Why you should go to Shanghai!

With nearly 25 million people, Shanghai is China's largest city and the third largest city in the world. An eye-popping metropolis and port on the Yangtze River Delta, it's the center of what's happening in China in the arts, culture, commerce and has become a mecca for gays throughout the country. The pre-WWII LGBTQ community began to re-emerge with the opening of Eddy's, the city's first gay bar, in 1995. The prestigious Fudan University introduced the country's first gay and lesbian studies course a decade ago. Today the LGBTQ scene continues to grow, particularly in the French Concession neighborhood, and LGBTQ travelers can expect to feel welcome in straight as well as gay clubs. Shanghai Pride, held in June, began in 2009 and now includes a film festival. Most of the LGBTQ nightlife caters to guys, but girls often welcome.
Beef & Liberty Shanghai

Beef & Liberty Shanghai

Restaurant

In the Shanghai Centre on West Nanging Road, Beef & Liberty is an American-style diner specializing in burgers and beer. Patties are made from grounded-in-house...
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Funkadeli

Funkadeli

Nightlife

Not to be confused with the shuttered Yongkang Lu branch, this bigger and better Funkadeli has left its deli days behind and blossomed into a bistro with an expanded...
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Shanghai Museum of Arts and Crafts

Shanghai Museum of Arts and Crafts

Things to do

The Shanghai Museum of Arts and Crafts not only displays crafts like embroidery, calligraphy, ceramics, furniture, jade and bamboo carving, paper cutting and Chinese...
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Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre

Things to do

A private museum in the basement of an unmarked residential block, the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre is a fascinating and well organized look at 20th century propaganda art in China. Signage is in English. It also has a gift shop where you might pick up souvenirs or even an original poster if the owner has...
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Xintiandi

Things to do

Xintiandi is a fashionable pedestrian street divided into two blocks. The North Block retains the old Shikumen architecture - typical residential housing of Old Shanghai, but behind the facades are upscale shops and international restaurants. The South Block with modern architecture is six acres (about 2.5 ha) of...
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The Bund

The Bund

Things to do

The Bund, Shanghai's famous waterfront along the Huangpu River, was a major center of economic activity in East Asia after the establishment the Shanghai International...
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French Concession

French Concession

Things to do

The French Concession - more precisely the former French Concession - is a swath of real estate about eight kilometers ( 5 mi) wide that was controlled by France from...
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People's Square

People's Square

Things to do

On the site of what was once the largest racecourse in the Far East, the People's Square is a convenient landmark in the heart of the city. Known for government...
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Eddy's Bar

Nightlife

Eddy's Bar is the oldest gay bar in the city, open in 1995 but had to move six times before settling in 2002 on Huahai Lu near Jiaotong University. Small and dark, it is where locals and expats meet up, especially after 10 pm on the weekends. The sweaty dance club Shanghai Studio, another golden goldie, used to be across...
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IAPM Mall

IAPM Mall

Things to do

IAPM or Huanmao IAPM is a mega luxury mall on busy Huaihai Road that's known for being open late and having an impressive collection of the glitziest of international...
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Pudong Riverside Promenade

Pudong Riverside Promenade

Things to do

A pleasant 1.5-mile (2 km) walk (or cycle or rollerblade) along the east bank of the Huangpu River, the Promenade is where locals and tourists go for spectacular views...
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Suzhou

Suzhou

Things to do

Take a short train ride west of Shanghai to Suzhou, known as the Venice of the Orient. Divided north to south by the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, the city is nearly...
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The Apartment

The Apartment

Nightlife

Styled like a sleek Manhattan loft, The Apartment has cozy leather couches in the lounge, a party room with DJ and dance floor, rooms for more private lounging and...
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The Langham Xintiandi

The Langham Xintiandi

Hotel

With 357 spacious rooms over 20 floors, The Langham ties it all together with a mix traditional Chinese and chic contemporary decor. King beds are the norm here. It...
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Yuyan (Yu) Garden & Bazaar

Yuyan (Yu) Garden & Bazaar

Things to do

A lot is packed into the Yuyuang Garden and Bazaar. The 5-acre (2 ha) classical Ming dynasty garden has more than 40 miniature landscapes, partitioned off with walls...
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Nanjing Road

Nanjing Road

Things to do

Nanjing Road, China's #1 shopping street, is divided into two sections, starting at the Shanghai Center and arriving at Jing-an Temple over three miles (2 k.) later. The...
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Roxie

Roxie

Nightlife

Roxie in another life was Hepcat, a U.S.-style, rockabilly bar, which used to host occasional ladies' nights. The recent name change also signifies a new ambiance, which...
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Shanghai Circus World

Shanghai Circus World

Things to do

Shanghai Circus World, under a impressive golden dome and seating nearly 2,000, has a Happy Circus program on weekends and holidays with animal acts, clowns and...
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The Avocado Lady

The Avocado Lady

Things to do

A local urban legend among ex-pats, The Avocado Lady sells fresh and rare produce and imported foodstuff.
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Lucca Cafe & Lounge

Lucca Cafe & Lounge

Nightlife

The longtime 390 Shanghai has been transformed into the gay-owned and managed Lucca Cafe & Lounge, which wins local prizes for best LGBT bar and club and attracts an...
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Icon

Icon

Nightlife

Icon, a five-minute walk from the Shanghai Stadium subway station, is touted as the largest gay dance club in Asia with four bars, dance floor, DJs, elaborate shows and...
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1921 Gucci Café

Restaurant

Gucci opened its first full-service restaurant ever anywhere on the fourth floor of the super-lux IAPM Mall in mid-2015. Entry is through the Gucci boutique by direct elevator. The menu is - like the fashions - elegantly Italian. 1921, in case it slipped your mind, is the key the fashion house was founded.

Asia Blue

Nightlife

Asia Blue in the gayborhood near Jiaotong University is a cozy gay bar with a small dance floor. No Djs, but the owner has come up with his own mix of gay classics. The mostly Asian clientele heads for the three karaoke bars in the back. Focus is on guys, but girls are welcome, too.
Asset Hotel

Asset Hotel

Hotel

What the 78-room Asset Hotel lacks in location, it makes up for in savings. Tucked away in a residential neighborhood in the southwest part of the city, it is close to...
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Astor House

Astor House

Hotel

As Richards' Hotel, Astor House was the first western hotel in China, dating from 1846 and boasting many historic firsts, including the first telephone and the first...
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CINEMQ

CINEMQ

Nightlife

CINEMQ is a monthly queer cinema party, organized by ShanghaiPRIDE at various venus, that features international short films and an after party that goes on until the...
City God Temple Snack Street

City God Temple Snack Street

Restaurant

City God Temple near Yuyan Garden is a nicely restored little temple that dates to the Ming dynasty, but it is more famous today as "Shanghai Snack Kingdom." It's...

Coconutalk

Restaurant

Coconutalk is a trendy new hot pot restaurant near IAPM mall. It serves a Hainan-style coconut hot pot, made with coconut milk that mixes with chicken fat for a tasty broth that can be served in wine glasses. The production includes diced range-free chicken added to the pot for five minutes and a simple sauce of soy...
Courtyard by Marriott Xujiahui

Courtyard by Marriott Xujiahui

Hotel

The 364-room Courtyard by Marriott Xujiahui is one of several Marriotts in the city, but this one is the closest to what passes for a gayborhood. Its guest rooms have...
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Din Tai Fung

Din Tai Fung

Restaurant

A Taiwanese-based chain restaurant, Din Tai Fung (Shanghai New World) serves up authentic Chinese grub, particularly sweet buns, soup dumplings and noodles. A favorite...
El Patio

El Patio

Restaurant

El Patio in a 1920s villa with outdoor dining on patio and terrace is a taste of Spain with tapas, paella, Spanish wines, Friday night guitar concerts under the orange...

Fu 1088

Restaurant

Book well ahead if you want to sample the best in traditional Shanghai cuisine prepared with fusion flair. Opened in 2007 in a 1920s Spanish-style villa, Fu 1088 has no shared dining space but tucks guests away in various rooms in the house, seating anywhere from 2 to 40. The restaurant has a food minimum close to $100...
Gallery Suites

Gallery Suites

Hotel

Opened in 2009, Gallery Suites, an all-suites boutique hotel, features original artwork, king beds and crisp linens. In a converted heritage building - the Old Cavendish...
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Huaihai Road

Huaihai Road

Things to do

Sometimes called the Champs-Elysées of Shanghai because as Avenue Joffre it was the most stylist street in Old Shanghai, Huaihai Road - particularly Middle Huaihai - is...
Ibis Shanghai Xujiahui Hotel

Ibis Shanghai Xujiahui Hotel

Hotel

The 77-room Ibis Shanghai is near Shanghai's gayborhood, shopping and Jia Tong University but a subway ride from most other attractions. It's good if you're watching...
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Jade Buddha Temple

Jade Buddha Temple

Things to do

The original temple, built in 1882, was destroyed during the Chinese Revolution, but the two rare white jade statues of Buddha it housed survived and can be seen today...

Lai Lai Dance Hall

Nightlife

Lai Lai Dance Hall is a uniquely Shanghai experience - a tea dance for older blue-collar gay or bi Chinese men who want to dance check to check in a discrete environment, but foreigners are welcome. There's a drag show occasionally.
Le Passage Mohkan Shan

Le Passage Mohkan Shan

Hotel

Chosen China's Leading Boutique Hotel in 2015, Le Passage Mohkan Shan is part luxurious French county house and part Chinese hill station. On a tea plantation in...
LOgO

LOgO

Nightlife

LOgO is an underground dive bar known as a major showcase for alternative music. Attracting a young, hip crowd, it has had several locations, the most recent in the...

Lu Bo Lang

Restaurant

Around since 1979, Lu Bo Lang looks like a traditional three-story Chinese pavilion, which is hard to miss on the square near the Jiuqu Bridge entrance to garden. It's known for its local dishes and snacks, shark fin, eel and dim sum. Supposedly Chelsea Clinton went wild over the preserved vegetables with green beans...
M50 Creative Park

M50 Creative Park

Things to do

Near the Suzhou Creek in an old industrial complex, M50 Creative Park is an artsy neighborhood, home to hundreds of galleries, artists' studios, graphic firms,...

Open Doors Shanghai

Things to do

Open Doors Shanghai is an organization of LGBTQ and friends that sponsors regular social functions like dinners in restaurants, open-mic nights, panel discussions, weekly yoga and networking opportunities at various venus. It has sister organizations in Beijing and Phoenix, Arizona in the US.
Park Hyatt

Park Hyatt

Hotel

One of the highest hotels in the world, the Park Hyatt occupies the 79th to 93rd floors of the Shanghai World Financial Center with swimming pool and gym on the 90th...
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Peace Hotel

Peace Hotel

Hotel

One of the most historic hotels in the Far East, 270-room Peace Hotel recalls the luxury and leisure of another era with afternoon teas in the lounge, nightly jazz in...
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Peace Hotel Jazz Bar

Peace Hotel Jazz Bar

Nightlife

The 1920s were the heyday for hard partying and hot jazz in the historic Jazz Bar at the Peace Hotel, one of the oldest bars in town. But you van trip back in time with...
Regal Shanghai East Asia Hotel

Regal Shanghai East Asia Hotel

Hotel

Used mostly by tour groups, the Regal Shanghai East Asia Hotel stands out as the hotel in a football (soccer) stadium. Ask for a room in the front if you don't want to...
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Shanghai Silk Mansion Company

Things to do

Shanghai Silk Mansion Company, known as "The King of Silk," has a wholesale center and 10 retail shops around the city, including one at 558 East Nanjing Road. Foreign dignitaries are taken to Silk Mansion as part of their official tours.
Tock's

Tock's

Restaurant

Family-run Tock's, the only Montreal-style deli in the city and maybe in Asia, smokes it own brisket and serves authentic reuben and pastrami sandwiches, tasty platters,...

Xiao Yang Shang Jian

Restaurant

Xiao Yang Shang Jian with more than 30 outlets around town is famous for pan-fried soup dumplings. Proceed with caution as you bite into the first one or you'll have hot pork broth down your front. Experts first pierce the dumpling skin on the top side, empty the soup stock, then cut up the dumpling.

Yatai Xinyang and Gift Market

Things to do

You have to go underground to reach the Yatai Xinyang Fashion and Gift Market under the Science & Technology Museum. The city's largest subway market has a maze of vendors selling apparel, crafts and souvenirs. While the quality isn't great, the photo ops and bargain opportunities are. In one section tailors and...

Local tips

Buy A Smart Card

Getting around the city will be easier and cheaper if you buy the pre-paid Shanghai Public Transportation Card, which is...

Shanghai Snacks

Shanghai is a foodie's paradise with all sorts of great street foods to sample, but among the most intriguing - and the...

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LGBT-friendly
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Getting around

A historic Far Eastern hub, Shanghai can be reached by plane, boat, long-distance bus, national highways and rail. It has two international airports with shuttle services to nearby cities, three main train stations with high-speed trains and special "holiday trains" to scenic areas and more than 40 long-distance bus stations with more than 1,000 routes. It also boasts the world's largest public transportation system moving the most people every day.

Although international car rental agencies are represented at the airport, you would not be able to drive in China unless you have a Chinese driver's license as international driving permits are not recognized. The options is to rent a car with driver or hire a taxi for a trip.

Even though Shanghai has many bike lanes, traffic makes cycling daunting. Visitors, however, can sign up for bike tours of many parts of the city or register in the Forever Bicycle Company's hire-a-bike program that rents bright orange bicycles around town. With an official ID and a deposit (around $12), you can pick up a rental card at the Xujiahui Tourist Information Centre outside the Xujiahui metro station.

Getting around Shanghai by metro is fast, safe and convenient with 14 subway lines at last count. Line 1 and 2 are the most useful for tourists. Line 1 (red), the first subway line launched in 1993, runs 38 kilometers (24 miles) north-south, linking major attractions and transportation hubs, including the Shanghai Railway Station. Line 2 (light green) goes east-west for 60 kilometers (37 miles), connecting Hongquiao and Pudong airports and major commercial streets and attractions. Fares are based on distance traveled, but buy a pre-paid Shanghai Public Transportation Card to keep it simple. Schedules are determined by when the first and last trains leave stations, which is generally 5 - 6 am and 10:30 - 11:30 pm.

City buses are identified by numbers or Chinese characters. Downtown lines are numbered 01 to 200, rush hour lines 201-299 and night lines 301 - 399. But expect buses to be crowded and slow-moving. The Shanghai Public Transportation Card can be used on most routes. There are also 10 tourist bus lines starting at Shanghai Stadium and fanning out in one-day tours in the city center, the suburbs and neighboring areas. The frequency of departure varies.

More the 150 taxi companies operate in the city with the sky blue Dazhong taxis and the orange Qiangsheng fleet being the most recognized. Fares are more expensive here than in other cities ($2 for first three kilometers or two miles) with fuel surcharges, wait-time charges and after mid-night differentials, but you can bargain at night. Your fare will be rounded off, so having a Shanghai Public Transportation Card is convenient.

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