Visiting Museums in Shanghai

Art, archaeology, history, music, and more. Find out how to make the most of the museums in Shanghai...

Shanghai’s museums showcase China’s rich history, as well as its local and national customs. Exhibits range from modern Chinese art, science, and culture, to ancient Chinese traditions. The official China Travel website, Meet In Shanghai, has much information about the arts and culture of the city, with details about the many museums on offer to visitors and residents of Shanghai.

There is no official museum pass or discount card, but most attractions have a minimal entry fee with discounts for seniors, children and students. There are also a few museums where admission is free. Museums are generally closed on Mondays (except during national holidays),

The Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai (MOCA) is a gallery promoting Chinese contemporary art and design, and featuring temporary exhibitions by international artists. The building has floor to ceiling walls of glass to maximise sunlight. It is both non-profit and independent, and is located in People’s Park amongst various buildings of cultural interest.

  • MOCA Shanghai
    At: People's Park, 231 Nanjing West Road, Shanghai
    Tel: 021 6327 9900
    Open: Monday to Sunday 10:00-21:30. Museum hours are subject to change for exhibitions. Visitors should confirm opening hours on the museum’s website
    Metro: People's Square, Lines 1, 2 and 8

Shanghai Art Museum is situated near People's Park and is home to a collection of both traditional and contemporary art. It is situated in the former Shanghai Racing Club building and is the venue of the Shanghai Biennale, an international arts festival which takes place every two years. Admission is free of charge.

  • Shanghai Art Museum (website in Chinese)
    : 325 West Nanjing Road, Shanghai
    Tel: 021 6327 2829
    Open: Every day from 09:00-17:00

Moganshan Road in the north of the city, near Suzhou Creek, is renowned for its complex of independent Chinese contemporary art galleries, M50. One of the most established galleries is the ShanghART, which represents dozens of Chinese artists, and OFoto, which features photography exhibitions related to China. Other well-known galleries include twocities and island6.

The Museum of Oriental Musical Instruments has a collection of instruments from Chinese minority groups, as well as other cultures from Asia and Africa. Housed in the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, the museum is divided into four sections: Ancient Instruments, Minority Nationalities, Foreign Instruments, and Modern Chinese Instruments.

The Shanghai Animation and Comics Museum is divided into a comics hall, an animation hall and a theatre, this museum tracks the history of animation in China, and elsewhere. It features models and displays, as well as interactive exhibitions.

  • Shanghai Animation and Comics Museum
    At: 69 Zhangjiang Road, Shanghai
    Tel: 021 5895 7998
    Open: 10:00-17:00, closed on Mondays
    Metro: Jinke Road, Line 2

The Shanghai History Museum has exhibitions presenting old Shanghai, from its public transport systems to its traditional teashops and Chinese opium joints. Tracing Shanghai’s history from a small port to a large city and documenting the people who have lived there, the museum combines over 30,000 historical artefacts with modern technology and displays. There are interactive and creative video exhibits with highlights from the Ming and Qing dynasties, and large scale models of Nanking Road and The Bund. Audio guides are available in English. The museum is situated on the lower level of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, a 486m concrete edifice and the most iconic building in Shanghai. There are panoramic views of Shanghai and at night the tower is illuminated.

  • Shanghai History Museum
    At: 1/F Oriental Pearl Tower, 1 Century Avenue, Pudong
    Tel: 021 5879 1888
    Open: 09:00-21:00
    Metro: Yuyuan Garden, Line 10

The Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum houses one of only two synagogues in Shanghai, and features letters and historical documents from Jewish refugees in Shanghai, focusing on the Second World War. Architecture in the surrounding neighbourhood is unique in Shanghai. A guided tour is available.

  • Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum
    At: 62 Changyang Road, near Zhoushan Road, Shanghai
    Tel: 021 6512 6669
    Open: Daily 09:00-17:00
    Metro: Dalian Road, Line 4

The Shanghai Museum, located near People's Square, features historical artefacts relating China's history from its ancient origins to the present day. There are over 120,000 exhibits including paintings, coins, sculptures, ceramics, calligraphy scrolls, ancient bronzes, furniture, jade and Chinese seals. Highlights include stonework of the Han and Qin dynasties, Buddhist stucco sculptures, the Ancient Chinese Bronzes Gallery and pottery dating back 6,000 years to the Neolithic Songze culture. The Chinese Painting Gallery includes scrolls, the Ming collection and many styles of traditional Chinese art including masterpieces by Wu Wei and Ni Zan. Admission is free of charge.

  • Shanghai Museum
    At: 201 Renmin Avenue, near Huangpi Bei Lu, Shanghai
    Tel: 021 6372 5300 / 021 9696 8686
    Open: Every day from 09:00-17:00
    Metro: People’s Square, Lines 1, 2, and 8

Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art was the first museum of contemporary art in China and is a centre for exhibitions, collections, and research. There are 12 exhibition halls which feature work by local and international artists.

  • Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art (website in Chinese)
    At: 200 Huayuangang Road, near Miaojiang Road, Shanghai
    Open: 09:00-17:00, no admission after 16:00, closed on Mondays 
    Metro: South Xizang Road, Lines 4 and 8

Shanghai's Museum of Natural Sciences is a huge museum with 3,000 specimens, including dinosaurs, history, palaeontology, animals, fish, and more.

Shanghai Museum of TCM is the largest Traditional Chinese Medicine museum in China; it is divided into three areas: herbal medicine, Shanghai medical history, and a TCM school. It has artefacts from TCM’s long history in China, and specimens of various herbs and remedies.

  • Shanghai Museum of TCM
    At: 1200 Cailun Road, Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park, Pudong
    Tel: 021 5132 2710
    Open: 09:00-16:00, closed on Mondays
    Metro: Zhangjiang, Line 2

The Shanghai Natural Wild Insect Kingdom has interactive exhibitions, bright artwork, and live insects, and includes a tropical rainforest, caves and fishing ponds.

The Shanghai Postal Museum has collections displaying the history of Chinese post as far back as the first millennium BC and features pre-and post-Liberation stamps. It is the first museum of its kind in China, showcasing the history of and changes to Shanghai’s postal system, from horse-drawn carriages to today. There is also a stamp museum with rare and precious stamps. The rooftop has a sculpted garden with panoramic views of Shanghai. Admission is free of charge.

  • Shanghai Postal Museum
    At: 250 North Suzhou Road, Shanghai
    Tel: 021 6325 0855
    Open: Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, from 09:00-16:00
    Metro: Tiantong Road, Line 10

The Shanghai Science & Technology Museum is aimed at children and has three floors of interactive displays on themes such as the earth, robots and space navigation. There are audiovisual rides, learning activities, an earthquake simulator, hands-on science experiments, IMAX and 4D theatres screen themed films throughout the day. Some of the exhibitions and films are in Chinese only.

  • Shanghai Science & Technology Museum
    : 2000 Century Avenue, near Jinxiu Lu, Shanghai
    Tel: 021 6862 2000
    Open: Tuesday to Sunday 09:00-17:15
    : Shanghai Science & Technology Museum, Line 2

The Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall features a large scale model of Shanghai, interactive displays and exhibitions about the city's past and future development. On the third floor of the Exhibition Hall is a circular screen featuring Shanghai's future as a megalopolis in 3D. There are English-language recorded tours available.

  • Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall
    At: People's Square, 100 Renmin Avenue, Shanghai
    Tel: 021 6318 4477
    Open: Tuesday to Thursday 09:00-17:00 and Friday to Sunday 09:00-18:00
    Metro: People’s Square, Line 1