High finance and non-stop entertainment, hectic food markets and refined international cuisine, European-style parks and ornamented Chinese gardens – Shanghai is a glorious mix of contrasts. You only need to explore the city's neighborhoods to see this for yourself, from the Old City's tangle of alleyways, temples, and markets and the French Concession's smart boutiques and stately, colonial-era architecture to the futuristic skyscrapers and decadent nightlife of Pudong. Shanghai is a city of contrasts, then, but also of experiences. The city might lack major landmarks and world-famous sights, but it's the things that you can see, do and experience at neighborhood level that make it such an enthralling and captivating place to be – think clashing architectural styles, promenade walks along the Bund, sizzling, aromatic street food, immaculate Chinese gardens and buzzing nightlife. Shanghai's green spaces are great spots for watching local life play out, too. You can watch early risers practicing t'ai chi in Xuhui Park, young couples exploring the bamboo forest in North Sichuan Road Park, and groups of friends or strangers playing 'daguailuzi' in Huaihai Park. It's probably worth reading up on the rules before attempting to join in.