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How to Spend 3 Days in Shanghai

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How to Spend 3 Days in Shanghai
With three days to spend in bustling Shanghai, you have time to explore city highlights—old and new—and to get out of town and experience the charm of one of the ancient water towns on the Yangtze River Delta. See below for suggestions on how to best spend your 36 hours in Shanghai.

Day 1: City Overview
Get oriented on your first day in Shanghai, a city of some 24 million people, with a guided sightseeing tour to some of its top attractions, including the Bund, Pudong skyscrapers, French Concession, Yuyuan Garden, and Jade Buddha Temple. Choose a private tour to see the sights most important to you, or if you’d rather explore at your own pace, opt for a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus with stops at locations around the city and narration. End your first day with a dinner cruise along Shanghai’s Huangpu River to see the iconic skyline illuminated at night. Many cruises offer dinner onboard for a complete night out. 

Day 2: History and Culture
Take a deeper dive into Shanghai's history and culture. Depending on your interests, you might spend the morning on a walking tour of neighborhoods such as the Old French Concession, Shanghai Old Town, or the Jewish Quarter. Alternately, you could hop in the saddle to tour the city streets by bike. In the afternoon, visit one of the city’s many excellent museums, such as the Shanghai Museum or Shanghai History Museum, or do some people watching in People’s Square. Wrap up another day of sightseeing with an evening street food tour or bar hop through the Bund and Old French Concession. 

Day 3: Water Villages and Rural Life
After two days in Shanghai, it’s time to escape the modern bustle for a day in rural China. Reconnect with the area's roots as a port town with a day trip to a nearby ancient water village. Tour the gardens of Suzhou—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—explore the canals of Zhujiajiao by boat, or learn why Zhouzhuang is considered the Venice of the East. Alternately, travel to Hangzhou by bullet train for a day touring West Lake. Upon your return to Shanghai, sit back, relax, and watch the gravity-defying stunts of a professional Chinese acrobatic troupe at one of the city’s many theaters.
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Shanghai Tours & Activities (14)
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Shanghai Circus World: ERA Intersection of Time Acrobatics ShowTheater, Shows & Musicals

Shanghai Circus World: ERA Intersection of Time Acrobatics Show

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During your Shanghai sojourn, immerse yourself in the cultural extravagance of an 'ERA Intersection of Time' show at Shanghai Circus World. See a captivating combination of Chinese history, mesmerizing martial arts and incredible special effects throughout the unique spectacle. Watch China evolve from humble beginnings to the global superpower it is today, and enjoy entertaining live music and elaborate costumes as you experience the family-friendly show.
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  • 2 hours
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  • 2 hours
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Suzhou and Zhouzhuang Water Village Day Trip from ShanghaiDay Trips

Suzhou and Zhouzhuang Water Village Day Trip from Shanghai

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Appreciate China’s provincial delights during a full-day tour of two charming traditional towns from Shanghai. Escape the metropolitan mayhem of the city and see how daily life has remained unchanged in these quaint and ancient enclaves. With an accomplished guide, stroll amid the botanical beauty of Suzhou’s gorgeous gardens; cruise along the waterways of Zhozhuang on a Chinese-style gondola; and appease your appetite with a delicious Chinese lunch in a rustic restaurant. Enjoy convenient round-trip transportation from your Shanghai hotel.
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  • 10 hours
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  • 10 hours
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Shanghai Bus Tour Hop-on Hop-off Premium Ticket including City Top Attraction AdmissionsDay Cruises

Shanghai Bus Tour Hop-on Hop-off Premium Ticket including City Top Attraction Admissions

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Experience all of Shanghai’s historical highlights and impressive landmarks on a hop-on, hop-off sightseeing bus tour. Sail past alluring attractions like the People’s Plaza, the Nanpu Bridge, The Bund and the Jade Buddha Temple on a distinctive double-decker bus, and disembark whenever you wish to explore further. Use your pass to discover three distinct routes, all of which visit must-see monuments sure to capture your attention.
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  • 2 days
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  • 2 days

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Zhujiajiao Water Town and Shanghai City Private Day TourDay Trips

Zhujiajiao Water Town and Shanghai City Private Day Tour

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Save time without compromising on experience on this door-to-door private guided tour that covers Zhujiajiao Ancient Town and key Shanghai highlights. First, explore the ancient water town of Zhujiajiao by boat and foot, and savor a local lunch. Then, spend the afternoon discovering Shanghai: the 16th-century Yu Garden, the Bund, and the Shanghai Tower. Upgrade to include a Shanghai dinner.
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  • 8 hours
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  • 8 hours
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Private Full-Day Tour: Shanghai Old and New HighlightsDay Trips

Private Full-Day Tour: Shanghai Old and New Highlights

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Discover old and modern Shanghai as you wish on a full-day private tour. With a personal guide, explore attractions like The Bund, Ming-Dynasty Yu Garden, and Jade Buddha Temple, and visit the observation deck of one of Shanghai’s highest skyscrapers. Customize your itinerary to suit your and opt to explore by private vehicle with lunch and select entrance fees included, or by private vehicle or public transit with lunch and entrance fees at own expense.
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  • 7 to 8 hours
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  • 7 to 8 hours
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Best of Shanghai Day Tour, Including Jade Buddha Temple and The BundFull-day Tours

Best of Shanghai Day Tour, Including Jade Buddha Temple and The Bund

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Enhance your sightseeing experience of Shanghai on an enriching full-day excursion around the city. See all of the city’s spectacular sights with a knowledgeable guide as you tour a selection of historical highlights; absorb the sacred majesty of the Jade Buddha Temple; immerse yourself in the city’s rich heritage at the Shanghai Museum; and stroll amid the botanical beauty of the Yuyuan Garden. Walk along the Bund and the former French Concession and enjoy a traditional Chinese lunch.
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  • 8 hours
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  • 8 hours
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Hangzhou: Heaven on Earth Day Trip from ShanghaiDay Trips

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Hangzhou: Heaven on Earth Day Trip from Shanghai

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Discover the rich cultural tapestry of Hangzhou, a city shrouded in history and natural splendor, on a full-day tour from Shanghai. Accompanied by an accomplished guide, gain fascinating insight into China’s most esteemed tea at Meijiawu Tea Village; cruise on the idyllic and inspirational West Lake; and marvel at the alluring architecture of the Six Harmonies Pagoda. Explore the historical highlights and cultural delights of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed city on this all-inclusive tour, during which lunch, round-trip transportation and entrance fees are complimentary.  
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  • 10 hours
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  • 10 hours
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Huangpu River Cruise and Bund City Lights Evening Tour of ShanghaiBus Tours

Huangpu River Cruise and Bund City Lights Evening Tour of Shanghai

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Experience the incandescent beauty of The Bund, Shanghai’s cosmopolitan cultural district, on an evening tour of the waterfront. Accompanied by an expert guide, see the city’s most significant landmarks under the atmospheric cover of darkness; board an evening cruise boat to watch the city sparkle from the shimmering Huangpu River, then stroll the area to admire the historical Peace Hotel. Hop into a trolley to enjoy spectacular views of Nanjing Road and enjoy the convenience of round-trip transportation from your Shanghai hotel.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
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Private Walking Tour in the Former French ConcessionCustom Private Tours

Private Walking Tour in the Former French Concession

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Stroll through the Shangai's trendy French Concession neighborhood with a private guide on this walking tour. Follow your guide's lead to unearth hidden courtyards, Art Deco buildings, and typical Shanghai street scenes. Highlights include the Lanxin Theater, the Cathay Mansion, the former residence of Dr. Sun-Yat Sen, Fuxing Park, and others. Choice of departure times to fit your schedule.
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  • 3 hours to 3 hours 30 minutes
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  • 3 hours to 3 hours 30 minutes
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Private Shanghai Evening Street Food Walking and Cruise TourPrivate Sightseeing Tours

Private Shanghai Evening Street Food Walking and Cruise Tour

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Discover a side of Shanghai it takes a local to know on this private foodie walking tour. Explore main streets and back lanes as you snack and slurp on delicacies like soup dumplings, roast duck, and mango pudding—enough for a full meal. Finally, enjoy a Shanghai classic: a Huangpu River cruise.
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  • 3 to 4 hours
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  • 3 to 4 hours
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Half-Day Morning Bike Tour of Shanghai Old TownBike & Mountain Bike Tours

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Half-Day Morning Bike Tour of Shanghai Old Town

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China’s biggest city might not seem like the place for a relaxing bike ride, but the narrow lanes of Shanghai’s atmospheric Old Town are ideal for a cycling tour. On this bike tour, explore the Former French Concession, pedal around Fuxing Park, and hop off to visit a Buddhist temple, stroll around a traditional wet market, and re-fuel with coffee and pastries.
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  • 4 hours
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  • 4 hours
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Shanghai Nightlife: Bars in The Bund and Old French ConcessionConcerts & Special Events

Shanghai Nightlife: Bars in The Bund and Old French Concession

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Calling all revellers, this 4-hour Shanghai evening tour showcases the city’s nightlife hotspots. In a small group limited to 10, you’ll visit ambient bars and a swanky club in the Old French Concession and The Bund (Waitan.) Enjoy a glass of wine, beer, or spirits in every bar and conclude your evening at M1NT, a nightclub famed for its shark tank and luxurious decor. Hotel pickup and drop-off, and entrance fees are included.
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  • 4 hours
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  • 4 hours
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Private 2-Hour Walking Tour of Shanghai's Jewish GhettoPrivate Sightseeing Tours

Private 2-Hour Walking Tour of Shanghai's Jewish Ghetto

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Discover the historical heart of Shanghai’s ancient Jewish quarter on a 2-hour tour of the Hongkou District. Accompanied by a knowledgeable guide, delve into the captivating history of Chinese Judaism; visit the verdant splendor of Huoshan Park and browse intriguing exhibitions in the Jewish Refugees Museum (Ohel Moishe Synagogue). Catch a rare glimpse of daily life in a historical local neighborhood and gain fascinating insight into the culture from your passionate guide. This is a private tour just for you and your party.
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  • 2 hours
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  • 2 hours
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3-Hour Private Shanghai Old Town Walking TourHalf-day Tours

3-Hour Private Shanghai Old Town Walking Tour

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Shanghai is one of China’s most cutting-edge cities, but it’s also home to a picturesque Old Town. Cover the highlights on this scenic guided walking tour, which covers standout sights like Yu Garden, the bird and flower markets, and traditional architectural landmarks. Escape the tourist track and learn about the city’s enduring crafts and customs.
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  • 3 hours
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  • 3 hours
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