The Best Walking Tours in Shanghai
Shanghai, on China's central coast, is the country's biggest city and a global financial hub. Few cities in the world evoke so much history, excess, glamour, mystique and exotic promise as Shanghai. Its heart is the Bund, a famed waterfront promenade lined with colonial-era buildings. Shanghai is home to the world's second-tallest tower and a host of other neck-craning buildings. But it's not all sky-scraping skylines. Beyond the cool veneer of the modern city typified by Pudong, there is a treasure chest of architectural styles. The city has pristine examples of art deco buildings, Jesuit cathedrals, Jewish synagogues and Buddhist temples, home-grown laneway and stone gate housing, offering a little of everything, Shanghai's architectural heritage is like none other. Shopping here is among the best you'll find anywhere. There are pop-up boutiques, high-end designers, bustling markets, cool vintage shops and young designer outlets. Beyond clothing you're also spoiled for choice, whether you're in the market for antiques, ceramics, art, Tibetan jeweler... whatever is on your shopping list. The mouth-watering restaurant scene is varied, exciting and up to the minute - and Shanghai has its own Michelin dining guide. Food is the hub of Chinese social life. It's over a meal that people catch up with friends, celebrate and clinch business deals, and spend hard-earned cash. Some of your best memories of the city could be culinary. With so much to see, do, and taste, Shanghai is a great place to experience, and there are several options for walking tours in or near the area to help you make the most of your time here.
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Greet your guide at a central Shanghai location and embark on your private walking tour through the Shanghai French Concession. Listen as your guide sets the historical scene and directs your attention to cobbled streets and wrought-iron railings reminiscent of 19th-century Paris. Hear of the radical cultural transformation that occurred at the site of the First Conference of the Communist Party and absorb the botanical beauty of a French-style park during your stroll. Admire the intricate facades of villas and apartments built in the early 20th century and discover the famous figures that have resided within. Take to the back streets in order to catch a rare glimpse of local Shanghai life and then enjoy some leisurely free time in Tianzifang. Browse the bespoke boutiques, handicraft stores and charismatic restaurants of the enclave and then bid your guide and group farewell. Feel free to continue exploring independently or make your own way back to your accommodation.
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After pickup at your Shanghai hotel, your guide takes you over to 50 Moganshan Road, a site that was once full of abandoned warehouses. Since 2000, 50 Moganshan Road, or M50, has been transformed by more than 100 resident artists into a thriving scene with artist studios, gallery exhibits and a few cafes. Your informative guide shares the history of the contemporary arts movement in Shanghai as you tour the large complex. Stop by galleries like BizArt, a non-profit that promotes young up-and-coming artists, and check out Eastlink, known for some of the city's most controversial exhibitions. Expect to see a variety of media including photography, sculpture, painting, furniture, graffiti and more. If you're lucky, your guide can introduce you to some of the resident artists during your tour. Relish the chance to learn about modern styles in China's contemporary art and enjoy a firsthand experience of the world's most vibrant art scenes while in Shanghai. With a local guide, you'll be able to see more and come away with a deeper understanding of modern art in China. Tours are offered in the morning and afternoon, making it easy to fit into your sightseeing schedule.
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This 2-hour walking tour of Shanghai's Old French Concession is led by an experienced English native speaking guide who will bring the colonial buildings to life with stories about the people that commissioned, lived, and worked in them. It gives you access to colonial mansions, explains how the foreign concessions were formed and describes what impact they had on those that lived there. During the French Concession Tour you will learn how the Opium Wars and Taiping Rebellion determined the course of Shanghai's history. You will marvel at the property empire of Victor Sassoon and find out why you wouldn't want to be treated in a 1920's hospital. Take an exclusive tour of a drug trafficking millionaire's mansion and see some of the most historic buildings of Shanghai, such as the Jinjiang Hotel and the Cathay Theatre. You will also have the option of taking part in a delicious Chinese lunch, cooked with a Shanghainese twist. During your meal, find out why it wasn't a good idea for foreigners to eat with Big Eared Du and discover the unusual way in which he attempted to avoid assassination. Learn how Chinese tea customs were influenced by the exploits of a Qing Dynasty Emperor, and more.
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Meet your private guide at a central Shanghai location and begin your 2-hour walking tour through Shanghai's lesser-known areas. Your guide will tell you about the city's sometimes colorful, sometimes dark past as you walk through small, hidden streets and neighborhoods. Head to Qiao Family Road, an ancient area named after one of the wealthiest trading families in Shanghai. As you pass old houses, hear how this was once the heart of Shanghai, where temples and the first local government were located. Walk down the first lane in Shanghai to set up public electronic lights, which helped guide people home. Hear how locals thought of the lights as a sign from heaven. Nearby, see Shu Yin Lou (the Secluded Library), the remnant of a lavish 16th-century garden complex built by a famous scholar who was living alone in his vast mansion. You'll meet an inheritor of the scholar, a long-time local resident and descendant of the 16th century-BC Guo clan. She still lives in the home that this ancient courtyard belongs to, and will tell you fascinating stories about her life in this sprawling, decrepit compound whose once-exquisite sculptures and walls have broken and toppled over. After your tour, you'll return to your starting location.
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