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Shanghai is one of Asia’s most dynamic cities, and one of juxtapositions. It’s divided in two by the Huangpu River—to the west is Puxi and to the east Pudong. Puxi is the city’s downtown and its historic center; on this side of the river, much of the city was historically divided into the famous foreign concessions, and it’s here that much of the shopping, dining and nightlife is concentrated today. Shanghai has more than 30,000 restaurants, from humble soup dumpling spots to formal affairs helmed by Michelin-starred chefs. Its museums, particularly the Shanghai Museum with its 120,000-strong collection of antiquities, are equally impressive. Pudong is where the city’s major skyscrapers stand, among them the Jin Mao and Oriental Pearl towers.
Nowhere is Shanghai’s rich history and bright future more evident than along the Huangpu River. Stand on the Puxi side and, with the Bund—along which curve Shanghai’s stately early-20th-century heritage buildings—behind you, you can gaze across the river at some of the world’s tallest buildings, soaring skyscrapers that glow nightly, their lights reflected in the river.