Insiders Guide to the Parks of Shanghai – Fuxing Park 复兴公园
If you ever find yourself in the area, Fuxing Park (复兴公园), is a beautiful place to visit year round, but especially during the warmer months.
As one of the oldest parks in Shanghai, it has a distinct French influence, and it is currently the only well-protected French-style park in China.
If you’re looking for a way to spend a sunny afternoon, take an hour or two to wander the park grounds.
Fuxing Park – How to get there
Fuxing Park – Park highlights
Fuxing Park – Public square dancing
Fuxing Park – Park History
Fuxing Park – Concluding
Fuxing Park – How to get there
Fuxing Park is located in the former French Concession area of Shanghai, which features many historical buildings.
As for the exact address, I found conflicting information online.
Baidu, a Chinese map app, says the address is 105 Yandang Road 雁荡路105号, while Apple maps says the address is 516 Fuxing Middle Road 复兴中路516号.
However, there is no disagreement that the park is located in Shanghai’s Huangpu District (黄浦区), and you can find the main entrance at the corner of South Chongqing Road (重庆南路) and Middle Fuxing Road (复兴中路).
There are two nearby stations, Xintiandi (新天地), located on lines 10 and 13, or South Huangpi Road (黄陂南路), located on line 1.
From Xintiandi, the walk should be under 10 minutes. From Huangpi, the walk might take around 10 minutes.
Fuxing Park, covering around 75,000 square meters, is open every day from 5AM to 9PM. It’s completely free to get into and a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours.
Below is a map from LTL Mandarin School Shanghai to Fuxing Park, you can walk between the two in less than half in hour comfortably!
Fuxing Park – Park highlights
The park features a beautiful rose garden, flower beds, rock structures with a water fall, two small ponds, a playground/small amusement park for children, and even an exhibition hall.
There is a map by the main entrance to help you find your way around the park (although the park isn’t really big enough to get lost in).
There are also signs that give a brief explanation or history of some of the noteworthy places in the park.
Interestingly, these signs are written in Chinese, English, and French, which is another reminder of the park’s French background.
Fuxing Park – The rose garden and waterfall inside the park
Images courtesy of Ferreting Out the Fun
While the park also claims to have a restaurant, I found that the there was only a small snack and drink store, which didn’t appear to have anyone working inside. The other building (a tea house) was closed. There is also a big, open lawn, where you can find kids playing or people practicing with Chinese-style yoyos. There are plenty of benches everywhere, with some people feeding birds, listening to music, or just enjoying being outside.
If you want to explore the entire park, it would probably only take about 30 to 45 minutes.
The park isn’t extremely big, but it’s big enough for plenty of people to visit and not feel crowded.
There are also lots of stray cats that run around the park, but only a few are friendly enough to come up for a pet, while the others generally run away.
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Fuxing Park – Public Square Dancing
While I enjoy simply walking around in the park, petting the stray cats, or sitting on a bench, there is one thing about the park that is particularly interesting, especially to a Westerner like me.
This isn’t unique to Fuxing Park alone, but I’ve seen it elsewhere in Shanghai, and it’s also practiced throughout China.
At the park (or at many other parks), you’ll often find people dancing together in groups. This is called 广场舞 guǎngchǎng wǔ (public square dance).
Sometimes the groups are relatively small (less than 10), but I’ve also seen whole squares filled with people dancing! These people bring their own stereo and are usually middle-aged to elderly.
The dancers are active throughout the day! I’ve generally seen them in the afternoon, but I’ve even seen them dancing at night, after the sun has gone down.
They listen to many different types of music, both fast and slow, with and without lyrics. The music is loud and often attracts people (including me!) to listen and watch.
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I’ve even asked one of the dancers if he could teach me, and I danced with him. It’s very interesting to watch, and if you’re bold enough, to participate!
After dancing, I spent a good hour or so just talking to some of the park visitors, who were curious to talk to a foreigner studying Chinese.
So if you’re looking to practice your Chinese and speak with locals, visiting Fuxing Park isn’t a bad idea at all!
In addition to dancing, it’s also not unusual to see people playing instruments (usually saxophone) in the park, and I’ve even seen some people playing drums along with some music on their stereo.
So sometimes the park can be more lively than relaxing, but if you’re looking for more peace and quiet, you can always find a corner of the park farther away from the music and activity!
Fuxing Park – History
Now over a century old, Fuxing Park has a rich history.
Plans for the park were made in 1908, and it opened in the summer of 1909.
A French gardener helped to supervise and oversee the landscape design.
It was originally named Gujiazhai Park (顾家宅公园 gù jiāzhái gōngyuán), or French Park (法国公园 fàguó gōngyuán).
From 1917 to 1926, the park underwent renovation and was extended to cover more ground.
All of this historical information and more can be found in the park’s small exhibition hall, squeezed just in between the closed tea house and the convenience store. So if you want to learn more about the history of the park, take a quick look around the hall!
It underwent one more name change (Daxing Park, or 大兴公园), before finally being named Fuxing Park (复兴公园) in 1946.
A monument to a French pilot was erected, taken down, and a new monument was built in 1985. This sculpture of Marx and Engels still stands today.
Fuxing Park is absolutely worth visiting. Whether you go to admire the rose garden, ponds, square dancing or simply to enjoy a sunny day, I’d definitely recommend exploring the park sometime during your stay in Shanghai.
Have you been to Fuxing Park? What other parks in Shanghai have you visited? Let us know in the comments below!
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