Shanghai’s Favourites Parks and Green Spaces
otwithstanding its futuristic prominence, a surprising number of parks and green spaces can be found in Shanghai. Some are massive sprawls of urban wilderness, while others are wonderful small areas of paradise.
Here are some of Shanghai’s favourite parks in which to relax and recharge in downtown Shanghai.
Gongqing Forest Park
A little far-off from midtown, Gongqing Park is a forested wonderland divided into a north and south location.
The northern section – the much bigger “Forest Park”- is action-packed with little roller coasters, rock climbing, go-karting, horseback riding, area for outdoor BBQs, and many of lovely green areas, lakes and gardens.
The southern Wanzhuyuan part of the park, located opposite Nenjiang Lu, features a mini-lakefront water-town among other attractions. You won’t get tired.
One suggestion, though, you can easily spend an entire day exploring this park, so you better get up early because the park opens at 6 am. but will close its doors as early as 4.30 pm.
The entryway cost is 15rmb and other activities expense between 15– 30rmb.
If you like the sense of having more freedom, Houtan Park might be the choice for you, unlike many of the city parks in Shanghai, which you will find commonly boxed in between high-rise buildings, this park has serious countryside looks.
While traversing the many lanes of the park you will find large areas covered with wild greens and flowers along your way, and more than often you can enjoy the sight of fish and tadpoles in a stream.
The park’s beautiful and scenic views are well suited for enjoying outdoor picnics, you better come prepared with a well-stocked basket and a blanket. Free entry, open 6 am to 6 pm.
Great for: Waterfront strolls, family trips, picnics.
One of the best parks in Shanghai, at least in our view that is, is Shanghai’s Expo Park, once the location of several music festivals but with quite a remarkable history.
The opening of the Shanghai EXPO 2010, the biggest World Exposition in history, represents yet another brand-new chapter of the website’s history. The EXPO focused on the idea of “Better City– Better Life,” and represented the start of the website’s post-industrial renewal.
The park most certainly deserves a visit regardless if there’s an expo on or not and if you follow the trail to Houtan Park, you’ll pass under the Lupu Bridge and catch a fine view of the Huangpu River.
The park holds many gardens and several nice spots for having picnics and it’s a popular spot for local families to visit on the weekends so it’s best to pick your spot early before it’s taken
Free entry. Open 8am to 8pm. Good For: Dates, walking, photography, riverside strolls ADDRESS: 1750 Shibo Da Dao, near Changqing Bei Lu
Xuhui Riverside Green Space
Xuhui Riverside Green is a remarkably spacious area packed with numerous outdoor activities, such as; a proper skatepark that’s lit up at night, several basketball courts, a climbing wall, places to run without the fear of cars, and plenty of grass to lay down in.
This park obviously is intended to attract visitors interested in playing sports or going for a long walk. Also a favourite for public workout communities like FitFam. In the direct vicinity of the park, you can also find two of Shanghai’s biggest museums: Long Museum and Yuz Museum. Always free and open 24/7.
Good For: Sports, skating, biking, running, climbing
ADDRESS: 3268 Longteng Dadao， near Dong’An Lu
If you are looking for a park with a bit of a history than you should pay a visit to Nanyuan Bingjiang park.
Although not among the largest of parks in Shanghai, it’s just of medium size, this garden-like park used to be The Party’s gathering spot.
The park is designed around a small lake and there are several animal statues made out of flowers on display on the lawns. In addition, the park also offers a nice view of the Lupu Bridge.
No entrance fee here and it’s open 24/7.
Good For: Dates, blankets on the grass
ADDRESS: 800 Longhua Dong Lu, near Furun Lu
If you are looking for a place to stretch your legs, so to speak, then Century Park might be the park to visit. It is one of the biggest, not to say The biggest, park in Shanghai.
When entering the park you will feel immediately drawn to the fine landscaping and the many beautiful flower beds all filled with exquisite colourful flowers.
The park’s centre area is taken by a massive lake, quite large enough to make renting one of the many sightseeing boats a worthwhile endeavour. Renting a bicycle (tandem or standard) is most certainly recommended if you care to navigate park more quickly.
The park’s many attractions are sure to draw a great number of visitors, however, due to the vast size of the park, it is not impossible to find some peace and quiet in a few (hidden) spots.
Entrance is 10rmb, with free entry for the elderly and children under 1.2m tall. It’s open 7am to 6pm during the summer.
Good for: Dates, families, picnics, photography, kites, running
ADDRESS: 809 Huamu Lu, near Haitong Lu
Dagu Lu Park
The “Yan’an Zhong Lu Large Public Green Space” or Dagu Lu Park, as it is locally known, is one of the nicest downtown parks.
The park is located on the very corner of Lao Chengdu Bei Lu and Dagu Lu and offers nice lanes shouldered by many cherry trees to walk in and if you are into taking selfies against a scenic backdrop then you surely will appreciate the park’s waterfalls.
Like many of the parks in China, Dagu Lu Park is a favourite spot for many (elderly) locals to play their board games or just meet to discuss the daily events. The southern edge also houses the Site of the Second National Congress. Free all day. Open 24-7.
Good for: Dates, people watching, lunch breaks
ADDRESS: 391 Dagu Lu, near Lao Chengdu Bei Lu
Yanzhong Guangchang Park
When asking tourists about their experiences visiting Shanghai, many will name the many parks that can be found in different locations all over the city. Yanzhong Park, located just north of K11 on Jinling Lu, is one of the better-known parks.
Yanzhong Guangchang is a parkland that is stretching-out across several city blocks and expanding from the northwest all the way to Dagu Lu close to Chengdu Lu.
The park offers various grass lawns, surrounded by many benches to sit on and several nice ponds and a lake are giving shape to the park’s Waterland.
It is a perfect space to provide a nice break for those tired of traversing the crowded shopping streets.
Strolling the north eastern-side of Yanzhong Guangchang with its many water features and bridges never fails to push the hustle and bustle of the city far from your mind.
Good For: Moments in solitude, meditating, forgetting the city without leaving the city
ADDRESS: Jinling Xi Lu, near Danshui Lu
This forms a connecting link in the chain of parks that together are forming the extensive Yanzhong Park.
If you are looking for peace and tranquillity than you have to pay this park a visit. The main reason for this is the absence of the great number of visitors often encountered in other city parks. The park’s lawns seem to go on forever it holds many quiet spots among the trees to sit without ever feeling crowded by other visitors.
No entry fee, open 24/7.
Good For: Meditation, dates
ADDRESS: Julu Lu, near Chengdu Bei Lu
Without a doubt, the best-known park in Shanghai, People’s Park perhaps will make you think of New York’s Central Park. However, spanning a massive area of 98,200 square meters (24.3 acres) People’s Park is a unique experience in its own right.
The park can be divided into three distinctive sections: the east-, middle- and west-area, each of them offering their own unique experience. The east section holds the Memorial to the May Thirtieth Movement as the main attraction.
The Antarctic Stone and the Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art are just a few of the many attractions that can be found in the middle section of the park.
The diversity of landscape architecture, with many pavilions, connecting corridors between artificial hills, pools and flower-covered pergolas that can be found in the west section makes this section a completely different experience when compared to the east- and middle-areas of the park.
Be advised, this park stays busy every day, especially on the weekend. It’s always free. Open 5am to 9pm.
Good For: Dates, Families, Kids, People Watching, Lunch Break
ADDRESS: 231 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Huangpi Bei Lu
To many outside visitors, the green spaces in the metropolitan city of Shanghai are much larger than expected. Gucun Park, one of the favourite parks to many Shanghai residents, most certainly belongs to that list. With a total area of 434 hectares, Gucun Park is the largest suburban park in Shanghai, it even comes with its own metro station on Line 7 (take Exit Two).
However, Gucun Park is not just another large park it is composed of seven very distinctive gardens – Exotic Garden, Forest Barbecue Garden, Suburban Forest Garden, Forest Stroll Garden, Children Carnival, Forest Sports Garden and Botanical Sightseeing Garden.
In addition to this, the park also promotes four seasonal events, namely: Viewing Cherry Blossoms in Spring; Seeing Lotus Flowers in Summer; appreciating Osmanthus in Autumn and Viewing Plum Blossoms in Winter.
The annual cherry blossom festival is without a doubt among the most famous of the blossom festivals. If you happen to visit Shanghai during late March and early April, it’s highly recommended to visit the annual cherry blossom festival in Gucun Park.
Please take into account that this park gets really busy on the weekends, with families enjoying the lake, flying kites on the green space, and riding roller coasters.
Entrance is 20rmb, and activities will cost 15–50rmb. Open 6am to 6pm.
Good for: Dates, families, picnics, the wacky King Kong thing
ADDRESS: 4788 Hutai Lu, near Huandao Lu
Just across the street from Sinan Mansions and a quick walk from Xintiandi, Fuxing Park has several gardens, lots of benches, statues of historical figures, lots of grass (can’t sit on all of it), and a children’s area with rides and activities. A Shanghainese rap crew even wrote a song about this place. Fuxing Park is full of older people every morning, and lots of families and picnicking young people on weekends. Hint: they grow the grass during the spring — that’s why people can’t sit on it yet. It’s free to get in and it’s open from 6am-6pm.
Good For: Dates, picnics, people watching, photography, lunch break, reading
ADDRESS: 516 Fuxing Zhong Lu, near Chongqing Nan Lu
Definitely, on the smaller side, this newly-renovated park won’t hold much for nature-seekers, but it’s a nice dash of green in the midst of the Xuhui business district. Its tree-lined promenade is a favourite for evening dances, often packed out with couples doing the tango, foxtrot or even the occasional waltz. It’s also got a decent-sized lawn (which you can’t go on), a fountain and a central pavilion that hosts in musicians and cultural performances. Plus, they finally knocked down that fence, which means it’s free and open 24/7. It’s busy, but it’s convenient and it’s just nice to have around, honestly.
Good For: Lunch breaks, people watching, ayi dance ragers
ADDRESS: 1008 Huaihai Lu, near Xiangyang Lu
This large park on the north side near Shanghai Circus World has a human-made beach (you can’t swim here) and lake where people play, fish, and take wedding pictures, and ample green space for flying kites or running around. Lots of elderly photographers chill here all afternoon with their pro digital cameras. The park also has a garden, including a tulip field and fake windmills, and several Roman style features. It’s 2rmb to get in. 6am to 8pm.
Good For: Families, kites, photography
ADDRESS: 288 Guangzhong Xi Lu, near Wanrong Lu
Lu Xun Park
Lu Xun Park, once and sometimes still known as “Hongkou Park,” is named after the famous writer from the early 20th century. Great park, this one, lots of chatty, friendly older people dancing and exercising in the mornings. Some stay for the whole afternoon. There’s a big lake here with boats for rent, and lots of green space. You can also pay extra to check out Lu Xun’s cemetery. Park entry is free, though. Open from 6am to 6pm.
Good For: Dates, families, people watching,
ADDRESS: 2288 Sichuan Bei Lu, near Tianai Zhi Lu
Huashan Green Space a.k.a. Xingfu Lu Park
This park is on the corner of Xingfu Lu and the little street with no name. In the mornings and daytime, the elderly come through to hang out, play board games, and practice tai chi. By night, partiers often pass through to do god knows what. Probably something to do with DADA being across the street.. It’s also popular for dogs, and while laying on the grass is allowed, one should always watch out for canine doo doo. Also has some nice water features, a basketball court, and a jogging track. Always free, open 24/7.
Good For: People watching, dogs meeting dogs, relaxing, basketball
ADDRESS: 1500 Huashan Lu, near Xingfu Lu
Xujiahui park feels bigger than it actually is. It’s a perfect place to escape the hustle of Xujiahui, and it’s also where most of the city’s top basketballers play. Lots of grassy areas to sit down in, a bit of water feature, and often some ayi dance parties at night. Several restaurants and shopping destinations are just around the corner, too. No entry fee. Open 24/7.
Good For: Picnics, families, basketball, relaxing
ADDRESS: 889 Zhaojiabang Lu, near Tianping Lu
In terms of square-footage, Jing’an Park is one of the smallest of Shanghai’s parks — but what it lacks in space it makes up for in charm. Surrounded on all sides by office buildings and cranes, and not really a haven from that hum of traffic ever-present in Shanghai, it is still the perfect example of a city park. There’s not much grass but they have benches and pagodas and even a playboy-mansion style waterfall (complete with grotto). No entry fee, open from 5am-6pm.
Good For: Lunch Break, families, people watching, cruising (no. Not anymore).
ADDRESS: 1649 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Huashan Lu
Jing’an Sculpture Park
Located next to the Shanghai Natural History Museum, this park is full of art and statues, some of which rotate throughout the year to make room for the work of international artists. There is only one green space to run around and sit on, and usually, the security guards come around at 8pm to kick people out. Still, it’s great, and always free. 6am to 8.30pm.
Good For: Dates, families, public art
ADDRESS: 128 Shimen Er Lu, near Beijing Xi Lu
Changfeng Park on the west side is a large, landscaped park with a lake in the centre. Lots of benches by the water but it’s hard to get a seat on the weekends. You can also rent a sightseeing boat or see some fish in the aquarium. They’ve got some auntie and uncle bands spreading their warm sounds around the park too. Lots of nice Chinese tunes. REALLY busy on the weekends, probably because of the free entry. 5am to 6pm.
Good For: Dates, families, dad rock
ADDRESS: 189 Daduhe Lu, near Guangfu Xi Lu
Though small, this park is perfectly formed, with lots of small hills, lakes, pavilions, river bridges, lots of greenery, and Yuyintang — one of Shanghai’s best live houses. You can usually lie down in the field without getting chased away, and it’s always free. 6am to 6pm.
Good For: Dates, people watching, weekend picnics, sneaking into YYT without paying
ADDRESS: 1731 Yan’an Xi Lu, near Kaixuan Lu
This park in Changning Qu is so big, it has its own metro station. Great place for families to come to fly kites on the weekends, paddle around in boats, and layout on the grass. Place is full of elderly folk doing tai chi and sword fighting in the mornings, and people like the routes for jogging. Generally quite busy but you can always find a spot to chill. It’s always free, though you’ll have to pay for some activities. 5am to 7pm.
Good For: Families, hanging with friends, people watching
ADDRESS: 780 Changning Lu, near Dingxi Lu
Shanghai Xin Hongqiao Center Garden
Mid-sized park in Gubei, also known as Yili Park, with plenty of flowers, green space, and water features. There’s a nice spot to feed the ducks and geese, and a couple of spots to flick a fishing rod into the water. Best for leisurely strolls. It used to have this kickass DIY BBQ spot but it appears to have been absent recently. Free to get in, open 6am to 6pm.
Good For: BBQ Parties, birthdays, families
ADDRESS: 2238 Yan’an Xi Lu, near Yili Lu
Xinjiang Wancheng Park
Xinjiang Wancheng provides a little green and blue respite for the local neighbourhood in the form of a few well-manicured grass fields and a little water space next to which one may stroll. It’s a stone’s throw from Fudan University, and on the northern shore, you’ll find China’s biggest skate-park, SMP Skate Park. It’s open 24/7, and there’s no entry fee.
Good For: Lunch break, low-key dates, peace and quiet
ADDRESS: 300 Guoxiu Lu, near Zhenghe Lu