Get the most out of one day in Jing'an

Li Qian
Shanghai's diverse downtown district packs traditional charms with modern flare. Here's a look at must-see restaurants, historic sites and shopping venues.
Li Qian

Jing’an is one of Shanghai’s most vibrant downtown districts. Amidst towering skyscrapers, one can find rows of century-old villas hidden in tranquil back alleys. It seems impossible to fit everything into just a single day. But here, we’ve put together some must-sees to help you make the most of a one-day trip in the district.

Eat like a local and order a traditional breakfast combo— xiaolongbao (little steamed buns) and niurou fensitang (beef soup with glass noodles) at the 74-year-old Wang Jia Sha.

The unassuming snack bar on Nanjing Road W. has many loyal customers. Every day, they wait in long queues to buy specialties including xianrou yuebing (pork-filled mooncake), xiekehuang (fluffy sesame-coated pastry filled with pickled vegetable) and babaofan (steamed sweetened glutinous rice with eight different ingredients).

Or, start the day with a cup of coffee and a freshly baked croissant at Starbucks’ second global Reserve Roastery. The location offers a “Willy Wonka” moment, showing visitors the coffee-making process from green beans to brewed cup.

After such a tasty start, a morning walk hits the spot. Shaanxi Road N. is just 15 minutes away. Built in 1914 as Seymour Road, it is regarded as an epitome of the city’s inclusive spirit and international atmosphere.

Get the most out of one day in Jing'an
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Ohel Rachel Synagogue

Get the most out of one day in Jing'an
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Northern section of Shaanxi Road N.

Start your journey on the northern section of the road, which is dotted with more than 20 historical buildings of different architectural styles.

They include the traditional shikumen-style (stone-gated) Datong Lane, the neoclassical Garden House and former residence of Hong Kong tycoon Ho Tung, an English-style garden villa designed by Hungarian architect L.E. Hudec.

Notably, the road has some Jewish footprints.

Back to the 1930s and 1940s, Shanghai gave refuge to thousands of Jews fleeing persecution.

Pacific Garden, townhouses built in the early 1920s, was once used to shelter Jewish refugees. The Ohel Rachel Synagogue is another legacy of that era. The ivy-covered, Greek revival-style synagogue was built by tycoon Jacob Sassoon in 1920.

Sightseeing over. Time for some shopping, old style.

The southern section of the road has 17 outlets with venerated brands. Make your way to heritage-listed Longfeng Qipao to order a tailor-made piece that characterized the height of fashion in the 1930s. Or step into the centuries-old Lei Yun Shang pharmacy to try traditional Chinese herbal tea, and buy a timepiece from local reputable Seagull Watch.

For lunch, stroll to the respected Mei Long Zhen Restaurant, a household name to most Shanghai locals because of its classic cuisine.

Recommended dishes include shizitou (stewed meatballs), Yangzhou gansi (Yangzhou-style dried, sliced bean curd) and Yangzhou fried rice.

After lunch, cross the Suzhou Creek and start an afternoon tour with the war memorial museum in the Sihang Warehouse.

Get the most out of one day in Jing'an

Longfeng Qipao

Get the most out of one day in Jing'an
Ti Gong

Sihang Warehouse

Initially, it was built as a storage area for banks, but Japanese invaders requisitioned it as a military headquarters during their occupation of Shanghai in World War II. There, Chinese and Japanese soldiers engaged in a fierce four-day battle in 1937.

Bullet holes remained during the renovation. And in the museum, the battle is “re-enacted” through audio effects and 3D holographic projection.

A 10-minute walk away is Joy City shopping mall, now famous for the 56-meter-in-diameter, 98-meter-high “Sky Ring” Ferris wheel atop the mall on the eighth floor.

For visitors who want to learn more about the country’s “red” revolutionary stories, they are well recommended to visit the memorial hall of the Second National Congress of the Communist Party of China on Laochengdu Rd N., where the first Party constitution was drafted.

A grand finale of the day is to stroll along Nanjing Road W., and down to the Jing’an Temple commercial zone, one of the city’s top retail destinations catering to all tastes and budgets.

The street is lined with boutique stores, chic cafes and popular restaurants.

The Isetan department store offers a wide array of Japanese brands while Plaza 66 caters to those who want to buy extravagance.

Notably, a seasonal pop-up fair on Anyi Road is a must-see.

Get the most out of one day in Jing'an
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Southern section of Shaanxi Road N.

Get the most out of one day in Jing'an
Ti Gong

Pop-up fair on Anyi Road

Between Changde Road and Tongren Road is a small quite lane tucked away near the Jing’an Kerry Center. But through January 19, 2020, every weekend it turns into a stylish pedestrian night market.

Over the period, it will be paved with artificial grasses and decorated with seasonal decorations such as orange blossoms and pumpkins in autumn and Santa Claus and snowfalls in Christmas.

Both sides of the street will have florists and food stalls offering pumpkin pie, grilled sausage and Chinese fried dough sticks. Games, live performances and street art will remind visitors of childhood amusement parks.

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