SHANGHAI (AP) — China's biggest city and financial hub is known for designer boutiques and fine dining. Yet wallet-draining Shanghai also offers activities that cost nothing, from walking on the riverfront Bund to sculpture parks and historic sites. Here are five of them.
A walk along the Bund is an introduction to the essence of big, bold, fashionable, commercial Shanghai.
The avenue is lined with art deco buildings from the 1920s and '30s, when Shanghai was the New York of the Far East. The Bund was its Wall Street, home to international banks and trading houses. A handful of foreign and Chinese entrepreneurs made fortunes. The city's relative stability attracted migrants who left behind poverty and fighting among warlords elsewhere. Other areas of the city have been bulldozed to make way for office and apartment towers, but the Bund's classic appearance has been preserved and its buildings renovated.
At the Bund's north end is the Peace Hotel, one of Shanghai's most famous buildings, where celebrities such as Cole Porter stayed before World War II. Nearby is a statue of Chen Yi, the city's first communist mayor in the '50s.
Farther south, buildings including the former headquarters of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank have been renovated and now house designer shops like Ermenegildo Zegna and Cartier. At the corner of Guangdong Road, the seventh-floor terrace of restaurant M on the Bund offers a panoramic view across the river to Pudong, the financial district that was constructed from scratch over the past two decades.
The Bund's name, which rhymes with fund, comes from the Hindi word for barrier and refers to the riverside embankment where ships were loaded and unloaded. Today, the commercial piers are gone and the view of the river from the street is blocked by a floodwall built in the '90s. Visitors can climb to the top of the barrier where a wide pedestrian walkway gives a view of the river and Pudong's forest of skyscrapers, with the Oriental Pearl Television Tower looming over them.
The Hongfang Creative Industrial Zone, created in 2005 out of a cluster of renovated factories, houses galleries including the Shanghai Sculpture Space, open Tuesday-Sunday, which shows work by Chinese and foreign contemporary artists. The building surrounds a grassy courtyard with sculptures that include bulls and horses made of auto parts and car-size heads of Albert Einstein and former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping. The district is on Weihai West Road, a five-minute walk east of the Hongqiao Road station on the No. 3 subway or 10 minutes west of Weihai West Road station on the No. 10.
The Moganshan Road Art District, on the bank of Suzhou Creek, is older, grittier and more commercial. The city's most prominent contemporary galleries — locals as well as outposts of European and U.S. galleries — are housed in converted textile factories and warehouses dating to the 1930s. Moganshan's mix of industrial and arty is a favorite backdrop for Chinese fashion photographers. It's a 20-minute walk south of the Zhongtan Station on the No. 3 or 4 subways.
Jing'an Sculpture Park, on Beijing West Road west of the North-South Expressway, is an oasis of green among high-rise apartment blocks. The six-hectare (15-acre) park has monumental works in stone, steel and other materials by artists including American Jim Dine, Belgium's Wim Delvoye and Ram Katzir of Israel. Some are sturdy enough for children to climb. On weekends, kids skate on the sidewalks while adults play badminton on the lawn.
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