Yuyuan Garden#5 in Best Things To Do in Shanghai
Dating back to the 16th century, the 5-acre Yuyuan Garden is the city's most revered green space. The garden took nearly 20 years to completely construct and was initially intended to be the private garden for Ming-dynasty official Pan Yunduan and his family. However, the garden ended up taking some hits, enduring both British occupation during the Opium Wars and again by the French during the Taiping Rebellion. Despite the turmoil, the garden remained largely intact and is today a beautiful retreat loved by many. Here, you'll find six main scenic areas and 30 pavilions outfitted with ornate structures like decorated bridges and colorful pagodas as well intimate enclaves that are divided by "dragon walls" (partitions with stone dragons lying on top). Highlights include the Heralding Spring Hall, the Jade Magnificence Hall and the Lotus Pool.
Recent visitors enjoyed the scenery and architecture that comprise the Yuyuan Gardens but lamented the hoards of tourists the gardens attract. Many travelers ran into crowds during their visit and strongly recommended choosing a time when there won't be as many people, as some felt the crowds took away from the peaceful nature of the gardens. And depending on the season, it's worth noting that there isn't too much cover in the park, so visiting at peak hours on a hot afternoon during the summer could easily end up being a miserable experience.
Located near the Yu Garden metro stop, the garden welcomes visitors from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is free to explore. For more information, consult the Shanghai tourism board website.
More Best Things To Do in Shanghai
#1 The Bund
Shanghai's picturesque waterfront, known as "the Bund," is where you'll find those classic skyline photo ops. With the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, the Shanghai World Financial Center and other skyscrapers standing across the Huangpu River, the view (on a clear day) stuns. And behind you, gorgeous European-style buildings housing restaurants and shops (Nanjing Road is just around the corner) line the waterfront boulevard, affording plenty of activities.
Though a gateway to other attractions, the views from the Bund were the only thing on most travelers minds. Visitors consistently report being in complete awe of Shanghai's skyline, so much so that some said skipping this attraction would be like skipping the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Most agreed the best time is to go at night – the skyscrapers illuminated in different colors create an unbeatable photo op. Not only that, but smog can occur during the day, and depending on the weather, can hinder one's first-time viewing experience. But whichever time you decide to visit, know that many other people want to experience this picture perfect moment too – so expect crowds around the clock. And considering the immense tourist traffic the Bund receives, vendors and pesky hawkers set up shop here too.
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