A Day in the Life of a Local: Exploring Shanghai, China Off the Tourist Path

Shanghai, often referred to as the Paris of the East, is a vibrant cosmopolitan city that blends tradition and modernity seamlessly. While popular tourist attractions like the Bund and Shanghai Disneyland are must-see spots, there is so much more to experience beyond the beaten path. Join us for a day in the life of a local, as we explore the hidden gems of Shanghai.

Morning: A Stroll Through the Former French Concession

Start your day with a refreshing walk through the picturesque streets of the Former French Concession, an area known for its tree-lined avenues, stunning villas, and unique boutiques. Begin your journey at Tianzifang, located in the heart of the French Concession. This arts and crafts enclave is a maze of narrow lanes filled with boutique shops, art galleries, and charming cafes. Wander through the alleys, admire local artwork, and pick up some handcrafted souvenirs at the numerous artisan shops.

As you continue your stroll, make your way to Fuxing Park, often described as the epitome of the Shanghai lifestyle. Nestled amidst the bustling city, this serene oasis offers a glimpse into local life. Watch as elderly locals practice tai chi, couples dance gracefully, and families gather for picnics. Witness the harmony between nature and urbanity as you explore the park’s hidden corners. Don’t forget to visit the historic Fuxing Park Tea House, where you can savor a cup of aromatic tea while soaking up the tranquil ambience.

Lunch: Taste Authentic Shanghai Cuisine at Jia Jia Tang Bao

No visit to Shanghai would be complete without indulging in the city’s diverse culinary scene. Skip the touristy spots and head to Jia Jia Tang Bao for an authentic taste of Shanghai’s most famous dish – xiaolongbao. Located at 90 Huanghe Road, this humble eatery is a local gem that has been serving up steaming baskets of these delicious soup-filled dumplings for over 20 years. The queue may be long, but the wait is definitely worth it. Bite into the delicate skin, letting the hot soup burst in your mouth – a true delicacy that will leave you craving for more.

What sets Jia Jia Tang Bao apart from other xiaolongbao establishments is its dedication to preserving tradition. Their dumplings are handmade daily, ensuring the utmost freshness and quality. The limited menu, focused solely on xiaolongbao variations, guarantees an authentic dining experience. While here, don’t forget to sample their other signature items like shengjian mantou, pan-fried pork buns, and the refreshing homemade soy milk.

Afternoon: Art and Culture at Moganshan Road

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city with a visit to Moganshan Road, a former industrial area that has transformed into a vibrant art district. This trendy neighborhood, located in the Putuo District, is home to a myriad of contemporary art galleries, studios, and creative spaces. Stroll along the graffiti-covered streets and immerse yourself in Shanghai’s thriving art scene.

One of the highlights of Moganshan Road is the Power Station of Art, China’s first state-run contemporary art museum located at 200 Huayuangang Road. Housed in a converted power station, this impressive venue features a diverse range of exhibitions by both Chinese and international artists. Marvel at the thought-provoking installations and immerse yourself in the world of contemporary art. The museum also hosts regular events, workshops, and lectures, providing an enriching experience for art enthusiasts.

A visit to Moganshan Road wouldn’t be complete without exploring the M50 Creative Park, located at 50 Moganshan Road. This former textile mill has been transformed into a vibrant hub for artists, designers, and creative startups. Here, you can wander through galleries showcasing works by emerging artists, browse unique boutique stores, and even catch a glimpse of artists at work in their studios. Don’t miss the chance to experience Shanghai’s artistic side in this dynamic district.

Evening: Soak up the Atmosphere of the Shanghai Jazz Scene

As the sun sets over Shanghai, immerse yourself in the city’s thriving jazz scene. Take a short taxi ride to the historical area of Xintiandi, located on Huangpi Road, where you’ll find JZ Club. This intimate jazz club has been a staple of the Shanghai nightlife scene since 2004. Featuring world-class performances by local and international musicians, JZ Club offers an authentic jazz experience in an intimate setting.

Sip on a carefully crafted cocktail as you enjoy the smooth melodies and soulful rhythms that fill the air. The cozy ambiance, combined with the passion of the musicians, creates an unforgettable evening of jazz. Whether you’re a jazz aficionado or simply appreciate great music, a visit to JZ Club is a must for an authentic Shanghai experience.


Shanghai is a city that never ceases to amaze, with its blend of old-world charm and modern vigor. By exploring the hidden gems off the tourist path, you’ll discover a whole new side to this vibrant metropolis. From the quaint streets of the Former French Concession to the contemporary art scene of Moganshan Road, and the soul-stirring jazz at JZ Club, immersive experiences await in every corner.

So next time you find yourself in Shanghai, ditch the guidebooks and venture off the tourist path. Embrace the local culture, indulge in authentic cuisine, and savor the unique experiences that this incredible city has to offer.


– Tianzifang: https://www.tianzifang.cn
– Fuxing Park: http://www.visitshanghai.com.cn/en/
– Jia Jia Tang Bao: http://www.jiajiatangbao.cn
– Power Station of Art: http://www.powerstationofart.com
– M50 Creative Park: https://www.m50.com.cn
– JZ Club: https://www.jzclub.cn