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Nighttime and the living is easy

By Xu Junqian (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-07-23 08:07
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Nighttime and the living is easy

When the sun goes down and the temperature drops, the city starts to sparkle, Xu Junqian reports.

By day, Shanghai's attractions will keep even the most energized visitor busy. But as night falls and people come out to socialize, dine and enjoy the cooler weather, the city lights up, as if awaking from a nap. Whether enjoying views of the Bund, shopping along a neon-lit street or strolling beside quaint waterways, here are some of the best places in Shanghai to spend an evening.

1. The Bund

The Bund is one of Shanghai's most popular landmarks, made so by its varied European-influenced architecture. During the day, it's a popular place for a stroll along the banks of the Huangpu River or to marvel at the magnificent structures both along the Bund and on the Pudong side of the river. But when night falls and the lights begin to illuminate Shanghai's historic buildings, the strip comes to life with vibrant colors reflected in the river. Boat cruises on the Huangpu River are an ideal way to take in the beautiful scenes. Some even offer dinner cruises.

Transportation: Metro line 2

2. Lujiazui

Just across the Huangpu River is the Lujiazui Central Business District, where some of Shanghai's tallest and most famous buildings stand, including the Jinmao Tower, Shanghai World Financial Center and the Oriental Pearl Tower. If the Bund reflects the city's classy, elegant past, then Lujiazui is a symbol of the city's modern, fast-paced future. At night, the TV Tower is decorated with sparkling red lights that look like rubies. In the distance, the two skyscrapers stand, illuminated with dazzling lights that reflect off each other. These bright lights contrast the Bund in a way that magnificently shows where Shanghai has been and where it's heading.

Transportation: Metro line 2

3. Jing'an Temple

While this century-old temple is not open to public after 5 pm, at night the temple sparkles, trumping the surrounding shopping malls and office buildings with its bright lights. It's best to appreciate the beauty of this structure at night and at a distance. Jing'an Park, opposite the temple, is open to the public day and night. Dense trees line the lanes and small hills provide a tranquil oasis just meters away from the busy streets. It's also a favorite place for young couples to spend some time together.

Transportation: Metro line 2

4. Huaihai Road

New York has Fifth Avenue, Paris has Champ Elysees, Tokyo has Ginza and Shanghai has Huaihai Road. This ever-crowded, vibrant street has the most shopping opportunities of any road in Shanghai. With hundreds of shops along this 2.2-kilometer stretch of pavement, Huaihai Road is full of decorated and brightly lit windows, which create an even more magnificent scene at night. For the best views, take the double-decker tourist bus, which travels down Huaihai Road.

Transportation: Metro line 1

5. Xintiandi

As the city's most upmarket landmark, the space smartly blends Shanghai's traditional Shikumen lane houses with chic bars, restaurants and shops. The mix of European caf culture with elements of Chinese architecture provides the perfect ambiance to enjoy some high-end shopping, delicious food and well-mixed cocktails. Nearby Taiping Lake is also a good place to enjoy a cool summer night.

Transportation: Metro line 1, 10

6. Nanjing Road Pedestrian Mall

The Nanjing Road Pedestrian Mall is yet another place to enjoy some bargain hunting in Shanghai. The precinct is featured as a must-see attraction on any city guide. As the sun sets, the street's bright neon lights beam, creating a spectacular scene. Standing at the beginning of the road, visitors will see a burst of neon lights highlighting various brand names. But still be prepared for crowds, as the street is always filled with tourists taking pictures, sightseeing, carrying dozens of shopping bags and moving at a slow and lazy pace.

Transportation: Metro line 1, 2, 8

7. People's Square

People's Square, in the heart of downtown, is nicknamed the "green lung". There are still many older residents living nearby who take a walk and enjoy the cool air at night. Children can be found playing in a huge fountain in the front of the square. Coupled with the gracefully lit Shanghai Museum, Grand Theater, Municipal Hall and various skyscrapers that fringe the park, this area is an ideal spot to spend an evening in Shanghai.

Transportation: Metro line 1, 2, 8

8. Suzhou Creek

Suzhou Creek, a branch of Huangpu River, has, over the last 10 years, been getting a much-needed facelift. The creek was been cleared of pollution and strange smells that accompany it. Now decorated with colored lights along its banks and bridges that vary in style, the creek is a quaint and quiet place to spend an evening, unlike the more popular and glitzy Huangpu River environs. There are also boat cruises along the river.

Transportation: Metro line 3, 4, 7

9. Anting Old Street

Situated in the peaceful and leafy suburban area of the city, this street resembles the atmosphere found in water villages around the south Yangzte River. Rebuilt in the architectural style of the Ming and Qing dynasties, the street is lined with shops that sell Chinese traditional snacks, art crafts, plants and birds. While at night, soft lights swing with the waves of the river, providing a serene and relaxing ambiance not too far away from all the action in Shanghai.

Transportation: Metro line 11


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