Taikang Lu, by Sinan Lu
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Think of Tianzifang as Xintiandi’s more raucous and bohemian little brother. Like Xintiandi, Tianzifang began as a block of lane house residences falling into disrepair, destined for the bulldozer. But in 2005, it was turned into an arts street. What started as a few artisan shops, studios and galleries is now a bustling hive of trendy cafes, bars and restaurants ensconced among a labyrinth of narrow alleyways. There are storefronts selling chintzy trinkets, pashmina scarves and hats, quirky couture and you can even get a tattoo or piercing (though we don't recommend it). Oddly enough, there are still some steadfast residents holing up in the periphery. You’ll often see them hanging their laundry amid all the foot traffic.
If you were to take a postcard snapshot of Shanghai, The Bund is where you'd go. Stately and taciturn, it comprises more than ten blocks of architectural relics from Shanghai’s days as a treaty port. In its heyday, this riverside district was the city’s commercial and financial center, home to foreign-owned banks, trading houses, luxury hotels and gentlemen’s clubs. For nearly four decades, much of it lay dormant as state-owned properties until 1999, when the opening of the restaurant M on the Bund sparked a real estate development renaissance. Today, The Bund is home to some of Shanghai’s poshest restaurants and nightclubs as well as some of its swankest hotels. The waterfront promenade is also a perennial favorite for casual strolls and photo opps.
Across the Huangpu River, Lujiazui thrusts brazenly up to the heavens. 30 years ago, this district was nothing more than marshes and rice paddies. Today, it’s home to one of Asia’s most audacious skylines. Here you’ll find three of the city’s most distinctive structures: The 468 meter-high spire of spheres and cylinders known as Oriental Pearl Tower, the 88-floor pagoda-themed Jinmao Tower and the bottle opener-shaped Shanghai World Financial Center, the world’s fourth tallest building. Soon to join them is a third skyscraper, the Shanghai Tower, which, when completed in 2014, will be second in height only to Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.
Once a colorful, cacophonous warren of lane houses, Shanghai’s old quarter has largely fallen victim to the wrecking ball. But the heart of it, the Yu Garden Bazaar, still remains largely intact. This is your go-to place for Shanghai souvenirs – everything from jade bangles to dragon kites to ornamental chopsticks. It’s also a convenient place to tick a few boxes on your “Must Eat” list. You can sample Shanghai’s signature soup dumplings at Nanxiang Mantou or eat at Lu Bo Lang, where Shanghai's leaders treat foreign dignitaries like Bill Clinton to dinner. Of course, if that sounds too exotic, the place is dotted with familiar Western chains like Starbucks, KFC and McDonald‘s as well. Be sure to take a stroll through the elegant Ming Dynasty-era garden in the center of the bazaar.
Purchasing fresh food from the market daily, this Japanese fusion restaurant won't disappoint. All food is cooked to order and service is quick. The vintage Chinese decor makes for a great conversation starter and provides a mellow environment to enjoy your meal.
Lovely organic cafe with fresh salads, excellent desserts and a comfortable outdoor courtyard.