Walking Tour of Shanghai's Huangpu District, Shanghai

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.
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.

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Walking Tour of Shanghai's Huangpu District Map

Guide Name: Walking Tour of Shanghai's Huangpu District
Guide Location: China » Shanghai (See other walking tours in Shanghai)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 7 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 19.3 km
Author: emma
People's Square

1) People's Square (must see)

The Shanghai People’s Square is a large open space which was once the Shanghai Race Course. Today it is a parade ground and public square adjacent to the headquarters of the city's municipal government.

The Shanghai People’s Square is on the site of what was once the finest racecourse in Asia. The ruins of the grand race club are still visible and some buildings now house the Shanghai Art Museum. In 1949, the communist government banned racing and gambling. It was converted into a public square and spectator stands were erected for viewing parades. Part of the race track became a large open green space called the People’s Park.

The Shanghai People’s Square covers an area of 130,700 square meters. It is surrounded by many important buildings and hotels including the Shanghai City Hall, the Museum, the Grand Theatre, the Urban Planning Exhibition Hall, the Park Hotel Shanghai, and the Radisson. There is an underground shopping mall with major departmental stores, a large underground garage and a 320 sq. meter water fountain at the center. The Shanghai people’s square is an important sightseeing landmark of the city and venue for important cultural, political and commercial events all year through.

Why You Should Visit:
Beautiful skylines all around and clean areas to walk.

The big draw here is apparently the Marriage Market, but it only happens on the weekends.
There's a big shopping mall with a great food court in the underground if you're peckish.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Shanghai Museum

2) 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
Shanghai Grand Theatre

3) Shanghai Grand Theatre (must see)

The Shanghai Grand Theatre is the venue of most major Chinese and international music performances and art shows in the City. The modern structure with a unique curved roof resembles a crystal palace when lighted at night.

The theatre has 10 floors and is located at the northern end of the People’s Square. It was designed by French architect, Jean-Marie Charpentier, and inaugurated in 1998. It has three large auditoriums, of which the largest hosts ballets, concerts and operas including traditional Chinese opera performances by the China National Peking Opera Company. The smaller auditoriums are used for chamber music performances, to stage plays and for fashion shows. The lobby has an area of 2000 sq meters with a Greece Crystal White marble floor. The theater has one of the world’s largest automatic stages with advanced lighting and stereo equipment.

The Grand Theatre has hosted performances by world famous opera singers, ballet companies and European Symphony orchestras. It is also the venue for many art festivals and events including the China Shanghai International Art Festival and the SCO Members Art Festival. The Shanghai International Film Festival takes place yearly and the theater is the venue for many international culture shows.

Why You Should Visit:
One of the popular and most photographed buildings in Shanghai.
Very near to the Shanghai Museum, so you can probably visit both.
Sight description based on wikipedia
China Art Museum

4) 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
Urban Planning Exhibition Center

5) 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
Nanjing Lu (Nanjing Road)

6) Nanjing Lu (Nanjing Road) (must see)

Nanjing Lu in Shanghai is the world’s longest and busiest pedestrian shopping street. It attracts over a million visitors every day and has all types of stores from the upscale to the quaint.

The road begins at the Bund in the East and ends at the People’s Square in the West. It was established in 1845 by the British and was called Park Lane. In the 1900s, eight big stores were located here and later franchises of many major British stores set up shop. The road saw little development after the international settlement in Shanghai was annulled. In the year 2000, the local government converted it into a pedestrian street when Shanghai was modernized to attract tourists.

Today, Nanjing Lu is a hub of activity in Shanghai. 600 international business establishments offer a range of products including upscale fashions and well-known brands like Tiffany and Mont Blanc. There are also food chains franchises, open-air bars, and fine dining restaurants. Street musicians add to the festive atmosphere of the street. Visitors can take a relaxed trip on a trackless train enjoying the sights and sounds of the busy street by day or taking in the neon signs and illuminated skyline by night.

Why You Should Visit:
It's a fun sight to watch, especially at night, when all the malls lay side by side trying to grasp your attention by lighting up all the lights and countless screens they have on them.
What's more amazing is the stark contrast of old world Art Deco charm on one side of the street while the modern designs of the new malls wow you with their stunning lines and transparency.

The newer malls are actually worth exploring as they reflect a side of modern Chinese millennials and their pursuits in cute (yes, literally cute) luxury items.
On a foodie note, try the food court in the New World City Plaza mall. Huge, pretty, clean, numerous stores, good prices. And the LEGO shop on its ground floor is a haven for LEGO lovers.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Holy Trinity Cathedral

7) Holy Trinity Cathedral

The Holy Trinity Cathedral was the principal place of worship for British expatriates who flocked to Shanghai after victory in the Opium wars. Recently, extensive repairs were undertaken and the interiors have been restored to its former grandeur.

Construction of the Holy Trinity Church was started in 1866 and completed in 1869. Sir George Gilbert Scott, the famous Neo Gothic architect formulated the design and the construction was supervised by his student William Kidner. He changed the original plans to reduce the cost of construction and to seat an increasing congregation. The organ installed in 1914, was at the time, the biggest in Asia. There was a school for boys attached to the church where the author J.G.Ballard was a student. He recounts his childhood days in Shanghai and describes the cathedral in the novel, Empire of the Sun. The Shanghai Scout movement of Baden Powell began in the cathedral building.

The building was damaged during the Cultural Revolution and the spire destroyed. It was converted into a cinema. A stage was erected and the brickwork painted over. In 2006, the building was returned to the church. With funds received from the UK and America, the Chinese architectural design company Zhang Ming restored the interiors and installed new carved teak pews.
The Bund

8) The Bund (must see)

Once the principal financial hub of China and the Far East, the Bund forms part of Zhongshan Road in Shanghai. All major institutions of the former international settlement stood here and the 52 buildings along the waterfront have an array of European architectural styles.

The Bund comes from the Indian word for embankment. The Bund of Shanghai is on the western bank of the Huang Pu River starting from the Waibadu Bridge to the Nanpu Bridge. When Shanghai was a major trade center, European banks and financial institutions were located at the Bund. It was also the location of the consulates of Russia and Britain, an English club and a Masonic lodge. A 771-meter retaining wall runs along the bank of the river. Railings were placed on top of the wall and a promenade was designed alongside.

The embankment had many statues of prominent colonial and European statesmen before the communist victory in the Chinese Civil War. Today, there is a bronze statue of Chen Yi – the first mayor of Shanghai after the communist takeover, at the Nanjing Road intersection – and a Monument to the People’s Heroes at the Northern end.

The Bund area was restored to attract tourism in the 1990s and today visitors can walk along this stretch of Europe in Shanghai and take in views of the Huang Pu River.

Why You Should Visit:
If you want to understand why China has become a world financial center, this must be the place to start.

The western Bund is older and has impressive colonial-style buildings, chief of which must be the Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank building and the Lighthouse Tower.
The eastern Pudong side is where most of the modern skyscrapers are located: these are colorful and of different shapes & heights and where the evening light show is most impressive.
Be sure to be there after sunset, but before 10pm when the lights shut off. There are also many piers from which you can hop onto the river cruise or some smaller boat tours.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Hongkew Methodist Church

9) Hongkew Methodist Church

Hongkew Methodist Church, also known as Jingling Church, is an American Missionary institution in Shanghai. It is housed in a red-brick building that was constructed in 1923. The structure features familiar Western-style architecture and receives more than 2000 prayers each week.
Hongde Tang

10) Hongde Tang

Hongde Church stands along Doulun road, a pedestrian street famous for its shops and touristic spots. This street is a perfect example of the 20th century architectural style of Shanghai, of which Hongde Tang is a notable part. Built in 1928, in a fusion of Chinese and Western styles, this Christian site is the only church of Shanghai with temple-like features. This gorgeous building is a famous spot for newlyweds to take wedding pictures.

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
Places of Worship in Shanghai

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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
Luwan District Walking Tour, Shanghai

Luwan District Walking Tour, Shanghai

The Luwan district is located in the core of the huge metropolitan city of Shanghai. It boasts a rich cultural life, featuring museums and historic centers. Be sure to follow this guide if you want to visit the Site of the First National Congress of the Communist Party, Sun Yat Sen's former residence and many other interesting places.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 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
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
Children's Entertainment Tour in Shanghai

Children's Entertainment Tour in Shanghai

Shanghai is one of the largest cities in the world, a destination packed with modern architecture, historic sites, museums and other attractions. It is also one of the most fun cities in China with attractions for children, including amusement parks, aquariums and one of China's best zoos. This tour guide highlights some of the fun places in Shanghai for the little travelers.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 km

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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.