"Are there any up-and-coming neighborhoods I should see?"
Los Angeles, California
Whenever I travel I make a point of seeing whatever up-and-coming neighborhoods I can (i.e. Canal St. Martin in Paris, Wicker Park in Chicago, etc.). Any areas of Shanghai you feel are becoming especially interesting? I don't care if that means there's been an influx of restaurants or stores or just interesting architecture--if it's a new and exciting area I'd like to know about it! Thanks so much!
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top answer by
Simon Opsomer from Leuven, Belgium
Since nobody's answering this, I'll have a try (I'm not a local so I base this on my personal experience).
You'll find Xintiandi and the French Concession in most guidebooks and they will point them out as interesting neighborhoods. For me, Xintiandi felt a lot like I was back in Europe. The bars and restaurants are full of expats and the buildings have a European feel to them.
I didn't plan on going to the French Concession but I ended up there by accident. I thought the name was referring to the history of the neighborhood so I was kinda surprised when I actually met French-speaking people there. It was just at the time people were done with work and I stayed there the whole evening. If you're looking for something authentic, this isn't the place to go. But it showed me once again that Shanghai really is a modern, worldly city (in comparison to other Chinese cities I've been to).
If you're looking for something more local I can recommend you to go to a little neighborhood south of West Nanjing Road (near West Nanjing Road Metro Station). I also ended up there by accident but it was really neat. The street looks closed and there is a guard but you can just walk in. It's basically one alley running north to south with smaller alleys crossing it and everywhere there are small boutiques, coffee shops, restaurants, home stores, artist galleries, .... It feels like they just run the coffee shop in their living room, very nice.
Google Maps marks it as a Jing'an Villa so I guess that's the name. The photos on foursquare give a good impression of what it looks like.
(Edit: Jing'an seems to be a bigger neighborhood around the Jing'an temple but I was specifically talking about the small alley south of Nanjing road :)).
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