It’s easy to spend the weekend in your hotel room in front of your laptop. Why not combine exercise with culture? Visiting Shanghai’s developing West Bund waterfront is an enjoyable way to do just that.
Many business travellers have contacted me wondering what to do over the weekend. A week’s worth of meetings piled on top of jetlag and a heavy workload can make you feel dazed and completely uninterested in facing crowds at tourist traps. But you want to get out and you want some activity, so what to do? Shanghai’s fast-developing West Bund area is a great place to combine some much-needed activity with a little culture as well.
Get Moving at Xuhui Riverside Open Space
Here, at the Shanghai Corniche, a few kilometers of the riverside have been turned into a multi-functional promenade that is not the least bit touristy, unlike the Bund Promenade that can be clogged with selfie-takers and junk sellers on any given weekend. The wide space bordered by the Huang Pu River on one side and Long Teng Road on the other, supports a wide paved walkway, an asphalt strip for runners, and grass and trees that border the road. Along the way you can find a scooter/skateboard park, basketball courts and an enormous outdoor climbing wall.
Enjoy a brisk walk or a nice long run and watch the river that is full of working barges carrying coal and other commodities up and down the Huang Pu.
And Now for Some Culture - Contemporary Art
The West Bund has also become home to some excellent collections of Chinese contemporary art. There are two permanent museums, shows and exhibitions that take place in old warehouses nearby.
The architecture of the museum may be as interesting as the collection it houses. The design utilizes some aged vestiges of the site’s former life as a port, the contemporary museum echoes the past.
The collection itself, from one of the largest private collections in China, covers traditional and contemporary Chinese art as well as works from Asian and European artists.
Just down the Riverside pathway is the Yuz Museum. Smaller than the Long and housed in former airplane hangar, the Yuz Museum is dedicated to the public’s understanding of contemporary art. Curated by Wu Hang, an art historian with a distinguished background including the foundation of the Center for the Art of East Asia at the University of Chicago, the exhibitions I have seen are simply digestible. One can easily spend an hour in the space and take in most of the works without being overwhelmed.
How to Visit
Get to the West Bund at Dongan Road, near Longteng Road. Metro: Longhua Middle Road Station, Line 7. Taxi: 徐汇区东安路, 近龙腾大道
Long Museum - opening hours 10:00am-6:00pm.
Yuz Museum - opening hours 10:30am-5:30pm.
Both museums are closed on Mondays.