People’s Square is a public square in the center of Shanghai located in Huangpu district. Before 1949, the area was a horseracing track, but with the abolishment of gambling, the course was transformed into today’s square and People’s Park in the northern section.
The open space of the square is similar to a garden, and it is also home to the Shanghai Museum (right). Shanghai Museum displays traditional Chinese art including calligraphy, seals, jade, sculpture and paintings. For more art, you can head just north to People’s Park to the Shanghai Art Museum, in the former racecourse clubhouse, or the Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai (MoCA).
Next to the Shanghai Art Museum is the Shanghai Grand Theater. The theater hosts ballets, musicals, operas, symphonies, and even more performances. Across the park, you can find the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center. The Center has a massive to-scale model of the city of Shanghai (left) and other models of places in the city. It also shows the rapid growth and development of Shanghai through exhibits with a series of photos.
People’s Park itself extends from the Square to Nanjing Road, and it has tree-lined paths and open spaces for a temporary escape from the city. On weekends, you can also see the Shanghai Marriage Market in the park. Parents who are frustrated with their child’s ability to find a spouse come to the park in the hopes of finding the perfect match.
Just north of the park on Nanjing Road is the Park Hotel (right). The art-deco hotel was once the tallest building in China, and it overlooked the race track when it was finished in 1934, giving it a prime location in the city. The hotel has an exhibition room where visitors can learn more about the history and culture of the building from its founding to the present.
After viewing the museums and cultural sites, you can head either west or east down Nanjing Road for food and shopping. Nanjing Road is known for its shopping and has a multitude of Western stores. You can shop at stores like Puma, H&M, Forever 21, Coach, Adidas, and so much more. The great selection of stores has brought along an equally nice variety of restaurants to the People’s Square area. You can find traditional Chinese and Shanghai food, like Shanghai crab, or you can eat dishes at one of the many international restaurants in the area. The nightlife in the area is also good, with bars and clubs like M1NT close by.
While the area can tend to be crowded, People’s Square is conveniently located in the center of the city close to a number of attractions. It also has a huge selection of shopping and restaurants combined with affordable rents, making People’s Square a prime location for students and young professionals or couples.