Things to do in
Shanghai

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Our most recommended things to do in Shanghai

Shanghai: 3-Hour Local Food Tasting Tour

1. Shanghai: 3-Hour Local Food Tasting Tour

Explore the local restaurant scene of Shanghai on a 3-hour food tasting tour of the city center. Start in the Xintiandi area to taste one of the best dumpling soups in the city. Then, go to the Yunnan Road to sit down at 3 different restaurants and a dessert shop. Marvel at the change in architecture as you move from the French Concession to the shikumen-style buildings that combine western and Chinese elements. Sample authentic dishes such as parched chicken, red-braised pork, scallion oil noodles, candied lotus rice and moon cakes. Try a cup of Longjing green tea or Fujian black tea and get a local insight into life in Shanghai.

Shanghai: City Lights and Huangpu River Cruise Night Tour

2. Shanghai: City Lights and Huangpu River Cruise Night Tour

First, you will stop at the Nanjing Road, where you will take a quick stroll. After that, you will take the evening cruise on the Huangpu River. On the cruise, you can see both sides of the river, Pu Dong and Pu Xi, which means “East River” and “West River”. Then, you will have the chance to walk along the Bund, which is known for its international architecture. Here, there are a lot of chic pubs and restaurants in old historic buildings. Afterwards, you will transfer to the Pudong side to enjoy the wonderful view of the newly developed commercial part of Shanghai city. Here, you can spend time on your own or continue back to your starting point.

Shanghai: Zhujiajiao UNESCO Water Town Afternoon Tour

3. Shanghai: Zhujiajiao UNESCO Water Town Afternoon Tour

You can either make your own way to the meeting point or be collected at your accommodation. Board the bus and leave Shanghai. Head to the oldest and most well-protected water village in China.  Located 16 miles west of downtown Shanghai, Zhujiajiao water village is 400 years old and is one of the city’s best-kept secrets. Discover the picturesque canals and rivers and admire the large Dian Shan Lake. Take the opportunity to go shopping, take a stroll, and explore this beautiful village. Try some local street food and be amazed by the tastes. You can even practice your bargaining skills at the local shops. After spending three hours taking in the local culture, you will return to downtown Shanghai for approximately 6:30 PM.

Private Day Tour to Wuxi Lingshan Grand Buddha and Tai Lake

4. Private Day Tour to Wuxi Lingshan Grand Buddha and Tai Lake

In the morning, your private tour guide and driver will pick you up from your hotel lobby at 8:00am. After a 3-hour drive, you will arrive at the Lingshan Grand Buddha, which is the number one attraction in Wuxi. It stands 88 meters tall and is the tallest bronze Buddha in the world. You will develop a comprehensive understanding about Buddhism and you can admire the Nine Dragons Bathing Shakyamuni and Ode to Auspice in Brahma Palace. Visit the Five Mudra Mandala and touch the largest Buddha's hand, which is said to bring you good fortune and longevity. Then you will have a vegetarian buffet lunch in the temple. After the spiritual tour, it is time to relax your body and mind with breathtaking natural scenery. You will have a walk along the northern bank of Taihu Lake. Taihu Lake is another of Wuxi’s Icons and is the third largest freshwater lake in China. You will then return to your hotel after the walk.

From Shanghai: Suzhou & Zhouzhuang Water Town with Boat Ride

5. From Shanghai: Suzhou & Zhouzhuang Water Town with Boat Ride

Discover two picturesque Chinese towns, Suzhou and Zhouzhuang, each with its own unique characteristics. Founded in around 600 BC, Suzhou is one of the oldest settlements in the Yangtze basin. Its neighborhoods and interconnected waterways are truly a masterpiece. Suzhou was one of the few cities in China to escape the ravages of the Cultural Revolution, its celebrated gardens miraculously surviving largely intact. Visit the Master of Nets Garden, the Silk Embroidery Research Institute, the Grand Canal and a silk factory while in Suzhou. After a traditional Chinese lunch, you'll travel to Zhouzhuang. Well known for its beautiful natural environment and simple architecture, this city has remained remarkably well-preserved for over 900 years. The majority of the town's residences were built during the Ming and Qing dynasties, with nearly 100 classic courtyards and 60 carved-brick archways from those periods still in use. Travel by boat through the city’s waterways and past classic Zhouzhuang dwellings before returning to Shanghai. Immerse yourself in the history of Shanghai with the assistance of your own personal guide.

Shanghai Day Tour: Yu Yuan Gardens and the Shanghai Museum

6. Shanghai Day Tour: Yu Yuan Gardens and the Shanghai Museum

Begin with a visit to the Yuyuan Garden, a classic creation of the Ming Dynasty, before exploring the old streets of Shanghai dating back to the Qing Dynasty. Immerse yourself in the Shanghai Museum of Ancient Chinese Art, where a collection of more than 120,000 precious and rare works dazzles visitors, making it the most remarkable cultural institution in the city. Before lunch, visit the famous Silk Museum. After sampling local cuisine at lunchtime, enter the hallowed Jade Buddha Temple and marvel at priceless jade statues from Burma. Next up, enjoy a tour of the famous Bund, also known as the International Architecture Exhibition. Pause at one of the world's best pearl stores on route to Xin Tian Di, a stylish nightlife district with many boutiques, pubs and restaurants. Please note that Yuyuan Garden is closed on Mondays, so you will visit Confucius Temple instead. You will still visit the surrounding area of Yuyuan Garden, such as Shanghai Old Street and the Nine-Zigzag Bridge. Shanghai Museum is also closed on Mondays, so you will visit Shikumen Wulixiang Museum instead.

From Shanghai: Hangzhou, West Lake Cruise and Tea Plantation

7. From Shanghai: Hangzhou, West Lake Cruise and Tea Plantation

With its inviting views and outstanding scenery, Hangzhou is one of the leading tourist destinations in all of China. It is a city rich with history and was once the capital of China in the 12th Century. After a 3-hour drive, you will first cruise across the West Lake to view unforgettable scenery such as the Three Pools Mirroring the Moon, the Bai Causeway and Solitary Hill. After a traditional Chinese lunch, you will visit Guo’s Villa, one of the best traditional private gardens in the city. Hangzhou is also famous for its Dragon Well tea and you can discover the history of Chinese tea and the traditional tea ceremony on a visit to the Meijiawu Tea Village. Before returning to Shanghai, you will enjoy a drive along the Qiantang River where you can view the Liuhe Pagoda, also known as the Six Harmonies Pagoda. On this tour, you can immerse yourself in the history of Shanghai with the assistance of your own personal guide.

Shanghai Highlights and Zhujiajiao Water Town Private Tour

8. Shanghai Highlights and Zhujiajiao Water Town Private Tour

Benefit from pick-up at your hotel or the cruise port, and then explore Shanghai with a private guide and driver. Marvel at the historic buildings of The Bund along the banks of the Huangpu River. Get sweeping views of both sides of the river before making your way to Yu Yuan Garden. Located by the City God Temple in the Old City, the traditional garden was built during the Ming Dynasty and features dozens of monuments, pagoda temples and water features. See an old Shanghai street from the Qing Dynasty and more. Continue to the former French Concession and explore the charming neighborhood established when the city was a French settlement. Next, visit the 400-year-old Zhujiajiao Water Town to see why its' often referred to as the Venice of the Orient. Enjoy lunch in a famous Chinese restaurant, and then take a boat ride to get a sense of traditional life in southern China. Stroll the old alleyways to see more buildings and bridges, and get some time to shop before the drive back to Shanghai.

Shanghai: Private Tour of the Shanghai Museum

9. Shanghai: Private Tour of the Shanghai Museum

Explore one of the best museums in Shanghai on a 3-hour guided tour of the Shanghai Museum. Learn about the ancient stories of Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans while taking in the stunning atmosphere.  Meet your guide and enter the museum before exploring the long history of China with thousands of masterpieces of ancient Chinese artworks. Some were even made 3000 years ago.  Witness the creativeness of the ancient Chinese and find all different shapes of wine cups here, whether shaped like a dog or a human being.  See the ceramics, calligraphy, bronze objects, and many other elements together with your guide. Whether you are an archaeology and history fan, or not, you can have a lot of fun on this tour.

Shanghai: 1-way Transfer to/from Hongqiao or Pudong Airport

10. Shanghai: 1-way Transfer to/from Hongqiao or Pudong Airport

An airport transfer is the first thing you need to consider when you visit a place. The transfer service allows you to be picked up from the airport when you arrive at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA) or Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG). Alternatively, you can get picked up from your downtown hotel and transferred to either airport.  The driver will provide a meet and greet service. On arrival, a name board will be waiting for you at the arrival hall of the airport, or at hotel lobby if you chose the departure transfer. You can enjoy a car, van or even coach trip, depending on your group size.

Frequently asked questions about Shanghai

What top attractions are a must-see in Shanghai?

Planning Your Visit

  • When to go

    The fall months are the mildest, temperature-wise. Winter gets cold, but is not particularly snowy.

  • Market scams

    Beware of buying precious minerals like pearl necklaces and jade ornaments from markets - it is common that these are not the real deal.

  • English newspaper

    Check out the English-language newspaper, Shanghai Daily, to see what's going on in the city.

  • Pollution

    If you suffer from respiratory issues, look into purchasing a mask that covers your nose and mouth before your trip, as the air pollution concentration in Shanghai is very high.

Good to know

  • Language
    Mandarin
  • Currency
    RNB or Yuan (¥)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+08:00)
  • Country Code
    +86
  • Best time to visit
    May through October is the most mild weather, but also the busiest time for Shanghai. Late March and October are ideal for weather and avoiding the peak times for tourists and business travelers.

Other Sightseeing Options in Shanghai

Want to discover all there is to do in Shanghai? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Shanghai

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 913 reviews

I had one of the best sightseeing tours. I left all the planning to Tom and he came up trumps. During these Covid times he had planned ahead to ensure we could enter all the attractions I wanted to see. He was knowledgeable, relaxed and easy to talk to. I look forward to my next trip to Shanghai when I will book Tom again. I will also recommend him to friends and colleagues who visit Shanghai too.

Tom was an amazing tour guide who was flexible and wonderfully knowledgeable. He communicates so well both before and during the tour I learned so much from him about the local history and even the plans for the city in the future. Would definitely recommend you book his tour! (I travel extensively and he is one of the best most knowledgeable guides I’ve ever had!)

Our guide Tom was so informative. We learnt so much about Shanghai and their culture and history. We had some requirements which got sorted to make it a great experience. We got so much out of it in such a short time

Tom is a great guide. Vast knowledge about history, but also gives interesting facts about Chinese lifestyle. I enjoyed every moment. Definitely will recommend.

Tom was an amazing guide and he incredibly informative!