An old factory beside Suzhou Creek in the north of the city, 3km northeast of the Yufo Temple, Moganshan Arts District (莫干山路50号, mògānshānlù wŭshíhào) is a complex of studios and galleries that makes up the city’s biggest arts scene. The nearest subway stop to Moganshan is at Shanghai Zhan, a ten-minute walk away; otherwise, you’ll have to take a cab.
Attracted by cheap rents, artists took over the abandoned buildings at 50 Moganshan Lu and used them as studios. Then the art galleries moved in, and now the design studios and cafés and more commercial galleries are arriving. What makes it fascinating – at the moment – is the way the area is both shabby and sophisticated, jumbling together paint-spattered artists, slick dealers, pretentious fashionistas and baffled locals. Most of the smaller galleries double as studios and there’s something for all tastes, so expect to spend at least a morning poking around. Many of the galleries are closed on Mondays, and there’s a map on the wall to the right of the entrance.