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Shanghai's Beijing Opera troupe performs at the Yifu theater on Fuzhou Road. The giant opera mask on the front of the corner-facing theater makes it easy to find. This theater offers not only Bejing opera, but also other Chinese traditional opera forms. The Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center, on Anfu Road near the intersection with Wukang Road, has three stages and offer a variety of performances from Chinese opera to plays.
The Shanghai Centre Theater is another main stage in the city, in the same complex with the Portman Hotel. Concerts, musicals, and other large theatrical events are held on this stage. The Lyceum Theater on Maoming Road has a smaller stage, but offers a renovated theater with a cozy more personal performance space.
Great World at the intersection of Xi Zang Road and Yan An Road is a famous old spot with acrobatics shows, karaoke, and other entertainment. While the building may look a bit run down, it was a central point for entertainment in 1930s Shanghai.
The Concert Hall on Yan An Road is a great example of old and new in Shanghai. The building was built in the early 20th century, and when road plans and a park remapped that area, the whole building was segmented and moved 66 meters from the original spot. This is the best location for classical music in the city.
Shanghai's blues and jazz venues are noteworthy bars, the House of Jazz and Blues, the Cotton Club, and CJW, as well as the bar at the Portman Hotel. ARK in Xin Tian Di is the premier rock stage in the city, showcasing international tours and local rock bands.
Cinemas are also located throughout the city, and the Cathay Theater on Huai Hai Road is worth a look from outside. Comfortable multiplexes are found in the malls at Xu Jia Hui, in Mei Long Zhen over on Nanjing Road West, in Times Square over on Huai Hai Road East, on the south end of Xin Tian Di, and on the top floor of the Super Brand Mall in Lu Jia Zui. Some films are in Chinese, or offered in English, and some cinemas have some showings with subtitles. If you pick up popcorn at the movies, remember to ask if it is sweet or salty, as most movie theater popcorn is sweet.
The Shanghai Grand Theater is a beautiful, contemporary glass and concrete building in the center of People's Square. This is probably the largest enclosed performing arts space in Shanghai, and it regularly features headline acts such as the Broadway production of Lion King.
Many of Shanghai's museums are found around People's Square. First is the large Shanghai Museum, collecting pieces of China's history from around the Shanghai region. From the museum it is possible to see the white and glass Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center. On the Northwest end of People's Square on Nanjing Road you will find the Shanghai Art Museum, featuring classical paintings on the lower floors and contemporary art on the top floor.
Yu Yuan Gardens, south of the Bund is a combination of interesting architecture, history, shopping center, and museum, as the restored and protected area shows a beautiful set of buildings around courtyards with shopping and food, a temple in the center of the compound. During holidays and festivals there are special exhibits and performances here.
On the Pudong side, the newly constructed Shanghai Oriental Arts Center is hard to miss. This controversial building resembles three giant glass rice bowls arranged in a flower pattern. The main stage inside is impressive, though, and features top-name concerts from around the world.