Shanghai off the Beaten Path: 8 Lesser-Known Places to Visit

As a hot travel destination, Shanghai has too many famous and fun places to tour around. When you have already visited the top attractions like the Bund and Nanjing Road, there are still some hidden attractions that are lesser-known but worth visiting as well. Here under are the 8 places in Shanghai off the beaten path for your reference:

Former French Concession was once the largest and the most prosperous concession in China in the early 20th century, including the current Tianzifang, Xintiandi, Sinan Road, Wukang Road, Hengshan Road, etc. The various villas and buildings with more than 100-year history here will present you a different look of Shanghai. They are in various styles: gothic, classical, renaissance while influenced by traditional Chinese architectural style more or less. It is a great place to take a leisure walk in the shade of the plane trees. Along the way, there are also many boutique stores, dessert shop and cafes for you to take a break or shop for creative handicrafts. Several politician and cultural celebrities’ former residences in Former French Concession are open to tourists nowadays, such as the Former Residence of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the pioneer of Chinese modern revolution and Former Residence of Zhou Enlai, the first premier of PRC. If you want a leisurely trip in Shanghai off the beaten track, just come to Former French Concession. You won’t be disappointed!

Shikumen Wulixiang Museum

Hidden in an old Shikumen residence built in the 1920s in Xintiandi, Shikumen Wulixiang Museum is a lesser-known place in Shanghai off the beaten track. It contains 7 rooms: living room, study room, parents’ room, grandparents’ room, daughters’ room, sons’ room and a kitchen, reproducing the living space and way of life of old Shanghainese. All the objects in display such as stoves, children's textbooks, lipsticks and ashtrays are old objects that used in Shikumen alleys in the 1920s and 1930s. It is worth mentioning that Wulixiang means ‘Home’ in Shanghai dialect. Thus, this museum is just like a home welcoming all tourists with a sense of intimacy. 

Shanghai Wangshi Folk Museum

‘Wangshi’ means past memories and Shanghai Wangshi Folk Museum reminds people of the past memories by various articles. Walking into the museum, you can see many old Shanghai star posters hanging on the surrounding walls. The fashion style of old Shanghai is coming with the red light in the room. Continue to go inside, leather suitcases, thermos, enamel basins, wooden toy pistols, iron cigarette cases, antique watches and sewing machines are visible. At the innermost area of the museum, there are sofas and several traditional Shanghai snacks such as Butterfly Crackers, Chicken Cookies, Spiced Beans on the coffee table. You can make an appointment with friends to enjoy your afternoon tea time. This museum is only free to the public on every Saturday afternoon. At other times, it is more like a studio for nostalgic enthusiasts, when they can wear old-fashioned clothes such as cheongsam to take photos. 
Xinchang Ancient Town is not as famous as Zhujiajiao Ancient Town and Zhouzhuang. But this does not mean it is less charming. Instead, being less commercialized, it better preserves its original look. Most houses here are preserved from the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911), showing the original beauty of traditional Chinese folk residences. The natural scenery here is also better preserved. Thus, for a trip in Shanghai off the beaten path, you can come to visit it. Besides, you can appreciate the peach blossoms here in April and May every year. 

Jiashan Market

Jiashan Market is hidden in an old narrow alley in Shanghai off the beaten track. It was originally an old factory, which is transformed into a creative park nowadays. There, you can find many creative stalls, studios, coffee shops and exotic restaurants. The first and third weekend of every month, people gather here to send their hand-made cookies, handicraft, clothes, and even their own planted vegetables, etc. The price is not high and people don’t care very much about the sales volume. It is like they are here for a happy gathering rather than selling something out. 
1933 Old Millfun is a creative art cluster transformed from a slaughterhouse built in 1933. Here, you can easily capture the beauty of the buildings like the Sky Theater, Covered Bridges and Central Atrium without master-level photography and complex filters. There are many creative art and handicraft shops here. Fashion clothes shows, drama performance and painting shows are often held here. It is lesser-known, so recommended as a Shanghai off the beaten path destination. 

Long Museum

As the largest private museum in mainland China, the Long Museum currently has two large-scale galleries: Pudong Museum and West Bank Museum. The design of the West Bank Museum is more unique. If you want to go somewhere off the beaten track in Shanghai, you shouldn’t miss this place. It used to be a wharf for transporting coal. During the renovation, the off white concrete architectural style was adopted, which wins high popularity and makes it a nice place to take photos. The exhibitions here covers paintings, sculptures... Whether you are interested in art, architecture, history or just want to take beautiful photos, you can have fun here. 

Jinze Ancient Town

Less disturbed by tourists, the locals still live a slow life in the Jinze Ancient Town. While strolling there, you can see the natives playing mahjong, washing clothes on the river beds, selling their own planted vegetables, or just chatting together under the roofs. Someone praise the town ‘the last quiet land in Shanghai’. The town is especially famous for various stone bridges. Among them, Puji Bridge, built in Song Dynasty (960 - 1279 AD), is the oldest stone arch bridge in Shanghai. 
 Read more:
 7 Crazy Things to Do in Shanghai for Adventurous Tourists
 10 Non-Touristy Things to Do in Shanghai
 8 Unique Things to Do in Shanghai Only
A Complete Guide to 15 Shanghai Old Towns
- Last updated on Jul. 28, 2020 -
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