2. Feast on Contemporary Art
Urban contemporary art in Shanghai doesn’t get better than the warehouses and art galleries of 50 Moganshan Lu. ShangArt (50 Moganshan Lu, Bldg. 16 & 18, www.shanghart.com) is one of the originals but Art Scene Warehouse (2/F, Bldg. 4, 50 Moganshan Lu, www.artscenewarehouse.com) is the area’s coolest and largest warehouse gallery. The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) (People’s Park, www.mocashanghai.org) offers a more polished art-going experience – as well as a nice café.
3. Shop, Shop & Shop
Xintiandi (www.xintiandi.com) is Shanghai’s answer to Covent Garden. The converted old residential quarter in the French concession uses charming Shanghai Shikuman architecture, which dates back to the 1860’s. Highlights include Miss Sixty, French Connection, Benetton, Shanghai Tang, Sisley, and Vivienne Tam, among others.) Refuel with an aromatic and nourishing stew or tea at Herbal Legend (South Block, Xintiandi Plaza) or stop for drinks at trendy TMSK (North Block Xintiandi, www.tmsk.com). Shopaholics should stay nearby at the chic boutique hotel, 88Xintiandi (www.88xintiandi.com). Superior room runs US$288 per night.
4. Sing a Soong
History buffs will love The Former Residence of Soong Ching Ling (1843 Huaihai Rd.). One of the three famous Soong Sisters of Shanghai, Soong Ching Ling was the widow of the republic’s founder Sun Yat-Sen. Her younger sister Soong Mei-ling married Chiang Kai-shek. A Wesleyan graduate, Madam Ling addressed Congress before WWII to gain U.S. support for China’s war against the Japanese. A noted stateswoman, the residence cases hand-written correspondences with world leaders of the times, such as Joseph Stalin.
5. Book a Jet Set Table
YongFu Elite (200 Yongfu Lu, www.yongfooelite.com) is an exclusive member club located in the grandiose former British Consulate in the heart of the French Concession. The beautifully re-furbished mansion offers private dining rooms, utopian drink cubicles and Shanghainese cuisine. Have your concierge book a table on the veranda minimum one month in advance. Barbarossa (231 Nanjing Rd. West, Peoples Park, www.barbarossa.com.cn) sits on a small lake near the Shanghai Art Museum. Its chilled Moroccan lounge feel caters to cosmopolitan 30-somethings. For the city’s best “morning after” brunch and Spanish cuisine try Azul (18 Dongping Rd., +86-21-6433-1172).
6. Cruise the Huang Po at Night
The best way to experience the Bund’s beauty and Pudong’s towering skyline is at night by boat (US$7) with Pujiang River Tours (239 Zhongshan Dong’er Road, +86-21-637-4446).
7. Day Trip
Step back in time and visit UNESCO World Heritage Site, Zhouzhuang. This “water town” of canals and cobbled streets is located 90min from Shanghai. The Old Town has official residences, temples and gardens and is completely pedestrianised. Buses to Zhouzhuang from Shanghai include four services daily (more frequent at weekends) and leave from terminal 25 at the western end of Shanghai Stadium (tours from $49.)
8. Do the Bund
The iconic row of hulking century-old banks and offices along the west bank of the Huangpu river stands as proud today as it did when Shanghai was the “Pearl of the Orient.” Many have been restored to their former glory and converted into upscale shops, restaurants and offices. THREE on the BUND (www.threeonthebund.com) is a perfect example. It houses international-level restaurants Laris (continental), Whampoa Club (Cantonese), Bar JG (cocktails) and Jean Gorges (continental). Expect to leave all with a hefty bill. The building also includes the Shanghai Gallery of Art, the Evian Spa and upscale shopping at THREE Fashion where you’ll find Giorgio Armani and YSL in a modern loft like space. After, cross the street to M on the Bund (www.m-restaurantgroup.com) and M The Glamour Bar. This sophisticated lounge attracts hip globetrotters who want a bit of classic, chic Shanghai. Dolce and Gabbana resides at No. 6 on the Bund and at Bund 18 you’ll find high-end shops like Cartier and Zegna.
9. See the French Concession
Originally inhabited by mainly French expatriates during and prior to 1930 Shanghai, these quaint tree-lined neighborhoods spread over various districts and are classified by architecture and historical connections. It includes Luwan and parts of Xuhi, Xintiandi and Jing’An. Take a walking tour down Fuxing Road for a quintessential French Concession experience. Estimated time 2-3 hours. At 200 Taikang Lu you’ll find yourself in artsy heart of the concession where cafes and eclectic shops cater to the Boho-chic. Hungry? Try Saleya (570 Changle Rd., +86-21-5403-6957) for some home-cooked French food.
10. Play in Pudong
Cloud 9 on the 87th floor of the Jinmao Tower (88 Shi Ji Da Dao, www.shanghai.grand.hyatt.com) is a must, especially in a storm when you can feel the building sway as you sip champagne and nibble on olives. The view of the Bund is amazing if the clouds aren’t too heavy. There is even a roaming fortune teller who will read your palm for US$10. Club Jin Mao on the 86/F servers tasty and pricey Shanghainese. For a more terrestrial treat explore the Riverside Promenade on the banks of the Huang Po in front of the Shangri-la Hotel (33 Fucheng Lu, www.shangri-la.com). Al fresco favorites the Shangri-la’s Red Dot for sunsets and light meal at reasonable prices and Paulaner Braeuhaus (www.bln.com.cn/english) for beers and Schnitzel.
Fly Virgin Atlantic (www.virgin-atlantic.com) and connect through London where you can refresh at the sprawling Heathrow member club. (Upper class $9,000; economy US$1,700). China National Tourist www.cnto.org/shanghai.