My Shanghai Happy Place: Fuxing Park

2015-08-16_0008I’ve always considered myself a city girl. The sound of buzzing neon lights, the energy of people as they crowd the sidewalks, the ability to get a slice of pizza at 3am on a Tuesday. As someone who grew up in Small Town, U.S.A, the thrill of moving somewhere bigger–somewhere better–was not only a dream, but a necessity.

So here I am, in what seems to be the world’s largest city–Shanghai. Population 25 million. Complete with humming motorbikes, all-night street food, and subway cars resembling the inside of a sardine can.

I got exactly what I wanted. Well, kind of. See, I’ve been moving from one big city to the next for the last six years–my last two homes pushing 10 million people each (Seoul and Bogotá). And while it’s great for awhile, I find myself craving peace and quiet. I want green space. I long to sleep past 9am without hearing the sounds of jackhammers.

So, just like Adam Sandler in “Happy Gilmore,” I needed to find my “happy place.” And boy did I find it–in Fuxing Park.Fuxing-Park-Lake2015-08-16_0007Fuxing-Park-ShanghaiOriginally a private garden during the Ming Dynasty, sprawling Fuxing Park was taken over by the French after the Opium War, and turned into the only “French-style garden” in Shanghai. Lined with the city’s famous Plane trees, the paths take visitors through lush rose gardens, past a large field and to a large lake.

But that’s not why I love it. Sure, it’s a beautiful oasis in the center of the city (near Xintiandi and across from Sinan Mansions), but it’s also a window into Chinese culture. Here, in the early morning hours (usually before 10), visitors get the rare opportunity to see what a Chinese community really looks like–to experience people watching at its finest. Old men, dressed in pajamas, play intense games of Chinese checkers. Old women, donning giant visors, dance ballroom. Groups gather to sing sheet music on microphones. People perform Tai Chi under trees.Mahjong-Fuxing-ParkChinese-Checkers-Fuxing2015-08-16_00052015-08-16_0004Do yourself a favor: if you find yourself in Shanghai, and do nothing else, visit this happy place. I guarantee you’ll leave smiling.

Address Card:
Chongqing Nan Lu,
near Fuxing Zhong Lu
复兴公园。重庆南路, 近复兴中路

Closest Metro: Xintiandi Station, Line 10

18 thoughts on “My Shanghai Happy Place: Fuxing Park”

  1. I love Fuxing Park too, it’s a tiny reminder of the old Shanghai that I miss and you can’t really find anymore! I spent all my summers in the city as a kid and it used to be like this — the checkers, the tai chi, the dancing — everywhere.

    1. Awesome memories, Edna! I feel so lucky to live in a traditional lanehouse, only two blocks from the park. It’s easy to forget the fact that you’re actually in China when living in Shanghai. Fuxing Park is a beautiful reminder :)

    1. Courtney, it’s amazing!! And there are dozens of people doing it. I’ve actually had a woman make me dance ballroom with her! :) xo

  2. This place made my soul soar! To be among people loving what nutures them is such a special experience! It is rela,ing, fascinating, and invorating!

  3. I would never have guessed! This park looks so beautiful. I think it’s particularly important to be able to have a peaceful space when living in a bustling city. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I agree, Juliana! It’s my goal to share more about what I see while living here in Shanghai. I think, as a long-term expat, it’s easy to become so used to things we once found “strange.” After awhile, “strange” becomes your version of “normal.” I’m trying to see things as they once were :) Thanks for reading!

    1. You absolutely should! And you should also contact me when you come! Would love to show you around and grab a bite to eat :)

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