Hello Xintiandi / City Center
Locals and visitors alike love Xintiandi, and it's incredibly easy to understand why. Rebuilt and restored by way of an extensive renovation process completed in 2002, this small, pleasant, fun-loving neighborhood is a celebration of Shanghai's past and present. The highlights are the buildings themselves; once crumbling and at the point of falling into disrepair, the traditional 'shikumen' (stone gate) houses are now enjoying a new lease of life as apartments, cafes, restaurants, bars, boutique stores, and art spaces. Popular with sightseers, cafe-dwellers, and people watchers during the day, Xintiandi is one of the best spots in Shanghai for nighttime entertainment too; the bars and restaurants sit contentedly at the swanky end of the swanky scale, and are plenty enough in number for you to enjoy a night out or two during your stay. To engage more with Xintiandi's past – and, indeed, that of Shanghai and China more broadly – pay a visit to the Museum of the First National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. The Communist Party of China was established in this building, now a museum, in 1921, with none other than Mao Zedong in attendance.