Shanghai Museums Tour, Shanghai

With its architectural diversity, powerful economic hubs and a vibrant social life, Shanghai is highly recognized as the symbol of modern China. It is also a city boasting a rich culture and a large number of museums that show the city's devotion to its history. Get ready to explore some attractive cultural sites of Shanghai in the next self-guided tour.
You can follow this self-guided walking tour to explore the attractions listed below. How it works: download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Shanghai Museums Tour Map

Guide Name: Shanghai Museums Tour
Guide Location: China » Shanghai (See other walking tours in Shanghai)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 5 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 14.5 km
Author: emma
Shanghai Museum

1) Shanghai Museum (must see)

The Shanghai Museum has the best display of Chinese art and cultural exhibits in China, boasting a collection of over 120,000 exhibits from almost all the dynasties that added to the country's vast culture and history.

The first Shanghai Museum opened in 1952 in the clubhouse of the former Shanghai Race Course. The present building located in the People’s Square was inaugurated in 1996. The museum has five floors and an area of 39,200 sq meters. It was designed by local architect, Xing Tonghe in the shape of an ancient Chinese cooking vessel called the Ding with a round top and square base.

The museum has eleven galleries and three exhibition halls. The exhibits are grouped as ancient, bronze, ancient ceramics, paintings, calligraphy, ancient sculpture, coins, seals, furniture and artifacts from minority nationalities. There are over 400 objects from Bronze Age China, a wealth of ceramics from every Chinese dynasty, paintings and calligraphy from different eras in Chinese history and Buddhist sculpture. It also has an impressive coin collection that will interest numismatists because China was one of the first countries to use coin and paper currency. A notable rare object at the museum is one of the last three existing transparent mirrors from the Han Dynasty.

Why You Should Visit:
To take a very close and comprehensive look at many of the most ancient, well preserved exquisite artifacts in the world!
All objects are beautifully displayed and you're free to take photos without flash.

Make sure you rent the audio guide – although sometimes information is not available on a specific interesting item, it makes the museum more enjoyable (unless you read Chinese).
Note that you need a passport or some kind of ID as deposit for the headsets.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-5pm (last entry at 4pm)
Free admission
Sight description based on wikipedia
China Art Museum

2) China Art Museum (must see)

Housed in the former China Pavilion of Expo 2010, the China Art Museum, also called the China Art Palace, is one of the largest art museums in Asia, with a collection of about 14,000 artworks, mainly of Chinese modern art.

One of the permanent exhibits is aimed at chronicling the development of contemporary and modern Chinese art, starting with the Shanghai School at the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is divided into three periods (Qing, the Republic of China, and the People's Republic of China) and ten units, covering two floors with more than 6,000 works of art.

The Exhibition for Noted Painters (名家艺术陈列专馆) is a permanent exhibition that showcases works by some of the most famous modern Chinese artists. The first phase features the works of seven artists: He Tianjian, Xie Zhiliu, and Cheng Shifa from the Shanghai School; Lin Fengmian, Guan Liang, and Wu Guanzhong who pioneered the blending of Chinese and Western art styles; and Hua Tianyou, a founder of modern Chinese sculpture.

The Exhibition for Noted Painters is another permanent exhibition, this time around showcasing works by some of the most famous modern Chinese artists. The first phase features the works of seven artists: He Tianjian, Xie Zhiliu, and Cheng Shifa from the Shanghai School; Lin Fengmian, Guan Liang, and Wu Guanzhong who pioneered the blending of Chinese and Western art styles; and Hua Tianyou, a founder of modern Chinese sculpture.

The museum frequently hosts special themed exhibitions. In its first year of operation alone, it hosted more than a dozen special exhibitions including Taiwanese art, the second Shanghai Photography Exhibition, and Gustave Courbet and Jean-François Millet from the collection of the Musée d'Orsay of Paris.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 10am-6pm
Admissions are free except for special exhibitions, which cost 20 yuan.
The museum is closed on Mondays except for national holidays.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA)

3) Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) (must see)

Located near People's Park in Shanghai, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) hosts temporary exhibitions of modern art by Chinese and international artists.

MoCA Shanghai was founded in 2005 by the Samuel Kung Foundation as the first non-profit, independent, contemporary art institution in Shanghai. The glass building that houses the exhibitions is a reworking of the former People's Park Greenhouse by Atelier Liu Yuyang Architects. The ground floor and first level of the museum have a total of 1,800 square meters (19,400 square feet) of exhibition space, with the two levels connected by a sweeping steel ramp. The 3rd floor is host to MoCA on the Park, a full restaurant equipped with rooftop patio and bar.

The museum has focused on the promotion of Chinese and international contemporary art with a set of diverse exhibitions that include both well-known and fledgling contemporary Chinese artists, as well as retrospectives for leading names of the fashion and creative world. More recently, MoCA collaborated with the Korea Foundation to present 'Nostalgia: East Asia Contemporary Art Exhibition', which included works from China, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea. Other international exhibitions include contemporary art from Indonesia, Hungary, Italy, and India, and an exhibition on Finnish Design in collaboration with Marimekko. Furthermore, MoCA holds a biennale, 'MoCA Envisage', which focuses on Chinese contemporary art and considers its recent direction and themes.

Admission fee depends on the specific exhibition, and quality seems variable so best check online before going.

Opening Hours:
Thu-Tue: 10am-6pm; Wed: 10am-10pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Urban Planning Exhibition Center

4) Urban Planning Exhibition Center (must see)

This Exhibition Center is a six-story building, with two basement levels, which displays Shanghai's urban planning and development. The focus of the exhibit is a large scale model of the entirety of urban Shanghai, showing existing buildings and approved future buildings. Other exhibits relate to Shanghai's history and planned development, including smaller scaled models focussing on particular areas of interest such as the Bund. The Exhibition Center also has space for temporary exhibitions with a wide range of subject matter.

The building was designed by architect Ling Benli of the East China Architecture Design and Research Institute. The exterior is covered with white aluminum and the roof has a modernized traditional Chinese design. The shape is that of a white magnolia, the official flower of Shanghai. The structure has received the White Magnolia Cup and the China Luban Cup which is the highest award for architectural design in China.

Why You Should Visit:
To follow Shanghai's development over the years – and it is quite amazing.
Great to see some of the sights of the old city and "then & now" pictures.
You'll also pick lots of tips/facts to share when you get back from your travels.

Take a notebook with you to take notes of the places you want to see.
The view over People's Square from the top floor is definitely not to miss.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 9am-5pm (last admission at 4 pm)
Sight description based on wikipedia
Shanghai Natural History Museum

5) Shanghai Natural History Museum (must see)

Located in what was once the cotton exchange, this is the largest natural history museum in China. It covers an area of 12,880 square meters and is divided into 4 sections.

The Shanghai Natural History Museum is housed in a grand British style colonial building. The stained glass windows in the lobby and mosaic flooring are the only remaining parts of the historic structure. It was converted into a museum in 1956 and the department of animals was opened in 1960. It has 240.000 exhibits consisting of plants, animals, Stone Age objects found in China and minerals. The museum seeks to educate visitors about the evolution of mankind.

One exhibition hall is devoted to objects showcasing the History of the Ancient Animals. There is a stuffed Mamenxi dinosaur placed in the atrium that is over 140 million years old with a length of 22 meters. The Hall of ancient anthropology has objects unearthed and restored to show the stages of evolution. The hall of animals has stuffed Chinese animals and rare species like the Yellow River Mammoth, a giant Salamander, a Giant Panda and an alligator from the Yangtze River. The museum also has a library with an impressive collection of documents and books on natural history.

Why You Should Visit:
Very affordable tickets (but short queue), free lockers to use, clean toilets, comfy in-house cafe with a good selection of food, and an interesting gift shop.
There is also the man-made landscape garden INSIDE the building and even an enclosed terraced garden with waterfalls that gives an awesome atmosphere.

Head to the top first and then work your way down.
Check out the Jing'an Sculpture Park outside the museum – really nice and cool!

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 9am-5:15pm

Walking Tours in Shanghai, China

Create Your Own Walk in Shanghai

Create Your Own Walk in Shanghai

Creating your own self-guided walk in Shanghai is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
The Bund Sightseeing Tour

The Bund Sightseeing Tour

The Bund is one of the most famous attractions in all of Shanghai. It represents the historic and architectural heritage of one of the most important ports in China. This row of 52 beautiful buildings has for decades facilitated economic relations between China and other countries. Take the following tour to get familiar with the historic buildings of the Bund of Shanghai.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 km
City Orientation Walking Tour I

City Orientation Walking Tour I

Unlike other ancient Chinese cities, Shanghai is more to be called the “face of modern China”. Since it was opened as a port for foreign trade, this city managed to turn into the largest and most populated metropolis in the People's Republic of China. It is a famous touristic destination for renowned historical monuments as The Bund or Longhua Temple as well as for Asia's most famous shopping area- Nanjing Lu. Here is a list of other popular attractions that you might want to check out.

Tour Duration: 7 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 17.8 km
City Orientation Walking Tour II

City Orientation Walking Tour II

If you're a collector or someone who simply appreciates a vintage item or two around the house, don't miss out on what Shanghai has to offer. It would be a pity to leave Shanghai without having explored its antiques shops and bringing home something truly authentic. We've compiled a list of shops that specialize in antiques in Shanghai, all within walking distance of the city center.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.9 km
Places of Worship in Shanghai

Places of Worship in Shanghai

The flourishing city of Shanghai is made up of a broad mix of cultures, with a large Western influence. This metropolis features a great number of places of worship that reflect the religious dedications of many of these cultures. Most of the churches and cathedrals are located in the central areas of the city, so they are surrounded by other wonderful, cultural landmarks. With this tour, you will enjoy an architectural and spiritual experience in one of the world's largest cities.

Tour Duration: 4 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 9.7 km
Walking Tour: Old City of Shanghai

Walking Tour: Old City of Shanghai

The Huangpu district contains some of the best-preserved sites of old Shanghai. The old town of Shanghai is a large area that remained walled when this city was divided into foreign concessions. Take a walk around traditional Chinese buildings or make your way through a large open-air market and enjoy the delightful Yuyuan gardens. The next walking tour is all about the delights of Shanghai's old Chinese city.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 km
Walking Tour of Shanghai's Huangpu District

Walking Tour of Shanghai's Huangpu District

The Huangpu district is one of Shanghai's major bustling areas. It is home to a large variety of attractions, both modern and historic. Here in the old city of Shanghai you will see the historic Bund, impressive skyscrapers, museums, theaters and so much more. The next walking tour will highlight some of the best sites the Huangpu district has to offer.

Tour Duration: 7 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 19.3 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

15 Uniquely Chinese Things to Buy in Shanghai

15 Uniquely Chinese Things to Buy in Shanghai

Prepare a Shanghai surprise for your loved ones back home! Bring them a piece of exciting China from one of the country's most iconic destinations. Luckily, the choice of things fit to do the job is enormous. All you need is a knowledgeable advice on where to go to get a fair price and decent...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Shanghai for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Shanghai has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Shanghai, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.