Fathom Favorites : Shanghai

1. Shanghai Sculpture Park

For new perspectives, take in the 70 massive installations at the foot of the Sheshan Mountains that make up Shanghai Sculpture Park.

1158 Linyin New Rd.
Shanghai, China,

2. Weekend Marriage Market

While it sounds downright nightmarish to think about mom and dad sharing your measurements and resume with other parents trying to snag you a date, it’s fascinating to catch the weekend marriage market at people’s square — where throngs of other people’s parents hold signs and photographs in an effort to make it happen for their kids.

People's Square Park, 75 W. Nanjing Rd.
Shanghai, China,

3. Urban Planning Exhibition Centre

Learn about the city's evoluton through archival photos and videos as well as a perfect scale model of Shanghai (located on the sixth floor). Art exhibitions are held year round on the second-level exhibition hall. 

100 Renmin Ave.
Shanghai, China,

4. MOCA Shanghai

Shanghai's Museum of Contemporary Art in the historic People's Park features both Chinese and international artists. The Art Lab on the museum's third floor is an open event space for creatives, food and drinks included. 

People's Park, 231 Nanjing W. Rd.
Shanghai, China, 200003

5. Lost Heaven

Yunnan cuisine is the specialty here — a mixture of flavors from ethnic minority groups found in the province. The food is flavorful, spicy, fresh, and clean. Try the Yunnan eggplant and tofu, the string beans with shrimp paste, and the chicken with green onions and chili. After dinner, venture onto the terrace for post-dinner drinks over the Bund.

17 Yan'an E. Rd.
Shanghai, China

6. Four Seasons Dumpling King

The tastiest Dongbei (Northern Chinese) food around. It doesn't cater to English speakers but has a charming English menu that's worth a look for the translation alone. Make sure to order the flat chicken entree.

1791 Huaihai Xi Rd.

7. Ultraviolet

No surprises that one of the world's best French restaurants is on the Bund in Shanghai. Chef Paul Pairet's modern take on French cuisine is filled with the freshest ingredients and mind-boggling molecular gastronomy techniques. Spots at the ten-seat multi-sensory restaurant often book up six months in advance, so save up and plan way in advance.

c/o Bund 18, 6/F, 18 Zhongshan Dong Yi Rd.
Shanghai, China 20002

8. Xibo

Try the modern Xinjiang menu for a taste of China's Northwest. Lamb and smoky spices feature prominently, and the stone and wood interior evoke Asia's ancient Silk Road.

3/F, 83 Changshu Rd.
Shanghai, China

9. Hai Jinzi

When autumn rolls around, so does hairy crab season. Don't expect the interior of the restaurant to blow your mind (they've gone with a dusty Tsingtao bottle look), but the hairy crab roe scrambled with eggs will change the way you see breakfast. For seconds, head down the block to the cozy Chun (124 Jinxian Rd.; +86-21-6256-0301) for a quintessential Shanghainese experience.

240 Jinxian Rd.
Shanghai, China

10. Da Hu Chun

In addition to the famous xiaolongbao, Shanghai is also home to its cousin: shengjianbao. The pan-fried dumpling is stuffed with a ball of pork and juicy stock and sprinkled liberally with sesame seeds. The hole-in-the-wall spot (which also has the government's stamp of approval) has been doling out the city's best shengjianbao for more than 60 years.

89 S. Yunnan Rd.
Shanghai, China

11. A Shan

In this time capsule of a restaurant, the owner holds court in the smoky dining room, glad-handing regulars and welcoming new diners with tales from the old days.

2378 Hongqiao Rd.
Shanghai, China

12. Ding Te Le

A 24-hour noodle shop serving nongtang cai (Shanghai alleyway cuisine) brings together some of the best international homestyle dishes. Get the fried five-spice pork cutlets: The dish left over from the German expats of the 1920s comes with a splash of Shanghainese Worcestershire sauce, a spicy soy sauce inspired by the Brits' favorite condiment.

Read more on Fathom: Slurp Up Shanghai's Top 10 Mom-and-Pop Noodle Joints

494 Huaihai Middle Rd.
Shanghai, Chine

13. Fu 1088

There's a minimum RMB 400 spend per person at the contemporary Chinese restaurant, not including alcohol, but the setting alone (an old Shanghainese villa decked out with art deco antiques) is worth the hefty price tag. If you can't make it, chef Tony Lu's empire of Fu restaurants (including Yong Yi Ting at the Mandarin Oriental) are all worth a visit.

Read more on Fathom: The Best of the Best: Shanghai's Top Eateries

375 Zhenning Rd.
Shanghai, China

14. FuChun XiaoLong

No matter what time of day you stop by, stacks of xiaolongbao (soup dumplings) are steaming in the kitchen and a steady stream of grannies are loudly slurping the pork stock out of their wheat wrappers. The restaurant also sells old Shanghainese dishes that you can't find anywhere else, like "partner" soup with tofu and sausage.

650 Yuyuan Rd.
Shanghai, China

15. Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant

Indulge in made-to-order xiao long bao at a 100-year-old temple inside the city's old Chinese section. The crowds can be intense, so take advantage of your jetlag and go first thing in the morning for a seated breakfast on the second floor.

85 Yuyuan Rd., Old Town God's Temple
Shanghai, China 200010

16. Wagas

All the convenience of Starbucks and none of the "I should be doing something Chinese right now" guilt. Solid takeaway coffees and grab-and-go bites. Look for the other trusty, approachable concepts from the restaurant group, including Mr. Willis and Baker & Spice

Citic Sq., 1168 W. Nanjing Rd.
Shanghai, China,

17. Spicy Moment

A neighborhood noodle shop for modern times. make a spot at the communal table and order from the condensed menu of updated Hunanese cold appetizers and hot soups. Prepare for a smoky treat and licorice tea. 

71 Wuyuan Rd.
Shanghai, China,

18. New Jesse (Xin JiShi)

Exemplary Shanghainese cuisine in all its sweet, saucy, texture-centric glory. Sticky rice dates, drunken crab, salty chicken, and hong sau ro (braised pork) are always available, but delicacies like Green Onion Fish Head and Eight Treasure Duck must be ordered in advance. Reservations are a must.

41 TianPing Rd.
Shanghai, China,

19. Southern Barbarian

Have a frosty pint at the ready when going deep into Yunnan home cooking, the most mixed up, eclectic Chinese cuisine. Charcoal-grilled meats and herby salads are givens, but unexpected ingredients like goat cheese, wildflowers, and fried honey bees are particularly neat. 

2 Fl., Area E,169 Jinxian Rd.
Shanghai, China,

20. Sunflour

Organic salads and sandwiches are a beacon of health in a sea of deep-fried rice cakes and saucy chicken feet. If it's a nice day (read: not too muggy, not completely wet), pull up to a table outside and watch the XuHui neighborhood go by.

322 Anfu Rd.
Shanghai, China,

21. Din Tai Fung

Bring on soup dumplings, smashed sesame balls, and steamed pork buns. Lose count of the steamer baskets faster than you can say "another Shaomai, please." Down plates of fried rice and tofu puffs in noodle soup. 

123 Xingye Rd.
Shanghai, China,

22. Mr. & Mrs. Bund

On a rooftop high above the Bund, a social scene — fueled by champagne and local celeb chef Paul Pairet's riffs on French fare — buzzes away. Check the calendar for what’s rumored to be a completely wild bingo night.  

18 Zhongshan E. 1st Rd.
Shanghai, China,

23. The Peninsula Shanghai

Besides its central location (right on the Bund), the grand hotel (considered the nicest in Shanghai) harks back to the roaring ‘20s with deco and modern luxuries (sprawling rooms, deep bathtubs with sweeping views of the city's skyline, a stunning indoor pool). Even if you don't end up staying here, come by for a drink at the eccentric speakeasy-esque bar, Salon de Ning.

32 Zhongshan E. 1st Rd.
Shanghai, China 200002

24. The Ritz Carlton Shanghai - Pudong

An ultra-modern, glam escape with a 1930s twist right in the heart of Lujiazui finance and trade zone. Located on the top eighteen floors of a 58-story skyscraper, the luxurious hotel has jaw-dropping views of the futuristic city.

Read more on Fathom: On Top of the World in Shanghai

Shanghai IFC, 8 Century Ave., Lujiazui
Shanghai, China 200120

25. Waterhouse Hotel

Style backed by substance. As a break from the bustle of the South Bund, design buffs kick back with VIPs (very important pieces) from Wegner, Jacobsen, and Juhl in lobby and rooftop bars, Table No. 1 restaurant, and 18 boutique rooms.

1 S. Zhongshan Rd.
Shanghai, China,

26. Urbn Hotel

It’s not often that you hear the words "carbon neutral" in China, but this green-minded hotel housed in the shell of an old post office, has been re-envisioned with reclaimed wood and antiques from the area. Luckily, words like "sleek," "spacious," and "hey, nice courtyard" get thrown around, too. 

183 Jiaozhou Rd.
Shanghai, China,

27. Quintet

A six-room bed and breakfast in the French Concession makes for a down-to-earth (and budget-friendly) place to post up comfortably without feeling touristy. Yoga, acupuncture, cooking classes, and other cultural excursions can be set up according to your schedule.

808 ChangLe Rd.
Shanghai, China,

28. The PuLi Hotel and Spa

A 26-story, thoroughly modern hotel still very much in touch with its roots. Shou incense burners, stoneware headrests, and other only-in-China details play up the past, while high-tech gadgetry sets service standards for the future. 

1 ChangDe Rd.
Shanghai, China,

29. Le Sun Chine

Did you pack your fancy pants? The butler will happily press them for you while you are busy with champagne in the library, swimming laps in the pool, or taking a stroll through the garden of this British colonial-style beauty. 

Bldg. 6, 1220 Huashan Rd.
Shanghai, China,

30. Cachet Boutique

Even the hotels are not immune to the city of perpetual (re)construction. The former Jia Shanghai, now called Cachet Boutique, is still hidden behind the preserved 1920's facade. Inside, however, is an explosion of bold patterns and colors in the lobby and rooms by designer Jay Godfrey — also look for the marble and Italian Bisazza mosaic tiles in the bathroom. On your way out to dinner, stop by the lobby lounge for complimentary cakes and wines while perusing local art.

931 W. Nanjing Rd.
Shanghai, China,

31. Platane

Some of the city's best contemporary design and decor brands fill the homewares shop. Take note of the in-house ceramics collection, where all the pieces are fired in ancient kilns in the country's porcelain hub of Jingdezhen.

439 Wukang Rd.
Shanghai, China

32. Madame Mao's Dowry

The best of old and new Shanghai in the former French Concession area. A rare collection of Mao-era trinkets and framed art are sold alongside up-and-coming Shanghai decor and apparel brands. Great for gifts and special souvenirs.

207 Fumin Rd.
Shanghai, China

33. Zhuang Rong Cheongsam Tailor Shop

For a truly unique souvenir, head to this fashionable atelier in the French Concession. A custom-made cheongsam (traditional fitted dress) starts at $500 and includes follow-up visits at your hotel with a personal tailor. 

#241 Changle Rd.
Shanghai, China 200000

34. South Bund Fabric Market

Take a spin around the South Bund Fabric Market. Tailors show off their specialties by displaying items in sheer volume outside their stores. decide what you’d like to have made (a trench? a tux? a schoolboy blazer?), choose your fabrics, stand for measurements, and then make an appointment to drop back by for a quick fitting before you pick up the final piece. Turnaround is quick and prices are negotiable. 

399 Lujiabang Rd.
Shanghai, China,

35. Spin Ceramics

Three floors of gorgeous ceramics in a total zen den. New craftsmanship meets  centuries-old techniques and everything is displayed with quiet reverence. 

360 Kangding Rd.
Shanghai, China,

36. Dong Liang Studio

From the street, the converted lane house doesn’t look like much, but each of the three superbly merchandised floors — featuring China’s fashion darlings — makes the shop a must-see.  

184 Fumin Rd.
Shanghai, China,

37. The Cottage Shop

Country camp for the cools. Vintage Americana and worn-out-looking pieces fill the lifestyle outfitter’s shelves, racks, and every inch of available counter space. 

170 Wulumuqi Middle Rd.
Shanghai, China,

38. Cha-mi Living

A heavenly spot for all things tea. Impromptu tastings and mini brewing lessons at the counter of the Scandi-inspired shop crisscross old world, everyday, and rare blends, making it hard very to leave.

201 Fumin Rd.
Shanghai, China,

39. Showroom

Cozy housewares for the well-appointed home. Ceramics, linens, incense, and reclaimed wood furniture with a handcrafted, Etsy-esque sensibility. 

No. 30, Ln. 120 TaiAn Rd.
Shanghai, China,