Distinctly Chinese, but with a unique identity seen nowhere else in all of China—it’s this that makes Shanghai such an interesting destination. Shanghai tours are all about experiencing what makes it all so magical.

With a population approaching 25 million—the biggest for a city in China, and the world—Shanghai is a Chinese showpiece when it comes to entertainment, dining, culture, and so much more. From historical landmarks dating centuries to soaring skyscrapers redefining architectural limits, there are an overwhelming number of things to do in Shanghai.

Here’s a guide to get you going:

Old World Charm
Suzhou and Zhouzhuang are the quintessential jump-off points for most Shanghai tours focused on history and culture. Also known as the City of Gardens, Suzhou is the setting of kung fu movies brought to life. Some of the gardens date back centuries and radiate a tranquility that is hard to find in the city. Zhouzhuang, meanwhile, is a water village surrounded by four lakes on all sides and connected by canals everywhere. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is located just a few kilometers outside the city center.

The City God Temple and the surrounding Old City are in the much older district of Shanghai and transport visitors back to a time when the city was just starting to get on its feet. Here, you’ll find shops and stores that are almost a century old and run by the very same families. It’s an immersion in old Chinese culture like no other.

Complete your old-world Shanghai tour with a visit to the Jade Buddha Temple (Yufo Si). The inspiring 1.9-meter sitting Buddha is said to capture the exact pose he was in during his moment of enlightenment through meditation. With incense in the air, you will undoubtedly find a sense of solemnity just as well.

New Discoveries, New Experiences
As the centerpiece of China’s debut as a world superpower, Shanghai’s skyline has become quite the attraction because of its soaring skyscrapers and innovative architecture.

The Bund is a waterfront area in the Shanghai CBD home to 52 buildings featuring a variety of architectural styles. These structures are representative of what the city was and what it continues to strive to become. There are many things to do in Shanghai, and a visit to the Bund is something you cannot miss. Some of the most iconic buildings along this stretch include the HSBC Building, the Russian Consulate, the China Merchant Bank, and the People’s Heroes Memorial. Make sure to visit in the evening to see buildings lit up dramatically, with all the best features highlighted.

Across the Huangpu River from the Bund is the Pudong District, which features the dramatic modern skyline that has come to define Modern Shanghai. The buildings that make up the scenic cityscape include the Jin Mao Tower, World Financial Center, Oriental Pearl Tower, and the almost-completed Shanghai Tower. Also found in Pudong are the Shanghai Expo and Century Park, landmarks that Shanghai tours cannot do without.

Shanghai is a destination you have to see to believe. Discover all the sights and sounds, and things to do in Shanghai by planning your itinerary now.