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Discover Xujiahui: A Prime Expat Living Destination in Downtown Shanghai

Nestled in the heart of Shanghai, Xujiahui is a vibrant and bustling neighborhood that perfectly blends modern urban living with rich cultural heritage. Renowned for its shopping centers, historical sites, and convenient transportation, Xujiahui has become a top choice for expatriates seeking a balanced lifestyle in one of the world’s most dynamic cities. This guide delves into the myriad reasons why Xujiahui stands out as an ideal residential area for expats.

Historical Background

The name Xujiahui originates from the prominent Xu family, whose ancestor, Xu Guangqi, was a respected scholar and politician during the Ming Dynasty. Xu Guangqi’s conversion to Christianity played a significant role in the area’s historical development, as it led to the establishment of numerous Catholic institutions. The centerpiece of this religious heritage is the grand St. Ignatius Cathedral, an iconic Gothic structure completed in 1910, which remains a vital landmark today.

Over the years, Xujiahui evolved from a religious and educational hub into a commercial and residential powerhouse, especially post-1990s, when Shanghai’s urban development surged. The neighborhood’s blend of historical and modern elements creates a unique environment that appeals to both locals and expats.

Modern Amenities and Facilities

Shopping and Entertainment

Xujiahui is a shopper’s paradise, boasting several large malls and department stores that cater to a wide range of tastes and budgets. The Grand Gateway 66, a towering twin-tower complex, is one of the area’s most prominent shopping destinations, featuring international luxury brands, fine dining, and entertainment options. For more mainstream shopping, the Metro City mall offers a plethora of electronics, fashion outlets, and dining choices, while the Orient Shopping Center and Pacific Sogo provide additional retail variety.

Culinary Delights

The culinary scene in Xujiahui is diverse and vibrant, reflecting Shanghai’s cosmopolitan nature. Expats can enjoy an array of international cuisines, from Italian and French to Japanese and Thai, in addition to authentic Chinese eateries. The neighborhood’s food courts and street food stalls also offer a taste of local flavors, making dining out an adventure in itself.

Green Spaces and Recreation

Despite its urban setting, Xujiahui is home to several green spaces that offer residents a breath of fresh air. The Xujiahui Park, a serene oasis in the middle of the bustling city, is perfect for jogging, picnicking, or simply relaxing. For sports enthusiasts, the Shanghai Stadium and Shanghai Indoor Stadium host various sporting events and concerts, adding to the neighborhood’s lively atmosphere.

Education and International Community

Top Educational Institutions

For expat families, the availability of quality education is often a deciding factor when choosing a place to live. Xujiahui does not disappoint, offering access to several renowned international schools and bilingual institutions. The nearby Shanghai Community International School (SCIS) and Yew Chung International School of Shanghai (YCIS) with 3 campuses are popular choices among expatriate families, providing high standards of education and fostering a global learning environment.

Cultural and Community Centers

The presence of cultural and community centers enhances the expat living experience in Xujiahui. The T’ou-se-we Museum, which showcases Catholic art and history, is a testament to the area’s rich cultural tapestry. Additionally, the neighborhood hosts various events and activities that promote cultural exchange and community bonding, helping expats feel at home and integrated into local society.

Convenient Transportation

Efficient Public Transport

Xujiahui is exceptionally well-connected, making commuting and exploring Shanghai hassle-free. The Xujiahui metro station is a major interchange, serving lines 1, 9, and 11, which connect to key areas such as People’s Square, Lujiazui, and Pudong International Airport. The extensive bus network further enhances accessibility, ensuring that residents can easily navigate the city.

Proximity to Key Areas

Living in Xujiahui means being at the nexus of Shanghai’s major districts. The bustling French Concession, known for its charming streets and vibrant nightlife, is just a short drive away. Business hubs like Jing’an and Lujiazui are also within easy reach, making Xujiahui a strategic location for professionals working in these areas.

Safety and Healthcare

High Safety Standards

Shanghai is generally considered a safe city, and Xujiahui is no exception. The neighborhood’s well-lit streets, frequent police patrols, and low crime rates provide a secure living environment for residents. Expats can feel comfortable and at ease while exploring the area, whether day or night.

Quality Healthcare Facilities

Access to quality healthcare is crucial for expatriates, and Xujiahui is well-served in this regard. The nearby Huashan Hospital, affiliated with Fudan University, offers top-notch medical services and has an international department catering to expatriates. Additionally, several clinics and dental practices in the area provide comprehensive healthcare services, ensuring residents have peace of mind regarding their health needs.


Xujiahui stands out as a premier residential area for expatriates in Shanghai, offering a unique blend of historical charm and modern conveniences. From its rich cultural heritage and diverse dining scene to its excellent educational institutions and efficient transportation network, Xujiahui caters to the varied needs of expats, making it an ideal place to call home. Whether you are a professional, a family, or a solo adventurer, Xujiahui provides a welcoming and dynamic environment that truly embodies the spirit of Shanghai.

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