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With spring in full bloom, it’s time to stroll down the tree-lined streets of Shanghai, where delightful local eateries, with a palette that ranges from sweet and savory Shanghainese cuisine to umami-flavored Taizhou cuisine and mouthwatering Guizhou hot pot, are waiting to be discovered and devoured.

Apart from the usual sightseeing at the Bund or Yu Garden, which are hallmark locations for observing a breathtaking skyline, sifting through a residential alleyway to reach a charming designer store in downtown Shanghai is another integral part of the local experience, even a rite of passage.

Here are the must-visit exhibitions, the culinary gems and, most importantly, retail finds that can make your experience in Shanghai truly special.

What to See

Ages of Splendor: A History of Spain in the Museo del Prado

The Mona Lisa at The Prado on display at Museum of Art Pudong in Shanghai.

The Mona Lisa at The Prado on display at Museum of Art Pudong.

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In collaboration with Madrid’s Prado Museum, Museum of Art Pudong is putting on a monumental exhibition featuring 70 masterpieces by nearly 50 legendary Spanish artists spanning the 16th to 20th centuries, including Goya, Rubens, El Greco, Zurbarán, Velázquez, and Ribera. The Mona Lisa at The Prado, thought to be the oldest surviving replication created in Leonardo Da Vinci’s studio, is also on view for the first time in Asia. To animate the famous portrait, a series of multimedia displays unveils the history, the restoration process and its relationship with the Louvre‘s Mona Lisa. With eight masterpieces on view, Goya’s works are the other highlight of the exhibition. The show is on view until Sept. 1.

No.2777 Binjiang Avenue

Stefan Sagmeister: It’s Getting Better

Stefan Sagmeister's exhibition at Chi K11 Art Museum in Shanghai.

Stefan Sagmeister’s exhibition at Chi K11 Art Museum.

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Stefan Sagmeister, the Austrian graphic designer who became famous for his euphoric visual language, has unveiled his first exhibition in China at the Chi K11 Art Museum, a 32,000-square-foot art space within K11 Art Mall. The exhibition covers Sagmeister’s most recent projects in data and infographics, which encourage the audience to embrace radical optimism over pessimism and despair. The exhibition will be on view until July 27.

No.300 Middle Huaihai Road, Shanghai K11 Art Mall, Chi K11 Art Museum

Traveling Amid

A sketch of artist and filmmaker Chen Zhou's gazebo installation.

A sketch of artist and filmmaker Chen Zhou’s gazebo installation.

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The latest from The Pompidou Centre × West Bund Museum collaboration project, which was inaugurated in 2019, will be spotlighting Chinese artist and filmmaker Chen Zhou, whose surrealist video art takes inspiration from ancient Chinese landscape painters. Titled “Traveling Amid,” the exhibition will include an immersive installation or a “floating gazebo” that allows guests to travel through time and interact with each other. The exhibition runs until Sept. 17. Another exhibition, also part of the collaboration, will open simultaneously. Titled “I Never Dream Otherwise Than Awake: Journeys in Sound,” the exhibition features 15 major installation works from Pompidou Centre’s new media collection.

No.2600 Longteng Avenue, West Bund Art Museum

Where to Eat

Mao La Guo

Dishes at Mao La Guo, a Guizhou cuisine restaurant in Shanghai.

Dishes at Mao La Guo.

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Set in a boho-chic atmosphere, Mao La Guo is a Guizhou hotpot restaurant with a ground-floor cocktail bar and rooftop terrace. Guizhou, which neighbors China‘s hotpot capital of Chengdu, is best known for combining sour and spicy flavors. Mouth-watering dishes include the sour tomato soup fish, Weining ham and potato fried rice, and sticky corn cake for dessert. Its homemade drip wine curation is another must-try.

No.100 West Fuxing Road, Xuhui District

Happy Cafeteria (Kaixin Shitang)

Located in a historic lane house, Happy Cafeteria serves an abundance of classical Shanghainese dishes and is a great place to take first-time visitors. Saucy deep-fried fish, wine-drenched poached chicken, braised pork belly with preserved vegetables, and sautéed edible clover are among its most popular fare. The restaurant is not far from Yongfoo Elite (it has a cocktail bar that opens from Tuesday to Sundays till 1 a.m.), which boasts a magical Chinese garden.

No.287 Hunan Road, Building A, No.1

Rongji 95

Dishes at Rongji 95

Dishes at Rongji 95.

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Taizhou cuisine has been all the rage in Shanghai for the last few years, known for its emphasis on fresh seafood and vegetables and its focus on capturing the umami flavor. Xin Rong Ji is the hottest Taizhou restaurant chain and has promptly become one of the hardest tables in town to book, after winning a few Michelin stars in recent years. As a spinoff of Xin Rong Ji, the Bund-adjacent Rongji 95 offers all of Xin Rong Ji’s original flavors in a cozier setting. Sauteed eel shreds with bean sprouts as well as steamed croaker, or any other seasonal seafood, are usually impressive dishes to try. 

No.28, Huqiu Road, Huangpu District

Capella Shanghai — Le Comptoir De Pierre Gagnaire

A dish from Capella Shanghai - Le Comptoir De Pierre Gagnaire

A dish from Capella Shanghai — Le Comptoir De Pierre Gagnaire.

Georg Roske

With the onboarding of new executive chef Ramses Navarro, Shanghai’s one-star Michelin restaurant located within the luxury hotel Capella Shanghai aims to take cooking a step further by bringing a creative edge to local food culture, which was the original mission of the celebrity chef Pierre Gagnaire. Highlights of the menu include the sunflower poultry from Guangdong steamed in a pig’s bladder that’s seasoned with citrus fruits and fresh ginger and a blue spotted roasted grouper from Hainan, cooked in a rich Champagne sauce.

No.484 West Jianguo Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai

Where to Shop

Labelhood House

Labelhood House in Shanghai

Labelhood House

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Labelhood House, the sixth and latest project under the Labelhood banner, the support program for local designers and multibrand store, is a two-story villa house revamped as a retail space spotlighting Chinese fashion labels, as well as a new wave of craft and culture brands, including ceramics by female artist Wu Jingwen, Xin Kui, artist duo Huagou Space, and Tangshui Studio, all of which happen to be based in Jingdezhen, China’s porcelain capital. Instead of a cafe, Labelhood House has a tea parlor, which will work with local tea upstarts on a rotational basis. The tearoom currently serves the likes of honey fermented guan yin tea and Chinese hog plum sweets from Lao Jia Tea Company.

No. 796 Julu Road

Basao Projects

Basao Projects in Shanghai

Basao Projects

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Located near the Bund, Basao Projects combines Chinese tea philosophy with a modernized interior and reimagined tea products. The retail space, which evokes a traditional tea parlor with minimal interiors in muted tones, is an ideal pit stop amid the area’s busy and bustling cityscape. A tea shop founded in Xiamen more than 10 years ago, Basao is a serene alcove where visitors can learn about traditional tea culture and take joy in tea ceremonies hosted by the store staff or tea sommeliers. Each order at Basao is paired with tea-inspired desserts such as Pineapple Soo pastry or Mung Bean cake, a tradition of Xiamen tea tasting. Nitro Cold Brew tea or Chajito are some of Basao’s more summery drinks. Organized by aroma, flavor, and origin, Basao teas come in a simple white box and can also be a great souvenir. 

Christian Literature Society Building 1F , No.128 Huqiu Road

Documents’ Yuyuan Study

Chinese perfume label Documents' Yuyuan Study in Shanghai

Documents’ Yuyuan Study

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Documents, the “It” Chinese perfume label, is adding a top note to Shanghai’s retail scene with the opening of Yuyuan Study, a book-slash-fragrance store on the historic Yuyuan Road, a sycamore-lined street with a mix of modern and old buildings. 

Outfitted with a red carpet and floor-to-ceiling wooden bookshelves, the groundfloor shop captivates shoppers with a meditative tone, in stark contrast with the hubbub of the vibrant Yuyuan scene. By working with local creatives and intellectuals, the bookstore hosts themed book exhibitions focused on topics such as botanics, animals and food culture. As for the brand’s famous perfume collections, they are tucked away in a small corner of the shop, waiting to be discovered.

No.1384 Yuyuan Road, Changning District, Shanghai

Klee Klee & Friends

Klee Klee & Friends at Columbia Circle in Shanghai

Klee Klee & Friends

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Eco-friendly fashion label Klee Klee’s latest multibrand retail outpost is in Columbia Circle, a historical compound that used to house the Columbia Country Club, a hangout spot for Shanghai’s American expats. Fast-forward almost 100 years, and the mixed-use complex is home to Tsutaya Bookstore, Blue Bottle Coffee, and design companies like Ideo.

Klee Klee, a brand incubated by local fashion company Zuczug in 2016, has become a favorite of the local architecture and design community, who are fans of the brand’s denim goods and other minimal styles that come in an array of natural fabrics.

Quirky finds at the Klee Klee store include handmade woven slides brand Pla, DIY furniture from Ishinomaki Laboratory (a May pop-up), and Naze Naze, a slow textile goods label also supported by Zuczug. Naze Naze, which means “slow” in the local dialect, works with female weavers from the Dulong River Valley on the China-Myanmar border.

No.1262 West Yanan Road, Columbia Circle, Building No.3, F2



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