With the highest population of any city on Earth, Shanghai is the epitome of industry, with its migrant workers in the millions toiling not in rice paddies, but in row upon row of concrete and soot. With such a grave (and somewhat hyperbolic) image set before you, you may be wondering just what adventures may await a traveler greeted by block after city block at every turn. Not to worry. In Shanghai, nearly every district has plenty of green space to provide room for escape, while water towns, ocean islands, and verdant forest parks are near enough to divulge their pleasures in a day's time.
Within the massive confines of Shanghai, there are plenty of parks. Lu Xun Park is a popular respite in the Hongkou district to Shanghai's northeast, known for its boating lake and a sense of serenity. Gongqing Forest Park is in the Yangpu district to the north and has an abundance of open space, while Century Park in Pudong is even larger and well-cultivated, making it a nice spot for boating and biking in the heart of the city. Other popular green areas in Shanghai include Yuyuan Garden, Zhongshan Park, and People's Park, all of which have unique combinations of nature and culture. If the weather is nice, it may behoove you to forget parks entirely and head to the only beach worth beans within an hour or so, the Jinshan City Beach. Although swimming is technically frowned upon, activities from volleyball to bungee jumping should fill the void.
The possibility of adventure is better had with a trek to sundry destinations outside of Shanghai. Head east by ferry to a pocket of islands that include Shengsi, Zhoushan, and Putuo Shan, all of which are characterized by sandy beaches, fishing villages, and temples perched in the crags of mountains. To the west are the canals and Chinese bridges of water towns like Wuzhen, Hangzhou, and Suzhou, although these aren't quite as charming as smaller water villages like Zhujiajiao and Jinxi because of the rampant weekend tourism on both the domestic and international level. Further west is the city of Yixing, located on the western shores of Lake Tai and a great place for exploring caves and enjoy the boating and biking afforded in and around the lake. For hikers, about 400 km (250 miles) from Shanghai are the Huangshan Mountains, where views of the sunset from above the fog-shrouded peaks will make you want to leave the routines of your life behind.
Despite Shanghai's place as the wild and bustling world that we all need a reprieve from at times, there is still plenty to do inside and outside of the metropolitan area. Take a look at our activity listings or engage with our community for further information.