News 10 best things to do in Shanghai

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10 best things to do in Shanghai

Our Tripbod local in Shanghai shows us around the best places to eat, drink, dance and... sniff shrimps!

Tripbod Lianne reveals the sights, smells and tastes of Shanghai through local eyes.

1. Mini Film Fest

The Nut, 162 Yongnian Road /near South Huangpi Road

Visit the Mini Film Fest organised by a Dutch/Polish creative. He kicks off the show with a funny introduction and then shows a program of hilarious, interesting or inspiring short movies on different themes, from a cultural point of view. It takes place in arts hub called The Nut, with drinks, snacks and interesting people.

2. Bar 88

A Mansion, Fumin Road 291

Get crazy, mix it differently, dance out of the rhythm and experience the Party Hardy at the cheesy and loud Chinese Bar 88. This place is full of wacky décor, bottle service and a hyperactive atmosphere. Or if this is too intense for you, just sip your drink at the neighbourhood terrace and gaze at the Shanghainese who call it a night.

Utsuwa, Shanghai © Tripbod Lianne
3. Jiashan Market

Pass by the chickens and cauliflowers of the local food market and turn left in the gate where the new architectural buildings begin. This is Jiashan Market. There are loft apartments, urban gardens and on both sides you have the choice of different cuisines. I love the Japanese Utsuwa where you enter a living room environment, with an old barber chair and the pretty terrace where a parrot greets you. In the courtyard of Jiashan Market there are frequent events such as urban farming, art & crafts and designers’ fairs.

4. Cosy terrace brunch

Farine, 376 Wukang Road /near Tai’an Road

Behind old pretty French houses you find Ferguson Lane with a lunch café, a modern pizza bar, a French Brasserie and a few art galleries. Stop by the new French Bakery Farine and sample their great pastries. They have a big wooden table in the front, where you can eat freshly baked pastries.

former French Concession © Tripbod Lianne
5. Cycle through the former French Concession

Old French style architectural houses, beautiful streets full of trees; the former French Concession is a hotspot for restaurants and foreigners to live. To explore this very European neighbourhood, I always take my bicycle. A friend organises tailor-made tours here (Bike around Shanghai) which I recommend. Pass by Xinle Road with its nice boutiques and enter The Mansion Hotel, designed by Lafayette in 1932 originally built as the clubhouse of Du Yue-Sheng, China’s most powerful syndicate boss.

6. Different spices

Yin par les Garcons Chinois – 4 Hengshan Road. 2nd Floor /near Wulumuqi Road
Sichuan Citizen – 30 Donghu Road /near Huai hai Road
Mia’s Yunnan Kitchen – 45 Anfu Lu /near Wulumuqi Road

Did you know each province has its own taste and gastronomic specialties? For great Shanghainese food, considered to be sweet in taste, Yin par les Garcons Chinois is delicious and organic. Go at the weekends for fantastic life music, and see the Japanese owner who is a musician as well. Sichuan food is seriously spicy, so watch out! I always enjoy Sichuan Citizen with a big group of friends, since they have so many table sizes. It is cheap, delicious and you don’t end up leaving with your mouth on fire! Mia’s Yunnan Kitchen is a small eatery and very popular. Yunnan food is also spicy and they use lots of mushrooms and beautiful flowers in the food.

7. Start your party evening at The Senator

98 Wuyuan Road / near Wulumuqi Road

Step into the twenties and back to the era of Prohibition. The Senator Saloon is located in the French Concession and normally you would just continue cycling past if you didn’t know this lovely bar was there. There is no big name or advertising on the dark wooden façade, and the place is the perfect place to start your night out. Drinks start at RMB60, with bourbon cocktails as their core specialty. Go and taste the bacon-infused bourbon, it sure is an experience!

The Bund, Shanghai
8. A not so ordinary Bund stroll

Zhongshan Dong Yi Road

The Bund is a magnificent line of commercial buildings in the Beaux Arts style (1920/1930). I prefer to walk right by the buildings themselves rather than walk along the water with everyone else. Start at the Astor House Hotel, built in 1858 (15 Huangpu Road), to breath the Old Shanghai Style and walk in the footsteps of Charlie Chaplin. Pass by the former British Consulate and continue along to the House of Roosevelt (No.27) and lounge around on their roof terrace if the weather is nice. If the bar up there is not open for service, just tell them you’ll carry your drink upstairs yourself! Then continue your walk down and pop in to the Shanghai Pudong development Bank (no.12), with its beautiful mosaic ceiling and old counters. I always feel as if I am I suddenly in the 1920s here.

9. Sniffing a shrimp in the jar

Bund 18, 6/F, 18 Zhongshan Dong Yi Road /near Nanjing Dong Road

Mr & Mrs Bund is a must-visit experience for those on a higher budget. Don’t expect a formal atmosphere – in fact expect the opposite! Dress to impress, feel comfortable and enjoy the amazing French contemporary menu designed by the famous Chef Paul Pairet. You’ll be surprised at how the food is served and the explicit smells and tastes. My favourites are Muniere Truffle Bread, Shrimp in the Jar, Crumble Fois Gras… and several of the 32 wines that are served by the glass from a cool self-service automatic wine cabinet.

10. Afternoon tea in the clouds

Park Hyatt, 100 Century Avenue

Instead of sharing a few square meters with all the other tourists visiting Shanghai’s tallest ‘bottle opener’ in the Pudong Business District, I prefer to enjoy the view from the Park Hyatt Lobby bar, which is in the same building as the busy tourist observation desk. The Park Hyatt lobby is on the 87th floor of the impressive Shanghai World Financial Center (SWFC). You can experience their luxurious afternoon tea (RMB210+) between the clouds with your view over Pudong high-rise, The Huangpu River and The Bund. Go on a clear sky day!

Tripbod Lianne has been living in China since 2007 and hospitality is her specialty. She coordinates work and leisure trips in Shanghai for companies, groups and individuals.