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.
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