Good Study Cafés in Shanghai

Sabina reviews this semester's best study-friendly cafes around Shanghai.

It’s that time of the year again. No, I don’t mean the holidays, I’m referring to finals week. Amidst this dreadful time period that is commonly feared by anyone enrolled in higher education, it is not a secret that everyone is a bit stressed. But to make the agony of having to constantly study (or at least the pressure of doing so) a bit better, OCA presents you with a few options if you want to get out of that dark dorm room and get some healthy change of environment. Grab your laptop and flashcards, and get ready to head out to do some useful studying.


Café on Air

A trendy café located on Huaihai Road, Café on Air is a pearl in Shanghai’s café category. Praised by OCA in a previous review for their good tables and wonderfully minimalistic interior, this café is perfect for a good traditional study session. The café offers various hot and cold drinks, a few sweet treats, and free wifi. Visiting is a must for anyone who want to get a modern taste of the traditional Shanghai, and still want to have the opportuinity to get some work done. The staff is friendly and the big windows offer perfect chances to look out and quietly reflect on life (and that final essay you really don’t want to write). However, keep in mind that Café on Air is a popular watering hole for young hipsters in Shanghai, so it might get a bit crowded some afternoons.
Location: Huaihai Zhong Lu 650


Coffee Belt

Not too far from the massive IAPM mall, you’ll find cute and local Coffee Belt, a small coffee shop that seems a bit obscure than it is. With a large menu of both drinks and food, Coffee Belt is good if you can’t study on an empty stomach. The interior is nice, yet might speak more of a social setting for chatting with friends, rather than a calm sanctuary for essays to be finished in. However, located right by the sidewalk, there is good people-watching opportunities if you feel like that really gets you going. The service is good and the tables are clean enough for you to take out your books, and it really feels more like a bustling city café than a typical hipster venue. Oh, and did I mention that they sell Strictly Cookies?

Location: Shanxi Nan Lu 368


Aiwei Coffee

Hidden away in an obscure Xuhui neighborhood close to the Shanghai Library, is a small but fancy café. Aiwei offer a large menu of teas and coffee, as well as a few selected items of cakes and brownies. However, with expensive jewelry exhibited in the back of the store for sale, the café has extraordinary lighting and an airy stylish interior, so you won’t have to worry about straining your eyes or losing your favorite pen. Being a bit hidden from the outside, Aiwei do not seem to be overly crowded, so you won’t likely have to fight to get a table. Over all, with expensive jewelry in the background and a cup of good tea next to you, this place will inevitably give you a complete vibe of study session at Tiffany´s

Location: Yongfu Road 255


Eat Joy

With a menu covering both sandwiches, pasta, salads, and various sweets, Eat Joy has it all, perfect if you’re sick of campus snacks but don’t want to spend valuable time walking to the subway and going somewhere else. Their tables are small, but the prices are pretty low, so if you’re ready to work on a small space but with a clear conscience of not spending too much money on food, Eat Joy is worth a try.

Location: Yuanshen Road 1088 Tower 1


Zoo Coffee
For those too stressed and too tired to ride the subway to far off Shanghai land, there is a great place literally just a stone’s throw away from the infamous Jinqiao dorms. Zoo Coffee can be found on the first floor of the JiuJin mall next door to NYU Shanghai dormitories, and is a chain café decorated over the top in jungle theme. The ice cream might not be cheap, but it’s still fairly good, and the cozy environment with pillows and fluffy toys everywhere, is the perfect to turn that finals week frown upside down. In addition to just a cup of coffee, you also get infinite amount of cuddles with any of the stuffed animals residing in the sofas and chairs. Just be aware of the possibility that the venue might or might not be invaded by young energized kids who love to climb on the animals and shout on the top of their lungs.

Location: Zhangyang Lu 3918 Floor 1 of JiuJin Mall

This article was written by Sabina Olsson. Please send an email to to get in touch.
Photo Credit: Shirley Chen

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