We've done all the big things we wanted to accomplish here in Shanghai, so today we did a few of the b-list things that tourists can see if you spend a full week here, like we are.
We started the day off at an old section of Shanghai that's been gentrified and rebuilt in the last several decades. It's the site of the first national congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
The museum was free (we don't know if it's always free or just today, there was a handwritten "free" sign on the ticket booth window and she still gave us tickets in order to enter). It was very interesting to read about the origins of communism in China and it really makes you sympathize with China and all the difficulties they went through under so many foreign rulers. It really puts everything in a whole new perspective, and it was very worthwhile to go. And I'm definitely not a history buff.
A little walk (which turned out to be a long walk because I completely underestimated the distance - it's like two kilometers, you be the judge) from Xintiandi is an area called Tianzifang. It's a complex of little alleyways and full of shops, tourists, and art.
Our favorite stop was the candy lab, which we saw in Tokyo on Cat Street and loved. New York seriously needs one of these. Or lots of them. You watch the workers make hard candy right in front of you. It's fascinating and delicious. We bought some apple flavored candies and they're yummy.
Qibao was our final stop this afternoon. It's another water town, but closer to Shanghai (accessible via the subway) and much smaller than Zhujiajiao. We wanted to compare the two water towns so we could give suggestions to future travelers.
If you are short on time, do Qibao (pronounced "chibao"). It's easy to get to and small, so you can get out there, explore, and get back to Shanghai in just a few hours. Zhujiajiao is farther and bigger and it deserves its own day. Qibao is also less expensive. The bus to Zhujiajiao is RMB 12 each way, whereas the metro to Qibao is only 4 or 5, depending on where you start. This is a difference of about a dollar, but still. Both are free and open to the public. Overall, Zhujiajiao is way cooler and more fun and totally worth it if you have the time and an extra dollar.
Here are some pics of Qibao, including some (the first two pics) inside Qibao temple and park, which we paid to get in (5 RMB each, which is a little less than $1 and totally worth it).