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The best things to do in Shanghai this December

Here are all the brilliant events happening this month

Photograph: courtesy Historic Shanghai
It's December, which means Christmas is on the horizon. We're already thinking about decorating trees, presents, stuffing our faces with seasonal food and the slight possibility that it might snow in Shanghai – although we're not holding our breath. However, if you don't celebrate Christmas, or are just a bit of a Grinch, there's still plenty going on this month worth getting excited about. Read on for our picks of the best things to do in Shanghai this December.

Music & Nightlife

High Notes Twenty Eighteen at Shake

Shake did a ton of shows in 2018 and they're now condensing the top tunes from these nights into two huge dance parties. The soundtrack will include music ranging from Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson to Sly & The Family Stone to '90s R&B and Beyonce to neo-soul.

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Shake , 46 Maoming Nan Lu Every day except Monday,Tuesday,Wednesday,Thursday,Sunday

Seven Gurus China Tour 2018

A septet of Chinese rappers descend on VAS Livehouse including Rap of China stars ICE and Blow Fever.

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VAS Livehouse , 3F, 19 Wanhangdu Road (万航渡后路19号沪西文化艺术中心3楼) Putuo Shanghai Shanghai 14 Dec Buy tickets


Unfamiliar with the name and looking for a marker of this Harbin-based techno producer’s quality? Upcoming dates after DADA include Berlin’s Tresor and Japan’s KGr,n.

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DADA , 115 Xingfu Lu 28 Dec


Widely considered as the first Chinese punk band (one of their first big songs came out back in 1996), Underbaby has reformed and gone on a mammoth tour across the country. Their Shanghai date should be a lively one.

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Yuyintang , 851 Kaixuan Lu 28 Dec

Low Wormwood

Lanzhou-formed likeable folkrock group Low Wormwood bring their accessible tunes to Modern Sky Lab as part of a special live show popping up in our city and Beijing only.

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Modern Sky Lab , 188 Ruihong Lu, near Tianhong Lu 28 Dec

Things to Do

Jing’an Christkindlmarkt

Critics' pick

The traditional German Christmas Market is back in Shanghai. Think baked apples, chestnuts, gingerbread and mulled wine, rum punch and beautifully decorated wooden stalls offering handicrafts and gifts.

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Tonglefang , No. 537 Haifang Road 30 Nov , Every weekend , Every weekday Buy tickets

Jing An Kerry Centre Christmas Market

Critics' pick

Jing An Kerry Centre has gone all-out for Christmas with a 13-day holiday market featuring food stalls serving all the seasonal heavy-hitters (think Madison Kitchen turkey sandwiches, pan de jamon from Azul, mulled wine and hot chocolate from HLK bistro), live bands, carol singers, visits from Santa Claus and more.

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Jingan Kerry Centre , 1515 Nanjing Xi Lu 14-26 Dec

Farewell, Laoximen: The Anniversary

Critics' pick

A year after Heritage society Historic Shanghai first started leading farewell tours of nearly 500-year-old, soon-to-be-demolished neighbourhood Laoximen, the group leads an anniversary tour. Join Historic Shanghai for a walk through the atmospheric winding lanes and alleys, the intricate carvings, architectural surprises and richly layered histories before it all vanishes. Word is that the end is near –all residents must be out of the neighbourhood by Chinese New Year to allow for demolition.

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Comedy UN's Christmas special

Get into the festive spirit with Comedy UN at their Christmas special, including Emily Gant, Nate Johns, Charlie Wallace, Kurt Dunsing, Ivan Ivan and host Gene-George.

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Comedy UN , 549 Yanan Zhong Lu 22 Dec


Crazy Rich Asians

Critics' pick

Bursting with attitude and heart, Hollywood's first Asian-centric rom com in years makes up for lost time in a big way. A handsome Oxford-educated college professor, Nick Young (Henry Golding), flies his girlfriend Rachel (Constance Wu) to Singapore to meet his family and it turns out they pretty much own the place. Cue unfeasible extravagance that somehow manages to feel inclusive.

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Cinemas around Shanghai 30 Nov - 31 Dec

My Neighbour Totoro

Critics' pick

Studio Ghibli’s very wonderful, very kawaii film My Neighbor Totoro comes to Chinese cinemas 30 years after its 1988 release in Japan (it’s the first Studio Ghibli film to get a theatrical release in the Mainland). Ten-year-old Satsuki and her four-year-old sister Mei move to the countryside with their father to be closer to their ailing mother and embark on adventures with magical creatures from the nearby woods.

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Cinemas around Shanghai 14 Dec - 14 Jan

The Grinch

'All I want for Christmas... is for it to end,' says Benedict Cumberbatch, the voice of everyone’s favourite furry green Christmas hater in this animated reboot of Dr. Seuss’ festive classic The Grinch, narrated by Pharrell Williams and including the voices of Rashida Jones, Kenan Thompson and Angela Lansbury.

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Cindy Sherman Solo Exhibition

The first solo exhibition of Cindy Sherman in China will bring together 128 series of photographs and several shooting props along with references spanning different periods of the artist's career. This retrospective surveys traces Cindy Sherman’s career from the 1970s to the present day and attempts to explore dominant themes in her visual creation throughout four decades.

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Fosun Foundation Art Center , 600 Zhongshan Dong'er Lu Every day except Monday Buy tickets

Louise Bourgeois: The Eternal Thread

The Eternal Thread is the first large-scale museum exhibition in China of work by French-American artist Louise Bourgeois. Widely regarded as one of the most important artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, Bourgeois is renowned for creating a body of work that fuses psychological depth with high formal invention. 

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Long Museum West Bund , 3398 Longteng Avenue 03 Nov - 24 Feb

Tale of Two Cities

Shanghai's one and only screen print art workshop IdelBeats presents the fourth installment of their annual Tale of Two Cities series featuring 20 recent works from its founders Nini Sum and Gregor Koerting, along with the work of Dutch screen print artist Mara Piccione.

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The Space , 80 Yili Lu 24 Nov - 25 Jan

Thomas Hirschhorn: Re-Sculpt

Far from a traditional art project that are usually about beauty and can be hierarchical, this exhibition explores the aesthetics of ruins and discusses the complexity and paradox of destruction and creation. Participants are welcome to use the materials within the exhibition and create their own sculptures and maybe destroy them too?

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Ming Contemporary Art Museum , 436 Yonghe Dong Lu Every day except Monday

Takashi Murakami in Wonderland

Critics' pick

Marking the artist’s largest gallery show to date in Asia and the first solo show in mainland China, it will feature iconic works encompassing many of the themes and characters that have come to define his career (think colourful smiling flowers) and several new works created specially for the exhibition. 

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Perrotin Gallery , 27 Huqiu Lu Every day except Monday


Chicago the Musical

'Murder, greed, corruption, exploitation, adultery and treachery… all those things we hold near and dear to our hearts' – no, we're not talking about a Saturday night at Found 158. World-famous musical Chicago is coming to town.

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Majestic Theatre , 66 Jiangning Lu (江宁路66号) Jing'an Shanghai Shanghai 20 Dec Buy tickets

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