40 amazing things to do this autumn in Shanghai

The leaves are changing but Shanghai is staying awesome, here's all the best things to eat, see and do

The leaves are changing, you're getting ready to swap your air conditioner for your heater and thoughts of sweating in the street and fighting off mosquitoes are long behind you: autumn is here. It's that blissful time of year where you can sit outside without worrying about melting (as long as it isn't raining) and you just feel that little bit more comfortable in your skin. Here’s the essential list of the best things to do this autumn.

Get into the Halloween spirit

Unsplash: Beth Teutschmann

1. Turn off all the lights, grab your pillow and settle down for a night of frights by watching the ten best horror films ever made back-to-back. Or, grab a friend and head to The Pearl Theatre for the regular Tuesday movie night that's taking a scary turn for the holiday with a screening of classic 1978 American slasher Halloween.

2. Get dressed up as something ghoulish and get your freak on at one of the city's top Halloween parties.

3. Hear the legends of haunted Shanghai at the Charity Public Halloween Ghost Tour. Shanghai has a rich record of murderous gangsters and fatal accidents that, as legend tells us, has left behind many spirits wandering certain haunts around the city. This two-hour walking tour by Newman tours takes you through some of the places of note from a rougher time in Shanghai's history.

4. Try these scream-worthy wine and trick-or-treat candy pairings recommended by Shanghai's top sommeliers.

5. Check out Chihuo Xiaoyaohu, a horror-themed hotpot restaurant (safe for the faint of heart).

Have a family-friendly spookfest at Shanghai Disney Resort's first Halloween extravaganza.

Find more great things to do this Halloween.

Over Halloween, but into pumpkins? Get your fix with...

pumpkin muffin

7. Order Amelia's x Bastiaan Bakery ginger and pumpkin muffins (and other seasonal treats) right to your door on FIELDS. 16RMB.

8. Charlie's pumpkin pie milkshake – a downright sinful drink that blends a slice of pumpkin pie into an uber-thick vanilla milkshake that's sugary, spiced and all things nice. 55RMB.

9. Cobra Lily's Pumpkin Eggnog cocktail. This seasonal tipple mixes dark double-aged rum, spice syrup, cocoa, coconut, milk, cream and pumpkin. 85RMB.

10. A whole lobster in a whole pumpkin at Pirata, that's also filled with pumpkin soup made with the lobster's head. Plus the tail and claws pan-fried in butter and all garnished with poached leeks and fried pumpkin. This baby feeds three to four people, but best call ahead to reserve one. 398RMB.

Tuck into these apple desserts

Apple Tart at Sunflour

11. Apple Strudel, Zeitgeist
Zeitgeist does a strudel right with soft pastry dough, layers of thinly sliced apples, juicy raisins and a dusting of powdered sugar. 48RMB.

12. Apple Tart, Sunflour

Sunflour's apple tart has picture-perfect folds of apple slices layered beautifully inside its rich almond crust – it's almost worth getting for the Instagram shot alone. 25RMB.

13. Apple Pie, Bread etc

Bread etc's 'apple pie' has layer upon layer of flaky pastry sheets browned from being brushed with butter, making a super crisp base for paper-thin apple slices and a sprinkle of caramelised hazelnuts. 25RMB.

14. Roasted apple, The Chop Chop Club

Paul Pairet's roasted apple is caramelised to perfection on every surface and served with a disc of caramel brittle and vanilla bean ice cream. 70RMB.

Find more great apple desserts for autumn.

Do all your rooftop drinking while it's not too hot, but still not too cold

The Captain

Bund-side cocktail den The Captain (formerly Captain’s Bar) has revamped its deck into a new speakeasy concept with a menu of stylish – but reasonably priced – bites and booze, with most drinks landing around the 70RMB mark.

A seventh-floor rooftop terrace reached via private elevator from inside sister restaurant THE CUT Steak & Fries (inside the swanky iAPM mall), this bar overlooks Xiangyang Park – making it a great spot to catch the leaves turn for autumn.

17. Mayita
Make like it's still summer (only not unbearably hot) with palm trees, chill vibes and margaritas at Mayita.

Grab a blanket at go for a picnic at one of these 24-hour parks

Zhongshan Park

18. Zhongshan Park in Changning district.

19. Xujiahui Park in Xuhui district.

20. Jiaotong University Park in Xuhui district.

21. Xiangyang Park in Xuhui district.

But, if the weather does get a bit chilly, escape the cold by...

22. Slurping on a hot chocolate a Lost Bakery, 45RMB.

23. Hiding out with a world-class cocktail at Speak Low.

24. Making your own mulled cider.

25. Wandering around (while getting inspired) at the brilliant Paul Smith exhibition.

26. Riding in style with the car set to whatever temperature you desire with Didi Luxe.

27. Curling up with a good book at one of these hidden cafés.

Tuck into a great steaming hotpot

28. Go wholesome and organic at Qimin Organic Hotpot.

29. Go cheap and cheerful at popular chain Xiao Fei Yang.

30. Go for entertainment value and brilliant service at Hai Di Lao.

Take advantage of the great with some outdoor exercise...


31. Go for an easy and scenic jog around one of these pre-planned running routes.

32. Check out the 5k running tracks around Century Park.

33. Or, if you don't want to hit the road alone, join one of Shanghai's best running clubs.

34. Join free Shanghai fitness club FitFam for outdoor HIIT (High-intensity Interval Training) bodyweight strength and conditionings sessions.

Or, if running isn't for you, how about exploring the city on two wheels...

35. Cycle the leafy routes round the Former French Concession.

36. Alongside the Huangpu.

37. Around the old streets near Suzhou Creek.

And when the leaves start to turn, get autumn leaf peeping at one of these prime spots

Qiuxiapu Park
38. Qiuxiapu Park, Jiading district.

39. Xiangyang Park, Xuhui district.

40. Jingan Park, Jingan district.

More things to do