Seven Days, One Week: Things to do in Shanghai

Seven Days, One Week: Things to do in Shanghai
By Susie Gordon ,

Shanghai is, without a doubt, a 24 hour city. There’s always something going on, be it a night market, a dawn t’ai chi session, an all night booze-up or a live jazz evening. And it’s not just the weekends when the fun happens. It’s possible to keep busy every day of the week.

Mondays - hated by many, lamented by most. The day when reality hits after the excesses of the weekend. But it doesn’t all have to be doom and gloom. Getting through the working day is hard enough, so sport is probably the last thing on your mind when you down tools in the office. But a run about will help blow away the last of the cobwebs, so grab some dinner, then drag yourself down to the Jing’an Workers’ Stadium for 8pm. This is where the Ultimate Frisbee group has its weekly two-hour sessions. Everyone is welcome, from complete beginners to disc-whizzes. Pay 500 RMB for 10 sessions and they’ll throw in a league shirt. Visit for more details.

Really not up for all that jumping around? The Monday Evening Writers group might be more your thing. The saying goes that everyone has a book in them. This gang of Shanghai writers will help coax yours out. They meet every week at Wagas (169 Wujiang Lu, near Taixing Lu 吴江路169号近泰兴路) between 7.30pm and 9.30pm. All you need is a pen and paper.

With all those creative juices/Frisbee endorphins flowing, you probably won’t want to go home yet. A Monday night staple is Gypsy Jazz at House of Blues and Jazz (60 Fuzhou Lu, near Sichuan Lu 福州路60号近四川路), where French folk group Swing Gum do their thing. And if you still want to party, there’s Why Not Monday? down at Anar (129 Xingfu Lu, near Fahuazhen Lu 幸福路129号近法华镇路). Why not indeed? Sure, it’s a school night, but no-one says you have to get wasted. The intriguingly capitalised bEn tHRiller from Sweden is on the decks, spinning pretty much what he feels like on the night.

Tuesday is pretty bland, as days come. It has none of the drama of Monday, nor the mid-week value of Wednesday. But Shanghai seems to have adopted it as its salsa night. Both Muse at Park 97 and Petals Club (154 Nanyang Lu, near Xikang Lu 南阳路154号近西康路) host dance nights. You have to book ahead at Muse as it tends to get busy. Call 139 0195 9846 to reserve. Salsa lessons are free, and you can put what you’ve learned into practise afterwards on the dancefloor.

Wubar on the Bund (B1, 20 Guangdong Lu 广东路20号) have their WINO-ceros special on Tuesday nights. Get 20% off all bottles of wine, and go with a friend to have two-for-one steaks.

When Wednesday rolls round, it’s pretty much party time again. The weekend is in sight, so why not enjoy a tipple as the sun goes down. Kathleen’s 5 runs an Outdoor Live Music night each Wednesday, with a 220 RMB including unlimited beer, wine, and cocktails, plus a healthy dose of jazz. Barbarossa next door hosts its Ladies’ Night on Wednesdays too. Ok, we know Ladies’ Nights aren’t the most salubrious shin-digs in town, but we’ll make the concession for beautiful Barbarossa. Girls can drink cocktails for free between 9pm and midnight in the upstairs bar, accompanied by funk music from DJ Perseau. We can’t mention Wednesday and Ladies’ Night in the same sentence without paying homage to the original (and some say best) – Zapata’s. It can get messy; be warned.

The Bulldog (1 Wulumuqi Nan Lu, near Dongping Lu 乌鲁木齐南路1号近东平路) hosts a Men’s Night on Wednesdays to make sure guys don’t feel left out. There’s an open bar of Carlsberg, vodka and gin between 10pm and midnight for 50 RMB. Girls can take part too, which kind of defeats the object, but we’re not complaining.

It’d be a shame to let that Carlsberg/cocktail cheer go to waste, and LOgO is the perfect place to dance it off safely. Each Wednesday, Shanghai native Ben Huang takes to the decks with low-key electro, groove, and minimal funk. Drinks are cheap and, best of all, entry is free.

There comes a time when you need something a little more intellectual than your average drinking session. Head back to the Bulldog on Thursday for the "Rack Your Brains" quiz. It starts at 9pm and the prize is a 1000 RMB drinks voucher. O’Malley’s down the road runs their quiz night on Thursdays too, starting at 8pm.

Something a bit different (and possibly dangerous) happens on Thursday nights at Pinnacle Peak (5/F, City Hotel, 5 Shaanxi Nan Lu, near Julu Lu陕西南路5号城市酒店5楼近巨鹿路). Big Bertha, the resident mechanical rodeo bull, is free to ride, and draft beer and cocktails are ¥25 each. It’s probably a good idea to eat before you mount Bertha. Pinnacle Peak does some mean steaks. 

If you’re anything like us, by the time Friday comes round the last thing you want to do is go to yet another bar and have yet another rack of drinks. Shanghai is a city that makes alcoholism a distinct possibility, so it’s a good idea to have a night off once in a while. It’s tempting to head down to your local DVD shop and bed down with a box set and something from Sherpa’s, but getting some exercise will make you feel all the more virtuous. The Longwu International Kungfu Center 龙武国际功夫中心(1 Maoming Nan Lu, near Julu Lu上海市茂名南路1号近巨鹿路) runs Wing Chun classes every Friday night between 7pm and 9.30pm. As well as a good work-out, Wing Chun gives you kick-ass martial arts skills.

A Saturday morning Shanghai legend is Cantina Agave’s brunch. Starting at 10am and running until 3 in the afternoon, this Mexican favourite (291 Fumin Lu, near Changle Lu 富民路291号近长乐路) serves up a range of breakfast fare including huevos rancheros, and offers all-you-can-drink margaritas for ¥95.

Ladies who want to tone up but hate the gym should try a pole dancing class at Blush (2/F, 84 Fujian Lu, near Guangdong Lu 福建路中路84号2楼近广东路). It’s nothing to be ashamed of – pole dancing is a popular form of exercise these days. Classes run from 4pm to 5pm every Saturday, and cost 100 RMB each.

If you’re the sort of person who likes to party right through to Sunday, try Anar’s Saturday to Sunday party (S2S). It starts when most partygoers are dying off at 2am and carries on until 8am on Sunday morning, with 30 RMB drinks and music from DJs Afro and Philippe Ortega.

Whether you go straight from Anar or after a good night’s sleep, the Sunday morning book fair at the Confucian Temple (215 Wenmiao Lu, near Zhonghua Lu文庙路215号) is worth a look. It runs between 7am and 4.30pm, and costs 1 RMB to get in. Most of the literature for sale is Chinese, but there are Western books and magazines too.

Another of Shanghai’s famous brunches happens every Sunday at Sasha’s (11 Dongping Lu, near Hengshan Lu 东平路11号近衡山路) with an all-you-can-eat feast for 125 RMB. Add sparkling wine (it’d be rude not to) and pay 245 RMB. If you’d rather go off-piste where brunch is concerned, try Kakadu (8 Jianguo Zhong Lu, near Chongqing Lu 建国中路8号近重庆南路) for unlimited barbecue food for 168 RMB between midday and 4pm. Afterwards, take a walk in nearby Fuxing Park and discover, if you haven’t already, that Shanghai’s parks are some of the city’s noisiest spaces.

The Shanghai Hash House Harriers call themselves "a drinking club with a running problem", and have been combining exercise and beer since 1986. They meet up for a run every Sunday afternoon, followed by an evening on the sauce. Visit if you want to get involved.

We like to round off the week down Xingfu Lu. There’s open mic at LOgO and Anar, and Santo Chino spins disco at new dive Dada. It’s a great way to look back on the past seven days, and look forward to the next.

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