Often dwarfed by the fame of the neighboring Nanjing Rd. North, Fuzhou Road is a far less flashy and frenzied street of books and culture. Yet, much history remains from the days when Fuzhou Rd. was famous for its 151 singsong houses (the polite name for brothels) - with the suggestively named 'Lane of Lingering Happiness' located at No.726 Fuzhou Road in the past.
Nowadays however the street is known for much more wholesome offerings. Lined with bookstores and art stores selling materials for Western and Chinese arts and crafts it's the perfect place to pick up some new reading material or a new hobby.
With more than 30 bookstores in the area Fuzhou Road is said to have the highest density of such stores in Shanghai. Even Albert Einstein paid a visit here in 1923 to give a lecture on his Theory of Relativity. Shanghai's largest bookstore, the the Shanghai Book City, is here at No.465. Further along the road away from People's Square you can find the largest official Foreign Language Bookstore in Shanghai with the Shanghai Book Mall opposite.
The Shanghai Foreign Language bookstore has three floors devoted to foreign language titles. Most of the materials are in English with the first floor containing mostly souvenirs, books about China history and English literary classics. The third floor has a wider selection of modern novels and magazines such as Vogue, Cosmopolitan and Hello.
If you are looking for videos, films or music, head to the 6th floor of the gargantuan 7-storey Shanghai Book City for its vast collection of Chinese and Western music CDs, DVDs, music videos, live concert videos and cassette tapes which are all very affordable. Expect to pay around 25 - 33 yuan for an album. Despite its large size however, Shanghai Book City only reserves the corner of the 7th floor for English books.
Then there is the two-storey Shanghai Classics Bookstore which is situated opposite Shanghai Book City. Ranked among one of the 100 most prestigious bookstores of fine arts in China, this large bookstore specializes in selling books and materials related to the fine arts. The store has a special section for imported magazines and books specializing in painting techniques, architecture, appreciation of Chinese traditional calligraphy & paintings and more.
For those who are seeking more specialized, Chinese literature, there is the Chinese Science and Technology Bookstore and many other smaller bookstores along Fuzhou road.
The cultural street does not start and end with only books. Apart from all the bookstores, on the left is Yifu Theatre or Beijing Opera theatre at No. 701 Fuzhou Road, near Yunnan Zhong Road. Since 1921, it has been massively revamped in the early 1990s and is the main venue for grand Chinese operas, in particular Peking Opera. There are regular performances on weekends at 1.30pm and 7.15pm.
Then there is Star Film Studios at No.7 Gui Zhou Road which is a stone's throw away from Fuzhou Road. This film studio was the No.1 studio in the Chinese film industry of the 1930's when it produced more than 200 movies during its 16-years' history. It was however forced to close down in 1937 due to the Sino-Japanese war. Huo Shao Hongliansi (The burning of the Red lotus Temple), Crossroads and Street Angel were the movies that brought fame to Star Film Studios.
Xujiahui is famous for electronic items, with two large electronic malls – Metro City and TaipingYang Suma Plaza that have an exceptional variety of software, computer parts and electronic items with high prices to match.
Yet, there is more to Xujiahui then malls full of electronic products. This area has complete facilities including two cinemas, two hypermarkets and many shops selling both up-scale and reasonably priced clothes and accessories.
Some of the department stores in this area are Metro City, The Pacific Department Store, Orient Shopping Centre, Pacific Digital Plaza, Grand Gateway, The Sixth Department Store, Cross Region Plaza and many other large shopping malls. These six giant department stores all cluster in a circular shape, making it easy to get around. You can also use the underground metro walkways as many of the subway exits go directly into the basement level of nearby malls. Even on the way, the hallways are full of small vendors selling their wares
Close to Xujiahui is Hengshan Rd full of bars and restaurants and Yishan Road famous for home lifestyle décor products and furniture.
Department stores at Xujiahui:
Grand Gateway Plaza
Orient shopping Centre
Pacific Department Store, Xujiahui outlet
Pacific Digital Plaza
Huijin Department Store