If there's an upside to the heat wave characteristic of Shanghai summers, it's the equally hot and varied events that the season brings. Festivals of all kinds hit full swing, sweeping the city with music, beer, arts, and more. Can't stand the heat? Take refuge indoors by soaking up the must-see exhibitions around town. Here are our top picks!  

July 1-2 | KTGA Summerfest

Kick The Gong Around, Shanghai's boutique event agency, kicks off the summer festival season with their popular Fest series: design, food, music, shopping, and more. Held at the slaughterhouse-cum-creative base, 1933 Millfun, this event has more than enough entertainment to last for its scheduled two-day run. Visit workshops, browse indie designers, or pick up a cocktail, all in the name of celebrating summer. Tickets are 45RMB pre-sale or 50RMB at the door.

July 2 | Star-Spangled Fest

Lil' Laundry and one of Shanghai's premiere chefs Kelley Lee throw down for July 4th celebrations with the Star-Spangled Fest at the Jingan Kerry Centre, complete with a full DJ line-up and live music. Pig out on "American classics reborn" - no doubt including BBQ - and craft beers. Best of all, in proper American fashion, there will be a pie-eating contest to cap it off. Happy birthday, America!

July 10-13 | Christian Blackshaw Performs Complete Mozart Sonatas (I-IV)

Don't let this one slip under the radar. Classical music might not seem like the average summertime activity, but then again, Christian Blackshaw is no average performer. This British pianist takes to Mozart with his characteristic "eternal perfectionism," and the results are a stirringly quiet yet soulfully rich interpretation. He plays for four nights at the Shanghai Symphony Hall, and tickets range from 100-150RMB.

July 22 | Sweet Summer Sweat Fest

Chalk this one down as a steal: 60RMB cover for access to some of Malaysia's rising alternative musicians, brought to you by Shanghai's promoter for underground artists Spectacles of Sound. Headline names include singer/songwriter Zamaera, electronic producer alextbh, and rapper Airliftz. Tickets are available at the door, with more event info here.

Through July 23 | Toyo Ito: On The Stream

Off its successful Shanghai Biennale run, the Shanghai Power Station of Art (PSA) brings on Pritzer Prize-winning architect Toyo Ito and all his key projects from 1971 (the founding of Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects) onward. "On The Stream" is a nod to ancient Chinese intellectuals who gathered by a stream to drink wine and discuss their thoughts. Likewise, PSA hopes to shed light on the relationship between architecture, society, and humanity. Head to the 7th floor to find "On The Stream." Tickets are 60RMB.