One of the most popular discount programs designed to save money on Shanghai attractions is the Go Shanghai pass. While the savings of up to 55% are the most important part, there is far more to consider.
We’ll go over the two pass options (All-Inclusive and Explorer), which attractions they include, and how I’d recommend using the pass in one of my favorite cities in the world.
We spend a lot of time in Shanghai because my daughter attends summer Mandarin camp there. It never feels like enough time as there is so much to do, which is why a sightseeing pass comes in handy.
Note: Go Shanghai is temporarily unavailable due to temporary attraction closures but will resume shortly.
1. Save Up To 55% On Shanghai Attractions
The main reason to buy Go Shanghai is for discounted admission. How much you actually save depends on the type of pass chosen and how thoroughly you use it.
It is difficult to achieve this level of discount without this card, especially for those who are avid sightseers.
2. Major Attractions Participate
The 14 Go Shanghai attractions currently available are:
- Happy Valley Theme Park
- Jin Mao Tower Observation Deck (go straight to the gate)
- Madame Tussauds Shanghai (nighttime only ticket)
- Pujiang River Cruise
- Shanghai Bund Starry Sky Optical Illusion Gallery
- Shanghai Changfeng Ocean World
- Shanghai Film Park
- Shanghai Grand View Garden
- Shanghai Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Tour
- Shanghai Museum of Glass
- Shanghai Tower: Guanfu Classical Art Museum
- Shanghai Zoo
- Teddy Family Museum
- The Shanghai Dungeon
Note that you’ll need to present the Go Shanghai at the ticket booth for all of the attractions above except for the Jin Mao Tower.
3. Prepaid Tickets Have Benefits
China is a society that now relies heavily on WeChat and AliPay digital payment options. Foreigners without Chinese bank accounts can’t use these services. Foreign credit cards aren’t accepted everywhere. This means you must carry cash in Shanghai.
Having a pre-paid attractions pass eliminates the amount of cash you need to carry around so that you can save it for food or souvenirs. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run out of cash while walking around Shanghai. (ATM fees there are quite high. I’ve paid USD 15+ per withdrawal at some banks.)
4. Two Go Shanghai Card Sightseeing Pass Options
Whether you’re an all-day sightseer or someone who enjoys a leisurely pace, there’s a Go Shanghai pass for you.
The All-Inclusive option allows users to visit all of the available Shanghai attractions (currently 14 – see full list below) at a reduced cost. The benefit to the All-Inclusive pass is that you can make last-minute decisions about which attractions to visit.
The All-Inclusive pass is available in 1-day, 2-day, and 3-day increments, but needs to be used on consecutive calendar days. Visiting your first attraction activates your card.
The Explorer Pass is another great option for people who know exactly which attractions they’d like to visit. Choose from 3-attraction, 4-attraction, and 5-attraction options among the 14 attractions available to Go Shanghai pass holders and save up to 40% off of gate pricing.
The Explorer Pass is usable for 30 days after the first activation, so you don’t have to cram sightseeing into a set number of days.
5. Instant Digital Delivery
It’s possible to buy Go Shanghai online and immediately print a pass to use. Or, you can store your pass on the Go City app for Android and Apple.
While you can use the Go Shanghai on the app, I would also print it to in case you need to slide it through a ticket booth window to an attendant (who might need to take it somewhere for verification).
6. Risk-Free Guarantee
If you buy Go Shanghai and wind up not using it, you have 30 days from your purchase date to return any non-activated or unused passes for a full refund.
7. Free Online Guide
The downloadable, digital Shanghai guide (currently available in English) comes with each Go Shanghai order.
How I’d Use Go Shanghai
Many of Shanghai’s best hotels are on the Pudong side within a 10-minute walk or less to the four towers on the Go Shanghai Card.
No matter which Go Shanghai options you choose, to get the most value out of the card, you must visit the Oriental Pearl Tower. It’s the most expensive ticket of any of the included attractions.
The good news? Oriental Pearl Tower is one of the best Shanghai attractions and it’s worth taking the time to explore its three sections, including the glass floor viewing deck. Kids love the arcade and VR rollercoaster. There are many shops and places to eat on the ground floor once you enter. You’ll need two-three hours here.
The Oriental Pearl Tower (the ironic TV tower in the hero shots of Shanghai) is behind me as I took the above photo on Lujiazui Ring Road. This means visiting all towers on the same day is possible as they’re within walking distance of each other. Go to Oriental Pearl Tower first (ideally right at opening on a weekday) as the ticket booth line can be long and it’s not a part of Go Shanghai. The other observation decks do not take as long to visit. Maybe plan an hour or two for each.
If on a short trip to Shanghai, I’d see Oriental Pearl Tower, Shanghai World Financial Center or Shanghai Tower (or both), and Jin Mao Tower (will be fast with expedited entry).
Then, I’d also highly recommend a Bund river cruise, and the one on Go Shanghai departs from Huangpu close to Yu Yuan Gardens, one of my favorite shopping areas, though touristy. It’s free to walk around the shops and places to eat, but you’ll want to enter the gardens. Avid sightseers can do all of this on the same (long) day.
Or, I would split that itinerary up into two days using an All-Inclusive Pass. Do the towers in Pudong on one day. Then, meet the Hop-on, Hop-off bus at the end of the pedestrianized part of Nanjing Road. Enjoy the city’s best sights and then hop off at Yu Yuan Garden and then catch the Bund Cruise. Or, take the Hop-on, Hop-off bus back to Nanjing Road at the end of the day. Madame Tussauds is right across the street from the bus stop.
Happy Valley Theme Park is also fun for kids. You’ll need a full day for this adventure and note that it has seasonal hours.
There is currently no lower, child pricing for the Go Shanghai Card. Each individual must buy the pass at the single, specified price.
I suspect there are a few reasons for this, primarily, unlike in the United States, children’s tickets in China are based on height and not age. Usually, children below 1 meter are free, but this varies by attraction. Sometimes they’re 50% off if they are between 1 and 1.4 meters. Kids over 1.4 meters no matter how old they are, require adult tickets. My daughter has been an adult for China sightseeing purposes since she was nine or ten. You can refer to my list of things to do in Shanghai with kids.
If you think your child might qualify for a child ticket, then this is something you can secure at the ticket window when you present your Go Shanghai Card.
If you’ve used the Go Shanghai Card, please share your experience.