Check the weather before you go to Shanghai in July. I didn't, and we sweated through 100 degree weather with 60 percent humidity. (It's the only time I've felt an instinctual physical panic after walking outside for too long.)
Between the heat, the crowds and my phone getting pickpocketed, Shanghai isn't my favorite city in the world. And we found very little to do. Some of that's on me - I didn't plan much of an itinerary. But I came in expecting cyberpunk Hong Kong, but it felt a lot more like Frankfurt.
And though it's the world's largest city, it doesn't really feel like it. (Except on the people mover at the Shanghai Aquarium. It takes you through what's supposedly the largest underwater aquarium. But people were so tightly packed that we skipped out a side exit.)
Part of that is sprawl - traveling to Pudong airport takes you past residential towers the entire way. But part of it's also a lack of developed neighborhoods, at least that we could find. There's no TST or Shinjuku equivalent.
The highlight was the Bund sightseeing tunnel, which takes you underneath the river separating the city. After dusk, when all the people viewing the skyline are trying to find a cab to get to the other side, we found it to be the fastest way to cross the river. It's $5 roundtrip and takes you from "the edge of the galaxy to the center of the earth and back to outerspace," all in a cheesy underground lightshow.
None of it makes any sense. That's more what I expected out of Shanghai.