When people mention Shanghai's Nanjing Road, they're probably talking about Nanjing Dong Lu (East Nanjing Road), a pedestrian shopping street running for blocks between the northeast corner of People's Square and the Bund. If you spend more than a couple days in Shanghai, you'll likely end up pushing your way through the crowds beneath the neon signs and signature Shanghai mix of brand-new high rises and late colonial-period architecture.
The shopping is varied and good, though lacking the upscale brand-name cachet of Huaihai Zhong Lu or Xintiandi on one hand or the bargain-basement prices of "fakes" markets like the one at the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum subway station on the other.
Though it's a shopping street first and foremost, the real attraction is the parade of people: hustlers looking for easy tourist marks, Chinese families on holiday, foreign tour groups wandering past in matching outfits, kids playing, Shanghainese office workers, migrant kebab vendors, Chinese pixies pushing cosmetics—you'll see them all on Nanjing Dong Lu if you have a little patience. If you're not in a shopping mood, just grab a snack and a drink This stretch of Nanjing Lu was the first modern commercial street in Shanghai, home to the city's
first big department stores, including the No. 1 Department Store, which still sells a little bit of everything at the western end of the pedestrian zone. On weekends, holidays and in the evenings, the crowds spill east onto the Bund's Huangpu River promenade and east onto Xizang Lu and into the People's Square metro station, which is home to its own underground commercial strip. It's a great area to spend part of a day getting a feel for the city's energy.
After a few hours, however, many will be ready for a relaxing meal or drink in People's Square (try Barbarossa or Kathleen's 5 if the weather's nice) or a Bund spot such as the Glamour Bar (expensive) or the Captain's Bar (cheap) when you've had enough of the Shanghai shopping scrum. A number of historic buildings, including the Peace Hotel are scattered about the area.Note that the above reference to hustlers should be taken seriously, but not as a reason to avoid
Nanjing Dong Lu. You should, of course, watch your valuablesand refrain from accepting the first friendly invitation tobuy a charming group of young Chinese "students" a round of tea, but the chances of any aggressive or even violent behavior is exceedingly low.
West of Xizang Lu, Nanjing Xi Lu (West Nanjing Road) picks up, heading into the heart of the old international concession and offering more shops, restaurants and fascinating side alleys full of life, commerce and sights.
How to get there
Nanjing Dong Lu's pedestrian zone runs from Xizang Lu in the west to Henan Zhong Lu in the east. People's Square metro station (Metro Lines 1 and 2 or the Nanjing Dong Lu station (Line 2) will get you there.
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