Cutting through the density of downtown Shanghai, the Huangpu River simultaneously unites and divides what can best be described as a city of two halves. To the east lies the glitzy, jagged silhouette of the iconic Lujiazui skyline. West of the river is Puxi, the historic center of Shanghai where, tucked between tree-lined boulevards and traditional low-level housing, some of the city’s best-known rituals play out: games of Mahjong amidst clouds of cigarette smoke and the din of caged crickets, surrounded by enticing smells from shared kitchens.
From left to right: Katy Roseland, photo by Marc Ressing; Donna Chai; Magda Danysz, photo by Celine Barrere; Leo Xu.
Photo by Carsten Ullrich via flickr.
Erwin Olaf, Lacroix, 2006 and Keyhole 12, 2013. Courtesy Gallery Magda Danysz.
View of West Bund Art & Design 2015. Courtesy West Bund Art & Design.
Former French Concession
Liu Shiyuan, Beyond the Pale, 2014 and We Were Never Alone Never Bored, 2014. Courtesy Leo Xu Projects.
In terms of its culinary options, the neighborhood spans everything from gourmet to street food. For homestyle Shanghai cuisine, try Chun on Jinxian Road. There’s no menu at this teeny-tiny restaurant; rather, they serve whatever’s in season. If that’s too much of a leap of faith, go for Rui Fu Yuan’s Shanghainese fare—the yellow croaker soup with pork wontons is a must-order!
Graffiti wall on Moganshan Road. Photo by William via flickr.
Younger galleries like Aike-Dellarco and Antenna Space are also worth checking out, as is M97 Gallery: a slick, polished photography gallery further down Moganshan Road whose artists include
The China Art Museum. Photo by David Xiao DaShan via Wikimedia Commons.
Shanghai World Financial Center. Photo by Curt Smith via flickr.
Jing’An, Xintiandi + People’s Square
Jing'an Temple. Photo by Jim Bowen via flickr.