Shanghai summers are stiflingly hot and humid, and not immune to the occasional typhoon. Coupled with the swarming numbers of visitors that come during the summer high season, the months between June and September can be especially trying.
If you can swing it, plan a visit during the shoulder season, which coincides with spring (March through May) and fall (October through November). If the dual benefits of fewer people and lower travel costs aren’t enticing enough, the nicer weather should help seal the deal. Spring is cool and moist while fall tends to be temperate and dry.
Chinese National Holidays¬—May Day (May 1) and National Day (October 1)¬¬—are also popular travel dates. Many Chinese citizens hit the roads for a few days, so expect roads and public transportation to get very congested during these times.
Low season falls during winter, when it’s cold and damp. Though it rarely snows or dips below 30 degrees, the chilliness is enough to keep people indoors most of the time. Winter is one of the best times to shop in Shanghai; rumor has it the shops on Nanjing Road give the best deals during this time. Though Shanghai’s pace slows in winter, you still get the routine holiday travel spikes around New Year’s Eve and February’s Chinese New Year.