QIBAO, SHANGHAI-MARCH 16, 2010: village canal at sunset. Qibao water village is Shanghai tourist attraction with 1000000 visitors year.; Shutterstock ID 297106160; Your name (First / Last): Lauren Gillmore; GL account no.: 56530; Netsuite department name: Online-Design; Full Product or Project name including edition: 65050/ Online Design /LaurenGillmore/POI

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Top choice in Shanghai

If you tire of Shanghai's incessant quest for modernity, this tiny town is only a hop, skip and metro ride away. An ancient settlement that prospered during the Ming and Qing dynasties, it is littered with traditional historic architecture, threaded by small, busy alleyways and cut by a picturesque canal. If you can somehow blot out the crowds, Qibao brings you the flavours of old China. When you exit the station, head down Minzhu Rd and follow the signs to the Old Street.

There are nine official sights included in the through ticket, though you can also skip the ticket and just pay ¥7 to ¥15 per sight as you go. The best of the bunch include the Cotton Textile Mill, the Shadow Puppet Museum (performances from 1pm to 3pm Wednesday and Sunday) and Zhou's Miniature Carving House. Half-hour boat rides along the canal slowly ferry passengers from Number One Bridge to Dongtangtan (东塘滩, Dōngtángtān) and back. Also worth ferreting out is the Catholic Church, adjacent to a convent off Qibao Nanjie, south of the canal.

Wander along Bei Dajie north of the canal for souvenirs. South of the canal, Nan Dajie is full of snacks and small eateries, such as No 14, which sells sweet tāngyuán dumplings, and No 19, which is a rarely seen traditional teahouse.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Shanghai attractions

1. Catholic Church

0.05 MILES

Visit or take part in prayer at this splendid 1866 Catholic church in Qibao.

2. Former Sassoon Mansion


Set in lush green grounds, this historic house (building No 1 of the Cypress Hotel) was Victor Sassoon's bolthole villa in west Shanghai.

3. Jinjiang Action Park

3.28 MILES

If the kids protest against sightseeing, the roller coasters, rides and huge Ferris wheel at this amusement park may mollify them. It’s a bit out of town…

4. Soong Qingling Mausoleum

4.35 MILES

Despite the hard-edged communist layout, this green park is good for a stroll. Soong Qingling, wife of Dr Sun Yatsen (co-founder of the Republic of China)…

5. Minsheng Art Museum

5.12 MILES

Although sponsored mainly by the Minsheng Bank, this edgy art space also counts the Tate, Centre Pompidou, MoMA and Guggenheim among its partners, so it…

6. Tou-Se-We Museum


Alongside a middle school on Puhuitang Rd, this fascinating museum is dedicated to the arts and crafts of the former Tousewe Orphanage, established here…

7. Xu Guangqi Memorial Hall

5.23 MILES

This memorial hall, within an historic Ming dynasty building in Guangqi Park, is dedicated to the life and works of 17th-century Shanghai scientist Xu…

8. Xujiahui Observatory

5.23 MILES

Look up to catch a glimpse of the elegant Jesuit-built Xujiahui Observatory, which dates to 1872 and is currently part of the Shanghai Meteorological…