Stuck in Shanghai over October Holiday ... and loving it!

Stuck in Shanghai over October Holiday ... and loving it!

Don’t envy friends who are jetting away from town this Golden Week. Staying put can be a blast, if you know where to go
October holiday
Imagine perusing the wares of Dongtai Lu Antique Market, without the masses of people. It's possible during October holiday.

So, you’re staying in town for the October holiday? Take advantage of the population exodus and shorter lines to explore anew some of Shanghai’s gems. It’s fun to be a tourist in your own city. And, who knows, you just might discover something you never knew existed. Here are some ideas to jumpstart your urban journey.

October holiday


The building now called 1933 was once the largest slaughterhouse in Asia -- they even needed to import the concrete to build it because they didn't have enough local supply.

Today, 1933 has been renovated to house everything from a tapas restaurants to designer boutiques. The complex isn’t just open during this holiday, it’s hopping with the Shanghai Drinking Festival. The several-day event offers everything from wine tasting to lectures and auctions.

With or without a wine buzz at this intriguing art deco edifice, spend the rest of the day on foot, wandering through the Hongkou District’s historic buildings.

Be sure to check out the Ohel Moishe Synagogue, once the heart of the Shanghai Jewish ghetto.

Dongtai Lu Antique Market

October holiday

It’s true, some jaded locals may describe this two block corridor of mostly faux vintage stands as a tourist trap. But now that you’re a full-fledged Shanghai resident, you’re no longer a sucker. Prove it by negotiating that cute tea set down from RMB 500 to RMB 50.

The “antiques” can also make great presents, especially for that relative who would love sentimental relics from the People’s Republic's storied past. You might even stumble across a real antique treasure. There’s everything from “aged” wood carvings to Victorian floral jewelry boxes.

Combing through the memorabilia might even inspire a creative October holiday project -- perhaps a Mao-themed kitsch bathroom, complete with propaganda posters, soap dishes, and mini-statutes?

Taikang Lu

October holiday

Sure, you’ll occasionally bring your out-of-town guests to Taikang Lu, or maybe entertain co-workers with an al fresco dinner. But, have you seen Taikang Lu lately? It’s weaving an increasingly elaborate web of alleyways.

Take advantage of the thinner crowds to spend the day exploring the twists, turns and new nooks of Taikang Lu.

There are plenty of galleries, boutiques and good eats to fill up an afternoon. Discover new secrets like the complimentary hand-stitched teddy bear you’ll receive if you spend more than 300 RMB at Ester’s Bear’s Thai restaurant, or the fact that Jimmy, the bartender at Bell’s Bar, loves to let guests sample his latest cocktail concoctions.

The art scene

October holiday

It’s no surprise that many of the city’s private art galleries will be closed over October holiday -- everyone needs a break, even artists -- but this is the perfect time to stop into some of the shows that opened in September that you missed.

First up is Fantastic Illusions, part the Shanghai eArts Festival 2009 (through Oct. 11) at MoCA. The exhibition includes seven Belgian and six Chinese artists who discuss the relations between the virtual reality technology and media art development. Also check out Shanghai 1979-2009 running through Oct. 10 at the Ke Center. Curated by Biljana Ciric, the show offers complete retrospective of contemporary art practices in Shanghai over the past 30 years.

Finally, stop in at The James Cohan Gallery’s Young Americans exhibit featuring three promising U.S. artists -- Trenton Doyle Hancock, Erick Swenson and Alison Elizabeth Taylor. They work with a wide variety of media including painting, sculpture, printmaking and the performing arts.

Getting there

10 Shajing Lu, near Jiulong Lu 沙泾路10号, 近九龙路
+86 21 6501 1933

Ohel Moishe Synagogue
62 Changyang Lu, near Zhoushan Lu 长阳路62号, 近舟山路
+86 21 6541 5008

Dongtai Lu Antique Market
Dongtai Lu, near Ji'an Lu 东台路 近吉安路

Bell Bar, Taikang Lu
No. 11 Lane 248 Taikang Lu, near Sinan Lu 泰康路248弄11号, 近近思南路
+86 138 1777 8890

Ester’s Bear
No.23, Lane 248, Taikang Lu, near Sinan Lu 泰康路田子坊248弄23号, 近思南路
+86 21 6473 0645

Gate 7, People's Park, 231 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Xinchang Lu 南京西路231号人民公园7号门, 近新昌路
+86 21 6327 9900

Ke Center
613 Kaixuan Lu, near Wuyi Lu 凯旋路613号, 近武夷路
+86 216131 3080

James Cohan Gallery
1/F, Bldg 1, Lane 170 Yueyang Lu, near Jianguo Xi Lu 岳阳路170弄1号楼1楼, 近建国西路
+86 21 5466 0825