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Time to step out in springtime

SHANGHAI is a large city with an intriguing history. And some of its best stories are just a stroll away. Kat Jiang puts on her walking shoes to explore In this sunny springtime, if you are looking for a unique Shanghai experience, just take off your warm winter clothes, don something light and start using your feet.

While Shanghai is large and often packed with people, there are pleasant and uncrowded routes that can be explored as the weather warms up.

A walk offers you an in-depth experience of culture, history and a geography lesson. You will be treated to the tastes, smells and sounds of the real city.

From the slowly disappearing old Shanghai longtong (alleyway) to the European architecture; from local street delicacies to traditional tailoring; from the historical Jewish community to former residences of celebrities - there is so much to cover, depending on your interests and time.

Here are some suggestions for your city strolls.

Route 1 Zhongshan Park - Yuyuan Road - Jiangsu Road - Huashan Road - Xujiahui

Time needed: Up to two hours

Yuyuan Road, extending from Jing'an District to Changning District, is known locally as the "Gardens and Lanes Museum of Shanghai."

Yuyuan Road is a typical Shanghai street with more than 1,600 old lanes running off it. Walking under the phoenix trees along the west-east road, you can find castle-like mansions.

Stop at:

Siming Sports Village

Address: 520 Yuyuan Road

A beautiful white villa that looks like a miniature White House sits here. It is quiet and restful while children are often playing joyfully.

Wang's Residence

Address: Bldg 31, 1136 Yuyuan Road

The former residence of Wang Ching-wei was designed by Hungarian architect Laszlo Hudec and it took four years to build before it was finished in 1934.

It is a two-story house in Gothic style, spreading more than 7,300 square meters. The interior decoration follows traditional Chinese designs. It has a huge garden to the south, stylishly designed with fountains, shaped flower beds and lawns.

Lane 749

Address: 749 Yuyuan Road

You may miss the fantastic villas hidden inside the lane just glancing at the entrance covered by grocery stalls.

It is called "the foxiest lane" in the city. The outstanding buildings are No. 63, 65 and 67, once former residences of Kuomintang officials. It is said that the back doors leading to busy streets were made for quick getaways.

Route 2 Xujiahui - Jiangguo Road W. - Jianguo Road M. - Jianguo Road E. - Xizang Road S.

Time needed: Two hours

The 300-meter-long Jianguo Road W. is not that attractive at first sight. However, the quiet block embraces many intriguing elements.

The French-style Marshall Mansion on Taiyuan Road, the former residence of Zhang Shuxun on Tianping Road - a combination of Spanish design with a Japanese garden and the bookish Shaoxing Road are delights. With no buses on the street, you can completely relax.

Stop at:

The Marshall Mansion (Taiyuan Villa)

Address: 160 Taiyuan Road

Built in 1928, it was once the residence of US general George Marshall. After Marshall's departure from China, it became a luxurious residence for Chinese officials and is now a bar.

The Hanyuan Bookstore

Address: 27 Shaoxing Lu

An old-fashioned music box and an antique piano set the mood for browsing through books while sipping a freshly made latte or cappuccino. Half the store is reserved for Chinese readers, but English books (jazzed up by random out-of-print French novels) can be found.

Route 3 Hailun Road Station of Metro Line 4 - Liyang Road - Sichuan Road N. - Duolun Road - Shanyin Road

Time needed: one hour

It takes you no more than five minutes to enter Liyang Road after getting off the Metro, just across busy Siping Road. Pedestrians are lost in the winding road under big phoenix trees and scenic wall paintings charm passers-by, leading to Duolun Road, a culture street.

The 550-meter Duolun Road is not so wide, but it embraces the essence of modern Chinese cultural history. It is a place to treasure because it represents the enormous cultural and historical heritage of old Shanghai.

The road is paved with elegant stones of different shapes and shades, newly repaired low-rises and European-style old homes are a feature on this street.

Stop at:

The Old Film Cafe

Address: 123 Duolun Road

If you don't want to go inside and have a cup of coffee, you should at least take some time to appreciate this nostalgic building and romantic surroundings.

Pictures of the movie stars in 1920s and 1930s Shanghai are displayed inside. Films from the 1920s to the 1940s are screened and you can choose your own favorite film.

On the second floor a German 8mm film projector is a constant attraction for tourists.

Kong Residence

Address: 250 Duolun Road

Formerly it was the private residence of Kong Xiangxi, often known as H. H. Kung, a banker and politician in the early 20th century, and his wife Soong Ai-ling, one of the Soong sisters. The house was built in 1924. It's a brick and wood structure in an Islamic design.

Other routes A walk along the Suzhou Creek

Putuo District: Wanhangdu Road (near Kaixuan Road) - The East China University of Politics Science and Law - Campus Bridge (Xiaoyuan Qiao) - Guangfu Road W. - Jinshajiang Road Station of Metro Lines 3 and 4.

A walk to cross gardens

Xuhui District: Anfu Road - Changshu Road - Huashan Hospital - the Shanghai Theater Academy - Meiliyuan (Yan'an Road W.)

A walk in the Jewish quarter

Hongkou District: Huoshan Park (Huoshan Road) - Zhoushan Road - The Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum - The Ohel Moishe Synagogue


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