Things to do in Shanghai Jan/Feb
December 19, 2012 2:21 PM   Subscribe

Going to Shanghai for the first time for three weeks in Jan/Feb. Where should I go/eat/do?

I'm a female ABC (American Born Chinese) so I have kind of an okay grasp of Mandarin. I'm going to visit Shanghai for the first time (it'll be my first time in China as well though. I've been to Taiwan a few times before). I'm going to go visit my boyfriend, but since he'll be busy most of the time, I'll end up exploring on my own a lot. I don't usually enjoy touristy areas and shopping. I like eating, looking at artsy places, architecture, gardens, and cool urban design.

My trip will also end up overlapping with Chinese New Year on February 10th. I've never really celebrated CNY before but I'm looking forward to it!

I've checked out this askme already, and I've written down those suggestions.

I know Shanghai will be cold and I really do not like cold, so indoor things are _awesome_ but if something outdoors is really really cool I'd be down for bundling up to explore as well. I also love parks and gardens...I'm planning to visit Suzhou...hopefully it will be worth the trip even though it's winter!

So far on my list:

-Din Tai Feng
-Quarry Garden at the Shanghai Botanical Garden
-Houtan Park
-Gubei Gold Street (does anyone actually know the exact location/cross-street of this???

Recommendations/warnings/tips welcome! Thanks!
posted by bluelight to Travel & Transportation around Shanghai, China (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
All the touristy things are a given, but one thing I would recommend is making sure you go to eat at little hole in the wall establishments that have no names. The food is AMAZING and is unbelievably cheap. It's been three years in Shanghai, so prices may have gone up, but I'm still sure it'll be cheap. Even eating on the street- they make the most amazing fried noodles and fried rice. And... thousands of other things. There is food available at any time during the day. There are some people who don't show up until 10PM or later and cook throughout the night until morning.

If you like (cheap, cheap, cheap) shopping, go to Qipu Lu. And don't EVER pay the first price they give you. They'll be able to tell that you're "new", so I would say paying even half of the first price may be too much. Don't buy any fake watches, though.

Century Park in Pudong is pretty cool, although admittedly I never went there in winter. Zhongshang Park in Puxi is also nice (again, didn't go in the winter).

If you want to go to a beautiful, whimsical, locally owned cafe, check out this place . I don't even know if it has a name (I just called it 25 Taojiang Lu), but it's wonderful.

Cotton's is like a half expat/half local hang out, it's like an old plantation style bar and is beautiful. Both locations, I prefer the Anting Lu one.

If you like clubbing, there is Muse (which is pretty popular) and Velvet (which everyone seems to hate, although I loved it)! There are hundreds of clubs, but those are the ones I really liked.

Stay the fuck away from Windows.

I know I'm probably leaving out tons of things, but that's what I can remember off the top of my head. Have fun!!!
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper at 2:44 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was only in Shanghai for 3 days this past summer, so I didn't get to explore much. If you like international food though and you're currently in a city that doesn't have much of it, you can find some nice eats there. A little pricey, but not much more so than it would be in the States. I had dinner with a friend, Turkish kabobs with some sides, enough for the both of us, and it was just around USD 30.

Oh wait, there was a tiny garden smack in the middle of Shanghai that though not very large, was surprisingly quiet. It was across the street from a temple that shared its name. The temple itself was ultra-touristy -- come to think of it, the general area around the temple was rather touristy -- and had a rather pricey entrance fee, which is why I strolled through the park to begin with. Name escapes me, but if I see it it should ring a bell. The subway stop directly underneath the temple is named after it too.

Suzhou is much more my kind of place than Shanghai -- more cultural, less international / comsopolitan / busy. . Hu Qiu (虎丘) is a good park to visit, particularly if you like looking at calligraphy on rocks. I also ivisited Chu Zheng Yuan (拙政园) and that was probably what you're looking for, a very traditional Chinese garden enclosed by an old house. (It was very cramped when I went, possibly because I was there over a holiday and right next door is a famous old residence of Sun Zhongshan / Sun Yat-sen or somebody like that.) Guan Qian Jie (观前街) is Suzhou's walking street; I know you said you don't like shopping, but you might want to go anyway because there's a rather big temple there.

I might have gotten the names of these tourist spots confused, and I might be wrong about some of the places -- it's been years since I visited that city and what I remember is but a warm fuzzy jumble. :) You can Memail if you like.

Good to see another ABC on the green!
posted by ditto75 at 4:13 PM on December 19, 2012

Check out the Muslim quarter! Good (hearty) food - yum. =)
I wasn't there very long either... the main thing I remember is that the bus from the airport into Shanghai took hours. Hours and hours. Shanghai, in my imagination, is obfuscatingly complex and vast in a way that Beijing, Tokyo, NYC etc. are not. Maybe I was really jet-lagged, I don't know. Make sure you research how to leave the airport better than I did!
posted by jrobin276 at 5:14 PM on December 19, 2012

Best answer: Gubei "Gold Street" starts at the intersection of Gubei Lu (古北路) and Huangjincheng Dao (黄金城道). It's about a 15 minute walk from the Shuicheng Lu (水城路) or Yili Lu (伊犁路) stations on Line 10, or just tell a cab driver to take you to 古北步行街.

If you're interested in urban design, the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center in People's Square is pretty cool. For gardens, I'd suggest Fuxing Park (复兴公园) and Zhongshan Park (中山公园). I think ditto75 is referring to the small park across from Jing'an Temple (静安寺) in the middle of downtown.

There are a couple of "artsy" areas: Tianzifang on Taikang Lu (泰康路田子坊) can be very touristy and crowded, but worth seeing. There are also lots of small independent boutiques the entire length of Changle Lu (长乐路), with nice cafes on the quiet side streets.

jrobin276, there's no Muslim Quarter in Shanghai, but there's a weekly Friday market by the mosque on Changde Lu (常德路). The food there is good, but you can most of the same stuff at any Xinjiang restaurant in town the rest of the week.

The airport bus takes about two hours to get to Xujiahui (southwest city center) and costs ~20rmb. The subway costs half as much, but is only slightly faster, and the last train leaves at 10pm. A taxi takes a little less than an hour, depending on traffic, and costs around 180rmb for the same distance. I prefer the taxi, myself ... and definitely get a legit cab from the queue, not from a hawker inside the terminal.
posted by twisted mister at 7:20 PM on December 19, 2012

Day trip to Xitang, it's about 1 hour away. Buy some pearls. Eat lunch here.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 9:21 PM on December 19, 2012

Other than the xiaolongbao, the thing I remember from Shanghai the most fondly is the maglev train to the airport. During peak periods, they take it up to 431 km/h (268 mph), and because it's so close to the ground you really appreciate how fast that is.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 10:53 PM on December 19, 2012

ditto75- You're thinking of Jing an Temple.
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper at 2:36 AM on December 20, 2012

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