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Top 15 Museums in Shanghai: From City's Gems to Modern Treasures

Shanghai is rich in art, history, and culture. Have you ever wondered how Shanghai had turned to be a megacity from a fishing village in about 40 years? No visit to Shanghai is complete without checking out its fantastic selections of museums and galleries. To learn about its history, development, and art, here are 15 of the best, from big hitters to specialty museums. You'll see there's one to suit every interest and many of them are free to visit. Read on for our top picks, then use the tourist map of Shanghai Museums to work out how and when to get there and which one to visit next, and prepare to be immersed!

Note: Many museums are closed on Monday. Check the venue opening times before you visit and booking a ticket in advance if you can.

Shanghai Museums

Tourist Map of Shanghai Museums (Click to Enlarge)

Shanghai Museum

No. 1: Shanghai Museum 上海博物馆

Shanghai Museum is not only the cultural landmark of Shanghai but the biggest museum in China with numerous fine Chinese artifacts. It contains over 120,000 items rated precious cultural relics. Unlike many museums in China, it arranges its exhibits by theme rather than by dynasty. The collection consists of 21 categories, having its highlights bronze wares from Shang and Zhou Dynasties, pottery and porcelain spanning 8,000 years, and a large variety of calligraphy works and paintings.

Type: Comprehensive Museum, historical & Cultural site

Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00, no entering after 16:00, closed on Monday (except national holidays)

Tickets: Free Ticket

Recommended Visiting Time: 2 - 3 hours

Official Website: https://www.shanghaimuseum.net/mu/frontend/pg/en/index

Address: No. 201, Peoples Avenue, Huangpu District, Shanghai, China (上海市黄浦区人民大道201号)

Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center

No. 2: Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center 上海城市规划展示馆

Are you curious about what turned Shanghai into today’s super city? Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center is a must-see to witness how Shanghai became a cosmopolitan city from a shabby fishing village. With the theme of “ City, man, environment, and development” it serves for exhibition, research, communication, consultation, education, and sightseeing. The 3rd Floor is perhaps the most impressive, which displays a scale model of Shanghai. A cup of coffee on the top will be a good ending to this time travel.

Type: Museum, Exhibition Hall, Points of Interest

Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00; Tuesday to Sunday

Tickets: CNY 30

Recommended Visiting Time: 2 hours

Address: No. 100, Peoples Avenue, Huangpu District, Shanghai, China.

Shanghai Museums

No. 3: Shanghai History Museum 上海历史博物馆

Shanghai History Museum was founded in 1983, formerly known as the Shanghai Museum of historical relics. In 1991, Shanghai History Museum was changed to its current name. It reflects the historical development of Shanghai. It has collected a large number of cultural relics and documents representing the historical process of Shanghai. If you are interested in the history of Shanghai, there are more than 4 hundred relics to see. Shanghai History Museum was founded in 1983, formerly known as the Shanghai Museum of historical relics. In 1991, Shanghai History Museum was changed to its current name.

Type: History Museums

Opening Hours: 09:00-17:00 (No entry after 16:00), Tuesday to Sunday

Tickets: Free Entry

Recommended Visiting Time: 2 - 3 hours

Official Website: http://www.shh-shrhmuseum.org.cn

Address: 325 Nanjing West Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai 上海市黄浦区南京西路325号

Shanghai Museums

No. 4: China Arts Museum 中华艺术宫

China Arts Museum used to be the National Pavilion of China in the Shanghai World Expo. The multimedia version of Qingming Riverside is the treasure of the China Arts Museum, there are many works of modern artists on display here. The exhibition hall of the art palace is mainly located on the 0-m, 5-m, 33-m, 41-m, and 49-m floors. You can take the elevator to go up and down the stairs. It is recommended to take the direct elevator to the 49-m floor to enjoy the multimedia "Qingming Riverside map". Then you can visit it from top to bottom. The other floors mainly display various works of modern Chinese artists, as well as temporary exhibitions of works of art at home and abroad.

Type: Specialty Museums

Opening Hours: 10:00-18:00 (No entry after 17:00), Tuesday to Sunday

Tickets: Free Entry

Recommended Visiting Time: 3 - 5 hours

Official Website: https://www.artmuseumonline.org/art/art/index.html

Address: 205 Shangnan Road, Pudong New Area, Shanghai 上海市浦东新区上南路205号

Shanghai Museums

No. 5: Shanghai Natural History Museum 上海自然博物馆

Shanghai Natural History Museum is one of the largest natural history museums in China, located in Jing'an District. In the museum, the skeleton of a 26-meter long Zhongjiamamen River dinosaur is the most eye-catching. It is the largest dinosaur in Asia with the longest neck in the world. The new museum has five floors, two on the ground and three underground. It usually starts from the second floor above the ground and goes down in turn. The whole journey takes about half a day to a day. The last two underground floors are the most abundant exhibition areas. There are 10 permanent exhibitions in the museum, which are divided into three systems: natural evolution, living environment, and human civilization.

Type: Features Animals, Specialty Museums

Opening Hours: 09:00-17:00 Tuesday to Sunday

Tickets: CNY 30

Recommended Visiting Time: 2 - 3 hours

Official Website: http://www.snhm.org.cn/

Address: 510 Beijing West Road, Jing'an District, Shanghai 上海市静安区北京西路510号

Shanghai Museums

No. 6: Shanghai Science and Technology Museum 上海科技馆

Shanghai Science and Technology Museum is the largest science education site in Shanghai. Through various modern equipment and rich interactive ways, you can have an all-around understanding of natural science with shocking audio-visual effects. Shanghai Science and Technology Museum is rich in exhibits. There are hundreds of exquisite Wildlife Specimens and geological specimens, various robot performances with different functions, various models of electronic equipment and aerospace equipment, and a variety of scientific and technological inventions. The science and technology museum also has an IMAX three-dimensional giant screen, ball screen, four-dimensional and high-tech special cinema, etc.

Type: Specialty Museums

Opening Hours: 9:00 - 17:00, Tuesday to Sunday

Tickets: CNY 45

Recommended Visiting Time: 1 - 2 hours

Official Website: http://www.sstm.org.cn/

Address: 2000 Century Avenue, Pudong New Area, Shanghai 上海市浦东新区世纪大道2000号

Shanghai Museums

No. 7: Shanghai Maglev Museum 上海磁悬浮交通科技馆

The predecessor of the Shanghai Maglev Museum is the Shanghai Maglev Science and Technology Exhibition Hall, which is a professional exhibition hall to show the maglev technology and the development history of the Shanghai maglev train. It officially opened on August 16, 2007, with an area of 1250 square meters. It is divided into five parts: the birth of maglev, Shanghai maglev line, maglev exploration, maglev advantages, and maglev prospects. There are many interactive projects for tourists to participate in. Tourists can visit the maglev train for free with maglev train tickets of the day.

Type: Specialty Museums

Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00

Tickets: Free Entry with valid Maglev Train Ticket

Recommended Visiting Time: 1 hour

Address: 2100 Longyang Road, Pudong New Area, Shanghai 上海市浦东新区龙阳路2100号

Shanghai Museums

No. 8: Propaganda Poster Art Center 上海宣传画艺术中心

Shanghai Poster Art Center is a private museum founded by Yang Peiming. Since 1995, Yang Peiming began to collect posters. By 2014, he has collected nearly 6000 kinds of posters. There are more than 400 posters on display reflecting the early years before and after the founding of the PRC. The exhibition hall is roughly divided into three areas, and the posters in each area are classified according to a certain historical period. The figures on different posters have different dressing and hairstyle, make-up features, which clearly reflects the changes of the times. On these posters are bright-colored backgrounds, heroic soldiers, cheerful peasants, and cute children.

Type: Specialty Museums

Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00 (Close on Monday)

Tickets: CNY 25

Recommended Visiting Time: 2-3 hours

Official Website: http://www.shanghaipropagandaart.com/home.asp?class=beautifuf_book

Address: Block K, 7th floor, Huamin Hanzun East Building, 726 Yan'an West Road, Changning District, Shanghai 上海长宁区延安西路726号华敏翰尊东楼7楼K座

Shanghai Museums

No. 9: Shanghai Museum of Glass 上海玻璃博物馆

Shanghai Glass Museum has seven permanent exhibition spaces with different themes, which gather the classic works of top designers at home and abroad. Here you can enjoy all kinds of glass products with great artistic sense, watch the glass production process performed by master on-site, and even make your own DIY glass products. There are two floors in the museum. On the first floor, you can learn about the evolution of glass culture and the development of glass technology. Through graphic materials, you can see the mysterious containers of ancient Egypt, the exquisite accessories of Bohemia, the utensils of the Tang Dynasty, the vases of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, all kinds of glass products in your life, and the modern glassworks. The second floor shows all kinds of glass art products, including animals, figures, and objects made of all kinds of glass, as well as many abstract works. There is also a hot glass performance area outside the exhibition area, where you can watch the glass blowing process closely.

Type: Specialty Museums

Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00 (Tuesday to Friday); 10:00-18:00 (Saturday and Sunday)

Tickets: CNY 60

Recommended Visiting Time: 2-3 hours

Official Website: http://www.shmog.org/

Address: 685 Changjiang West Road, Baoshan District, Shanghai 上海市宝山区长江西路685号

Shanghai Museums

No. 11: Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum 上海犹太难民纪念馆

Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum was established in 2007. The expansion of the memorial hall has been completed in November 2020. The building area of the new hall is more than 4000 square meters, including the former site of Moses hall and the original residential buildings on the West and south sides, retaining its original architectural style. Up to now, the museum has collected about 1000 pieces of historical materials. Through the latest display technologies such as scene restoration and interactive multimedia, the new museum can truly restore the warm details of the interaction between Jewish refugees and the Chinese people during World War II. In the future, the memorial hall will continue to tell the touching story about Jewish refugees in Shanghai, bearing this special world-historical memory.

Type: Specialty Museums

Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 (No entry after 16:00, close on Monday)

Tickets: CNY 20

Recommended Visiting Time: 1-2 hours

Official Website: http://www.shhkjrm.com/

Address: 62 Changyang Road, Hongkou District, Shanghai 上海市虹口区长阳路62号

Shanghai Museums

No. 10: China Maritime Museum 中国航海博物馆

China Maritime Museum is the most abundant maritime theme museum in China. You can learn about the history of Chinese shipbuilding and the evolution of navigation technology through the introduction of various ship models and graphics, as well as the physical display of navigation equipment. The museum has three floors, and the exhibition halls are on the first and second floors. On the first floor, there is a navigation history hall, Ship hall, seamen's hall. On the second floor, there is a navigation and port hall, maritime safety hall, military navigation hall, etc. At this level, you can learn about the history of the Chinese Navy, the model warship, Navy flag, and uniform, as well as shipborne artillery and other exhibits.

Type: Specialty Museums

Opening Hours: 9:30-16:00 (No entry after 15:30)

Tickets: CNY 30

Recommended Visiting Time: 1-2 hours

Official Website: http://www.shmmc.com.cn/

Address: 197 Shengang Avenue, Lingang New Town, Pudong New Area, Shanghai 上海市浦东新区临港新城申港大道197号

Shanghai Museums

No. 12: Shanghai Auto Museum 上海汽车博物馆

Shanghai Auto Museum has three floors of the exhibition hall. The first floor mainly introduces the development history of the world automobile industry through models, pictures, words, and objects. There are more than 20 classic representative vehicles here. The second floor is the collection hall. At the entrance, there are rows of exquisite car models, and then you can enjoy nearly 100 antique cars, covering about 20 famous car brands in Europe and America. Among them are the "Mercedes Benz No.1" tricycle in the 19th century, the Rolls Royce Phantom in the 1930s, the lovely-looking Volkswagen van in the 1950s, and the BMW Isetta in the 1960s. The third floor is the exploration hall, where you can see the "dissected" Volkswagen car. By observing the basic internal structure of the car, you can understand the car technically.

Type: Specialty Museums

Opening Hours: 9:30-16:30 (No entry after 16:00)

Tickets: CNY 60

Recommended Visiting Time: 2-3 hours

Official Website: http://www.shautomuseum.gov.cn/

Address: 7565 Antingboyuan Road, Jiading District, Shanghai 上海市嘉定区安亭博园路7565号

Shanghai Museums

No. 13: Shanghai Film Museum 上海电影博物馆

Shanghai Film Museum is located in the original site of Shanghai Film Studio, which is also the starting place of Chinese film. The museum has four floors. The elevator next to the service desk leads to the fourth floor. On this floor, you can see many pictures of filmmakers, statues and working scenes of film masters, and shooting scenes of classic films. On the third floor, you will see the graphic introduction and movie props of various films. On the second floor, you can visit the catalogue studio, recording studio, animation studio, film post-studio, and a costume studio. There is a 4D film screening hall on the first floor. The film is about 20 minutes and the ticket price is CNY 30.

Type: Specialty Museums

Opening Hours: 9:30-16:30 (No entry after 16:00) close on Monday

Tickets: CNY 60

Recommended Visiting Time: 2-3 hours

Official Website: http://www.shfilmmuseum.com/

Address: 595 Caoxi North Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai 上海市徐汇区漕溪北路595号

Shanghai Museums

No. 14: Shanghai Museum of Arts And Crafts 上海工艺美术博物馆

The Shanghai Arts and Crafts Museum built-in 1905, it used to be an official residence of the general director of Shanghai. It displays various exquisite carvings, embroidery works, lanterns, and other folk crafts. The museum itself is also a post Renaissance building, known as "Little White House". The museum has three floors. You can visit the second floor first. There are various exquisite jade carvings, ivory carvings, wood carvings, lacquer carvings, inlays, inkstone carvings, bamboo carvings, porcelain carvings, and other works of art. Then on the third floor, you can visit embroidery, costumes, knitting, and other handicrafts. You can also see the craftsmen in the studio making various handicrafts. Down to the first floor, there are paper-cut, lantern, painting and other folk crafts, and souvenir shops.

Type: Specialty Museums

Opening Hours: 9:00-11:30; 13:00-16:00 (Tuesday to Sunday)

Tickets: CNY 8

Recommended Visiting Time: 1-2 hours

Official Website: http://shgyg.orgcc.com/

Address: 79 Fenyang Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai 上海市徐汇区汾阳路79号

Shanghai Museums

No. 15: Rockbund Art Museum 上海外滩美术馆

The Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai is located near the Bund and Wai Bai Du Bridge. It once was the Asian Literary Building in 1932, and the former Shanghai museum was located here. There are often different exhibitions in the art museum. You can see the works of Chinese and foreign artists, including abstract paintings, sculptures, and so on. Rockbund Art Museum combines the architectural elements of Chinese and Western culture, with the elegant and exquisite decorative art style. It's a popular site for photography. Besides, there are some exhibits on the wall inside the cafe, while the outdoor part is a rooftop, where you can enjoy the scenery of the surrounding city or rest and have a cup of coffee.

Type: Specialty Museums

Opening Hours: 10:00-18:00 (No entry after 17:30) Tuesday to Sunday

Tickets: CNY 50

Recommended Visiting Time: 1-2 hours

Official Website: http://www.rockbundartmuseum.org/en/

Address: No.20 Huqiu Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai 上海市黄浦区虎丘路20号

How to Plan a Shanghai Tour

How to Get to Shanghai: You can fly to Shanghai directly from Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul, London, Los Angeles & many overseas countries (regions) and almost all major Chinese cities, like Beijing, Xian; or take high speed bullet train to Shanghai from domestic cities.

Best Time to Visit Shanghai: March to May (in spring) & September to November (in autumn), because these periods offer beautiful nature scenery and comfortable weather for outdoor sightseeing and activities.

Top Attractions to Visit in Shanghai: The Bund, Lujiazui Skyscrapers, Yu Garden, Shanghai Museum, French Concession, Shanghai Disney Resort…

Best known as an international popular tourist destination, Shanghai perfectly preserves mixed culture of the western and eastern. The duration and theme of your Shanghai tour can be flexibly arranged based on your time and interests. Usually, tourists spend 2 days on sightseeing the most famous landmarks, including the Bund, Yu Garden, skyscrapers like Shanghai Tower, World Financial Center, Former French Concession, Shanghai Museum, etc. With one extra day, you can enjoy family fun in Disneyland Park or visit Zhujiajiao Water Town in the suburb. Don't miss the Shanghai Maglev Train, wonderful nightlife and Shanghai Cuisine.

✔ 2 Days Classic Shanghai City Tour
✔ 3 Days Shanghai Past and Present Contrast Tour
✔ 3 Days Shanghai Highlights & Zhujiajiao Water Town Tour

Travel Shanghai with Hangzhou Suzhou, More Nearby Destinations

Convenient transportation makes it quite efficient and popular to make day trips from Shanghai to Hangzhou, Suzhou, and longer vacation in Huangshan Mountain, Nanjing, Mount Jiuhua and other places in surrounding areas. So you can visit West Lake and learn Chinese tea culture in Hangzhou, marvel at tasteful classical gardens and witness Chinese silk productive process. Splendid rocky mountains with exotic pine trees are highlights in Huangshan Mountain.

✔ 5 Days Shanghai Hangzhou Suzhou Highlights Tour
✔ 6 Splendid East China Tour by Bullet Train
✔ 5 Days Shanghai Huangshan Tour by High Speed Train

Travel Shanghai with Beijing, Xian & More China Destinations

Beijing Xian Shanghai are golden triangle cities often visited together for a week holiday. You can use 3 days to visit the Great Wall and major iconic spots like Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven in Beijing, and leave 2 days for fulfilling your Terracotta Warriors tour in Xian. With more time, you can extend the trip from Shanghai to Zhangjiajie, Guilin, Chengdu, Yunnan, Silk Road, Tibet and more phenomenal destinations to enrich your China discovery. (more top China tours from Shanghai >>)

✔ 6 Days Beijing Shanghai Tour by High Speed Train
✔ 8 Days Best of China Tour (Beijing/Xian/Shanghai)
✔ 7 Days Shanghai Suzhou Beijing Contrast Tour by High Speed Train

Travel with China Discovery

As a leading travel agency in China which dedicates to offering high-quality China tours, China Discovery has helped thousands of travelers enjoy their trips to Shanghai, Beijing, Xian, etc., in China. Travel with us, you can enjoy worry-free tour services as well as well-organized itineraries, even our assistance of Chinese Visa application, convenient airport/train station pick-up & drop-off and transfer between all scenic spots, knowledgeable tour guide, safe & licensed private vehicle, satisfactory accommodation and dining and so on. You are free to choose from our most popular Shanghai tour packages or contact us to design a memorable holiday in Shanghai, China.

Best Shanghai Tour with China Discovery Paul & His Wife Visited the Bund Shanghai Tour with China Discovery Timothy Family in Yu Garden Beijing Shanghai Tour with China Discovery Tailor-made Group Tour to Mutianyu Great Wall, Beijing

Recommended Shanghai Tour Packages

No matter how many days you plan to stay in Shanghai, there is always a tour suitable for you. Following are some best Shanghai tour packages covering most highlights in Shanghai. If you still have no idea where to start, you can design a tailor-made Shanghai trip with us.

Start planning your tailor-made holiday to China by contacting one of our specialists. Once enquired, you’ll get a response within 0.5~23.5 hours.

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