Welcome to the future. China’s largest megacity isn’t just an urban blueprint for other Chinese cities to emulate. Its soaring skyline, myriad fine dining choices, en vogue fashions and unabashed penchant for partying showcase Shanghai’s wholehearted embrace of the finer side of life. This is nothing new, of course. Back in its 1930s “Pearl of the Orient” heyday, Shanghai’s decadent dance halls, rooftop restaurants, fine hotels and department stores were the envy of Asia. Today, its best pleasures reside at the intersection of past and present. Look beyond the modern skyscrapers, and you’ll find magnificent European mansions and traditional “lilong” laneways. For every restaurant run by a celebrity chef, there are also numerous streetside cafes serving delicious Shanghainese cuisine. And while the Art Deco aesthetic of the Jazz Age is evident everywhere, avant-garde artists are creating contemporary artworks about life in this century and beyond. If you enjoy the thrills of high-octane urban living, strap yourself in and prepare for the ride of a lifetime.