Considered China's most innovative and fashionable city approximately a century ago, today's Shanghai is rapidly regaining that title. Along with its economic progress, the city's vibrant rebirth in its arts and entertainment scene are progressing rapidly.
All forms of art in Shanghai now enjoy a renaissance, with many galleries devoted to showing both contemporary and traditional Chinese works. ShangArt often exhibits avant-garde works by Chinese artists, while the Shanghai College of Fine Arts Art Institute features works from young, up-and-coming students. For more classic fare, the Chang'an Gallery shows traditional Chinese paintings.
Shanghai's many large movie theatres screen both Chinese and Hollywood movies. Also, various organizations show foreign movies with English/Chinese subtitles. The Cine-Club de l'Alliance shows French films with Chinese subtitles, and the German Consulate Auditorium features German films. Judy's Too Movies and Shanghai Film Art centre often feature Hollywood blockbusters.
Several of the city's venues showcase dance performances. The Shanghai Grand theatre
, a first-class international standard theatre, often showcases international acts, while the Shanghai Stadium, Majestic theatre and Grand theatre also provide sites for both Asian and Western performances.
The Shanghai Museum
, located at People's Square
, claims title to the most popular museum in Shanghai. Designed to look like an ancient Chinese vessel, the museum's modern exterior stands out as a showpiece. However, the museum's interiors are also worth investigating. The museum features superbly displayed, first-class exhibits of ancient Chinese artifacts and archeological finds with Chinese and English explanations. The scientifically inclined may enjoy the Natural History Museum, which features a curious assortment of dinosaur bones and pickled human remains. On the other hand, the romantically inclined will find the somewhat unusual Exhibition for Chinese Ancient Sex Culture interesting. This rather liberal museum aims to educate visitors on the history of sex in China.
The Shanghai Grand theatre
, Majestic theatre and Grand theatre provide good places to enjoy classical music. Jing An Chamber Music offers weekly chamber music concerts every Sunday evening at the Jing An Hotel.
Various clubs in the city offer live music. For blues and jazz, the long-running and popular Cotton Club proves the place to go for the best live blues music. Scintillating live jazz music tantalizes the ears nightly at the cosy and funky Hot Chocolate on Dong Ping Road. Some bars and nightclubs, such as M-Box and Full House I, feature live music ranging from rock to pop to jazz and performed by local bands.
Shanghai's overloaded club scene is probably the hippest on the mainland as new clubs open weekly. The vibrant club scene accommodates various genres of music from house and techno to hip-hop to live blues. The city's clubs often host international guest DJs, such as Paul Oakenfold, who spin techno and house music. Many nightclubs feature club nights, such as "Latino and Salsa Night" and "Eighties' Music Night," to draw customers. Competition between clubs proves fierce. An "in club" today may be considered passé tomorrow by Shanghai's fickle club goers. Places to shake that booty include the Velvet Underground, Rojam Disco, Real Love Disco and Babylon
Definitely not for everyone, traditional Chinese opera is mostly recognised for its high-pitched vocals (somewhat akin to caterwauling). However, the visual spectacle of a Chinese opera portrays a lavishly striking event. For a Chinese opera experience, try the Yi Fu theatre or the Great World Entertainment centre
. Western operas perform at any of the major venues mentioned above, but usually only when an international operatic troupe tours through China.
The Shanghai Grand theatre
and the Shanghai theatre Academy offer modern theatre, but you must call for a schedule and show-time listings. Unfortunately, most of the plays are spoken in Chinese. While considered rather touristy, Chinese acrobatics reveal amazing feats, and Shanghai Circus World, the Great World Entertainment centre
and Shanghai centre theatre afford interesting acrobatic shows.