The city of Shanghai, located on the central coast of eastern China, is the largest city by population in all of China, and the second largest in the world, with more than 24 million people living there. It’s also a major financial and commercial hub, as well as a city with a rich history, having been settled over 6,000 years ago, and been a city for almost 800 years.
It is home to some amazing tourist attractions, cuisine, shopping, culture, and much more, making it one of the top tourist destinations in China.
Popular places to visit in Shanghai include Disneyland Shanghai, the Shanghai Zoo, Yuyuan Garden, the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Shanghai Tower, the World Financial Center, the Huangpu River, The Bund, The Jade Buddha Temple, the Jing’an Temple, and many museums and cultural centers throughout the area.
As a coastal city, however, it’s important to keep the climate and Shanghai weather in mind when planning your tour or trip, to optimize your schedule and the quality of sightseeing that you can do while you are there.
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Best Time to Visit Shanghai
Based on the annual calendar, and Shanghai weather patterns, the best time to visit Shanghai is the autumn months. It’s cooler and less humid, while not being too cold, so that you can do a lot outside without getting tired out, without feeling sticky or sweaty, and without the need to bundle up in big coats or heavy clothes. At the same time, the rain decreases and you have the largest percentage of days of the entire year without precipitation, which is ideal for visiting Shanghai.
So many of the things to see and do in Shanghai are outdoors, on the river, and so on, it’s ideal if you are not constantly getting drenched during your visit. And autumn is definitely the best time to avoid heavy precipitation or oppressive heat and humidity.
Despite this, many people still tend to travel in the summer. This is especially true of foreign nationals from countries where children are out of school in the summer months, as this is an ideal time to travel as a family. It’s just not the best time to visit Shanghai in the context of Shanghai weather.
Save yourself some trouble and avoid the crowds by visiting in September, October, or November to enjoy all that Shanghai has to offer, without uncomfortable heat or humidity, and without getting rained on constantly.
We’ve tried to highlight this point even further by putting our earlier Shanghai weather and climate data into a graphic form, so you can plainly see the advantages of visiting during the autumn. That’s not to say you can’t visit at other times of the year – millions of people live and work through all weather and climate in Shanghai, after all. But for the best vacation or tour of China, then autumn is your ideal choice for the best time to visit Shanghai, without question.
Shanghai Weather and Climate
In terms of climate, Shanghai has a coastal climate, being situated on the ocean, that is classified as a humid subtropical type. Winters are cold though with minimal snowfall or accumulation, with temperatures buoyed by the ocean currents (though cold winds from Siberia do come into play). The summer is hot and humid, with heavy rainfall possible and thunderstorms, typhoons, and other natural weather phenomena.
Fortunately, no major typhoons have caused widespread damage for Shanghai in recent memory, and with typhoons as a known quantity, much of the modern building spree that has transformed the skyline of Shanghai has been done with typhoons (and earthquakes and other natural disasters) in mind.
Spring and autumn are more temperate, with rains still common throughout the spring. But the spring weather is largely changeable – it can be sunny and clear and end up changing to cloudy and rainy in a relatively short time.
Most of Shanghai is situated between the coast and around the Huangpu River, and is rather low and flat in elevation, which accounts for the humidity and heat in the summer. The air quality is not the greatest in Shanghai, as in many other major Chinese cities.
The best air quality is found during the summer and early autumn months, with the worst being during the winter months. This is both a function of the massive amount of fuel being burned for heating during winter months, as well as a function of Shanghai weather patterns, precipitation, winds, and other factors.
As for Shanghai weather, winter sees little snowfall, with rain falling more often than not, and only a few days of snow a year. Spring sees several inches of rain, with a mix of sunny and cloudy days that can change rapidly. Summer is hot and can be oppressive due to the high humidity.
Thunderstorms tend to pop up in these conditions, and late summer sees some of the heaviest rain that Shanghai receives. The wettest months are typically June and August. Moving into the autumn months, however, the Shanghai weather tends to moderate. The temperatures remain mild, sun is abundant, and rainfall drops to only an inch or two per month, with, on average, less than 25% of the days in autumn having any precipitation at all.
We’ve summarized the average high and low temperature, rainfall, and days of precipitation for each month below, based on data from the Chinese Meteorological Administration. We’ll also show it in graph form in the next section, regarding the best time to visit Shanghai based on Shanghai weather.
Recommended Tours With Trippest
Whether your time is limited or you just want to experience the most authentic history and culture, Trippest has prepared some boutique tours (mini group tours with no more than 6 travelers) for you: