There are some really enjoyable parks not far from Shanghai’s city centre. We crave natural escapes after being in the city concrete all week long.
Within Shanghai city, the only good park is Century Park.
There are many places called ‘parks’ / gong yuan, but they are terribly disappointing if you expect a park — sparse areas of grass, dirty and surrounded by busy roads on all sides.
However, the parks on the outskirts of Shanghai are really nice city escapes.
Avoid parks on Chinese holiday times.
Our favourite time to visit is actually on a slightly rainy day — it not only cleans the air but disperses the crowds.
Note that the parks don’t have anywhere to buy edible food, so you will always need to pack food and drink.
Always take plenty of cash when travelling out also, as well as mosquito spray from May to September.
Our Favourite – Binjiang Forest Park
Tap the name to read a full review with lots of pics.
Tap the name to read a full review, with pics.
Dongping Forest Park
About it: A hallmark park, this gets extremely busy on holiday times and is enormous. But if you can find the right weekend, it’s a nice visit with long, long walkways.
What is there to do: Lots! A wooden obstacle course / climbing area, zip-line, little boats, horses, go karts, grass skis, camping and biking.
Details: Entry is around 80 RMB, free for kids under 1.3m. It takes around one hour in the car from Shanghai centre – and you’d need to leave the centre at around 9am to avoid traffic. The website
How to get there: By car, take the inner ring road to Longdong Avenue. Take the S20 toward Pudong airport and get off the S20 at the G40 exit, and the signs all say Chongming Island. Of course, the real way to get there is have a Chinese person input the address into a GPS. Otherwise, if you don’t have a car you will need to book a bus for all of you.
About it: Also on Chongming Island, Dongtan Wetland is charming and a really nice visit if you can avoid crowded days. The only feature here is walkways – but there are (what feels like) miles and miles of walkways, among wetland and greenery that is clearly well cared for and tended to in earnest.
What is there to do: See swans, ducks, goats, walking, biking. There are allegedly small alligators in one enclosed area.
Details: 80 RMB per adult entry.
How to get there: The same route to Chongming and follow the brown signs when you arrive on the island. Use a GPS!
Binhai Forest Park
About it: At the South East of Shanghai, right by the Crowne Plaza Harbour City area of Dishui (manmade) Lake, sits Binhai Forest Park.
What is there to do: It’s a little rundown generally, but the highlight are the horses, which you can ride for an extra 50 RMB each. It’s also a decent green escape from the city, as it’s less well known.
Surrounding the park there are other sights, all marked by the tourist brown sign boards. However, these are open and closed at different times, so you need lots of spare time and a spirit of adventure to give them a try (and a car, obviously).
But if you see signs for the flower park, or a funland or farm village or so on, then give them a try if you’re already there and see if you have any luck.
How to get there: Take the S20 to the S2 which takres you straight to the Dishui Lake area.
Sheshan Sculpture Park
This park welcomes dogs, and is OK. Nothing very special. The problem with Sheshan is that the flat area gives mist, even on a non-polluted day. Otherwise, it’s a nice enough park to try out.
Tap the name to read a full review with more pics.
Century Park is a good option for a quick trip. Weekends and holiday times still get very busy though. There are nice enough boats to rent out for about 80 RMB extra, and on nice days it can be a good space for the little boats.
Xuhui Walkway and Pudong Walkway
Not parks, but open areas good for non-polluted days. The Xuhui side is generally busier. From South of Dapu Rd at the river along to Dong’an Rd, people go to run and walk their dogs. There is nowhere at all to buy any food or drink, even a Family Mart, and nowhere really to sit. But it’s a good strolling area.
At the same place but across the river, there are a few walkways with lots of greenery, at Houtan Park. You need to take care on the walkways with young kids – so they know that the greenery on the sides of the walkways is just a waterway – but it’s a nice place to go for a while, and only 5 minutes from Lujiazui.
Zhongshan Park, Xuhui Park, Sculpture Park with the Natural History Museum, Changfeng Park, Fuxing Park etc.
These places are not really ‘parks’ and are still surrounded by roads and concrete – so stick to the above recommended parks!