Stories of Hangzhou inevitably talk about lakes, temples and tea. We’ve been  checking in to discover the fresh inspirations shaking up this cherished China destination.

The underground music scene gets Loopy

Yifei Shu studied classical piano as a child in Hangzhou and has a degree in fashion photography from London. He’s now on a mission to enliven his hometown’s underground music scene. His club Loopy, near Hangzhou’s famous West Lake, hosts a regular roster of live bands, hip-hop, trap and techno DJs, like Moritz von Oswald and HVOB.

A different take on Longjing tea

The EGCG polyphenol extracted from Longjing green tea is 10,000 times more active than vitamin E. It’s the basis of chic skincare brand Lu Ming Tang, founded in the teafields of Hangzhou by a French expat. Their concept Maison occupies the wing-tipped Qianlong Imperial Library above the fabled Dragon Well is a delightful spot for tea and treats.

Hands-on with local artisans

Hangzhou’s wealthy past has gifted it many refined artisan traditions, some of which are on show at a quadrangle of modern museums built from the reconstructed remains of factories and warehouses along the Grand Canal. At the Hangzhou Arts & Crafts Museum, you can get your hands dirty and pick up new skills at 19 mini studios under the direction of masters and their apprentices.

Craft beers inspired by Hangzhou metro stations

The new Midtown Shangri-La hotel, located on the old Zhejiang University campus, is just a few minutes’ stroll from West Lake. Their Midtown Brewery is a fun pitstop after an evening walk. The hotel’s American brewmaster brews craft beers in-house and has named them after Hangzhou metro stations, like the Pengbu Porter and Linping Pale Ale.

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