Travel\City Tours

Xintiandi: A nightlife and fashion hotspot in the heart of the city

By Shi jing and He Qi in Shanghai | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-06-02 10:30
Xintiandi: A nightlife and fashion hotspot in the heart of the city

Located in downtown Shanghai, Xintiandi is one of the city's most famous tourist attractions because it offers a variety of retail spaces, cafes and restaurants amid charming Shikumen-style complexes.

Shikumen, which translates to "stone gate houses", is a traditional Shanghainese architectural style that features elements of Western and Chinese culture. Such buildings used to be the most common form of housing for Shanghai's residents.

As part of the municipal government's efforts to boost the city's night-time economy, Xintiandi could be one of venues designated as a night market landmark. Places assigned such a status will be further developed by the government in order to better attract an international crowd and boost consumption levels in the city.

Zhuo Fan, who has been running Pree, an ice cream and cocktail store, in Xintiandi for the past two years, said he actually feels like the foreigner because of the vast numbers of international travelers who visit the area.

He said that the peak hours for his business is between 7 pm to 10 pm every day. Presently, Pree closes at 11 pm in winter and midnight in summer. However, Zhuo is considering extending the business hours should Xintiandi be awarded the landmark status.

"I love the atmosphere here in Xintiandi. The alfresco seating, the restaurants, the bars - it looks like Italy," said Vli Alti, a German who has been working in Shanghai for a year.

Alti said that while she knows of many other places in the city that have a vibrant nightlife scene, Xintiandi is always her first choice because it offers the closest fit to her preferred lifestyle.

But though Xintiandi is a hotspot for foreign visitors, locals also love spending their evenings there. Wei Ruoxi, a Shanghai native, is one such individual who regularly patronizes the bars in the area.

One of these venues is CJW, the only restaurant in Xintiandi that offers live Jazz performances. The restaurant, which has been around for 15 years, is at its busiest between 9 pm and midnight.

"I'd love to see more shows or concerts here. Music is always essential to the atmosphere of a night spot," said the 25-year-old.

When Xintiandi was first developed by Shui On Group, its target customers were local residents with mid- to high-level incomes, domestic and overseas visitors, as well as expatriates living in Shanghai.

According to Qi Xiaozhai, director of the Shanghai Commercial Economic Research Center, Xintiandi has since grown into the premiere location in the city for high-end night life recreation activities.

Some of the upscale offerings in the area include the Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill by Austrian-born American celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck and T'ang Court at The Langham, a Cantonese restaurant that was awarded three stars in the inaugural Shanghai Michelin Guide.

The area also frequently hosts high-profile events that pull in the crowds, such as the Xintiandi Design Festival in March and the Shanghai Fashion Week in April. The 2017 Xintiandi Festival, a two-week arts event that features performances by local and foreign artists, is currently being held at the bustling location.

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