People purchase goods at a night fair in Huangpu District in east China's Shanghai, June 6, 2020. Shanghai kicked off a night festival on Saturday to boost the city's night economy. A number of bars, museums, bookstores, shopping malls and landmark commercial complexes joined the festival with extended business hours and themed activities like night tours, shopping, dining, reading and live shows. (Xinhua/Ding Ting)
As people leave their homes and embrace social life, cities are gradually returning to life. Nightlife, after months of suspension, is now returning with more diversity and vigor.
To boost the economy, especially domestic consumption, local governments have come up with various measures, such as issuing coupons and easing controls on mobile stalls. The night economy, which has been on the local government agenda since last year, has been put forward once more.
Shanghai launched its first-ever "Nightlife Festival" on Saturday with an opening ceremony at Sinan Mansions, a commercial center in Huangpu District that features Western-style houses constructed in the 1920s and 1930s.
The area is a popular spot for nightlife seekers, but what distinguished the festival is the diverse cultural events.
Sinan Mansions created a series of events for "Sinan Ye" or the "Sinan Night Party," which has art as its central theme. At least 12 top art galleries and museums have been invited to participate in the event by the commercial center. Five outdoor stages have been prepared for musicians, street artists and bands. Fans of different genres of music, such as classic, jazz, rock 'n' roll and folk music, can all find their favorite sound there.
The galleries are expected to bring art lectures during the night, and new topics will be introduced to visitors every week. Some art studios will be invited to interact with visitors as well.
Why not read a book?
Artistic groups are not the only stars during the festival. According to local news outlet the Paper, about 30 bookstores have now extended their business hours by five to six hours over the weekends.
Some of them have also promoted "A table at night," a drive that provides desks and lamps for readers to enjoy hours of reading and learning.
"The environment here in the evening is extremely good. The bookstore has provided a great place for me to immerse in the books, and it makes me think at the same time," a 25-year-old reader at Sinan Bookstore said.
Shanghai Bookstore, a chain brand, has opened a "night book market" starting June 6. To mark its opening, the bookstore offered a 66-percent discount on literature and children's books.
Meanwhile, Shanghai Classics Bookstore has extended its business hours to 11 p.m., five hours later than the regular 6 p.m. close time.
A night tour at the museums
Besides all these, at least 47 museums and galleries open at night during the Nightlife Festival. All the admission tickets were reserved on Saturday night ahead of the museum's first night tour.
At least 1,000 residents visited the Shanghai Museum on Saturday evening.
"In the past, I visited the museum several times in the day time, and it is always packed with people. Now, the place feels so quiet, and I have time to think about what I saw," a visitor surnamed Yang said.
Besides exhibitions, visitors can also tour the special markets and bring home some cultural and creative products. Some museums have invited intangible culture heritage projects and inheritors to set up "stalls" to give young people a chance to see and experience China's rich cultural heritage. Making a perfume sachet for a key ring or purse decoration has become the favorite among some of the young ladies.
The Nightlife Festival also features many other events, including night bars, night restaurants, night shopping and night tourism.
Shanghai is not the only city that has been livening up the night with various forms of entertainment. While the Chinese cities have been revitalized one after another, so has the economy and people's lives.