How to Visit Shanghai ‘Off the Grid’

If you have ever visited or lived in Shanghai, I’m sure you have been to all of the major tourist hot spots: Lujiazui Financial Centre, The Bund, Nanjing Road, Shanghai Museum, Xintiandi, Yu Garden and Tianzifang to name a few of the most popular. However, if you are looking to get away from the hustle-and-bustle of the city or want a more historic, cultural, or traditional visit of Shanghai, you should check out the places below:

Former Residence of Sun Yat-sen

Sun Yat-sen

Sun Yat-sen is considered the Father of Modern China who quit his his profession as a doctor to rebel against the imperialist government of the Qing Dynasty at the beginning of the 20th century. Under Sun Yat-sen, the Communist and Nationalist (Kuomintang) political parties gained power, splitting after his death and eventually leading to the Chinese Civil War.  The museum is situated next to his place of residence on Xiangshan Lu and contains his library (Schopenhauer, Bertrand Russell, and Mendel are a couple of the books on display), military articles, clothes, correspondence letters with Lenin,  and rough drafts of other letters to various people. After going through the museum, you can enter his house, although you have to be escorted by a guide.

Open 9am-4pm daily

Admission Entry 20RMB;10RMB for students.

Telephone 6437 2954

Metro Madang Lu

English address 7 Xiangshan Lu, Sinan Lu, Huangpu District

Chinese address 黄浦区香山路7号, 近思南路

Former Residence of Zhou Enlai

View of the Former Residence of Zhou Enlai as seen from Sinan Lu.
Zhou Enlai was one of Mao Zedong’s closest confidantes and served as his premier for China from 1949 until his death in 1976. Behind Mao, Zhou was the most influential figure in shaping the Communist Party of China as it moved from a revolutionary movement in the 30’s and 40’s to the body-politic that it is today. Zhou Enlai was known as one of the most shrewd diplomats in the East and helped to establish cooperative relationships with most countries that were antagonistic to China at the time.  His death prompted turmoil in China due to his influence, power, and respect because he threatened the political power of Mao’s wife who was seeking to take over as Mao’s health deteriorated. Zhou’s successor and ally, Deng Xiaoping, would open up China to the rest of the world in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s and make it the industrial powerhouse it is today.
   The residence is quite barren in terms of information or displays, but it does contain Zhou’s famous garden and an exhibition about the CPC in the adjacent building. It is near Sun Yat-sen’s residence so it is worth a visit if you are in the area.

9am-4pm daily (closed until Nov. 15th of 2014)

Telephone 6473 0420

Metro Xintiandi

English address 73 Sinan Lu, near Fuxing Zhong Lu, Huangpu District

Chinese address 黄浦区思南路73号, 近复兴中路

Former Residence of Lu Xun

The alleyway in front of Lu Xun’s former residence.

Lu Xun paved the way for modern Chinese literature by combining the ancient Chinese literary style with European literary form. His stories were praised because they departed from traditionalist views of Chinese fiction while also commenting on the changes of Chinese identity during the early part of the 20th century. Mao Zedong recognized him as a leader of the New Culture Movement due to Lu Xun’s analytical commentary of imperialist China. Before his death at his residence in Shanghai, he helped to establish the League of Left-Wing Writers in an effort to support socialist policy and the growing power of the Communist Party of China. He died in 1936 in his bed. The house is largely unaltered and has remained as is since his death. While you are in the area, don’t forget to stop by his Memorial Tomb in Luxun Park.

Open 9am-4pm daily

Admission 8RMB; 4RMB/students

Telephone 5666 2608

Metro Hongkou Football Stadium

English address Building 9, Lane 132, Shanyin Lu, near Sichuan Bei Lu, Hongkou district

Chinese address 虹口区山阴路132弄9号楼, 近四川北路

Duolun Lu Culture Street

The only Chinese-Western architecturally styled church in Shanghai to survive the cultural revolutions, Hongde Tang.

This street became quite famous during the 20’s and 30’s as Shanghai’s intellectual elite flocked to the area during the New Culture Movement. Many famous literary artists, political activists, and celebrities have lived in the area throughout its past. The League of Left-Wing Writers Museum is located here and preserves the building where the league was founded. The rich architectural and literary history of Shanghai is exemplified by the many busts and statues that line the pedestrian street.  Other attractions include the Duolun Lu Museum of Modern Art as well as the adjacent building which houses a Kid’s Art School/Museum on the fourth floor. Today, the street is lined with memorial museums, tea houses, residential apartments, and galleries.

Metro Dong Baoxing Lu

How to get there: Take Exit 1 at Dong Baoxing Lu metro, walk across Hailan Xi Lu, and go north on Baoshan Lu. Once you get to Hengbang Lu turn right. At the crossroads with Dong Hengbang Lu, turn left and continue until you hit Duolun Lu.

English Address Duolun Road, Hongkou District

Chinese Address 多伦文化名人街


A piece of street art on Moganshan Lu that depicts the Pandaren from World of Warcraft.

Everyone who is interested in art should make M50 one of their first and last destinations when visiting Shanghai (everyday the area changes, so who knows what you will see on each visit). The area used to house a mill, factory, and multiple warehouses but it is now an amalgamation of artists’ studios, galleries, and street art. If you are lucky, you may even get to catch the artists at work in their studios as you wind your way through the interconnected hallways, staircases, and alleyways!

Open 10am-6pm Tue-Sun

Telephone 6277 6123


Metro Zhongtan Lu

English address 50 Moganshan Lu, near Xi Suzhou Lu, Putuo district

Chinese address 普陀区莫干山路50号6号楼1楼近西苏州

The Former Residence of Mao Zedong

(see my post, An Appointment with the Chairman)

Shanghai People’s Heroes Memorial Museum

Shanghai People’s Heroes Memorial on the north end of the Bund.

If you are ever out for a stroll on the Bund and have some extra time to spare, you should check out the Shanghai People’s Heroes Memorial Museum. Located at the north end of the Bund, the museum is free and only takes about fifteen minutes to explore. While not very engaging, the museum contains a lot of old pictures of the Bund and a cursory explanation of its history.

Site of the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China

Outside the room where the delegation first met.

Interested in the first formal declaration of communist policy in China? Want to visit the place where the Communist Party of China started? On July 23, 1921, Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhou met with 11 other delegates to discuss the platform and objectives of the CPC. Among them was Mao Zedong, who was tasked with opening a communist party branch in Hunan province. The museum at the site contains revolutionary relics, a Mandarin-translated first edition of The Communist Manifesto, party documents, a wax-work exhibition, and histories of the thirteen delegates.

Open 9am-5pm daily

Admission Free

Metro Huangpi Lu

English address 374 Huangpi Nan Lu, Madang Lu, Huangpu district

Chinese address 黄陂南路374号, 近马当路

Qinci YangDian Taoist Temple

The Qinci YangDian Taoist Temple, the oldest and largest Taoist Temple in Shanghai, was originally built in the 3rd century. It was refurbished, restored, and rebuilt in 2007. During the Qing period, Emperor Qianlong renamed it Qinci YangDian. The temple provides an oasis of calm among the noise pollution on ZhangYang Lu and strikes an alarming contrast against the modern architecture and towering apartment buildings that stand on the street in front of it.
Open 9am-5pm daily

Admission 5 RMB

Metro Yuanshen Lu

English address 476 Yuanshen Road, Pudong District

Chinese address 源深路476号, 近张杨路



3 thoughts on “How to Visit Shanghai ‘Off the Grid’

      1. … 🙂 2008-2012 – Quing Pu District…and I have thousands great experiences, met with lovely people..but the transport and the pollution was horrible, I guess it is even worse,now..Have a nice days in your new destination. Kamila


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