|Living china>Shanghai>Out and about|
Parking it in Shanghai
We have chosen, and may prefer, life in the big city, but
even the most urbane of the urbanites gets an occasional hankering for green
open spaces. The next time you long for a day outdoors, look no further than the
urban jungle you wish to escape.
Dotting the map of Shanghai, an astounding 125 parks cover a total of 1,207 hectares of land.
Inch by Inch: The Green is Growing
Shanghai's green space is growing not only in area, but also in accessibility. At Zhongshan Park, the walls were torn down and a stretch of fence was moved back, making a section of the park free to the public.
A full 80 percent of the city's parks are small neighborhood parks, and 54 percent have no walls at all - and no admission fee - making them a natural place for the people to gather.
Large swaths of wall-less greenbelts are also appearing in the cityscape. The Yanzhong Greenbelt, which lies underneath the concrete intersection of the Yan'an and North-South elevated roads, is being expanded, and this week a new park is scheduled to open along Sichuan Bei Lu, making it the largest public green space along a commercial road in Shanghai.
The city's 125 parks are waiting to be explored and enjoyed. Autumn days are the best the local weatherman has to offer, so pack a picnic and park yourself among some of Shanghai's green acres.
Lu Xun Park
Popularly called Hongkou Park for the district it lies in, this large park
was established in 1905. It offers a small amusement park and a great inflatable
playground for kids. Visitors will also find author Lu Xun's Memorial Hall
and acres of paths through a variety of terrains. On Sunday mornings the park
hosts what may be the city's largest English Corner.
First named Jessfield Park after the Englishman who built it in 1914, the
park boasts East China's largest plane tree. And just inside the gate is the
city's biggest Fundazzle indoor play area for kids. Old men faithfully gather
here to air their birds and play chess. Both the Pearl Line and the #2 subway
line have stations outside the gate.
The local press has given attention to this park for its teeming early
morning life. By six in the morning the paths and fields are filled with the
senior citizens of Hongkou and Yangpu districts taking their daily exercise.
This June saw the beginning of a production called "Blue Sea Broadway", a
spectacle of animal performances heavy on the broadway and light on the sea.
In the heart of downtown, this park was first built in 1909 by the French
community. A statue of Marx and Engels looks down on the French flower garden in
the middle of the park.
This park is home to Aquaria 21, which offers diving lessons. Also, every
spring the park hosts an international flower show. It's located across the
street from the East China Normal University.
It earns the dual titles of "biggest" and "most modern" park. Covering more
than 140 hectares, the park offers large expanses of unfenced lawn, making it a
great place for picnics or kite flying. Take it all in on a rented tandem bike
or pedal cart. Open now for more than two years, the signs promise mini-golf
that has yet to materialize.
Gongqing Forest Park
Situated along the Huangpu River in far northeast Shanghai, this is the
city's second largest park. There are lots of open spaces navigable by foot,
rental bike, or train. Bring your own meat, and rent a pit, skewers, and
charcoal for a barbeque.
Shanghai Botanical Gardens
With an area of only 2,400 square meters, this is Shanghai's smallest
As Shanghai's newest park, this large greenland is surrounded by new
residential buildings with quite a view.
This park lies at the far north end of the Bund and offers great photo ops of
Pudong. The city's oldest park, it was designed by a Scottish gardener in 1868.
The scaffolding is off the newly rebuilt Monument to the People's Heroes, and
the Bund Historical Museum is here.
Things to do in Shanghai's parks:
· People-watch from a bench
Things to watch other people do in Shangnhai's parks: