How To: Be Outgoing AND Enjoy a Cheap Shanghai Weekend

How To: Be Outgoing AND Enjoy a Cheap Shanghai Weekend
By Andrea Scarlatelli ,


Let’s face it – Shanghai weekends can be expensive. The booze, the brunches, the drunken splurges… Sure you can keep it cheap if you only frequent the street food vendors and stay inside to watch pirated DVD’s (and trust me, I’ve done that plenty a weekend), but what if you actually, you know, want to go out? Luckily, there are ways to have a blast and not wake up on Sunday morning wondering why your wallet seems suspiciously thin. Below are some ideas to get you started, so go have fun and keep it cheap!

Restaurant Deals
Most restaurants reserve their special lunch deals for weekday crowds, but there are some places in the city that are cheap enough that they don’t need specials. Take Munchies, for example – awesome hotdogs, surprisingly good hamburgers and any other hangover food you could ever need, averaging between 30 RMB and 40 RMB per meal (everything includes a side such as fries, fruit, etc.). C Café is also a good choice, with dishes like a curry chicken masala sandwich coming in around 35 RMB. My personal favorite? City Shop. I know, not the first place you’d think of for bargain food, but their made-to-order sandwiches (I’m talking big, crusty bread with pulled chicken, sliced ham, tuna fish, etc.) are awesome and, if you forego the cheese, you can get one for as little as 20 RMB.

Munchies (branch)View In Map
Add: 974 Wuding Lu, near Jiaozhou Lu
地址:上海市武定路974号, 近胶州路
Tel: 021 6218 4616
Opening hours: Daily, 10:00-22:00
Cost: 30-40 RMB, on average per meal

City Shop (branch)View In Map
Add: B/F, Shanghai Centre, 1376 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Xikang Lu
地址:上海市南京西路1376号 上海商城B楼, 近西康路
Tel: 021 6215 0418
Opening hours: Daily, 08:00-22:30
Cost: 20 -30 RMB, on average per meal

C CaféView In Map
Add: 1228 Beijing Xi Lu, near Xikang Lu
Tel: 021 6289 3087
Opening hours: 11:00-19:00
Cost: 30-40 RMB, on average per meal

Happy Hours
Ah, the weekend happy hour. While you can easily drop 100 RMB on an all-you-can-drink option, those costs can add up quickly. Try Adobo instead, everyone’s favorite cheapo hangout. With 10 RMB chips and salsa, 10 RMB shots, 10 RMB beers, 12 RMB mixed drinks, and two-for-one cocktails, it’s one of the cheapest happy hours around – and it happens seven days a week, from 22:00 till midnight. The Spot is also a favorite weekend stopover, although this one happens a bit earlier. From 16:00 to 20:00 on Saturdays and Sundays, all house drinks and bottles are 25 RMB. And although Maya isn’t normally the first place you’d think of when you think of “cheap,” their Friday and Saturday happy hour is actually pretty decent – two-for-one tequila shots, mixed drinks, beers and margaritas. You can also get buy-two-get-one on pitchers of sangria from 22:30pm till 00:30.

AdoboView In Map

Add: 139 Tai'an Lu, near Huashan Lu
地址:上海市泰安路139号, 近华山路
Tel: 021 6281 4891
Opening hours: 11:00-02:00
Cost: 10-30 RMB, on average per drink

The Spot View In Map
Add: 331 Tongren Lu, near Beijing Lu
地址:上海市铜仁路331号, 近北京西路
Tel: 021 6247 3579
Opening hours: Sun-Thurs, 11:00-02:00; Fri-Sat, 11:00-03:00
Cost: 25 RMB, on average per drink

MayaView In Map
Add: 2/F, Grand Plaza Club House, 568 Julu Lu, near Shanxi Nan Lu
地址:上海市巨鹿路568弄 四方新城俱乐部2楼, 近陕西南路
Tel: 021 6289 6889
Opening hours: Mon-Thurs, 17:00-22:30; Fri-Sat, 17:00-00:30
Cost: 25-50 RMB, on average per drink

For some relaxing and (gasp!) perhaps educational fun, check out Shanghai’s cheap (as in mostly free) museums and parks. It’s a great way to get some relatively fresh air and learn a thing or two about this crazy city.

The crème de la crème is the Shanghai Museum. Easily the best museum in China, its eleven galleries cover four floors and cover over twenty centuries of Chinese history. It will easily take you a whole day to get through all the jewelry, furniture, calligraphy and other relics on display. While the museum is free, there are only 5,000 tickets given out per day, so get there early to secure a spot. The Rockbund Art Museum, a brand new modern art gallery located on the Bund, is a steal at 15 RMB for an entrance fee. Its exhibitions are edgy yet classy, with the building itself something to marvel at. The RAM’s mission claims it “seeks to use artistic means to stimulate discussions of topical and social issues in contemporary spirit.” Now that should prove an interesting conversation starter. If you like to enjoy your art in the great outdoors, head on over to 50 Moganshan Lu (or M50, if you will), that huge gallery district that houses over fifty art spaces, shops and cafes. This is where you’ll find ShanghArt Warehouse, Two Cities Gallery and all those other places you’ve heard of but never gotten around to visiting. You might as well – it’s all free!

Shanghai Museum View In Map
Add: 201 Renmin Da Dao, near Huangpi Bei Lu
地址:上海市人民大道201号 上海博物馆,近黄陂北路
Tel: 021 6372 3500
Opening hours: Daily, 09:00-17:00
Cost: Free

Rockbund Art Museum View In Map
Add:20 Huqiu Lu, near Beijing Dong Lu
地址:上海市虎丘路20号 近北京东路
Tel: 021 3310 9985
Opening hours: Tue-Sun, 10:00-18:00
Cost: 15 RMB

Moganshan Lu (M50)View In Map
Add: 50 Moganshan Lu, near Changhua Lu
Cost: Free

Once you’ve exhausted your artistic yearnings, take a leisurely stroll around Shanghai’s many free parks. My personal favorite is Zhongshan Park, a gorgeous 20,000 square meter stretch of grass, lakes and hidden paths tucked right in the middle of the city. Yes, it has that kind-of-creepy kiddie amusement park inside, but that’s easy to avoid. Overall, it’s a great place to catch a breather from the hectic pace of city life. If you like food and drink included in your park experience, definitely stop by Fuxing Park. This 88,900 square meter park hosts a strip of bars and restaurants, along with two oddly famous statues – Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Be sure to check out the rose garden and the random art exhibitions they hold there every year. People’s Park is also worth checking out, if only on your way to the Shanghai Museum. Not exactly a restful place, it’s surrounded on all sides by the hustle and bustle of People’s Square. But it’s a fascinating piece of history, transforming from a horseracing track prior to 1949, to a place where they punished “criminals” during the rise of the Communists, to the lovely park it is today where you’ll find kids flying kites and couples picnicking.

Zhongshan Park 中山公园 View In Map
Add: 780 Changning Lu, near Dingxi Lu
地址:上海市长宁路780号, 近定西路
Tel: 021 6252 5225
Opening hours: 05:30-18:30
Cost: Free

Fuxing Park 复兴公园 View In Map
Add: 105 Yandang Lu, near Fuxing Zhong Lu
地址:上海市雁荡路105号, 近复兴中路
Tel: 021 5386 1069
Cost: Free

People’s Park 人民公园 View In Map
Add: 231 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Huangpi Bei Lu
地址:上海市南京西路231号 人民公园, 近黄陂北路
Tel: 021 6327 1333
Cost: Free 

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