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People visit 1933 Laochangfang.
NEIGHBORHOOD GUIDE

A guide to local favorites in Hongkou District

People visit 1933 Laochangfang.
  • By Lisa Movius
  • Photos by Yue Wu
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Hongkou District
Shanghai
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Japan took control of central Shanghai’s northernmost Hongkou area in 1932 after the first battle of Shanghai, and its disinterest in Chinese domestic politics made it a refuge for leftist writers and intellectuals at risk of execution by the Kuomintang national government. Though most of the area has undergone a regrettable mall-ification in the past decade, the main historic sites are well protected. At the far southeastern end of Hongkou, by the Tilanqiao Prison, is where 40,000 stateless Jewish refugees built a wartime community they dubbed Little Vienna.

Meet Lisa Movius

Lisa has lived in Shanghai since 1998, working as a journalist covering art and culture around Asia but with occasional side gigs working at rock club Mao Livehouse and teaching college journalism. She misses the open-water swimming of her native California but plunges into as many of Shanghai’s pools and murky lakes as she can.

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Hongkou District

Lu Xun Park and Memorial Hall
Originally Hongkew Park, Lu Xun Park has some delightful landscaping. The park contains the famed namesake writer’s grave and an informative memorial hall. There is also Plum Garden, a memorial to Yun Bong-gil, a Korean independence activist who set off a bomb, killing several top Japanese officials here in 1932.
2288 Sichuan North Road, Shanghai 200000, China
Lu Xun residence and Shanyin Lu
Lu Xun, the pen name of pioneering writer Zhou Shuren, spent his final years in Shanghai, first in Darrouch Road’s Jingyunli and finally in this lane house on what was then called Scotts Road. It has been a museum since 1950.
Shanyin Rd, Lane 132, No 10, Hongkou District, Shanghai, China
Duolun Museum of Modern Art
Along with famous leftist-writer sites, the road Duolun contains notable architectural examples, like the Fitch Memorial Church, blending Western and Chinese styles, and the Duolun Museum of Modern Art. When it opened in 2003, the museum was the first government-backed contemporary art museum in Shanghai, and it was the gathering place of the city’s cultural avant-garde for several years. Though its importance has dimmed, it still sometimes holds interesting exhibitions.
27 Duolun Lu, Hongkou District, Shanghai, China
Old Film Cafe
This historic mansion is filled with Old Shanghai antiques and film memorabilia in loving tribute to the city’s film industry. Posters and pictures of stars like Zhou Xuan and Zhao Dan fill the walls, with nods to vintage Hollywood, too. Old films screen on a regular loop.
123 Duolun Lu (by Sichuan Lu), Hongkou District, Shanghai, China
1933 Laoyangfang (‘Old Millfun’)
This enormous Art Deco slaughterhouse was built to help feed the growing city of the 1930s. Escheresque mazes of ramps zigzagging floor to floor were installed to manage the doomed cattle — and now give the place its dizzying, surreal atmosphere. A secret skateboarder spot for the many years it lay derelict, the building was restored as a dining and shopping destination in the late 2000s. Tip: From this complex, it is about a mile toward Yangpu District and the many sites of Shanghai’s old Jewish Ghetto.
1933 Laoyangfang, Shajing Road, Hongkou, Shanghai, China
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Lisa Movius
Lisa has lived in Shanghai since 1998, working as a journalist covering art and culture around Asia but with occasional side gigs working at rock club Mao Livehouse and teaching college journalism. She misses the open-water swimming of her native California but plunges into as many of Shanghai’s pools and murky lakes as she can.
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Yue Wu
Yue is a contributing photographer based in Shanghai.
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