The former French Concession is a lovely part of Shanghai because, China tours despite the fact that you're in the heart of a city with a population exceeding twenty million, it feels like you're just in a local neighborhood. The French imported platane trees in the early 1900s and these trees still line both sides of every street in the area. These days, old villas and lane houses are being renovated and turned into lovely shops and homes. It's fun to wander the less-congested streets and watch oldies chatting on the sidewalks and vendors market their wares.
Moganshan Road Art District
If you'd like to see what's happening on the contemporary art scene in China, take a taxi to Moganshan Yangtze River cruises Road near Suzhou Creek. Once just factories and warehouses, the area is now a thriving art colony full of galleries of all sizes. There's a café near the entrance to the lane where you can have a nice coffee once you've seen the scene. Not to be missed:
Tianzifang (田子坊) Taikang Road Art, Cafe & Shopping District
If you're in the mood for some shopping but are tired of touts shoving fake watches in your face, head to Taikang Road. A walk down the road lets you see local Shanghai life at its best: street vendors selling pancakes China business travel and fruit, kids scampering about and women hanging up laundry. Then find alley 210 and wander down the lane. It's full of shops and cafes selling everything from traditional Chinese qi pao dresses to funky silver jewelry.