Nanjing Road Tours – Shanghai, China
About this place
Nanjing Lu, long the hub of modern Shanghai’s shopping and business, is always mentioned in travel guides as a must see. While there are certain parts of Nanjing Road that I agree should not be missed, other parts can definitely be skipped. Here are some things you should not miss. Given an entire free day, a great idea is to start at the Bund and walk the entire length of Nanjing Road, ending at the Jing An Temple (about 3 km walk in total).
1. Starting at the Bund and walking west will lead you to People’s Square ( Renmin Guangchang), home to the Shanghai Museum and the Urban Planning Museum. The Shanghai Museum is fantastic, don’t miss it If you have enough time. However, I actually prefer the Urban Planning Museum, another treat definitive of life in Shanghai. This museum can be covered relatively quickly, and the miniature reproduction of the entire city is simply amazing. A model of the city both today and how it will look in 2010, the exhibition is breathtaking.
The People’s Square (Renmin Guangchang) is also home to Barbarossa, an awesome bar with beautiful interior decor and fantastic outdoor seating. From these seats patrons enjoy a view of maximal greenery, likely more than any other opportunity one has during a visit to Shanghai. Barbarossa is ideal for an afternoon drink, or, if you want to catch some of Shanghai’s social scene, the bar is routinely packed on summer and fall nights. Those seeking a tasty locale for lunch should check out Kathleen’s Rooftop Restaurant. See addresses and times below.
2. As you walk west along Nanjing Lu, the center of high end shopping and business in Shanghai makes itself very clear. Skyscrapers, malls (Plaza 66), and smaller shops line the street displaying Shanghai’s twist on the high life. I can’t really recommend shopping here, as most of the shops are found in every big city, and in Shanghai customers will pay an exorbitant import tax on their Burberry purses. At night when the neon lights are turned on, Nanjing Lu becomes the Las Vegas of China. Crowded yet entertaining, stop by Nanjing Lu for dinner or drinks at least one night in Shanghai. Also be sure to browse the Tongren Lu Bar Street article for bars or try Element Fresh for dinner.
3. Walk past the Shanghai Ritz Carlton at the Portman, the first 5 star hotel to land in Shanghai. The rooms could stand a little refurbishing, but this hotel lives up to the Ritz’s world famous standards of fantastic service and relaxing ambiance. The complex offers an impressive array of western bars and restaurants (Element Fresh, California Pizza Kitchen, Malone’s) as well as a small grocery store, named City Shop, with a ton of western goods.
4. Complete a Nanjing Lu stroll at the Jing An Temple, a worthwhile temple to explore.... if you haven’t already seen dozens, as it does kind of look like the rest of them.
I wrote this guide to Nanjing Lu from east to west, so that an early start allows you to view local citizens practice Tai Chi on the Bund around 6-8am. However, if that’s just too early to rise, then I would recommend starting at the Jing An Temple and heading east. This route will finish at the Bund for an amazing view of the new and old parts of the city. See Bar Rouge, New Heights, Jean Georges or M on the Bund for more ideas of where to go on Nanjing Road. Just make sure not to miss the museums!
Barbarossa: 231 Nanjing Xi Rd, Peoples Park (南京西路231号, 人民公园), Tel: +86 (0)21 6318 0220. The bar is behind Starbucks and next to the Shanghai Art Museum. Walk into the gate next to the Kathleen’s and follow the path into the center of the park. Open daily 11am to late
Kathleen’s Rooftop Restaurant: 5th floor of the Shanghai Art Museum. 325 Nanjing Xi Lu (南京西路325号), +86 (0)21 6327 2221. Open 11:30am to midnight.
Shanghai Museum, Open daily 9am – 5pm, last entry at 4pm. Entry is 20RMB per person.
Urban Planning Museum, Open daily 9am – 4pm.
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