Shanghai winters can be tricky. While it certainly gets cold here, temperatures don’t dip quite as low as in other parts of the country – as every person who has ever lived in or visited Beijing will tell you. However, the difference is that below the Huangpu River, there is no central heating. What does this mean for you, as a Shanghai resident? It means that those dinky little wall-mounted heaters alone won’t save you. No, you’ll need an arsenal of winter items to prepare you for the long haul. Check out our guide below for tips on keeping warm this winter.
Glühwein (German mulled wine).
1) Winter Coats
This is perhaps the single most important item you’ll need this season. When the temperature drops (both inside and outside of your apartment), a solid winter coat will help you every time. For the heavy-duty stuff, consider heading to Weald Outfitter, which specialises in outdoor sports. They carry a huge array of North Face coats, along with other musts like thermal underwear, hats and even hiking boots if you plan on roughing it. Wild Rampage also has a great selection of hardcore coats, with ones made specifically for certain sports such as hiking or snowboarding. If you’re looking for something a bit more fashionable than practical, you can always visit the strong South Bund Fabric Market, where there are booths upon booths of people ready to make your winter coat dreams come true. Go armed with a picture or at least an idea of what you want in your head, and have fun picking out the perfect design and fabric. Just try to get recommendations from friends beforehand if you don’t have a go-to person there, as quality varies wildly from one seller to another.
Weald OutfitterView In Map
Add: 22 Chongqing Nanlu, near Huaihai Zhong Lu, Luwan District, Shanghai
Tel: 021 5386 4180
Opening hours: daily, 09:00-21:00
Wild Rampage (branch)View In Map
Add: 718 Changle Lu, near Fumin Lu, Jing’an District, Shanghai
Tel: 021 5403 0423
Opening hours: daily, 09:30-22:00
South Bund Fabric Market南外滩轻纺面料市场View In Map
Add: 399 Lujiabang Lu, near Nancang Jie, Huangpu District, Shanghai
Opening hours: daily, 09:00-18:00
2) Winter Boots
It’s also important to keep your tootsies warm this winter, as much of your body heat is lost from your limbs. For foreigners who have a hard time finding shoes to fit here, I recommend any of the Big Toe branches scattered throughout the city. They have a decent selection of “larger” sizes, and a great variety of winter boots. Prices are more than reasonable (usually less than 200 RMB) and, while the quality isn’t the best you’ve ever seen, they’ll certainly last you a few Shanghai winters. And say what you will about UGG boots, those suckers are warm. The wool-lined insides make for some of the most comfortable boots out there, and their waterproof outsides guarantee that your feet will stay dry and toasty. Just don’t pair them with a mini skirt and tights. For those who crave the designer boots at not-quite-designer prices, stop by Mr. Billy’s Handmade Shoes with a picture of your preferred winter boot. You’ll walk away with a pair of handmade boots in the style and colour you want without leaving too big a dent in your wallet. Most shoes and boots run from 500-1,200 RMB, but keep in mind that the thicker and more intricate the lining, the more it will cost.
Big Toe (branch)View In Map
Add: 825 Dingxi Lu, near Yan’an Xi Lu, Changning District, Shanghai
Telephone: (021) 6456-5956
UGG (branch)View In Map
Add: 1F,Hong Kong Plaza, 282 Huaihai Lu, near Huangpi Lu, Luwan District, Shanghai
Tel: 0213366 0855
Opening hours: daily, 10:30-21:30
Mr. Billy’s Handmade ShoesView In Map
Add: 1238 Changle Lu, near Huashan Lu, Jing’an District, Shanghai
Tel: 021 6248 4881
Opening hours: daily, 10:30-20:00
3) Electric Blankets & Space Heaters
There is simply no better way to get warm in a hurry than by using an electric blanket or space heater. Electric blankets are a must for those who want to stay toasty in bed (i.e., everyone), while space heaters can quickly heat small to medium-sized rooms. It’s generally recommended that you buy a space heater unit larger than you think you might need – for example, a small bedroom needs at least an eight-coil heater, while a master bedroom needs ten to twelve. You can find electric blankets and space heaters in any of the major department stores, but Carrefour generally has the best selections. Tesco also carries them, as do the GOME electronic stores. If you’re just looking for an electric blanket, check any of your local Chinese clutter shops (you know, the ones that seem to sell everything) or grocery stores and you should find them. Be aware that they sell out quickly, though, so pick one up while the weather is still decent. And remember: always turn them off before you go to sleep!
Carrefour (branch)View In Map
Add: 268 Shuicheng Nan Lu, near Yan'an Xi Lu, Changning District, Shanghai
Tel: 0216278 1944
Opening hours: daily, 8:30-22:30
Tesco (branch)View In Map
Add: 2066 Nan Jing Xi Lu, near Zhenning Lu, Huangpu District, Shanghai
Tel: 0216248 1000
Opening hours: daily, 7:00-22:30
GOME (branch)View In Map
Add: 989 Zhaojiabang Lu, near Tianping Lu, Xuhui District, Shanghai
Opening hours: daily, 10:00-21:30
4) Best Wintry Soups
There’s just nothing better than a hot bowl of steaming soup on a cold, wintry day. While all Chinese restaurants serve some sort of soup, sometimes you’ve just got to have something that reminds you of home. That’s when Urban Soup Kitchen comes in handy, as their rotating array of soups (see their online menu for the schedule) always has something for every palate. Their carrot soup is surprisingly good, but the beef and mushroom stew is the way to go when it gets really cold. You can also stop by Pier 39, where you’ll find the best New England Clam Chowder that Shanghai has to offer. Granted, it may not live up to the standards that true New Englanders are used to, but it will certainly satisfy that bread bowl craving. Lest I neglect to mention the wide array of Chinese soups, Yang’s Fried Dumplings serves a great bowl of curry beef soup. They also have a few other choices on the menu, including duck blood soup, for you brave eaters out there.
Urban Soup Kitchen (branch)View In Map
Add: 280 Madang Lu, near Zizhong Lu, Luwan District, Shanghai
Tel: 0213331 1861
Opening hours: 11:00-22:00
Pier 39View In Map
Add: 172 Jinxian Lu, near Maoming Lu, Luwan District, Shanghai
Tel: 0216258 1939
Opening hours: daily, 11:00-22:00
Yang’s Fried DumplingsView In Map
Add: 54-60 Wujiang Lu, near Nanjing Xi Lu, Jing’an District, Shanghai
Opening hours: daily, 11:00-20:00
5) Best Hot Drinks
A mug of something warm can help even the coldest days seem tolerable. If you’re a fan of all things sweet, the hot chocolate over at Le Jardin Secret is one of the best in town. Devoid of any whipped cream, marshmallows, or other distractions, this is a giant mug filled to the brim with chocolate and steamed milk. For those who prefer a little alcohol in their steaming mugs, The Boxing Cat Brewery serves something called a Rum Cow that involves steamed milk, rum, and browned butter. Not recommended for those watching their waistlines, but for everyone else – yum. My personal favourite is the Glühwein served at the Rambler, a little outside bar tucked in the corner of Tianzifang. Glühwein is a traditional German hot mulled drink, a mix of red wine, rum, and other spices. It’s the perfect drink to get in the holiday spirit and keep yourself warm on a cold winter’s day.
Le Jardin SecretView In Map
Add: 525 Fahuazhen Lu, near Dingxi Lu, Changning District, Shanghai
Tel: 021 6082 1775
Opening hours: daily, 11:00-24:00
Boxing Cat BreweryView In Map
Add: 82 Fuxing Xi Lu, near Yongfu Lu, Xuhui District, Shanghai
Tel: 021643 2091
Opening hours: Mon-Thurs, 17:00-02:00; Fri, 15:00-02:00; Sat-Sun, 11:00-02:00
RamblerView In Map
Address: Bldg 24, 155 Jianguo Lu, near Ruijin Lu, Luwan District, Shanghai
Open: Sun-Sat, 11:00-22:00
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Keywords: Shanghai winter guide winter clothes in Shanghai warm drinks in Shanghai winter preparing for Shanghai winter
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