Slap-bang in the middle of the city, Wulumuqi Lu is one of Shanghai’s major arteries. Stretching from sleepy weeping willow-lined backstreets in northern Jingan, right down to the very edge of the world as we know it – the Former French Concession that is – on Zhaojiabang Lu, Wulumuqi offers two miles of awesome options for wining, dining, shopping and more.
According to the experts over at Historic Shanghai, before the road as it’s known today was first laid out after World War One (it was completed in 1921), its three sections had different names and spanned the length of two concessions – the then International Settlement and French Concession. Wulumuqi Bei Lu was Tifeng and Tihua Lu (before and after World War Two, respectively); Wulumuqi Zhong Lu was named Route Magy after a Shanghai resident killed during WWI; and Wulumuqi Nan Lu was Route Louis Dufour, also named after resident who died during the First World War.
Now the seat of The Avocado Lady, the reigning queen of Wulumuqi Lu, the road is packed out with almost anything you could possibly need. It’s your one-stop-shop for everything from fancy coffees and handcrafted gifts to Middle Eastern staples and full-body beauty treatments.
Video: Ian Kumamoto
A tour of Wulumuqi's best bits, working your way north to south
2. Leaf through artsy 'coffee table' books, browse fancy ceramics and expensive stationery or catch a seminar over a cappuccino at classy book café MADHAUS
3. Catch a free lunchtime orchestral show or pick up a new hobby for weekday evenings at Jingan District Cultural Centre
. The newly renovated hub offers Chinese-only programmes ranging from traditional opera to ballet dancing to calligraphy.
4. Tame the beast with one of the best Brazilians in town (the waxing treatment, we mean) from Strip
and quick tidy up of the monobrow at Browhaus
5. Chow down on the super savoury flavours of spicy Hunan-style cuisine at Hunan Country Cuisine.
Try beef in sour soup (酸汤肥牛), firepot chicken (干锅鸡) and drypot cauliflower with Chinese ham (酸汤肥牛).
6. Upscale your barnet with a fresh wash, cut and blow-dry, perm or a swish set of braids at ultra-hip new eponymously named Barbershop
7. Relieve that sweet tooth with Sea Salt Chocolate & Banana Pancakes (48 RMB) and a Kenyan drip coffee at Japanese-inflected spot, Fine Café & Canteen
8. Upgrade your kicks for under 100RMB at Culture Matters
with a brand-spanking new pair of Feiyues – one of Shanghai's most iconic home-grown brands.
9. Get up early and treat yourself to one of the best Shandong-style jianbing in the city (170 Wulumuqi Lu, near Yuyuan Lu). Cutting the perfect balance between crisp and moist, ayi knows exactly how to sort your morning cravings.
10. Restock your cupboards and fill your fridge with a weekly shop at the Avocado Lady
. She might not have the best avos in the city these days, but she’s certainly got a lot of swag you’ll be missing from home.
11. Treat yourself to an after-dinner gelato at Bonus
. The rotating menu offers a mix of classics and quirky new additions – think pine nut and olive oil, salted egg yolk and our personal favourite, mojito.
12. Pick-up Lebanese and Levantine classics from Eli Falafel
. From juicy stuffed vine leaves to fluffy falafel to home-made hummus and baba ganoush, this Arabic joint has it all.
13. Throw the rule book out the window and order breakfast for dinner at Diner
, you naughty thing. Choose from fully-loaded pancakes, indulgent French toast or a staple American brekkie – just don't get caught and don't
14. Shop till you drop at Dutch lifestyle store and accessory brand Kate Wood
with stylish eye-wear, watches, phone cases, bikes and more, all handcrafted from re-purposed wood and bamboo.
15. Pamper yourself on the cheap at this clean and friendly neighbourhood spa, Flower Fingers
. Expect to spend no more than 100RMB for basic mani-pedis, foot massages and simple facial treatments.
16. Get your caffeine fix at super-chic minimalist café And Coffee
. Pass by before 11.30am and get a 6RMB discount on a coffee-croissant combo. Sorted.
17. Pack in the high quality proteins at My Butchery
with a well-curated selection of imported meats in a variety of different cuts. Pick up a rotisserie chicken for 58 RMB for a quick weeknight TV dinner.
How to get there? Reach Wulumuqi Lu by jumping off at Jingan Temple, Changshu Lu or Shanghai Library Stations.