Nestled in the western part of the former French Concession, Luwan District is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Shanghai and retains much of its original architecture. Xintiandi, in the eastern half of the district, offers lively and cosmopolitan downtown living, with some of the city’s best shopping, entertainment and dining.
The central location, tree-lined streets and elegant promenades make Luwan very appealing to expats. On the downside, rents are high and open green space is limited to a couple of botanical parks. The Luwan area described here runs from the Chengdu Lu Elevated Highway in the west to Xizang Lu in the east, with the Xintiandi complex at its centre. The lifeline of Luwan is Huaihai Lu, renowned for both its boutiques and department stores. Shanghai residents pack the streets on weekends to window shop and people watch. It is seen as an alternative location to the popular French Concession area for expats.
Luwan’s housing options are varied: new high-rises, a few old houses, older art-deco buildings near Huaihai Lu and exclusive complexes surrounding trendy Xintiandi. The southern part of the district still has old Chinese housing complexes, although old communities are being flattened to make room for newer high-rises. The closer you are to Xintiandi, the higher the rent. Rent varies greatly, but generally expect to pay anywhere from RMB 15-40,000.
ParkwayHealth has a Specialty and Inpatient Care Center right next to Xintiandi. Other options include the Huashan Hospital and the CanAm International Medical Centre close by. Xintaindi expats are very well served by Shanghai hospitals and emergency care facilities.
Good to Know
Living in Luwan is a mixed bag, with glaring positives and negatives. On the plus side, Luwan contains some of Shanghai’s most interesting architecture and arguably the best shopping and nightlife in the city. Although traffic is congested in Luwan, Metro line 1 runs through the district and connects with several other lines at nearby People’s Square. For expats wanting to live it up, Luwan could be ideal.