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Shanghai

Architecture Tours

Our most recommended Shanghai Architecture Tours

From Shanghai: Suzhou & Zhouzhuang Water Town with Boat Ride

1. 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: Private and Personalized Guided Tour

2. Shanghai: Private and Personalized Guided Tour

Book a private tour for 4 or 8 hours and inform the local partner of your preferences so that you can be assigned a like-minded guide to take you around the city. With complete flexibility, follow this itinerary or create your own for a unique Shanghai experience. After meeting your guide at your downtown location, start this 8-hour private tour at the Yu Yuan Garden. Explore the Shanghai Old Street before taking a break in an ancient Chinese tea house. Following tea, head to the People Square to see the City Hall and its surrounding buildings. Stroll along the Xintiandi in the charming former French Concession before enjoying lunch on your own. In the afternoon, marvel at the sacred 19th-century Jade Buddha Temple. Then, head to Bund, which is Shanghai's picturesque waterfront. Admire its soaring skyline and views of the Huangpu River. The last stop is the Pudong Business and Financial Center where all of the main skyscrapers are located. See the tallest building, Shanghai Tower, as well as the Shanghai World Finacial Center, and Jinmao Tower before being helped transfer back to your hotel or chosen downtown location.

Zhouzhuang: Half Day Tour with Zhang Hall and Shen Hall

3. Zhouzhuang: Half Day Tour with Zhang Hall and Shen Hall

Experience the picturesque water town of Zhouzhuang on this delightful half-day tour. With its interconnected waterways and beautiful landscapes, it is often referred to as the number one water town in China. Well-preserved for over 900 years, it is renowned for its elegant and simple architecture. 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. Take in the exquisite ancient architecture of Zhang Hall and Shen Hall, then take a scenic cruise across the old town. After seeing all there is to see of this incredible ancient village, you will return to Shanghai.

Shanghai Day Tour: Yu Yuan Gardens and the Shanghai Museum

4. 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.

Shanghai: Yu Garden and City God Temple Private Walking Tour

5. Shanghai: Yu Garden and City God Temple Private Walking Tour

Get an insider's perspective of the changing scene of Shanghai on a 3-hour guided walking tour that discovers old city sights as well as delicious street food. The tour begins with a visit to Yuyuan Garden, one of the finest private gardens in China, known for its classic landscape architecture. Wander down lively streets filled with local residents, sometimes still dressed in their pajamas. See tiny family-owned shops where you can rummage for bargain items. Then you'll visit the City God Temple, where local residents go to pray for good fortune and peace. The popularity of the temple led to many businesses being set up in the area, turning the surrounding streets into a busy traditional marketplace. Your guide can also take you on a stroll along the Yu Garden Old Street and to learn about the porcelain art, wooden crafts, and jewelry crafts in the bazaar. If you want to buy some souvenirs, feel free to ask your guide to bargain the best price for you.  Take the optional snack option so you will have a chance to try some Shanghai street food. Taste the famous Soup Dumplings (Xiaolongbao) and learn from the local guide about the flavor and consistency of the broth, the quality of the meat filling, and the texture of the dumplings' skin.

Shanghai: Herb Market, Taoist Temple and Tai Chi Bike Tour

6. Shanghai: Herb Market, Taoist Temple and Tai Chi Bike Tour

Explore traditional sites of Chinese medicine and religion on a 4-hour bike tour in Shanghai. Pass by many scenic spots, and practice Tai Chi in a famous park. Begin your tour at the meeting point with your local, English-speaking guide. Visit a centuries-old Taoist Temple that has been in existence since the time of the Ming Dynasty, and gain insight into ancient Chinese philosophy and native religion. Then, follow your guide to the largest traditional Chinese herbal medicine market in the country. Explore the theory and application of Chinese medicine, discover how the herbs are prescribed, and come to understand that the goal of treatment is to bring the body back into balance. Finally, take the chance to practice Tai Chi in an ancient park with a master of this martial art. Work on developing your inner power and harmony through the concentration, coordination, and relaxation of your mind, energy, and body. Throughout your tour, your guide will point out well-known, scenic sites, such as antique markets and the White Cloud Temple, as well as a street popular with foodies.

From Shanghai: Zhujiajiao Canal Sunset Cruise with Tea

7. From Shanghai: Zhujiajiao Canal Sunset Cruise with Tea

Explore over 1,700 years of rich culture and history on a canal boat cruise in Zhujiajiao, also known as the "Pearl Stream." On the Caogang River's banks, stop to taste a set menu of traditional Chinese tea and snacks at Jiangnan No.1 Tea House with the bright colors of the sunset as your backdrop. Discover this charming water village in true local style: On a boat cruise along its tranquil waters. Marvel at the ancient houses along the river banks, historic bridges, and weeping willow trees. Enjoy a delicious, traditional tea and snack stop at the Jiangnan No.1 Tea House, overlooking the calm river waters shimmering under the sunset's vibrant colors.

Shanghai: Afternoon and Evening Highlights Tour

8. Shanghai: Afternoon and Evening Highlights Tour

After enjoying a morning of free time, your guide will meet you at 1:00PM at your hotel lobby in the Shanghai City area. From here you will start your tour with a visit to the Yuyuan Garden, which was finished in 1577 by a government officer of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) named Pan Yunduan. The garden was specially built for Pan's parents as a place for them to enjoy a tranquil and happy time in their old age. Afterwards, you will progress to visit the famous Nanjing Road to get an idea of the prosperity of this metropolis. The Bund is one of the most famous landmarks in Shanghai, and both a prominent and recognizable figure on the skyline. In the evening, you will begin a cruise along the Huangpu River. You will pass by 26 various buildings of different architectural styles including Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, Classicism and the Renaissance. These buildings are all symbols of Shanghai's diverse past, and you will have plenty of time to appreciate all of them as you cruise past. After disembarking your boat, you will be returned to your point of origin, marking the end of your tour.

From Shanghai: Zhouzhuang Water Town Private Day Tour

9. From Shanghai: Zhouzhuang Water Town Private Day Tour

Start the day with pickup at your hotel. Then sit back and relax for 1.5 hours in the comfortable car while heading to the "Venice of the East" - Zhouzhuang Water Town. It is famous for its unique water system, Chinese styled bridges, and traditional buildings.  First, stop at an ancient theater where the locals used to enjoy the Kunming styled Opera, then walk over the famous Double Bridge to visit a 600-year-old Chinese mansion - Zhang Residence. The residence has more than 70 rooms and the Zhujing River flowing through the property. The next stop will be Shen Residence. The museum portrays Shen Watson and how he became a rich merchant. If you are hungry, your guide can help you find a local restaurant where you can try out the most authentic local food. Before heading back to Shanghai, enjoy some free time to explore or shop around by yourself. Book the optional Gondola ride to explore the canals of Zhouzhuang.

Shanghai: Guided Bicycle Tour

10. Shanghai: Guided Bicycle Tour

Pedal your way to a new perspective in Shanghai. Explore the Shikumen architectural style that blends design characteristics of eastern and western cultures reflecting — the history of this great Chinese metropolis. Ride through Shanghai's narrow alleyways surrounded by stone houses and buildings on both sides, and catch a glimpse of the unique local lifestyle. Cycle along the picturesque Lu Xun Park and continue towards Yu Garden, an extensive Chinese garden located beside the City God Temple. Make stops at bustling street food stalls and antique stores along your journey, and listen to fascinating stories behind the building and sites you pass from your local guide.

Frequently asked questions about Shanghai Architecture Tours

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Other Sightseeing Options in Shanghai

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What people are saying about Shanghai

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 82 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!)

The guide, Grace, its been very much well informed and gave us all the stories about the Suzhou and Watertown and the history about the silk factory. The 3 places we visit is very nice. Although we are walking a little bit far, but its fun though.

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!