Where to live in … Shanghai!
At ASI Movers, we know how important it is to have our “home sweet home”. It is not an easy task to find a new one, especially in a big and unknown city. Furthermore, depending on your family status, your age, and your priorities, many criteria will ponder your choice.
Thanks to its 10-year experience in moving, as a Shanghai based relocation company, ASI Movers is now happy to provide you a small and comprehensive guide the main features and characteristics of Shanghai's main areas.
The Former French Concession (also called FFC) is one of the fanciest areas to live in. It is compound by Xuhui district, and a part of Huangpu district.
The FFC is filled with colonial style villas, most of the architecture is reminiscent of the art deco era (1920-40s), with their interior completely renovated for many of them. The streets are pretty silent, peaceful and lined with plane trees (as you can often see in the South of France). In some areas, you would not believe you are in China. This area is appreciated by the young expats, also because you can find many little shops, bars and fancy restaurant serving occidental food.
However, due to its central geographic positioning and success, the FFC is quite expensive, considered rather upper class residential area.
- Price range: Expensive
- Life in the district: Many fancy cafes, bars and restaurants. Chinese alternatives can also be found.
- Who: Young couple, it remains upper class. Not so many family live there, as many of the villas are divided in smaller apartments.
- Transportation: Centrally located, the FCC is well served by the metro and buses. You can also easily access the city center walking or biking.
- International Schools: No main international school is located in the FFC, but school buses exist, and the transportation system is convenient.
Jing’an is a popular district, close to the FFC. It is a great compromise for those who are interested in being in the core of the city, have a rather westernized way of living (due to the numerous occidental options available in terms of food, cafés, boutiques, etc.), for a lower budget than a house in the FFC.
Jing’an being busy and active (with fashionable boutiques, bars, and cafés), it is busier and less quiet than the FFC for instance. You can find there classical and pretty recent compounds, sometimes equipped with gyms and other facilities, as well as high-end houses.
- Price range: Average to upper.
- Life in the district: The most popular bars and restaurants are located there and some streets get quite animated at night with expats gathering to have dinner or a drink (the atmosphere remains healthy however). The neighborhood directly surrounding the Jing’an Temple itself also offers access to many shopping malls.
- Who: Jing’an is popular among expat students, interns, young actives and couples.
- Transportation: This district is well deserved by the metro. The fact that is central prevents its inhabitants for long journeys across the city.
- International Schools: No major international school is located in the Jing’an district, and the latter is not close to the areas they developed in either.
Out of the city, Minhang district is well appreciated by the expatriates family for its houses and villas, located inside secure compounds. Mostly comprised with a private garden, they offer some facilities for the whole family, and kids can go out of the home to visit their neighbor friends quite safely. However, offering larger green space and mansion options means being far from the city center, which might be inconvenient for the parents, taking into consideration the traffic congestion.
- Transportation: This district is deserved by the end of some line subway, but you may have to consider take your car, at least to do a part of the trip.
- International Schools: Major international school are located in Minhang district, such as the Lycée français de Shanghai, the British International School Shanghai and the American Shanghai School.
Two of the main places you would be looking for to live in are Hongqiao, which includes Gubei; and the surroundings of Zhongshan park. These residential areas are located in the Western part of Shanghai, a little bit out of the city center. These are rather popular area among expats, filled with high-end housing facilities. The perfect compromise for the family, at mid-way from the international school and the city center.
- Price range: Average.
- Life in the district: Western supermarkets and medical facilities are easily found in Changning, as well as chain restaurants and bars popular among adult expats. Nevertheless it is more of a residential and quiet area where you can find green spaces and pedestrian streets to hang around.
- Who: Expat families, with an important population of Korean and Japanese in Gubei.
- Transportation: Better served by public transportation than its west neighbor Minhang and Qingpu.
- International Schools: A large panel of International Schools can be found in the area (Shanghai Community International School, Livingston American School, Shanghai United International School, among others).
Located on the Eastern side of the Huangpu (river), it is also one of the largest districts: indeed, this district is as large as Singapour. Being very recent (before 1990s it looked nothing like today), you will easily spot the very modern architecture of the area closest to the river, which also is the financial and industrial heart of the city.
- Price range: Average, this side of the river is generally cheaper than the other.
- Life in the district: Office building but the district is becoming more and more residential if you are going further east, with a general aspect somehow reminiscent of the suburban American communities.
- Who: Expat families eager to find a comfortable westernized life, being close to their office and schools.
- Transportation: Far from the city center, yet well-deserved by the metro. It is also close to the Pudong International Airport.
- International Schools: Many international schools also have a campus located in Pudong (Yew Chung International School, Lycée Français de Shanghai, British International School, Dulwich College, Shanghai Japanese School, among others). Even if you decide not to settle in the Pudong area, International Schools usually arrange buses to help to children living in the city to come to class.