanghai

Table of Contents

In this article, you’ll read through some of the key differences between New York and Shanghai, from their attractions and culture to their transportation and lifestyle.

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, understanding the differences between these two cities can help you make the decision on which city to get busy.

New York

Welcome to the city that never sleeps – New York City! As one of the world’s most iconic and vibrant cities, NYC attracts millions of visitors each year. From towering skyscrapers to world-class museums and bustling shopping districts to trendy neighborhoods, this city has something for everyone.

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, New York is sure to leave you with unforgettable memories. So, if you’re looking to experience the irresistible charm of NYC, get a load of these compelling reasons that will have you booking your plane to the city.

What Makes New York Unique

Iconic Landmarks in a Concrete Jungle

New York City is renowned for its iconic landmarks, which are among the most recognizable in the world. From the towering Empire State Building to the sprawling Central Park, these landmarks are not just symbols of the city’s grandeur and history, but also a reflection of its diverse and vibrant culture.

The Statue of Liberty, a gift from France to the United States, is an enduring symbol of freedom and democracy. Take a ferry to Liberty Island to get an up-close look at Lady Liberty and learn about her history at the museum inside the pedestal. The museum is dedicated to the statue’s history, construction, and significance as a symbol of the American Dream.

The Empire State Building was once the tallest building in the world. It is an Art Deco masterpiece that offers breathtaking views of the city from its observation deck on the 86th floor. Have unobstructed views of landmarks like Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, and the Brooklyn Bridge, to say the least.

Central Park, a sprawling oasis in the heart of Manhattan, is an urban wonderland that offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Stroll through its lush gardens, drop by the zoo, paddle on its lakes, take a photo at the Bethesda Fountain, or catch a performance at the open-air Delacorte Theater.

Other iconic landmarks in New York City include the Brooklyn Bridge, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the One World Trade Center, the Chrysler Building, and the Rockefeller Center. Each of these landmarks has its own unique history and character that adds to the charm of the city.

The Ultimate Entertainment Scene Is in the Heart of NYC!

New York City is a cultural mecca, known for its vibrant art scene, world-renowned theaters, and music venues. Find some of the greatest acts in history here. The city is a hub for all forms of entertainment, from Broadway shows to stand-up comedy clubs and everything in between.

Whether you’re a lifelong fan of the arts or simply looking for a night out, NYC’s world-class entertainment scene is not to be missed. Take a closer look below at some of the city’s top entertainment options and how to make the most of them as a tourist.

To enjoy New York City’s world-class entertainment—

Attend Broadway shows, visit famous music venues like Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center, explore museums and art galleries, and attend sporting events such as basketball games at Madison Square Garden or baseball games at Yankee Stadium.

Broadway shows are a staple of New York City’s entertainment scene. Located in the Theater District, Broadway offers a variety of shows ranging from musicals to dramas. It has been attracting theater-goers from around the world for decades. Be enraptured by the elaborate stage sets, impressive choreography, and talented performers that make the shows a must-see for anyone visiting NYC.

Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center offer visitors a chance to experience world-class music and performing arts in iconic venues.

At Carnegie Hall, consider classical music concerts featuring renowned musicians and orchestras from around the world, as well as jazz, pop, and world-music performances. The Lincoln Center is a sprawling complex with multiple theaters and concert halls where you can see some of the world’s finest opera productions.

They’re not just for music though. Behold ballet and modern dance performances, as well as theater productions and film screenings. Both Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center offer a chance to experience the best of the performing arts in New York City.

Come to the comedy shows at renowned venues like the Comedy Cellar. Take a tour of the NBC studios if you want to get behind the scenes of famous shows like Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show, and Late Night shows. And finally, visit the Apollo Theater, which has been home to many famous performers over the years.

There are plenty of options for every taste and interest. You are guaranteed a truly memorable experience with New York City’s entertainment scene.

Indulge in the Savory Delights of NYC’s Food Scene

New York City is a food lover’s paradise, with a diverse range of culinary options available from street food to five-star restaurants. The city is known for its pizza, bagels, hot dogs, and cheesecake. But it also has a fine dining scene featuring Michelin-starred restaurants and acclaimed chefs.

New York City is known for its iconic foods that have become synonymous with the city. They may be ‘common’ food, but boy, do they stand out!

New York–style pizza is known for its thin, crispy crust and foldable slices. Visit the many pizzerias in the city that have been around for generations, adding to the authenticity of the experience.

The bagels in New York are boiled before they are baked, which gives them a chewy texture and a shiny crust. Have a classic New York breakfast of bagels served with cream cheese and lox.

New York–style hot dogs are usually made with beef and are served on a soft bun with sauerkraut, onions, and mustard. Buy them from street carts throughout the city, making for a quick and easy snack.

New York–style cheesecake is known for its dense, creamy texture and graham cracker crust. It is a staple dessert in many New York restaurants and bakeries. Relish it with toppings of fruit or whipped cream.

With over 24,000 restaurants, visitors can enjoy cuisine from around the world, including Chinese, Italian, Mexican, French, and many more.

Food halls and markets such as Chelsea Market, Smorgasburg, and Eataly are also popular attractions for foodies.

At Chelsea Market, consider taking a food tour. Sample some of the best food while learning about its history and the vendors that operate there. Take cooking classes from the vendors where you can learn to make everything from pasta to sushi. This is a great way to take your culinary skills to the next level.

On weekends from April to October, visit Smorgasburg. It is a popular open-air food market for foodies and tourists alike. It offers a vibrant and bustling atmosphere with plenty of opportunities to taste and discover new flavors. With locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan, visitors can enjoy the best of the city’s street food scene while taking in some of its most scenic neighborhoods.

Craving Italian? Eataly NYC is an Italian marketplace located in the Flatiron District of Manhattan. The concept of Eataly is to bring the best of Italian cuisine and culture to people in a one-stop-shop format. Shop for high-quality Italian ingredients, dine in any of the several restaurants and cafes, and even take cooking classes.

New York City also hosts many food events throughout the year, including Restaurant Week and the New York City Wine and Food Festival.

If you are looking for good deals on your meals, go to NYC on Restaurant Week. This biannual event has hundreds of restaurants throughout the city offering discounted prix fixe menus for lunch and dinner. The event typically runs for two weeks in January and July. Reservations are recommended as popular restaurants fill up quickly. Though that should not preclude you from going to all the restaurants you have a taste for!

You are planning a trip in October, you say? New York City Wine and Food Festival is the one for you. This festival is one of the largest food and wine events in the country. Join tastings, seminars, dinners, and other food-related events to make the most out of your stay.

In conclusion, New York City’s food scene is a melting pot of diverse cuisines and flavors, offering something for everyone. From the iconic pizza and hot dogs to the trendiest food halls and festivals, the city is a paradise for food lovers. Exploring the culinary delights of New York is an adventure in itself and is sure to leave a lasting impression on you.

Shop Till You Drop in the Ultimate Retail Therapy Destination

New York City is a world-renowned shopping destination that attracts millions of tourists each year. Choose from high-end designer boutiques to vintage shops and street vendors. There is something for every type of shopper in the city that never sleeps.

Head over to Fifth Avenue. This famous street is known for its high-end designer boutiques and department stores, including Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Tiffany & Co. It is the ultimate strip for your unquenchable desire for top-of-the-food-chain items.

SoHo, short for “South of Houston Street,” is a neighborhood in Lower Manhattan. It’s known for its cobblestone streets, cast-iron architecture, and high-end shopping. Shop in a mix of upscale boutiques and ‘more affordable’ shops amidst a smattering of historical and cultural landmarks.

If you thought Chelsea Market was all about food, think again. In addition to its food options, shop for unique souvenirs: quirky t-shirts to vintage posters and antiques. You’re sure to find something that catches your eye. In the basement of Chelsea Market, the Artists & Fleas Market features local artisans and designers. Here you can find handmade jewelry, clothing, accessories, and much more.

Flea markets more your thing? Brooklyn Flea features a rotating selection of vendors selling vintage clothing, handmade jewelry, and artisanal food products. The market is open on weekends, so explore it if you’re looking for something different from the typical shopping experience.

Whether you’re looking for high-end designer goods or one-of-a-kind vintage finds, the shopping scene in NYC is sure to leave you with unforgettable designs for dressing to the nines.


Welcome to Shanghai, one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in China! Situated on the eastern coast of China, Shanghai is a global financial hub and a popular tourist destination. It’s a city that blends the ancient and the modern, where towering skyscrapers and historic landmarks coexist in harmony. A type of yin and yang.

Explore the city’s rich cultural heritage, sample delicious cuisine, shop till you drop, and enjoy the vibrant nightlife. Stroll along the historic Bund waterfront, with its colonial-era architecture and stunning views of the Huangpu River. Or take a relaxing walk through one of the city’s many beautiful parks.

The city is home to several world-famous landmarks, such as the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai World Financial Center. They offer breathtaking views of the city from their observation decks.

Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or food, or just want to experience the buzz of a dynamic modern metropolis, Shanghai has something for you. So pack your bags, book your flight, and get ready for an unforgettable place be it day or night!

What Makes Shanghai Unique

Sky-High Shanghai

Shanghai is a city known for its towering skyscrapers that pierce through the clouds and leave a lasting impression on visitors. And that’s Science Fact!

From the Shanghai World Financial Center to the Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower, these impressive structures showcase China’s ingenuity and construction know-how. Get to know them more so you can get to their top floor.

Shanghai World Financial Center

SWFC is a towering skyscraper located in the heart of Shanghai, China. It is one of the most iconic landmarks in the city, standing at a height of 492 meters (1,614 feet) with 101 floors.

The best bit? SWFC features two skywalks. Experience the thrill of walking on a glass floor high above the city.

The first skywalk is located on the 97th floor and is called the “Sky Walk 97.” Walk in the enclosed glass walkway that circles the exterior of the building, offering you a 360-degree view of Shanghai. The glass floor of the Sky Walk 97 is hundreds of feet above the ground, providing you a thrilling experience if you dare to walk on it.

The second skywalk is located on the 100th floor, and it is called the “Sky Walk 100.” This skywalk is unique in that it is located in the space that connects the two tallest structures of the SWFC. Glide on the glass floor and enjoy unobstructed views of the city below.

The building is easily accessible via public transportation, including the subway. It is a must-visit attraction for tourists who want to see the best of Shanghai’s skyline.

Shanghai Tower

The Shanghai Tower is a supertall skyscraper located in the heart of Shanghai, China. It stands at a height of 632 meters (2,073 feet) with 128 floors.

The tower features a unique twisted design that makes it a highly sustainable and eco-friendly building. It also boasts several world records, including the world’s fastest elevator, which can travel at a speed of 20.5 meters per second (67 feet per second).

Enjoy a 360-degree view of the city from the floor-to-ceiling windows that surround the “Top of Shanghai Observatory.” Step on the glass floor for an exhilarating experience as you look down to the ground far below.

Jin Mao Tower

The Jin Mao Tower is a skyscraper located in the Pudong district of Shanghai, China. It stands at a height of 420.5 meters (1,380 feet) tall and has 88 floors. It features a distinctive design inspired by traditional Chinese architecture. It’s a tiered structure that gradually tapers as it rises.

Access the Jin Mao Tower’s observation deck, called the “Observatory 88,” which is located on the 88th floor. Get a unique perspective on the city as you savor stunning views of Shanghai’s skyline and the Huangpu River from the deck.

But what’s more than just the observation deck?

Test your nerves as you walk outside the tower on a precarious-looking ledge and look straight down to the ground hundreds of feet below.

Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower

It stands at a height of 468 meters (1,535 feet) tall and has 11 spheres of varying sizes.

Enter the tower’s observation deck, called the “Space Module,” which is located on the highest sphere. Drop by the revolving restaurant on the second-highest sphere to dine while getting stunning views of the city. Not the best food reviews, but stunning nonetheless.

The Oriental Pearl Tower also features a range of amenities, including a museum, exhibition halls, and a shopping mall. Tread on the tower’s glass-bottomed skywalk, located on the lower spheres of the tower, for a different perspective of the city.

In the end, whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or simply looking for a unique way to take in the city, Shanghai’s skyscrapers are sure to provide an unforgettable experience.

Riverside Escapade

Shanghai is located on the banks of the Huangpu River and offers a variety of river activities for you to enjoy. And it’s not all about watching the waves as you’ll find out below.

The top attraction on the river is the Huangpu River Cruise. Cruise during the day or at night to see the city’s skyline and landmarks illuminated. The cruise will take you along the Huangpu River and past some of Shanghai’s most famous sights. See the Bund, the Oriental Pearl Tower, and the Shanghai Tower from the water.

A sightseeing ferry is another option for you to explore the Huangpu River. Navigate the river and stop at various attractions, including the Bund and the Shanghai World Financial Center.

You seeking a sportier river activity? Jet ski on the Huangpu River! Jet ski rental companies are available in Shanghai and will offer you the chance to speed along the river like a boss!

Dragon boat racing is a traditional Chinese activity that is popular in Shanghai. Spectate dragon boat races on the Huangpu River during festivals and events. It usually falls on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, which typically falls in June in the Gregorian calendar. Check the local events calendar or inquire with your hotel or tour operator to find out about said event during your visit.

As you have come to realize, there is much to do on the river. From fast-paced to laid-back activities, there is something for you here.

Peaceful Parks for R&R

Shanghai is a city of contrasts, with towering skyscrapers and bustling streets juxtaposed against tranquil parks and gardens. The city is home to many beautiful parks that offer respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Many of the parks in Shanghai are also steeped in history, with buildings and monuments dating back centuries. There are peaceful places to read a book or socialize with friends. Shanghai’s parks offer something for everyone.

Located in the heart of the French Concession, Fuxing Park is a popular spot for locals to exercise, practice tai chi, and play traditional Chinese musical instruments. Traipse in the beautiful gardens, skirt the large pond, and sightsee the many historical buildings.

Named after Sun Yat-sen, the founding father of modern China, Zhongshan Park is a popular destination for families. Take the kids to the large playground, ride the Ferris wheel, and stroll the beautiful gardens.

Located in the northern part of Shanghai, Gucun Park is known for its beautiful cherry blossom trees, which bloom in the spring.

As one of the largest botanical gardens in China, the Shanghai Botanical Garden is home to a wide variety of plants and flowers. Travel around themed gardens, such as the rose garden and the bamboo garden. Learn about its slew of plants and their uses in traditional Chinese medicine.

These are just a few of the many parks in Shanghai. Each park offers its own unique attractions and atmosphere. Therefore, it’s worth exploring as many parks as possible during your visit to Shanghai.

Old Town

The Old Town, also known as Yu Yuan, is a popular tourist destination located in the heart of the city.

Stare at its architecture’s Chinese elements, such as upturned eaves, intricate carvings, and colorful tiles. Train your eyes on the carefully crafted brick, wood, and stone materials. Rest in the courtyards or central gardens, and get ready for the next stage of your exploration.

At the heart of the Old Town is the Yu Garden, a beautiful classical Chinese garden that was built during the Ming Dynasty. Probe the pavilions, ponds, and rock gardens. This garden is a peaceful oasis in the midst of the bustling city. So have some traditional Chinese tea in the garden’s teahouse.

One of the most popular attractions in the Old Town is the City God Temple, a Taoist temple that dates back to the 15th century. Stare at the beautiful statues and carvings sheltered inside the sanctum.

Hungry yet from all the sightseeing? Then relish the traditional Chinese street food—dumplings, baozi, and scallion pancakes. Get them from the many street vendors and restaurants in the area.

Overall, the Old Town is a must-visit destination for you to experience the rich history and culture of Shanghai.

Is Shanghai Better Than New York?

This is a tough one as you won’t be comparing apples to apples.

Shanghai is a modern and vibrant city that combines traditional Chinese culture with modern elements. The city is known for its delicious cuisine, bustling markets, and iconic landmarks.

Visit landmarks like the Bund, the Oriental Pearl Tower, and the Shanghai Tower. Get a glimpse into the rich history and culture of China through the museums, temples, and traditional neighborhoods.

New York, on the other hand, is a diverse and dynamic city that is known for its iconic skyline, world-class museums, and vibrant arts and culture scene.

The city is home to some of the world’s most famous landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and Times Square. New York also has a thriving food scene with a variety of cuisines from around the world.

In terms of transportation, both cities have efficient and extensive public transportation systems. However, New York’s subway system is more extensive and accessible than Shanghai’s.

Then there’s the language barrier. Shanghai can be problematic in that regard.

Ultimately, whether Shanghai is better than New York depends on your preferences and priorities. Both cities have a lot to offer and are worth visiting.


New York to Shanghai Distance

The distance between New York and Shanghai is approximately 7,760 miles (12,491 kilometers) if you were to travel by air. However, the actual travel time may vary depending on factors such as the airline, layovers, and the specific route taken.

A nonstop flight from New York to Shanghai takes around 15–16 hours, while a flight with layovers can take longer. It’s important to note that there are time differences between the two cities. New York is in the Eastern Time Zone of the United States, while Shanghai is in the China Standard Time Zone.

The distance between New York and Shanghai by sea is approximately 11,400 nautical miles (21,112 kilometers). That’s the case if you were to travel along the most direct route across the Pacific Ocean.

However, the actual travel time can vary greatly depending on the type of vessel, weather conditions, and port stops along the way. A typical ship can take anywhere from 30–40 days to make the journey from New York to Shanghai.

It’s worth noting that sea travel between these two cities is not a popular or practical option for most travelers. It is time-consuming and expensive compared to air travel.

You can take a luxury cruise ship that offers a transpacific route from New York to Shanghai, which can take anywhere from 30–40 days. This option is generally more expensive but offers the chance to explore various ports of call along the way.

Shanghai vs. New York Size

Shanghai and New York are both global cities with large populations. However, there are significant differences in their size and population.

Shanghai is the largest city in China, with a population of over 24 million people and a land area of approximately 2,450 square miles (6,341 square kilometers). New York City, on the other hand, has a population of over 8 million people and a total area of approximately 468 square miles (1,213 square kilometers).

While both cities are large and densely populated, Shanghai is significantly larger than New York. This is in terms of both population and land area.

How Big Is Shanghai Compared to New York?

Despite both cities being densely populated and sizeable, Shanghai surpasses New York significantly in terms of its population and land area.

Shanghai’s population is more than triple that of New York, and its land area is more than five times larger than that of New York.

Specifically, Shanghai has a population of over 24 million people and a land area of approximately 2,450 square miles (6,341 square kilometers). While New York has a population of over 8 million people and a total area of approximately 468 square miles (1,213 square kilometers).

Shanghai vs. New York Population

Shanghai has a larger population than New York. According to recent estimates, Shanghai has a population of over 24 million people, while New York City has a population of over 8 million people.

In terms of population density, both cities are densely populated. But Shanghai has a higher population density than New York due to its larger population and smaller land area.

A direct calculation from the figures stated above betrays this conclusion. Know that the figures do not consider various factors that can affect population density. There are variations in topography, urban planning, and population distribution within a city.

For Shanghai, the estimate is based on the 2020 census conducted by the Chinese government. For New York City, the estimate is based on the 2020 United States Census.

New York vs. Shanghai Skyline

The skylines of both New York and Shanghai are known for their impressive and iconic high-rise buildings.

In New York, landmarks like the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, and the Chrysler Building are prominent features of the city’s skyline. In Shanghai, the Oriental Pearl Tower, Jin Mao Tower, and Shanghai Tower are among the most recognizable buildings on the skyline.

One notable difference between the two skylines is the age of the buildings.

Many of the most famous buildings in New York, such as the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building, were constructed in the early 20th century. In contrast, most of the skyscrapers in Shanghai were built more recently, particularly in the past few decades.

Overall, both New York and Shanghai have skylines that are impressive in their own ways, with unique features and landmarks that contribute to their respective cityscapes.