The walled city adventure

Saunter through Shanghai’s oldest quarter in the old walled city



Begin at Laoximen metro station (exit 7) – as per the name, this was once the western gate of the old city.



Head to Confucius Temple (215 Wenmiao Lu, 15RMB). Sunday is a great day to visit this tranquil spot, when there’s an excellent local secondhand book market (1RMB entry).




Lunch around the corner at Zhejiang restaurant Kong Yi Ji (36 Xuegong Lu). Most notably, they make their own huangjiu and sell it in plastic bottles out of a take-away window.


At the far east end of Wenmiao Lu is a great chance to dive into some of Shanghai’s narrowest residential lanes. Jump into any and explore.



The intersection of Penglai Lu and Ninghe Lu sees the start of the Ninghe Lu market, an open wet market that’s always full of action, packed with locals and a great place to pick up some traditional snacks.


Pass by the former residence of Ming Dynasty scholar-bureaucrat and important Shanghai figure Xu Guangqi, a humble house marked with by a plaque at 234 Qiaojia Lu.


A grand gateway at 113 Qiaojia Lu marks the entrance to Catalpa Garden, once the finest residence in this part of town. Head into the lane to see a European-style villa (not open to the public) where, in 1922, artist Wang Yiting lived and hosted a dinner for Albert Einstein.



The walk finishes at Xiaonanmen metro station. A concrete-clad structure sits opposite exit 2 on Zhonghua Lu. Built in the early 20th century and said to have been inspired by the Eiffel Tower, this was an observation tower for fire prevention. Other similar structures existed in Shanghai, but only this one remains.

Adapted from Old City Secrets, a signature tour by Bespoke Shanghai.