Shanghai Old Street is a unique street, 825m long, that is a hub of tourist attractions, shopping, leisure, entertainment, history, and culture.
This centuries’ old business street is called ‘little eastern gate’ as it is situated at the site of one of the old city gates, and is also dubbed the ‘crowded corridor of the city,’ for being an important trading point for foreign goods and small commodities and contributing to Shanghai’s economic and social development.
Flanked by decorated archways on both ends, it attracts countless local and foreign visitors who come for a glimpse of what old Shanghai was like a hundred years ago.
Shanghai Old Street boasts the Ming and Qing Dynasty style of architecture with typically Chinese features that include red columns, black tiles, pink and white-washed walls, black roofs with upswept eaves and protruding corners, latticed windows, laced drain pipes, and horse-shaped wall tops. The shop fronts have wooden boards, balustrades, and full-length swing doors.
There are more than 200 traditional theatres, restaurants, snack bars, noodle houses, and teahouses here, plus banks, florists, boutiques, embroidery houses, and specialty shops selling local products such as unique chopsticks and walking sticks, gold and jewelry, antiques, curios, handicraft articles, paintings, calligraphies, fabric, clothing, shoes, and Chinese medicines. Several of them date back to more than a hundred years ago.
Top 5 Things to Do in Shanghai Old Street
- Shanghai Old Street is the place to admire centuries old Ming and Qing Dynasty Architecture. The street is also a one-stop spot for enjoying history, culture, photography, food, and shopping
- If you don’t mind crowds, visit the Lantern Street Show in January when the street is illuminated with colourful, decorative lanterns
- Chunfeng Deyi Teahouse is a famous old teahouse which serves Yuan Bao Tea, a specialty tea with two olives in it (considered auspicious in Shanghai culture). On weekends the teahouse hosts a Ping Tan (storytelling and ballad singing in Suzhou dialect) performance from 14:00 to 16:00
- Old Shanghai Teahouse has a display of over 50 of cheongsams (traditional women’s gowns) from the 1930s
- You can walk down to Yu Garden, City God Temple (a Taoist temple), Chen Xiang Pavilion (a Buddhist temple), and Xiao Tao Yuan Mosque (which serves halal foods on Fridays)
Tips for Shanghai Old Stree
- The best time to visit the street is in the evening when the street comes alive with lighting and visitors; March to November is the best season to visit when commercial and tourist activity is at its peak
- The street is popular with photographers for its many and varied photo-ops, so take your camera along for some colourful pictures of Shanghai culture
- The street is crowded, so keep an eye on all your belongings at all times
Recommended Hotels Near Shanghai Old Street
Getting to Shanghai Old Street
1. Take Metro Line 8 and get off at Laoximen Station. Leave from exit 6 or 7 and walk east for about 10 minutes.
2. Take Metro Line 10 and get off at Yu Station. Leave from exit 3 and walk south for about five minutes.
1. Take City Sightseeing Bus to get there.
2. Take bus 11, 64, 304, 736, 920 or 930 and get off at Xiaodongmen Station.