The Bund, Shanghai
Concierge.com's insider take:
This stretch of Zhong Shan Dong Yi Lu, on the western bank of the Huangpu River, was once home to the Wall Street of Asia. The grand mansions were built as headquarters for British, French, American, Russian, and Japanese banking institutions that had established themselves in the city following the Opium Wars in the 1840s, when Shanghai was opened up to foreign trade. The hodgepodge of architectural stylesArt Deco, Gothic, Renaissance, Romanesque, and neoclassicalillustrates the many foreign influences. On the promenade, locals gather at dawn to practice kung fu, qigong, and tai chi, as well as ballroom dancing. The rest of the day, snap-happy tourists take pictures of one another in front of the Pudong skyline across the water, or catch a scenic riverboat tour. The Bund underwent major relandscaping ahead of the 2010 World Expo, connecting it to river taxi stops that go to the Expo site and channeling traffic underground.