40 things to do this autumn in Shanghai

From leaf-peeping to Halloween parties, here's the essential list of things to do this season

Photograph: Matt via Unsplash
Ahh autumn, it’s that time of the year when the leaves are changing, streets are bright with shades of orange, yellow and red, and you can finally sit outdoors without melting before it gets too freezing. Here’s your list of the essential things to do this autumn in Shanghai.

By Annie Lin and Amy Snelling
Soak up all the arts and culture at these exhibitions
Photograph: Annie Lin

Soak up all the arts and culture at these exhibitions

8. Check out the wit, wordplay and absurdity of British artist David Shrigley at his sculpture and installation show at Power Station of Art *thumbs up*. 

American artist and Shanghai resident Maya Kramer explores the discord between humans and nature with a series of surrealist installations at Capsule Gallery.

10. Originally set to end earlier this month, Shanghai's hottest – but not at all wettest – selfie scene, the iconic and immersive exhibit ‘Rain Room’ has got an extension, and will be sticking around at Yuz Museum through the end of the year – though open on a slightly less regular schedule, follow Yuz Museum WeChat for details (ID: ‘yuzmshanghai’).

Get into the spirit of Halloween
Photograph: David Menindrey via Unsplash

Get into the spirit of Halloween

11. Get dressed up as something ghoulish (find your costume at one of these costume shops) and get your freak on at one of the city's top Halloween parties. Wanna get your costume on point? Take a look at these step-by-step tutorials of spooky but spectacular Halloween makeup transformations. 

12. 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. When that’s over, get stuck into these classic Chinese horror films.

13. Spook yourself out Shanghai-style with these 15 short horror stories you’ll understand if you live in the big, bad city. 

14. The only thing scarier than the tourist crowds on Nanjing Dong Lu? The newly opened Shanghai Dungeon on Nanjing Dong Lu. From the same group behind The London Dungeon, here you can explore the twisted side of 1900s Shanghai. 

15. Show off your carving skills at The Rooster’s charity pumpkin carving contest. It’s a 100RMB donation and proceeds go towards YBC healthcare to support children with Down's Syndrome. 

Over Halloween, but into pumpkins? Get your fix at...
Photograph: Element5 via Unsplash

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

16. Pie Bird. This American-style pie store is keeping things traditional with its classic pumpkin pie – there’s also apple crumble, coconut cream, key lime and strawberry rhubarb (38-46RMB per slice, 248-298RMB for a whole pie). 

17. Dig into a Sunday roast at Mr Willis, where the signature 12-hour marinated whole roast chicken (125RMB half, 195RMB whole) is served with a delightful provençale pumpkin gratin.

18. One of Shanghai's newer gems, Together's hearty pumpkin slices (48RMB) on its dinner menu are a cut above your average roasted pumpkin – as soft as clouds and sweet yet smoky. Going for lunch? Order the pumpkin soup instead. 

19. Go all in at Egg with a pumpkin spice latte (38RMB) paired with a pumpkin muffin (32RMB) or slice of pumpkin pie (36RMB) from the bakery. 

20. Grab a slice of Zozzo’s pumpkin cream pancetta pizza (29RMB) dressed up in pumpkin cream, scamorza, mozzarella and slices of pancetta. 

21. Take the DIY approach with these five pumpkin-focused recipes – you can get all the goods you’ll need from FIELDS, currently stocking everything from actual pumpkins to pumpkin noodles, pumpkin soup and canned-pumpkins.

22. Keep it clean at Lizzy’s All Natural with a pumpkin spice latte (36RMB) featuring fresh roasted pumpkin, cashew milk, organic espresso, a sprinkling of cinnamon and ginger, a shaving of nutmeg and dash of maple syrup.

And for more seasonal eats and drinks
Photograph: courtesy Strictly Cookies

And for more seasonal eats and drinks

23. Upgrade your morning coffee with Brut Cake Eatery's chilli and cinnamon warm spice latte (36RMB regular, 42RMB large).

24. Snack on an oh-so-soft caramel apple crunch cookie from Strictly Cookies (70RMB for five) for the ultimate fall-feels.

25. Tuck into French bakery Pain Chaud’s tarte tatin (40RMB) – it’s got a toothsome crispy crust and is filled with a layer of apple compote beneath plump stewed apple wedges.

26. Or go for Bread etc’s ‘apple pie’ (25RMB a slice). Layers of butter-brushed, golden brown flaky pastry make a perfectly crisp base for delicate slices of apple and a sprinkling of caramelised hazelnuts. 

27. DIY with this mulled apple cider/juice (depending on where you're from) recipe with local spices and a cheeky splash of bourbon to keep you warm.

Do all your rooftop drinking while it's not too hot, but still not too cold at...
Photograph: The CUT Rooftop

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

28. The Captain The Bund-side cocktail den comes prepared with blankets, and for Bund-standards, reasonably priced bites and booze. Go for happy hour (5-7.30pm Mon-Thu) and choose from a selection of cocktails at 65RMB. 

29. THE CUT Rooftop A seventh-floor rooftop terrace reached via private elevator, this bar overlooks Xiangyang Park – making it a great spot to catch the leaves turn for autumn. Happy hour every day from 6-9pm with drinks from 40RMB.

30. Mayita Pretend it's still summer (only not unbearably hot) with palm trees, chill vibes and margaritas at Mayita. Happy hour deals (5-7pm daily and 10.30pm-1am Fri-Sat) are buy-one-get-one-free select cocktails and beer, and buy-two-get-one-free pitchers of margaritas and sangria.

31. Kartel The ever so popular rooftop bar on Xiangyang Bei Lu is offering 30RMB happy hour deals every day from 6-8pm. Catch a show downstairs at Kung Fu Komedy while you’re there. 

When it starts to get properly cold...
Photograph: courtesy Qimin Organic Hotpot

When it starts to get properly cold...

32. Grab a bunch of friends and eat all the hotpot – a steamy seasonal must-do in China.

33. Huddle away from the cold at these hidden cafés (shh, just keep them a secret).

34. Stay home, snuggle up in bed with Sherpa's and BottlesXO and binge watch all the best movies of 2018 (so far).

35. Or, brave the outside world with a trip to the movies, as box office heavy-hitters including Venom (Nov 9), Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Nov 16) and Crazy Rich Asians (Nov 30) hit the big-screen late autumn.

Get active all over the city
Photograph: courtesy Prime Fitness

Get active all over the city

36. Get your blood pumping by signing yourself up at one of Shanghai’s top gyms

37. Keep motivated and ramp up the energy levels with a running bud at these running clubs

37. Double-bow your running shoes and take on one of these five jogging routes – ranging from 4-7km – at your own pace. 

39. Don’t like running? Grab some friends and head to the courts for tennis, badminton or squash.

40. Knock out some mean punches and kicks at these martial art studios. 

More seasonal must-dos...