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People listen to a live music at Yuyintang.
NEIGHBORHOOD GUIDE

A guide to local favorites around Zhongshan Park

People listen to a live music at Yuyintang.
  • By Lisa Movius
  • Photos by Yue Wu
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Zhongshan Park
Shanghai
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Just west of the Jing’an central business district, the area around Zhongshan Park has always been the city’s less expensive, grungier fringes. Though still dense with old neighborhoods and historical sites, its charming streets are a little less packed and frantic than downtown. The area is home to Shanghai’s oldest live music venue, Yuyintang, as well as its recently opened branches. In the past few years, the government of its district, Changning, has been upgrading its main avenue, Yuyuan Lu. The park itself, first built in 1914, is one of the city’s largest and loveliest, full of community life: Watch for kite fliers whose highflying baubles can be spotted from quite a distance.

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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Zhongshan Park

Yuyintang
Since the early 2000s, Yuyintang has been the scruffy heart of Shanghai’s music scene, hosting an impressive roster of international and Chinese acts.
Yuyintang, 851 Kaixuan Rd, Changning District, Shanghai, China
Specters
Originally opened in an old building in Jing’an by the Yuyintang crew and other musicians at the end of 2017, quintessential dive bar Specters had to relocate to Yuyuan Lu after just a year. The mellow, welcoming spirit continues at the new location, along with danceable music and dangerously delicious shots.
753 Yuyuan Lu, Changning District, Shanghai, China
Akimbo
Among the perks of Yuyuan Lu’s revamp is the explosion of quirky cafes. Akimbo is one of the nicest. The first branch here of a chain from Shenzhen, it merges industrial chic with the architectural details of its heritage building, serving specialty and single-origin coffees as well as the staples.
1018 Yuyuan Lu, Changning Qu, Shanghai Shi
Fuchun
Shanghai has tons of xiaolongbao places, but most tend toward the divey side. Fuchun serves three kinds of the soup dumplings in a vaguely retro setting always packed with Shanghainese families. The menu also includes other kinds of Shanghai dim sum and regular, more balanced dishes. Try the chunjuan spring rolls, or the doumiao fresh greens.
Fuchun Xiaolong, 650 Yuyuan Lu, Jing’an District, Shanghai Shi, China
Fu 1088
Come here for excellent food in the opulent setting of an Old Shanghai mansion with period decor: Fu 1088 is the city’s finest occasion dining, with a per-head minimum charge of 400 renminbi.
Fu 1088, 375 Zhenning Lu, Changning District, Shanghai, China
The Paramount
This Art Deco landmark was the heart of Shanghai’s dance-hall culture after it was built in 1933. The latest remodel leans heavily into the bling, but it remains the nicest place in town for fans of ballroom dance. Nightly dances from 8 to 12 p.m. cost 580 renminbi, or 680 renminbi with a set dinner. Tea dances every Monday and some Sundays, from 2 to 5 p.m., are a more moderate 120 renminbi. Budget ballroom enthusiasts, though, can head to most of the city’s parks, including nearby Zhongshan Park, and follow the music to find open-air dance sessions.
218 Yuyuan Rd, Jing An Si, Jingan Qu, Shanghai Shi, 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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