Art and Culture in Shanghai

One of the phrases that perhaps best encapsulates what it’s like to live in Shanghai is “so much to do, yet so little time“. There are business opportunities and networking events almost every day, as well as promotional events popping up left and right. However, apart from the food, business, and shopping that is available, what few people know about is the art and culture, especially the rotating art shows, events, and unique art-related places present in the modern Chinese city that is Shanghai.

Below, to help crave some of your artistic needs, are some of my favorite places to go in Shanghai for some artistic works and a pleasurable cultural experience. As you will see, I have divided them into categories, specializing from art and books, shopping, fashion and more!

Art and Books

My Recommendation: THE MIX PLACE 衡山和集

This bookstore truly is a hidden treasure. Finding international magazines in Shanghai is a struggle, as is finding special or limited editions of books and foreign coffee table books. Located in Xuhui district, this bookstore will fill this gap perfectly. The Mix Place consists of three floors.

The first floor includes a café, film-themed area with a variety of collector’s objects, as well as an area dedicated to select Chinese works of literature.

The second floor is a bookworm’s paradise with a large range of art, design, and photography books, in English.

The real magic happens on the third floor, though. Here, all the walls are covered with a range of international magazines, the majority of which are unheard of by many and undoubtedly unique. A few of my personal favorites that can be found here are Cereal, Holiday, and The White Review, although there really is a magazine for every individual’s taste.


880 Hengshan Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai



Art and Shopping

My Recommendation: K11

K11, coined as an “art mall,” had its grand opening in 2013 and is peculiar as it combines luxury retail with art. In fact, in addition to its range of high-end brand stores, such as Burberry and Max Mara, as well as restaurants and cafés, what is special about K11 and a key selling point for this mall is the amount of art present in the building.

In fact, K11 has a permanent collection of art pieces that are accessible to the public, but also frequent exhibitions, events, and workshops located in the K11 Art Space.

Some of the most popular past exhibitions include those of surrealist Salvador Dali, pop-surrealist Gary Baseman, and multi-media artist Jung Yeondoo, as shown above. Interestingly, there is also the K11 Art Foundation, a not-for-profit art incubation program with the sole purpose of aiding emerging artists to enter the contemporary art scene.

For more information, you can check out the official K11 website here.


300 Middle Huaihai Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai



Art and Fashion

My Recommendation: YUZ Museum 余德耀美术馆

With the intention of promoting dialogue between the East and West, the recently founded YUZ Museum frequently collaborates with fashion brands and contemporary art figures, which has led to extremely successful exhibitions such as that of American designer and pop artist KAWS, as shown above.

YUZ Museum is also devoted to art education, as to allow Chinese individuals to enjoy both Western and Chinese art, integrating the two seamlessly, offering an artistic experience like no other.

This is demonstrated, for example, by the exhibition of Italian sculptor Alberto Giacometti, which encapsulates art, culture, as well as a particular cultural spirit enveloped in his art.

To learn more about the YUZ Museum and see their current, as well as past exhibitions, you can click here.


35 Fenggu Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai



Art and (more) Art

My Recommendation: M50 Creative Garden

For a taste of quirky, urban, youthful art, look no further than M50. Named after the street it is located on, here you will find a plethora of art galleries. The showcased works range from everything modern, to traditional art, to sculpture and furniture.

There are also, of course, a few cafés sprinkled here and there within this “art district” and graffiti walls for that perfect #artselfie. Many of the galleries display pieces that can be purchased, so get your wallet ready!

Like K11, M50 also has a design incubation program for emerging creative artists in Shanghai. This is also why there is a rotating set of artists putting their work up for display. This makes M50 a place you can return to often, as the exhibitions and galleries frequently alternate, offering a new artistic experience each time!


50 Moganshan Road, Putuo District, Shanghai



Final Thoughts

Regardless of what your interest is, you will certainly find some art-related things to do, see, and purchase and Shanghai. Hopefully, here you have found some art-related suggestions of what to do next time you are free!