Secret Shanghai: An Insider’s Guide to the Most Unique Places in Shanghai

Are you tired of visiting the usual tourist attractions? Are you looking for more unique experiences? We have a few suggestions for you that you may not have heard about. Having lived in Shanghai for years, we have gained insight into some of the most unique places to visit.


For authentic places to observe local culture in Shanghai, we suggest going to little alleys, or ‘小巷’ in Chinese, that are scattered all throughout town; predominantly in the Former French Concession. Here, they often sell traditional foods and snacks. These small alleys are the concrete version of the childhood memories of Shanghainese locals. Other places you could go to experience local culture would be parks, such as Fuxing Park, ‘复兴公园’. You can see older people playing five-in-a-row, while other people are either singing or dancing. During blue sky days, these parks are also a nice place to have a relaxing picnic.


For those that are interested in art, one of the best places to visit is m50. It’s a very unique experience as it is more than just an art museum. Actually, it is an art district that is composed of multiple little galleries. The galleries were once warehouses and factory buildings for textiles, having been converted to hold today’s contemporary Chinese art. The exhibitions change multiple times throughout the year, showcasing a diverse range of art media. There is no admission fee, apart from when festivals are being held there. We suggest popping into island6, which is one of the more interactive galleries. ShanghART is a Swiss-owned gallery that is also worth a visit. There are also coffee shops and restaurants there in case you want to take a rest. The address is 莫干山路50号 (50 Moganshan road).


The Long Museum, ‘ 美术馆’  is another artistic place we suggest. It often showcases contemporary art but also features more traditional types of art at times, too. The entry fee can be a bit high but it is worth it, as you not only get to experience the artwork, but also the unique architecture of the building. The address is 龙腾大道3398号, 近枫林路 (3398 Longteng Avenue, near Fenglin road).


While you are out, you might start to crave a good cup of coffee or some desserts, so why not head to some of the coolest cafes in Shanghai? Cat cafes are an increasingly popular concept in Asia, and Shanghai isn’t short of them. There are quite a few in Shanghai, and one of them that we suggest is called Saturday Afternoon, which is located at 636 Heifei road, 合肥路636号. Another themed cafe which is great to visit is the Central Perk, which is based on the cafe from the hit TV-show, ‘Friends’. It is a near-perfect replica of the iconic cafe, and its prices are reasonable.  It is located at 哈尔滨路160号, (160 Harbin road).

Exploring is always fun, we hope you spend some time enjoying these spots we discovered!

By Ashlee and Hanna, Year 12, YCIS Puxi Secondary.

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