Shanghai is huge. Along with the hundreds of well-known tourist attractions and amazing restaurants, there are plenty of hidden treasures to discover. Here are a few of our favourites.
Our very own XO Bar is a cozy spot in the heart of the Former French Concession where you’ll find our full selection of wines and craft beers to enjoy alongside a delicious selection of bites from our own kitchen. There’s plenty of street-side patio space too, and we also use the space to host regular wine tastings, parties and more. Wines start at RMB 25 by the glass. Find it at 237 Hengshan Road, near Yongjia Road.
UnTour gives simply the finest food tours in Shanghai. For any newbies to the city and it’s unique, diverse and celebrated cuisine, this is the way to do it. And no, they won’t make you wear a special cap or follow a flag around. The company, which also operates in Beijing, Chengdu and Hong Kong, offers tours of everything from late-night eats to breakfasts. Find out more at https://untourfoodtours.com/.
Shanghai is a city that it takes a while to get to know. There are loads of tour groups trying to be the ones to help you out on that, but one of the coolest is Shanghai Insiders. They offer motorbike sidecar tours of varying lengths around the city; it’s a great way to not only get to know the city quickly, but also to feel like kind of a badass while you’re doing it. Info can be found at www.shanghaiinsiders.com.
Shanghai Supper Club
A regular underground event for Shanghai’s foodies, Shanghai Supper Club meets for covert reservation only dinners at a different location, with a different chef, every time. We’d say more, but we would want to spoil the allure. To get an invite you need to signup via email; you can do that by visiting www.shsupperclub.com. All reports say it’s a great experience, if you can swing yourself an invite.
Architecture buffs will like this one; 1933 is a huge, awesome designed old abattoir, (aka slaughterhouse), designed by British architects way back when. Now it’s been converted in to a space that houses restaurants, stores and offices and really rewards aimless wandering. Seriously, parts of it look like an Escher painting. It’s at 10 Shajing Lu, up in Hongkou not far form Hailun Lu metro on Lines 4 and 10.
X Club Lazer Tag
A combination of drinking and lazer tag… what’s not to love about that? X Club offers the full lazer tag experience, neon lit dystopian vibe and all – alongside a bar and club area. There are a few private functions rooms too, so it’s basically an ideal spot for a nostalgic grown-up birthday party. Or just a Friday night, whatever. That’s at 366 Zhaojiabang Lu.
The Pudong branch of Community Center Shanghai is a godsend to expats living on the east side, fresh-off-the-boat or no. They do tours, Chinese classes and general Shanghai orientation. Get down to one of their monthly Friday markets too, a chance to get hold of loads of international food and beverages. You’l find them on the third floor of Building A at 1146 Biyun Lu.
Binjiang Ice Bar
This one tickets two boxes; it’s fun, and it’s fancy. It’s hidden away in a cellar of the Binjiang One complex, (the one that houses German fine dining restaurant Käfer, which you have to go through to get here), and it’s so cold that they give you a big parka jacket at the door. Too cold for wine, obviously; the focus is on premium vodka and just enjoying the vibe of being in a makeshift urban igloo.
OK, so this one isn’t so “hidden”. In fact, it’s pretty hard to miss. But we don’t think it gets as much love as it deserves. The massive hub contains an art museum, a hotel, a theatre and more. But what really sets it apart is its stunning, modern architecture; so striking and downright cool that it was one of the Shanghai locations used for Spike Jonze’ visually gorgeous movie Her, (which used Shanghai as a stand in for a near-future L.A.). It’s a little further from the riverside at 1188 Fangdian Lu, close to Huamu Lu station on Line 7.
La Parisienne is a French bakery and deli south of Lujiazui that’s gotten a pretty healthy following thanks to its baguettes, sandwiches and expat fuel, aka imported cheese. Expats in Pudong will find there way here eventually, but that’s no reason not to get a head start. Find the store at 88 ZhangyangLu, not far from Shangcheng Lu metro station.
Mu Lan Hua Ge Furniture Warehouse
This one’s really out of the way, but also really worth the trek. This place, (the full name of which is Mu Lan Hua Ge Jia Ju Li Curio Company), is an incredible sea of antique furniture and weird curios. The dusty, dark warehouses, filled with one-of-a-kind bric-a-brac, feels like somewhere out of another world and gives you a little view in to an older, less hyper-modernized Shanghai. It’s over at 1788 Jiyang Lu, not far from Lingzhao Xincun metro station on Line 8.
This is an interesting one; late night Korean archery. Daoshun is a chain from South Korea that holds a lot of tournaments and has a nice, laidback vibe that makes it good if you feel like doing something vaguely sporty but also something new. You can find it in Building 6, 628 Zhangyang Lu, near Laoshan Lu, not far from Century Avenue metro station.
Gubei / Hongqiao
One of the best parts about heading out to Gubei and Hongqiao is getting to see a part of the city, however small, that is a genuine historical enclave for a foreign population. Gubei in particular is full of great Korean bars and restaurants. There’s a small pedestrian street that runs between Jinhui Lu and Hongxin Lu that is packed with small, authentic spots. You seriously haven’t lived until you’ve spent a night in the company of nothing but fried chicken, Korean BBQ and soju. The best way to get there is to take Line 10 to Longbai Xincun or Ziteng Lu; the area surrounding both is worth exploring if you have a spare evening or afternoon.
You can thank the area’s East Asian expat population for this one too; that’s a part of the world that has got the whole bathing thing down, so obviously this part of town is where some of Shanghai’s best bathhouses are. 24-hour Korean space New Star at 258 Jinhui Nan Lu is a popular one. There’s a large bounty of Japanese spots in the area too that aren’t hard to find with a little research. This, though, is often considered the best of the bunch.
Hongqiao Flower & Bird Market
A big market with both indoor and outdoor areas, the Hongqiao Flower and Bird Market is a great slice of local life thats a lot of fun to wander around even if you aren’t looking for any flora or new winged friends. This place is bright, colorful and literally full of life. It’s at 718 Hongjing Lu, not far north of Longbai Xincun station.
New Hongqiao Center Garden
If you need a small oasis of green out in Shanghai’s wild west, then the New Hongqiao Centre Garden is a blessing for those in the area looking for a bit of tranquility in which to take advantage of the sunlight. It’s all based around a central lake and is great for that nature-in-the-heart-of-the-city vibe. You still can’t escape the views of skyscrapers from inside, but they take on a different feel when viewed from a picnic blanket, wine in hand. You can find it right by Yili Lu Station on Line 10.
You can’t have thought we’d end a list of the hottest things to do in Shanghai without including ourselves. Through the BottlesXO app, you can get chilled high quality wine and craft beer delivered instantly to wherever you are in Shanghai. In fact, our average delivery time is just 29 minutes. If you’re new to town, get in the know – place your first order on the app and enter the coupon code BXONL2 to get RMB 50 OFF (that’s valid on first-time orders only until ). If that’s not a hidden treasure, we don’t know what is. Download the app here.
Get settled into Shanghai with one of the hottest hidden treasures around. Download the BottlesXO wine and craft beer delivery app here.