Tours are a nice way to unwind post-flight, and can help you get your bearings on that stressful first afternoon.
Huangpu River boat tours afford a great view of Pudong and the Bund, but after that it's mostly ports and cranes.
Cruises from Oriental Pearl Tower. Forty-five-minute boat tours run day and night along the Bund from the Pearl Tower's cruise dock in Pudong. Tickets, excluding Pearl Tower admission, can be purchased at the gate to the tower. Oriental Pearl Cruise Dock, 1 Shiji Dadao (Century Ave.), Pudong, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200120. 021/5879–1888. From Y140.
Huangpu River Cruises. Boats run nightly 6–9 pm, leaving every 30 minutes and traveling for 45–60 minutes up and down the Huangpu River to where it meets the Yangtze. You'll see barges, bridges, and factories, but not much scenery. Shilipu Docks, 501 Zhongshan Dong Er Lu, The Bund, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200010. 130/6199–1834. From Y120.
Gray Line Tours. On offer are half- and full-day group coach tours of Shanghai, as well as one-day trips to Suzhou, Hangzhou, and other nearby waterside towns. 5A, 5F, 1399 Beijing Xi Lu, Jing'an, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200040. 021/6289–5221; 800/820–0006 ; www.grayline.com/travel-guide/shanghai. From $50.
Bespoke Shanghai. As the name suggests, this China-founded company specializes in custom-made tours tailored entirely around the guests. The company also arranges car hire and a selection of signature experiences, including a street photo workshop with a professional photographer and an architect-guided tour of the city’s landmark buildings. Prices, which vary widely, are based on the type of tour and the number of participants. Shanghai, Shanghai Shi. 151/0167–9082; www.bespoketravelcompany.com.
Context Travel. U.S.-based Context runs small group and private walking tours in Shanghai and Beijing. Offerings, which focus on food, history, art, architecture, and urban planning, are led by academics and other experts. Group tours cost Y550–Y620 per person; private tours run Y2,500–Y2,960. Shanghai, Shanghai Shi. 215/392–0303; www.contexttravel.com/cities/shanghai/tours.
Historic Shanghai. A historic society formed by a few dedicated Shanghai history buffs in 1989, Historic Shanghai is on a long-term mission to help preserve and understand the city’s rich, often overwritten, history. The group offers well-researched regular public and private walking tours away from the tourist traps. Public tours start from Y250 per person and private tours from Y3,000 for two people. Shanghai, Shanghai Shi. No phone; www.historic-shanghai.com.
Shanghai Jewish Tours. Available in Hebrew or English and led by an Israeli photojournalist, this half-day tour takes you to the sites of Shanghai's Jewish history, such as the 1920 Ohel Rachel Synagogue. Shanghai, Shanghai Shi. 130/0214–6702; www.shanghai-jews.com. From Y100.
UnTour Food Tours. Cuisine is an integral part of Chinese culture, and UnTour offers unfamiliar visitors the opportunity to explore the essentials of it with a variety of walking tours covering everything from breakfast street food to night eats, dumplings, and more. Shanghai, Shanghai Shi. No phone; www.untourfoodtours.com/shanghai. From Y520.