What to do when it rains in Shanghai

Shanghai is a city buzzing with activity, so when it drizzles don’t let the wet dampen your trip. We’ve found six indoor activities to keep you occupied – in the rain or shine.

1. Wrap stars – a dumpling-making course

Eating dumplings is a Shanghai institution not to be missed, but if you want to replicate these steaming little parcels of bliss at home, take a dumpling making course while there. Try Chinese Cooking Workshop’s Dim Sum classes to learn the ropes.

2. Blue crush – museum for the dyeing

The Nankeen Exhibition Hall (637 Changle Road) in the French Concession celebrates the beauty and tradition of this 3000-year-old dyeing technique.

The little shop-cum-museum is reached by zag-zagging down laneways, and then past a courtyard where (on sunny days) billowing lengths of fabric are strung up to dry.

3. It’s all about Yu (Gardens) – haggling for antiques

Ignore the tourist trinket stalls crowded around the stunning 18th-century buildings at the busy Yu Gardens and head for the ‘Antique Markets’ in the bowels of the building, where you will find ramshackle little shops overflowing with dust-covered treasures.

Everything is apparently from the Qing Dynasty but you should haggle like it was made last week (which it probably was).

Keep smiling and never insult the vendors by offering a ridiculous price, and you will have huge fun here.

4. Vision quest for custom frames at Han

Getting glasses made at Han City Plaza (580 Nanjing Xi Lu) is quick and easy.

There are myriad shops and kid-in-a-candy-store numbers of designs to choose from in this rather unprepossessing centre, and it takes as little as 20 minutes to have prescription lenses fitted into the frames you choose. You need to haggle hard.

5. Bowled over by Mama’s noodles

Perch on blue and white ceramic stools at long tables and order from Han Mama’s home-style Taiwanese menu (123 Nanyang Lu).

The signature dish is an unctuous mix of noodles with huge chunks of crumbling, slow-cooked Uruguayan grass-fed beef.

Everything is delivered with crisp efficiency by white-jacketed staff and tastes delicious; the atmosphere is funky and bustling.

6. The arty lines of Long Museum West Bund

The Long Museum West Bund is a masterpiece of curving lines and vast spaces filled with Chinese, Asian and European contemporary art, Chinese classical art and visiting exhibitions.

The passion project of art collectors Liu Yiqian and his wife, Wang Wei, the space also has an art bookstore, cafe, restaurant overlooking the river, children’s exhibition hall and concert hall.


MORE… 48 hours in Shanghai

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This article appeared in issue 24

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