Nong 210 Taikang Lu, near Sinan Lu
METRO: Dapu Bridge (Line 9)
If Xintiandi is too commercialized for your tastes, you’ll probably prefer Tianzifang (also known as Taikang Road). A warren of alleys tucked away between two main streets, Tianzifang can be hard to find and even harder to find your way out of.
Flanked with small galleries, boutiques, jewelry shops, and cafés, this little district started life as a series of residential longtang (lanes) beside a candy factory. When the factory was converted into an art gallery in 1998, creative businesses and artists began to set up in the lanes.
Popular among the city’s hipsters, photographers, and artists (both local and foreign), Tianzifang is also becoming a tourist favorite. Aim to get here before lunchtime to avoid the crowds.
There are numerous cafés and restaurants to choose from, most of which have outdoor seating or roof terraces. Top choices are Bell Bar, Kommune, Lapis Thai, and Origin Café. In the evening, the fairy lights strung between the buildings add to the atmosphere.