Shíkùmén Open House Museum
This two-floor exhibition invites you into a typical shíkùmén (stone-gate house) household, decked out with period furniture. The...
Site of the 1st National Congress of the CCP
On 23 July 1921, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was founded in this French Concession building (then 106 rue Wantz). In one fell...
This neat bar is just what the doctor ordered: all in black and chrome; pupil-dilating minimalist cool. Note the almost obliterated...
This smart Xīntiāndì grill serves authentic American-portioned comfort food (sandwiches, burgers and burritos). The outdoor cafe-style...
2 blocks between Taicang, Zizhong, Madang & South Huangpi Rds; 太仓路与马当路路口 · interesting places nearby
With its own namesake metro station, Xīntiāndì has been a Shànghǎi icon for a decade or more. An upscale entertainment and shopping complex modelled on traditional alleyway (lòngtáng ) homes, this was the first development in the city to prove that historic architecture makes big commercial sense. Elsewhere that might sound like a no-brainer, but in 21st-century China, where bulldozers were always on standby, it came as quite a revelation.
Well-heeled shoppers and al fresco diners keep things lively until late, and if you’re looking for a memorable meal or to browse through some of Shànghǎi’s more fashionable boutiques, you’re in the right spot. The heart of the complex, divided into a pedestrianised north and south block, consists of largely rebuilt traditional shíkùmén houses, brought bang up-to-date with a stylish modern spin. But while the layout suggests a flavour of yesteryear, you should not expect much in the cultural realm. Xīntiāndì doesn’t deliver any of the lived-in charm of Tiánzǐfáng or the creaking, rickety simplicity of the Old Town. Beyond two worthwhile sights – the Shikumen Open House Museum and the Site of the 1st National Congress of the CCP – it’s best for strolling the prettified alleyways and enjoying a summer evening over drinks or a meal.