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Top 5 Old Streets in Shanghai to Explore Old Shanghai

Written by Kelly PangUpdated Jan. 16, 2021

Old streets could tell you the past and future of a city. The old streets and old buildings are definitely the soul of Shanghai. While Shanghai is increasingly becoming the focus of the world, let's take a space travel through the old streets to date with old Shanghai and imagine her future at the same time.

1. Sinan Road (Massenet Rue, 思南路)

Once called as Massenet Rue, a romantic name, Sinan Road is regarded as "Shangzhijiao (上只角)", the upstream of Huangpu river where is supposed to have gathered lots of celebrities and rich people in Shanghai. Bicycles come and go there casting their long shadows under warm sunlight and tall plane trees on the sides seem to have blocked away the bustling chaos from megalopolis life, leaving a noble air to this area. And no other streets could compare.

On both sides of the street there are small houses built in western styles. The delicate hollowed patterns under the eaves and mottled tracks on the bricks are telling you their glory long history. But through the balustrade you could find their owners are just living a common life like you and me. Just in the corner of the garden, you could find some hints of its noble air. If you don't want to accept the so-called artificial history, then come to Sinan Road to feel the living history.

Here also once gathered lots of celebrities, like Sun Yat-sen, Zhou En-Lai, Zhang Xueliang etc. These cultural elements have permeated though every corner in Sinan Road. And the former Zhou Residence is already free to public.

Transport: Take subway line get there or take bus No. 218, 43, 806, 931, 96, and 985 to get there.


  • Gaolan Road (皋兰路) It's just next to Sinan Road; the No.1 building is the former residence of Zhang Xueliang, where he and his confidante---Miss Zhao had lived for a while. The salient No.16 is former Orthodox St Nicholas' Church. This small-sized church was first built in 1928, small but very delicate.
  • A Niang Noodle (阿娘面馆): No.36 Sinan Road (by Nanchang Road). This restaurant featured at common city life and the customers are mainly local residents. Although the environment is not so good, it is very famous in Shanghai.

2. Huashan Road (华山路)

A Although Huashan Road is always very busy in daytime, there is always a mystery mask casting on it. More than a hundred years ago, it was the only passage from Jing'anTemple to Xujiahui (徐家汇), and was called Xujiahui Road. There weremany legends happened here, like the former Dingxiang garden (丁香花园), which was said to be built by Li Hongzhang (李鸿章)for his favorite concubine—Dingxiang; and the Wukang Road next to it is the setting "Fukaisen Road (福开森路)"in the novel and movie lust.

On this road you could see many beautiful confident young people appearing at the front of Shanghai Theater Academy, which has trained many super stars for China. And you could also walk peacefully in many former residences of celebrities. Or you just randomly wander into a lane then all the bustling chaos is blocked away.


Take bus No. 824, 830, 93, 94, 96, 925, 148, 927, 936, 958, 113, 202, 311, 315, 321, 327, 40, 45, 48, 49, 548, and 71 to Huashan Road stop


The mystery garden still keeps the style of Chinese traditional court combined with European building. The front half of the garden is reconstructed into a restaurant while the back half is not open to public yet.

A small gallery displays lots of art works with motifs related to Shanghai. You would meet the owner in front of his gallery because he loves to sunbathe there. And he is always ready to answer your any questions about landmarks in Shanghai.

  • Dingxiang Garden (丁香花园): No.849 on Huashan Road
  • Mo Gallery: No.789 on Huashan Road

3. West Wuding Road (武定西路)

West Wuding Road is not so famous, but it has some story about Zhang Ai-ling (张爱玲). And everything about Zhang is a symbol of romance. The most famous one is the Kaina Apartment on No.1375, which was regarded by her as the landmark for a place where you could get your inner peace in a fickle society. Built in 1932, it was the most magnificent one in shanghai at that time, even with a garage. And all the residents are celebrities including Zhang. Although it has already transformed to dwellings and stores, you still could find the air of old Shanghai in it.

Its particular beauty is in details. On the sidewalk you could find a place surrounded by note-shaped iron balustrade, and that is where Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra located. Music floats around the tall Ionic pillar, the red wooden doors and windows and little delicate houses.

Transport: Take bus No. 136, 143, 148, 23, 45, 506, 824, 838, and 935 to West Wuding Road stop.


A typical French restaurant decorated with particular using of mosaic and curve, a typical Gaudí-like building. Inside you could feel the simple but typical French country decoration style. You'd love here if you love French food.

  • Le Bouchon:No.1445 West Wuding Road

4. Changle Road (长乐路)

Changle Road is a place to tell you what is in fashion. There are numerous novel boutiques on the road where you could hang for whole day. Here has gathered so many young designers and other cool staffs. This street in Shanghai is just like "Harajuku" in Japan.

It has been years since fashion goes on this road. And the road is in four parts: from Fumin Road (富民路) to South Shanxi Road (陕西南路), it is featured by the dolls in Japanese comics; from South Shanxi Road to South Maoming Road (茂名南路) filled with the cheongsam customized and Jin Jiang Dickson and other front-line stores; from South Maoming Road to Ruijin Road (瑞金路) gathers lots of cool stores and restaurants; from Ruijin Road to Chengdu Road (成都路), there are so many different boutiques which would really spoil you by choice.

Transport: Take bus No.49, 506, 548 to Changle Road stop


Here has gathered lots of the extremely cool skate board players. This is very famous among local extreme game players. Here you could find everything about skate board: shoes, clothes, trousers, skate boards……

  • Fly:No.704 Changle Road

5. Anfu Road(安福路)

This is a short road, just thousand steps to finish it, but it stands for the literature in Shanghai especially when drama was in vogue.

More than ten years ago, watching dramas seem to be the "patent" only to the elderly and the young people are supposed to have fun on all kinds of bars and concerts. But now things changed. 80% of the audiences who come to Anfu Road watching drama are from the young people. And "white-collar drama" creates its own space using a way to reproduce life. And that really could touch the white-collar people, making them think the night is deserved for the touch.

Anfu Road featured at art and so gathered lots of coffee shop and wine cellar. On a weekend morning, chose a little coffee shop, sit alone by the window, looking a few pedestrians sparse walking on the road in slightly rain, then you will experience the unique quietness in Shanghai with the wet sun shines through the glass. Or at a warm night, with a bottle of red wine, calling some friends together, matched a little Cheese and salad, don't come home until midnight. Overall, this road is for the people who really know how to taste, and they will find their own time in a short period of Anfu Road.

Transport: Take subway line 1 and 7 to get there or take bus No. 548, 506, 113, 148, 96, 93


It's not a restaurant and it's not a normally pub either. It's a wine bar on Anfu Road with really good business. Many people go there particularly for this bar.

  • Enoteca: No. 53-57 Anfu Road

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