Although it sometimes gets nippy in the morning and after sunset, autumn is the time in Shanghai for a picnic.
The basic pre-planning required for picnics sometimes leaves the lazier of us overwhelmed. Here’s what you need to do: buy a couple meters of cloth or a cheap bedsheet at a corner stall down your street.
Now all you need is the perfect spot and some food. That’s where we come in, with this list of the best spots around and information on where to get everything else you’ll need.
One of Shanghai’s biggest parks, this huge expanse of greenery in Pudong is still one of our favourite places to throw down a blanket and kick back with friends. Grassy areas big enough to throw a Frisbee around on abound, while the lakes and spinneys make for pleasant areas to walk or bike around. Head to the large patch of waterside grass just inside gate 5, or to the open grass next to the kids play area toward gate 3, for some excellent picnicking spots well worth the 10RMB entry fee.
Add: 1001 Jinxiu Lu, near Fangdian Lu
Formerly a British-run golf course, the Shanghai Zoo’s well-manicured gardens among the animal exhibits lend themselves to picnicking, even if only inside the front gate. The South China tiger, as well as hundreds of other native Chinese animals, are particularly popular.
Entry is RMB 40 per person and kids under 1.3 meters can get in for free.
Add: 2381 Hongqiao Lu, near Hongjing Lu
Lu Xun Park（鲁迅公园）
Named after Lu Xun（鲁迅）, the Chinese literary master, this active and boisterous park has plenty of intimate gazebos.
Near the main square is a prime spot to watch dozens of people sharing the space to sing, dance, practice tai chi and play badminton. Catch a soccer game at the Hongkou Football Stadium after you pack up.
Add: 146 Dong Jiangwan Lu, near Sichuan Bei Lu
Camp out for a few hours on the main lawn of this industrial-style art center, surrounded by boutique art and design galleries and the prominent Minsheng Art Museum. The laid-back security doesn’t seem to mind if you pose with the super-contemporary sculptures （we like the towering legs） as you document your afternoon.
Add: 570 Huaihai Xi Lu, near Hongqiao L
Okura Garden Hotel（花园饭店）
For one thing, it’s a beautiful spot that we’re tempted to keep secret. For another, it’s not exactly official – you’ll need to brazenly walk past the staff at the entrance like they’re metro security officers asking to check your bag and make for the gorgeous stretch of lawn as if you’re meant to be there. Despite it being a fairly swanky hotel smack bang in the middle of town, this approach remarkably seems to work and your reward is an immaculate bit of grass that’s rarely disturbed by anyone other than the odd hotel guest. Use it wisely.
Add: 58 Maoming Nan Lu, near Changle Lu
While the main area of grass at this Huangpu-side development is fenced off for use by music festivals (last year’s Storm Electronic Festival for example), there are still some nice spots dotted in and around the climbing walls, the riverside esplanade and the excellent Xuhui Long Museum. Aim for the narrow grass strip behind the climbing wall area or just off to the side of the skate park – pick carefully and you’ll get views of the river and shelter from any wind. The one drawback is the lack of shops (the Family Mart has now closed), so come fully stocked.
Add: Dongan Lu, near Longteng Avenue
Fuxing Park (复兴公园)
Fuxing Park is just a kite’s flight away from commercial hub Huaihai Zhong Lu. Lounge on the main lawn next to the fountain near Yandang Lu and watch soccer games.
Loudspeakers blast out ballroom music as locals dance away their afternoons and evenings. Our post-picnic favorite is riding the aging bumper cars.
Add: 516 Fuxing Zhong Lu, near Huaihai Zhong Lu
After undergoing some serious construction work in recent years, Zhongshan Park is now back to its best. The small boating lake and mini fun fair provide good distractions for kids (or the young at heart), while the large central stretch of grass is regularly host to all manner of activities. We recommend getting there early and bagging yourself a spot close to the tree-lined edges, affording you great people watching opportunities, but also some crucial shade.
Add: 780 Changning Lu, near Dingxi Lu