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streetfood shanghai

Hi there! I’m Caitlin Horton, a brand strategist and designer for entrepreneurs, community builders, and creative professionals. I’m also the author of Memphis Type History, a book of signs and stories.

I recently moved to Shanghai, China, which some call the Paris of the East. I suppose that’s fitting given the Masters degree in French I got several years ago! Since getting here, I’ve been (slowly) learning Mandarin, checking out the local coffee shop scene, wandering through parks, and, of course, eating a ton.

When I’m out and about first thing in the morning, I’ll grab a Chinese breakfast on the street. There are several on-the-go options but my favorite is baozi. These breakfast buns are steamed in large baskets like these and filled with meat or veggies. They’re quite delicious and very filling!

peoples park shanghai china

For all it’s hustle and bustle, you can find parks all over Shanghai, many complete with flower gardens, ponds, and even older locals ballroom dancing in the evenings. Some are tucked away while others sprawl out for several acres. People’s Park is big enough to escape the sound of traffic as you stroll around the Lotus Pond. I enjoy watching  groups of men gamble over cards punctuated with the sound of mahjong tiles clacking on the stone tables scattered throughout the park.

1984 Bookstore Shanghai

1984 Bookstore – This hidden gem has the best vintage vibes and the perfect coffee shop playlist going in the background. The shop cats lounge on the many magazines and used books you can peruse to your heart’s content. You’ll find me sipping a vanilla iced latte.

Seesaw Coffee shanghai

I love working from my home office, but sometimes I just want to get out of the house for a bit. That’s when I find myself somewhere like Seesaw Coffee. Serving fresh-roasted Yunnan coffee, this spot is one of my favorites for its amazing architectural vibes. I might work under the skylight or snag a table in one of the cozier corners to knock out some design projects or work on a client’s marketing plan.

Porthole Window shanghai

Sadly, a lot of the historical buildings have been torn down to make way for the modern malls and skyscrapers that make up Shanghai’s skyline. But you can still find little art deco surprises all around. Spying a little porthole window like this one throws me right back in Shanghai’s hedonistic heydey in the 1930s, if only for a few moments.

iapm shanghai iapm shanghai china

Unwinding at one of the many malls in Shanghai is definitely a local pasttime. You can catch a movie, drink a fresh fruit juice, or shop for designer clothes and accessories. My personal favorite mall activity is sampling the fantastic variety of local fare served up in the food courts. At a luxurious modern marvel like IAPM, though, I just wander around looking up at the ceiling. I can’t get enough of the lines and architectural details here!

Well, that’s it for me! I hope you enjoyed coming along for a typical day in Shanghai. You can find me on Instagram @dizzycaitlin and online at I occasionally blog about my life in China over at Hope to see you around!

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