Shanghai’s vibrant performing arts scene is constantly growing, from fresh local talent to international chart-toppers, this is the place to make it. Here’s a roundup of biggest and best places to see shows in Shanghai. We're talking performance venues showing anything from Chinese opera to Shakespeare to musicals. Check out what's showing and buy tickets here.
This iconic arena is the go-to venue for international artists touring Asia and China. Recent headliners include Adam Lambert, Iron Maiden and Taylor Swift—if there's a big show in Shanghai, you can bet it's happening here. Officially renamed the Mercedes-Benz Arena in 2011, the arena seats 18,000 with 82 luxury suites. Inside there’s also a more intimate music venue, The Mixing Room, plus a public ice-skating rink, shopping mall and a six-screen cinema.
Address: 1200 Expo Avenue (near Shangnan Lu) 世博大道1200号 (近上南路)
This grand space on Fuxing Lu has capacity for over 2,000 people. Their focus is on bringing Broadway theater to China, although the program has recently included jazz, popular concerts and internationally touring ballet. The space boasts a beautiful interior and exterior designed by Richard Blinder—it’s worth a visit just to see the massive LED-lit rainforest painting/installation by Ding Shaoguang that dominates the lobby. The past Shanghai shows include Ghost The Musical, Blue Man Group and Mozart! The Musical.
Address: 36 Yongjia Lu (near Maoming Nan Lu) 永嘉路36号 (近茂名南路)
A must-see for architecture and classical music lovers alike, Shanghai Concert Hall is one of the most famous heritage sites in the city. Designed by Fan Wenzhao and built in 1930, the space seats 1,200 and the stage has an elevated orchestra pit. In the past the theatre was for circuses, acrobatics and local Chinese opera; today it presents some of the best high-quality classical music performances in Shanghai, from symphony orchestra to traditional Chinese music.
Address: 523 Yan’an Dong Lu (near Longmen Lu) 延安东路523号 (近龙门路)
Located in the heart of the Former French Concession, the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center has played host to many opera companies over the years and some of the best bilingual and English-language productions in the city. The modern theatre hosts regular Shakespeare festivals and well-known plays staged by international touring companies, such as Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire and Sarah Kane’s Psychosis.
Address: 288 Anfu Lu (near Wukang Lu) 安福路288号 (近武康路)
The Shanghai Grand Theatre has presented over 6,000 performances of ballet, opera, theatre, Peking Opera and symphony orchestra since it opened in 1998. The ten-storey building in People’s Square actually houses three separate theatres with a total capacity of nearly 4,000 people. Many famous performers have graced its halls, including the New York Philharmonic.
Address: 300 Renmin Da Dao (near Huangpi Bei Lu) 人民大道300号 (近黄陂北路)
This hall is home to the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, one of the oldest and best of its kind in Asia. While championing contemporary and classical Chinese music, in recent years the orchestra has led the way in Western orchestral traditions in China. As well as the classical program, the hall hosts an annual contemporary concert series organized by live music/festival promoters Split Works.
Address: 1380 Fuxing Zhong Lu (near Baoqing Lu) 复兴中路1380号 (近宝庆路)
The Shanghai Oriental Art Center is one of the best-known performance centers in China. It might also be one of the most striking, with its seven-level butterfly-shaped structure made up of interconnected hemispherical halls and rippling glass façades. As well as weekly classical and jazz concerts, the center houses public facilities such as an arts library, music shops and restaurants.
Address: 425 Dingxiang Lu (near Yingchun Lu)丁香路425号 (近迎春路)
Acclaimed as "China's No. 1 Circus World," this venue can easily be spotted thanks to its conspicuous golden superdome. With top-notch acoustics, an advanced computer-controlled lighting system, 1,600 seats, a motorized, revolving stage and 1,500 sq. meters of stables for elephants, tigers and many other creatures, it's fully equipped to put on a real show. Of all the Shanghai shows, you can count on this one
Address: 2266 Gonghexin Lu (near Guangzhong Lu) 共和新路2266号 (近广中路)
Originally built in 1931, this Art Deco theatre in Hongkou District brings a touch of old-fashioned glamour and history to the world of cabaret, burlesque, comedy, theatre, contemporary dance and more. The Pearl often makes use of Shanghai’s locally-based talent, hosting designer markets and magic shows as well as musical performances. This gem of a space can also be rented out for private events.
Address: 471 Zhapu Lu (near Wujin Lu) 乍浦路471号 (近武进路)
If it's live music venues you're looking for, be it for jazz, punk or rock, we've got you covered too. Read more with our list of best live music venues in Shanghai.
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