The Best Study Cafés In Shanghai

Whether you’re a current student or you have studied before, we are all too familiar with trying to study and get some work done while being distracted by pretty much anything. These distractions can be disguised in many ways. Whether it be annoying siblings, nagging moms, friends or Netflix, it all results in us trying to work while we actually get nothing done.

Of course, we as a school, want our students to work towards their fullest potential. So we compiled a list of some study proof cafes. Get your caffeine fix while preparing for your HSK exam or get some work done. Are you ready to be productive?!

Café on Air

This cafe is the perfect place to sit relax and have a good coffee. It is very spacious with many high windows, allowing for enough natural lighting. The interior design makes you feel comfortable and zen, it emits cozyness and a relaxing atmoshpere. The sereneity of this caffe and the plenty of plugs available makes it a good study environment. Now you can finally finish that paper or gaze outside through the big windows for some inspiration or motivation to study.

Location: 1/F, No.634 Lane 650 Huaihai Middle Road

Rac Coffee

This place is located in the French Concession. They offer a menu full of delicious and Instagram-worthy brunches which can be easily matched with one of their coffees. So for all the Instagram lovers…this café is definitely worth mentioning. Since this place is quite popular, it can be very crowded at times. So be prepared to either come early or wait for a while. Once seated, you should definitely try one of their galettes, which is similar to a crêpe topped with the most delicious toppings. After lunchtime, when it gets less crowded, it can be a very peaceful and quiet place to study. There are also some seats outside, perfect for when it gets a bit warmer and you don’t want to be boiled up in your room.

Location: No.322 Anfu Road, Building 1

Coffee Belt

This cafe is easy to spot and located in one of the most vibrant parts of the city. The space is very light, bright and nicely decorated. The decor gives it a nice homey touch. It offers comfortable seats, affordable coffee, delicious bagels upon request and so much more. The staff is very friendly and the service is good. The layout makes it a cozy and good study space.

Location: 1/F No.368 Shanxi South Road

Maan Coffee

This place is very spacious and wildly decorated with many lamps hanging from the ceiling in all shapes, sizes and colors. If you enjoy a more colorful and bustling environment while studying, this place is perfect for you. The menu has a wide range of different dishes, including Western options. Friendly staff and playing occasional music makes it a comfortable and relaxing place to either study or just hang out.

Location: No.265 Jinhui South Road, Minhang District, Shanghai, China


This little cozy place can be characterized by their fun and relaxing atmosphere. It’s the perfect quiet spot for you to get some work done. They offer a selection of drinks and also great Thai food. The wildly green decorated place gives you the impression that you’re in a more tropical place. We would definitely recommend coming here around lunch or dinner time (or any time as there is always time for food) so you can get some work done while eating some delicious Thai food!

Location: 2/F, No. 148 Shaanxi Nan Lu

Baker & Spice

This one might sound familiar, as it is quite possible that you have been here already or heard about it. You might have even passed it a couple of times as they have several locations throughout Shanghai. This café is Danish inspired and offers great food options, especially the baked goods are amazing. Be aware that it might get pretty crowded around breakfast and lunchtime! There is a relatively quiet low key atmosphere (depending on the location), making it a good option for a study place. Start the day off by trying one of their delicious breakfasts after which you’ll be energized enough to write that essay.

Location: No.195 Anfu Road

1984 Book store

This little-hidden gem is definitely worth visiting, especially if you love a cozy, charming and a little bit messy workspace. When the weather allows it, their little courtyard serves as a nice place to chill, relax and get some fresh air. As the name already suggests, this cafe is mostly decorated with books, hence the messier decor. Nevertheless, it is the perfect place to spend an afternoon browsing through the impressive book selection. Evidently, this place fosters an environment for readers, providing a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. They also offer decent coffee with some great food options. And if you get bored of studying or just need a little break they have two cats that can be a perfect distraction. All-in-all this place is perfect to get some Chinese vocab memorized.

Location: No.1101 Hunan Road

Not a big fan of coffee? Check out this blog post about Chinese tea traditions.

Did these unfamiliar (or not so unfamiliar) coffee places make you excited to explore the city or do you just want another excuse to explore Shanghai? Check out our programs which include language courses, internship programs and so much more!

Same great quality, bigger scale.

Hutong School is now operating as That’s Mandarin. Now you can expect the same great Chinese lessons with access to online Chinese learning platform NihaoCafe.