Xintiandi was formerly a residential old city area of Shanghai’s prosperous French Quarter. It was transformed in the last decade by preserving its charming 19th century Shikumen lane houses and incorporating modern architecture to turn it into an iconic ritzy and glitzy leisure, shopping, fashion, dining, entertainment, and residential area, making it one of Shanghai’s favourite complexes with a concentration of culture and lifestyle, and a range of hotels, restaurants, cafes, book stores, shops, and boutiques.
Located between the former presidential residence and Taipinghu Park, Xintiandi stretches over two city blocks. It is a mostly pedestrian-only area with open air spaces, narrow cobbled lanes, outdoor seating, and aesthetically designed street infrastructure and lighting. With its central location and accessibility, it is the most expensive place to live in China, and is aptly named Xintiandi, or ‘New Heaven and Earth’.
North and South Xintiandi
Xintiandi is divided into two parts: the South Block and the North Block. The South Block consists of modern architecture buildings housing leisure and entertainment centers including restaurants from all over the world, shops and boutiques, food courts, cinemas, and fitness centers. The North Block is composed of antique Shikumen buildings with inner modern designs and facilities housing more upscale stores and restaurants.
Shikumen buildings are a mix of western and traditional Han style of architecture. The name originates from the unique heavy gates made specifically to block out the busy downtown area noise. The ancient brick walls, tiled roofs, dark-colored gates, and exquisite gate lintel engravings are the trademark look of Shikumen architecture.
Type: Neighborhood, Shopping, Dining & Entertainment District
Recommended Visiting Time: 2 – 3 hours
7 Things to Do in Xintiandi
- Admire the beauty of traditional Shikumen homes with their wooden doors and vaulted stone door frames, built along the old Shanghai narrow lanes and stone-paved pedestrian street of Xintiandi; this is also a good photography subject.
- To learn more about Shikumen homes and life inside them, and about the history and evolution of the area, visit the Shikumen Open House Museum.
- Xintiandi is the site of the historic First National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the birthplace of communism in China; the First Congress Hall has been converted into a museum.
- It is also the site of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea when Korea was a Japanese colony
- The former residence of President Sun Yat Sen, who led the revolution that overthrew the Qing Dynasty in 1912, is also preserved as a museum.
- Xintiandi is bustling with some of the city’s most popular upscale dining options including all types of cuisines ranging from Chinese, Japanese, and Thai to American, German, French, Brazilian, Italian, and fusion. The steamed filled and unfilled buns or xiaolongbao at the Din Tai Fung restaurant chain come highly recommended. Enjoying a meal, a coffee, or people-watching in the lively atmosphere of the cheerful outdoor seating and festive lighting is a popular leisure activity here.
- Shop here in luxurious malls for big brand names, or bargain in small specialty for locally made clothes, scarves, artistic crafts, handbags, and accessories
Tips for Xintiandi
- If you want to avoid the crowds on the main Xintiandi road, turn into the smaller by-lanes for a quieter feel of the place.
- For an update of the events and promotions that are always happening at Xintiandi, check out their website (www.xintiandi.com).
- For a fully enjoyable experience, visit the neighborhood in the afternoon to get a glimpse of Xintiandi both in the daytime and at night: in the daytime to explore its distinctive Shikumen traditional architecture, and later experience its lively nighttime atmosphere.
Recommended Hotels in Xintiandi
Getting to Xintiandi
1. Take Metro Line 10/ Line 13 to Xintiandi Station. Get out from Exit 6 to Madang Road, then walk a bit to the north.
2. Take Metro Line 1 and get off at South Huangpi Rd. Station. Get out from Exit 3 and walk southwards along South Huangpi Road.
1. Take City Sightseeing Bus Line 1 to Yida Huizhi Xintiandi.
2. Take bus 146 or 805 to Madang Rd, Xingye Rd.