Home to Shanghai’s contemporary art scene epicenter, M50 Creative Park, Moganshan Road was once known for its street art and grimy, gritty vibe. Today, the street art is under demolition, while luxury edifices such as the 1,000 Trees building are transforming the district. Galleries, cafes, and bookstores line the streets.
The M50 Creative Park, Shanghai’s answer to Beijing’s 798 Art Zone, is the usual first stop on most trips to Moganshan Road (Moganshan Lu). Among the studios, galleries, bookshops, and cafes, there is enough to while away at least half a day. If you’re serious about discovering—let alone buying—Chinese contemporary art, it pays to join a Shanghai art tour. Even better, hire a private art guide or book a private tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Moganshan Road—in particular M50—is an absolute must for fans of contemporary Chinese art.
- Even by the standards of Shanghai, a city that changes at lightspeed, Moganshan Road is gentrifying fast.
- Moganshan Road and M50 are large areas and a fair walk from the metro. Wear practical shoes.
How to Get There
The easiest way to reach Moganshan Road is by taking the metro to Jiangning Road on Line 13, Zhongtan Road on lines 3 and 4, or Shanghai Railway Station, on Line 1, although there is a fair amount of walking whichever option you choose. Many Shanghai art tours include transportation by private vehicle or local taxi.
When to Get There
Most galleries in M50 and beyond close on Mondays, and very few charge for admission. As ever in Shanghai, weekends and public holidays are the busiest times along Moganshan Road, both for shoppers at the new malls and for art hounds on the M50 trail.
1,000 Trees Building
Created by British design studio Heatherwick, 1,000 Trees building is perhaps the most obvious sign of the gentrification of Moganshan Road. The 15-acre (13-hectare) lot next to M50 is home to a vast mixed-use development, including two shopping centers. Shaped like twin mountains, the stepped building takes its name from its 1,000 supporting pillars, eached topped with a balcony holding a living tree.