Hello Old City
The Old City in Shanghai is exactly that: old. You can still see two small sections of the 16th-century city wall – the rest was knocked just over a hundred years ago – and visitors can get an idea of what traditional Shanghai might have looked like by way of the gardens and restored temples. The City God Temple and neighboring Yuyuan Garden are perhaps the best examples of these but are by no means the only ones. The Old City does get crowded, however, and so your best bet is to get there as early as you can, accepting that you won't have the neighborhood all to yourself and instead embracing the energetic atmosphere. Duck down laundry-strewn side streets to escape the worst of the crowds, and you'll get that all-important impression of what local life in the Old City looks like. The food here is fantastic, too, whether you sit down for xiaolongbao (soup dumplings) or hit up a night market for some sizzling Shanghainese crayfish or a bowl of hand-pulled noodles. The market on Fangbang Road is a good place to start, but walk around and you'll quickly stumble across all manner of aromatically alluring street food stalls. Wash it all down with a cup of steaming tea from a traditional tea house, and you'll be very pleased for having braved the crowds.