Shanghai's best indoor activities for a rainy day

Best ways to keep you active during rainy days or throughout winter

Photograph: aujschue via flickr
Shanghai may be a city of al fresco happy hours, scenic cycle routes and wonderful art walks, but we all know it is a city that's prone to more than its fair share of rain. Too wet to brave the outdoors today? We've rounded up Shanghai's best indoor activities for when the weather outside is truly miserable.


Escape the rain with bats, balls and beers at Cages

Escape the rain with bats, balls and beers at Cages

Cages Bar and Sports is the ultimate rainy day hangout. Try out the batting cages, where you’ve got a pick of either slow-pitch softball or baseball at 50-70km per hour speeds. If you’re keen on the classics, there are pool tables, dart boards (electronic and standard), foosball and corn hole. Or climb inside some large inflatable balls for Cages’ now-notorious ‘bubble football’. They also screen live sporting events, the bar is well stocked with a variety of alcoholic beverages, and they also serve a range of classic American sports bar-style snacks.

Laser tag and more at Big E

Laser tag and more at Big E

Shanghai has seen laser tag venues with built in bars (thanks to X Club) and even golfing bars (thanks to the now closed Urban 18). However, a concept that combined all three had not yet been dared until Big E came along. Calling itself ‘China’s first themed entertainment centre’. Co-created by Eric Oetting, a partner at popular Jinxian Lu Belgian bar De Refter, Big E is located right outside Dongchang Lu metro station, one stop east of Lujiazui (follow signs from Exit 3). Seek refuge from the Shanghai rain with mini golf, laser tag, KTV and more.

Shoot stuff at East Shanghai Shooting and Archery Club

Shoot stuff at East Shanghai Shooting and Archery Club

One of the benefits of China’s sometimes lax attitudes towards security is that you can gain use of a firearm here by simply showing a cashier a scan of your passport. If that sounds like something you'd be interested in upon a rainy afternoon, check out East Shanghai Shooting and Archery Club. Once you’ve done that you get to choose from a Baikal rifle or a Sig Sauer, Beretta 87 .22, Walther or Pardini pistol and slug out bullets at a paper target in a ramshackle range. It's 116RMB for six rounds with one of the large guns, 100RMB for ten rounds for the Walther, or 120RMB for ten rounds with the Pardini. Great fun but for novices it’ll take at least ten shots to get your schema sorted, so the bullet costs soon add up. A more wallet-friendly option is the archery range, where it’s 25RMB for 12 arrows.

Solve puzzles against the clock at Mr X

Solve puzzles against the clock at Mr X

Mr X (Jumen Lu and Ding Xi Lu) sees punters locked in dark rooms with torches, stripped of their bags and phones and given an hour to solve puzzles as they move from room to room. Both branches offer similar room series with names such as ‘Mysterious Night’, ‘Final Judgement’, ‘Angel Island’ and ‘Death Race’; we tried Final Judgement at the Dingxi Lu branch. It involved code breaking, key-finding, laser beam-dodging and more; we wouldn’t want to ruin the surprises but overall it was as fun as appearing on classic British game show The Crystal Maze probably would have been. It’s worth making sure you’ve got at least one Mandarin speaker in your team to translate the basic instructions.

Climb some rocks and stuff

Climb some rocks and stuff

Climbing is the hottest upcoming sport of this decade (sorry Ultimate frisbee) and it’s about to make it’s big debut as an Olympic sport in Tokyo 2020. Whether you go for the high-flying, endurance straining rope climbs, or if you prefer to climb while staying lower to the ground, no harness/al fresco, with a thick mat to cushion any falls, Shanghai has a decent number of climbing gyms that you can enjoy while the weather outside is frightful. 

Sing in the rain... sort of

Sing in the rain... sort of

Everyone loves a bit of KTV, and there's no better time to belt out some classics than when it's raining outside. Rainy day appropriate songs could include 'Umbrella', Rihanna ft Jay-Z, 'Rain Drops Keep Fallin' On My Head', B.J.Thomas, 'Purple Rain', Prince and of course 'Singin' In The Rain' from the musical of the same name. Here's our round up of Shanghai's best KTV spots.

Get a massage

Get a massage

Coupled with the relaxing sound of rain falling outside, nothing will help you unwind like a quality massage. In a city littered with spas, it can be tough to find the best value for money Opt for tuina, or Chinese-style massage, and you can relax and rejuvenate for under 100RMB. Here's our selection of some of the city's best and cheapest.

Go bowling

Go bowling

Orden Bowling Centre is pretty much the go-to alley for anyone looking to bowl a few pins in downtown Shanghai, and for very good reason: its 16 lanes are open all hours; early noughties tunes blast through the speakers; there are cold tins of Tsingtao at (an albeit slightly pricey) 15RMB a pop; and there are pool tables and arcade games for anyone bowling too many gutter balls. Game prices range between 18RMB (1am-midday Monday-Friday) and 40RMB (6pm-2am Friday-Sunday), with weekday peak and weekend off-peak hours falling in between. Shoe rental is 5RMB. Just be warned, you might have to wait for a lane if you turn up at peak times. 


Jump around

Jump around

This massive 5,550 sqm indoor space, the second property owned by Jump 360 after their existing Minhang branch, is full of dozens of trampolines, foam pits and obstacle courses. ‘This sounds like something for kids’ might be the gut reaction to something like this, but you’d be wrong to assume so. There is a child-friendly area, but much of the space is geared towards adults, with two obstacle courses (the Ninja Course and the Warrior Course) as well as a Parkour Zone if you’re into free-running. 

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