Shanghai may be known for its towering skyscrapers, bustling shopping districts, and vibrant nightlife, but amidst all the hustle and bustle of this megacity, there are hidden green oases waiting to be discovered. From classic Chinese gardens to modern urban parks, Shanghai boasts an array of green spaces that offer a respite from the city’s frenetic pace. In this article, we’ll take you on a tour of some of Shanghai’s lesser-known parks and gardens, providing insights into their history, design, and must-see features, as well as offering practical tips for your visit. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, this guide will help you explore Shanghai’s green side.
Introduction: Discovering Shanghai’s Hidden Green Spaces
If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Shanghai’s crowded streets, you might think that the city’s few public parks and gardens are your only options. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll find that Shanghai is actually home to a plethora of green spaces, many of which receive fewer visitors than their more famous counterparts. In this guide, we’ll explore some of Shanghai’s lesser-known parks and gardens, each with its own unique character and charm.
Why You Should Explore Shanghai’s Lesser-known Parks and Gardens
Shanghai’s parks and gardens are well-known for their beauty and tranquility, but many popular spots like the famous Yuyuan Garden and People’s Park can get quite crowded, especially on weekends and holidays. The city’s lesser-known green spaces offer a chance to escape the crowds and discover a more peaceful side of Shanghai. From classic Chinese gardens to modern urban oases, each park and garden on this list offers a unique experience and a chance to connect with nature in the heart of the city.
Yu Garden: A Classic Chinese Garden in the Heart of the City
A Brief History of Yu Garden
Yu Garden, also known as Yuyuan Garden, is one of Shanghai’s most famous and popular gardens. It was first built in the 16th century during the Ming Dynasty and has undergone several renovations and expansions over the centuries. Today, it covers about 2 hectares and is divided into six main areas, each with its own character and features.
Exploring the Layout and Features of Yu Garden
Visitors to Yu Garden can explore a maze of winding paths, rock formations, and ornate pavilions, all designed to create a natural and harmonious environment. One of the highlights of the garden is the Exquisite Jade Rock, a unique rock formation that is said to have been carved during the Song Dynasty. The garden also features a number of small ponds and streams, as well as traditional Chinese buildings like the Sansui Hall and the Wanhua Chamber.
Visiting Tips for Yu Garden
Yu Garden is located in the Old City area of Shanghai and is easily accessible by metro or bus. Entrance fees range from around 40-50 RMB depending on the season, and the garden can get quite crowded during peak hours. To avoid the crowds, try to visit in the early morning or late afternoon, and be sure to wear comfortable shoes as the garden can be quite large and hilly.
Century Park: A Modern Urban Oasis in Pudong
Overview of Century Park’s Design and Features
Located in the Pudong district of Shanghai, Century Park is a modern oasis that covers over 140 hectares. It was designed to be both a recreational space and a natural habitat for local wildlife, and features a mix of natural and artificial landscapes. Visitors to Century Park can enjoy a variety of activities, including jogging or biking on the many trails, boating on the lake, or simply relaxing in the shade.
Activities to Enjoy in Century Park
In addition to the usual park activities like picnicking and playing sports, Century Park offers a number of unique attractions like a butterfly exhibit, a small amusement park, and even an area for remote-controlled boats. There are also a number of themed gardens within the park, such as the Bonsai Garden and the Chinese Herbal Medicine Garden.
Eating and Drinking Options in and around Century Park
There are several cafes and restaurants located within Century Park, offering a range of food and drink options. Visitors can also find plenty of street food vendors and small shops selling snacks and drinks in the areas surrounding the park.
Zhongshan Park: A Diverse Park with a Rich History
Tracing the History of Zhongshan Park
Named after Sun Yat-sen, the founding father of the Republic of China, Zhongshan Park is one of Shanghai’s oldest and most diverse parks. It was first established in 1914 and has undergone several renovations and expansions over the years. Today, it covers over 22 hectares and features a mix of traditional Chinese and modern Western-style gardens.
What to See and Do in Zhongshan Park
Zhongshan Park offers visitors a mix of natural beauty and cultural attractions. The park features a large lake, several gardens, and a hill that offers panoramic views of the city. Visitors can also explore the many pavilions, sculptures, and memorials throughout the park, including a statue of Sun Yat-sen himself.
Eating and Drinking Options near Zhongshan Park
There are several options for food and drink near Zhongshan Park, including a number of small restaurants and cafes located outside the park’s main entrance. Visitors can also find plenty of street vendors selling snacks and drinks nearby.
Gucun Park: A Nature Lover’s Paradise in the Northern Suburbs
Shanghai’s Gucun Park is a hidden gem nestled in the city’s northern suburbs. It spans over 430 acres and boasts a variety of natural attractions for visitors to enjoy. The park is home to more than 60,000 trees, 100,000 shrubs, and hundreds of different plant species.
Overview of Gucun Park’s Natural Attractions
One of the park’s main attractions is its scenic lake, which spans 70 acres and is home to a diverse array of waterfowl species. Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the park’s wetland area, which serves as a critical habitat for local bird species. Gucun Park also features a vast expanse of grassy fields, a bamboo garden, and a cherry blossom grove that bursts into color every spring.
Outdoor Activities to Enjoy in Gucun Park
There are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy in Gucun Park, including hiking, cycling, and fishing. The park’s well-maintained trails offer picturesque views of the lake, wetlands, and surrounding forest. Visitors can also rent bicycles or boats to explore the park at their leisure. Fishing is permitted in designated areas of the lake, and there are even outdoor exercise equipment stations for fitness enthusiasts.
How to Get to Gucun Park and Other Practical Tips
To access Gucun Park, take Subway Line 7 to Gucun Park Station and follow the signs to the park entrance. The park is open daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is free. Bring comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, and plenty of water, as the park is vast and can be hot during the summer months.
Changfeng Park: A Peaceful Retreat on Suzhou Creek
Located in the Putuo District, Changfeng Park offers a serene respite from the hustle and bustle of Shanghai. The park spans 364 acres and sits along the banks of Suzhou Creek, offering stunning waterfront views.
How Changfeng Park Offers a Respite from Shanghai’s Bustle
Changfeng Park is known for its vast grassy fields, cascading waterfalls, and serene ponds. Visitors can stroll along the tree-lined paths and admire the park’s collection of sculptures and artwork. The park also features a large amusement park, making it an excellent spot for families with children.
Exploring Changfeng Park’s Attractions
In addition to its natural beauty, Changfeng Park offers many attractions for visitors to enjoy. The park’s lake offers paddle boats and fishing experiences, and there are several playgrounds and sports fields to keep active visitors entertained. The park even houses an indoor ice skating rink for year-round skating fun.
Shopping and Dining Options around Changfeng Park
Changfeng Park is surrounded by several shopping malls, including the Global Harbor Mall and the Changfeng Joy City Mall, offering visitors numerous dining and shopping options.
Guilin Park: A Picturesque Garden in Xuhui District
Guilin Park is a scenic and tranquil oasis located in the bustling Xuhui District. The park covers 13 acres and offers a beautiful escape from the city’s fast-paced lifestyle.
Overview of Guilin Park’s Scenic Features
The park is known for its picturesque rock formations and traditional Chinese architecture, including a classic Chinese garden and teahouse. Guilin Park also features several ponds filled with koi fish, a winding bridge, and a small waterfall.
What to See and Do in Guilin Park
In addition to its scenic beauty, Guilin Park offers several activities for visitors to enjoy. There are well-manicured gardens and walking paths throughout the park, perfect for a leisurely stroll. Visitors can also take part in a traditional Chinese tea ceremony in the park’s teahouse.
Visiting Tips for Guilin Park
Guilin Park is open daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and admission is free. The park can be easily accessed by Subway Line 1 or by taking bus 43, 72, or 93. Visitors should bring comfortable shoes and a camera to capture the park’s stunning scenery.
Conclusion: Exploring Shanghai’s Green Side
While many people associate Shanghai with skyscrapers and bustling streets, the city offers peaceful green spaces for those looking to escape the city’s hectic pace. From Gucun Park’s vast natural beauty to Changfeng Park’s serene waterfront views, there are many lesser-known parks worth visiting in Shanghai. Don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path and explore the city’s green oases.
Why Off-the-Beaten-Path Parks and Gardens are Worth Visiting
While Shanghai’s famous parks are worth a visit, the city’s off-the-beaten-path parks offer unique experiences and fewer crowds. Visiting lesser-known parks and gardens can provide a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and reconnect with nature.
How to Find More Green Spaces in Shanghai
In addition to the parks highlighted in this article, Shanghai is home to numerous other green spaces worth exploring. Check out the Shanghai Botanical Garden or head to Jing’an Sculpture Park for more outdoor adventures. Local travel sites and guidebooks can also provide helpful tips for discovering the city’s hidden green gems.In conclusion, Shanghai’s parks and gardens are a testament to the city’s natural beauty and historical richness. While the bustling streets and towering skyscrapers may take center stage, these hidden oases offer a chance to relax and recharge amidst natural beauty. We hope this guide has inspired you to explore Shanghai’s lesser-known green spaces, and that you’ll take time to discover the city’s many other hidden gems as well.
What are the hours of operation for these parks?
Most parks in Shanghai are open from dawn to dusk, usually from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. However, some parks may have different hours of operation depending on the season, so it’s always best to check before you go.
How much does it cost to visit these parks?
Most of the parks mentioned in this guide are free to enter, with the exception of a few that charge a small admission fee. Some parks may also charge extra for certain attractions or activities within the park, such as boat rides or museums.
Are the parks accessible for people with mobility challenges?
While some of the parks may have steep hills or staircases, most of them are generally accessible for people with mobility challenges. Some parks also offer wheelchairs or electric scooters for rent. However, it’s always best to check with the park beforehand to ensure that they can accommodate your needs.
Are there any restrictions on what you can bring into the parks?
Most parks in Shanghai do not have strict rules on what you can bring in, but it’s always a good idea to avoid bringing anything that might be considered dangerous or disruptive. This includes things like alcohol, pets, and loudspeakers. Some parks may also prohibit smoking, so be sure to check the signs for any specific rules or regulations.