Festival draws both bookworms, night owls

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Visitors read at Sinan Books in Shanghai at night. The bookstore opens for late-night readers between 8 pm and midnight every weekend in June. [CHINA DAILY]

Culture and art are indispensable to the Shanghai Nightlife Festival, where over 40 museums and 30 bookshops are opening their doors to night owls from June 6 to 30.

The Shanghai Museum has extended its operating hours for each Saturday of the month and organized a series of special events to offer visitors a different experience from the day.

June 6 marked the first time this year the museum opened its doors in the evening. That night, a temporary marketplace selling museum merchandise was set up in the ground-floor lobby.

Limited-edition traditional Chinese cookies were also sold at the museum's canteen, and a set of five-flavored Chinese yellow liquor, introduced by Shanghai Museum's first livestream, attracted many visitors to have a sip.

"Shanghai Museum has participated in the city's nightlife festival not as a shop or retailer," Yang Zhigang, director of the museum, said on June 6. "Creativity, reflected in all the museum's merchandise, is the display of the strength of culture. We hope to enrich the cultural lives of people and allow them to take home a part of the museum."

"It gave me great satisfaction to enjoy the arts and culture in the fine evening weather of June, the most comfortable period in the city," a woman surnamed Yang told Shanghai Observer, a local news portal.

Yang was one of the first to make reservations upon learning about the evening sessions at Shanghai Museum.

"This is the first time after the COVID-19 pandemic that the museum is open in the evenings and I think there is a special significance to witnessing Shanghai coming back to normal," she says.

Visitors to the museum's night sessions will be able to view ongoing exhibitions such as Spring Blowing in the Wind: Jiangnan Culture Art Exhibition, Infinite Compassion: The Calligraphy of Zhao Puchu and Elegant Friends for a Lofty Studio: Scholars' Rocks Presented by Hu Kemin.

The evening sessions at Shanghai Museum are free of charge but visitors will have to make reservations ahead of time on the official website or WeChat platform. Visitor numbers for each Saturday will be capped at 1,000. Admission will be between 6 and 9 pm, with the last entry at 8 pm.

Reservations have to be made using a valid ID, and visitors are required to present their IDs and health QR codes upon entering the museum. Those who are unable to show up have to cancel their reservations at least two hours ahead.

Other museums, such as Shanghai History Museum, Shanghai Luxun Memorial Museum and the suburban Jiading Museum, will also host events in the evening hours.

At Sinan Mansions, a cluster of villa buildings in the heart of the former French Concession, the nightlife festival is made up of outdoor concerts, a lifestyle marketplace and snack bars. In one of the buildings in the complex is Sinan Books, which is among the dozens of brick-and-mortar bookshops hosting special events during the festival.

At Sinan Books, 50 desks will be set up for late-night readers between 8 pm and midnight every weekend. Special discounts are also available for books and merchandise. On the first weekend, the 50 desks were fully booked soon after word got out.

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