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Shanghai Museum Guide

Shanghai, Shanghai, China
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Shanghai is quickly developing a thriving a museum scene in terms of both quality and quantity. With clusters of must-visit venues conveniently located and the ever-improving subway network to connect them, the museum circuit can easily fill a solid portion of one's time in Shanghai and is sure to be a rewarding one - both for the traditional and historical and the bleeding edge of the avant garde. Most museums have been well thought out in terms of grounds and landscaping to optimize for walkability and accessibility, making the overall visit experience much more pleasant than the haphazard placement of museums found elsewhere in China.

See my separate standalone write-up on Cai Guoqiang's most recent exhibit at Power Station:

And Yayoi Kusama at MoCA:
Story Details


People's Square
The central square and park complex where most of the museums are clustered. Largest subway transfer hub in city with current 3 converging lines. Sprawling underground complex with 20+ exits.

Culture and experiences

Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art
Shanghai's first contemporary art museum before the modern art scene exploded, this is a small museum that can be done in an hour or so. Beautiful setting on lake in middle of People's Park.
Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum
The museum is great, but sign up for the Shanghai Jews Tour with Dvir Bar-Gal. Expensive but totally worth it for this fascinating view into one of the most unique aspects of Shanghai's history.
M50 Creative Park
Network of old industrial buildings converted to gallery space, with a growing outdoor graffiti and skate subculture element as well.
Complex of alleyways home to huge numbers of all manner of galleries and other boutiques selling everything on the continuum of utter tourist kitsch to true vintage and unique finds. Just be ready to brave the crowds.
Jing'an Sculpture Park
Great outdoor sculpture park with wide variety of installations and plenty of spaces for both walking or setting up sitting down in grass.
Power Station of Art
Amazing restoration project on par with the Tate Modern in terms of re-purposed industrial space transformed into wonderfully designed and user-friendly museum. Excellent for sculpture and other massive scale installation pieces.
Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center
Maybe the #1 must-see Shanghai experience, the Urban Planning Museum has a mind-boggling scale model of the entire city and fascinating exhibits about the infrastructure feats underpinning this amazing city.
Propaganda Poster Art Center
Hidden gem in basement of a residential building, this is a fascinating time machine walking through huge collection of poster art throughout the better part of a full century. Well done discriptive guides.
Shanghai Museum
An excellent size museum that can be tackled in a few hours without feeling overwhelming, and a beautiful indoor central atrium space. Of particular note are the calligraphy wing and the section on ethnic minority traditional costumes.


Barbarossa Lounge
Moroccan castle rising out of the pond in People's Park, this is a great option for pit stop while doing the museum circuit to rest your legs and have a gin & tonic, hummus or shisha.

On The Map