It's easy to get jaded about how "Chinese" a city like Shanghai isn't—how much it has (or hasn't) become a "world" city where traditional parts of Chinese life have been replaced by a uniform consumer culture found anywhere else. Sometimes we find ourselves lost in Shanghai, where Western food, bars and restaurants as well as other foreigners are plentiful enough to sometimes make you forget you're in a foreign country.
I grew up in the suburbs outside Nashville, Tennessee in the States, so one thing that's always surprised me is how much of life happens right out on the sidewalks in Chinese cities—welders putting together protective window bar cages outside the front of their shops, raging games of cards or chess atop a box on the curb or just a good nap on whatever surface serves.
When I woke up on Chinese New Year's Day and looked out my window, I saw some activity by the "pulled noodle" (lāmiàn, 拉面) joint across the street and got out my camera for a closer look. I'm up on the 23rd floor, so I had to zoom to be able to see the chickens they slaughtered for their first meal of the New Year.
Whether you live here or you're just visiting, keep your eyes open to the life just down the street. There's more to your time here than face changing shows and big walls.