Iconic landmarks tell the tales of a growing city

In Shanghai, there are many landmarks witnessing the history of the mega-city. Joan Zheng and Sophie Wang guide you to enjoy the changes.

In Shanghai, there are many landmarks witnessing the history of the mega-city. Every few years, some of them have to be closed for certain reasons, while others reopen looking brand new after restoration. Wander around the city and you may find something amazing. Joan Zheng and Sophie Wang guide you to enjoy the changes.

Reopened ones

Paramount (百乐门)

★ Highlight: The world-famous ballroom

The Paramount or Bailemen is an Art-Deco entertainment venue opposite Jing’an Temple.Opened in 1933, the Paramount is one of the most famous night clubs and dance halls in the Far East, aimed at the upper classes and wellheeled.

After three years’ renovation, it had been transformed into an upmarket entertainment and dining venue combining with nostalgia and modern elements to appeal to all generations.

“I’m honored to renovate Paramount,” says Hugo Cheng, president of Shanghai Paramount Culture Entertainment Co, “It is a unique historical landmark, not only for Shanghai, but also for the world.”

A traditional cultural and leisure activity of Old Shanghai, a renewed “Paramount Tea Dance”will be held every afternoon in the performance hall on the second floor.

Guests can enjoy unlimited tea and desserts,and music and dance lovers can take advantage of professional dancing teachers’ on-site guidance. There will also be jazz band Old Shanghai-style shows.

Ti Gong

There are eight wing-rooms on the sides of the loop corridor which are respectively named after eight famous singers of the Paramount’s glory days around 1940s, including Zhou Xuan, Chen Juanjuan and Zhang Lu.

With KTV and private toilets, each room can be used for anything from a business meeting to a family reunion.

A 100-seat ballroom on the third floor will serve mainly Western-style dinners. Reservations are recommended.


★ Highlight: Traditional skills and cuisine


After being closed for a decade, Shanghai Dashijie, or the Great World, was officially reopened to public on the last day of March.

Opened in 1917, it was nicknamed the “No. 1 Club of the Far East.” Cinema and theater were its main attractions.

In 1930, it was turned into an entertainment venue with restaurants, stage shows, shopping malls and rides for children.

For years, the Great World has been a bridge to the films of the golden age of Hollywood.It also provided a platform for new talent —young singers, dancers and opera actors who would go on to become famous.

The reopened Great World maintains its traditional features. The trademark, distorting mirrors have been re-installed on the first floor.

There are also new electronic distorting mirrors on the second floor, where you can print out your reflection instantly.

Masters of traditional skills are invited to the century-old complex, which now mainly showcases China’s intangible cultural heritages, to teach visitors some of their skills, including traditional costume-making, wooden plate painting, clay sculpting, jade carving and fine embroidery.

Shanghai-style cuisine is available on the second floor. Chicken claws, dried bean curds,tea-flavored boiled egg and rice dumplings are all worth trying. Desserts include sugar painting,cotton candy and assorted Chinese herbal teas.

There is also delicate exotic cuisine. The third floor is divided into four areas: France,Greece, Spain and Italy, where you can enjoy good wine, ice-cream, ham and pizza.

To be closed ones:

Red Town(红坊)

★Highlight: Galleries and cafes


Converted from the Shanghai No. 10 Steel Factory,Red Town is a well-known integrated venue combining art galleries, boutiques,restaurants and cafes. Unfortunately, the place will close at the end of June.

It has been an important cultural destination for architecture, sculpture and contemporary art.

It hosts several art venues,including the Shanghai Sculpture Space, Minsheng Art Museum and Hong Kong fashion brand Joyce Warehouse, along with various boutiques and studios.

After June, it will be turned into a commercial area, due to open in five years.

A few places remain open now,including Las Taps, Nice Cafe& Books, Both Music and Both Boutique, On Stage and the Shanghai Sculpture Space.

If you have time, go there to enjoy the last moments and say goodbye to Red Town.

1930 Street(1930风情街)

★ Highlight: Shanghai-style decorations

The 50-meter long street is just beside the Gate One of People’s Square Subway Station,below ground.

Decorated with tramcars,Shanghai-style wall-paintings and sculptures, the street can immediately bring you back to the 1930s. But it must be closed to make way for the rebuilding of the nearby Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center.

This street was a gathering place of various kinds of small shops, selling toys,clothes, accessories and drinks. It has long been popular among young people. Once, it was filled every weekend with people shopping, playing games and taking photos with a wide variety of architecture, such as classical French, British, Japanese and Spanish, as well as Shikumen.

Most of the shops on the street have already closed,while the scenery will be kept before the construction.

In the coming months, you can still go there and enjoy traditional Shanghai-style sights.

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