Picnicking In The World’s Biggest City

Living in the world’s biggest city, all of us could do with getting out into the great outdoors a little more; and – where possible, in the seventh most polluted megacity on the planet – breathe in some much needed ‘fresh’ air…
But that’s actually easier than you might think, because Shanghai and its environs boasts an enviable number of green spaces that are surprisingly accessible. Furthermore, just being out in the sun, so long as you take proper precautions, is a vital way of boosting your vitamin D levels, essential for healthy bones, a deficiency of which is often said to be the most common health complaint in the world. Plus, exposure to the sun is also now recognised as playing a valuable part in our bodies’ production of that ‘happiness chemical’, serotonin. Science aside, though – a day out with family or friends is quite simply a great stress buster! And while many of the city’s most popular outdoor destinations are always packed – causing them to feel more like an amusement park than a picnic spot proper – this list is for those who prefer to search out a more leftfield spot to relax.
Guilin Park
The Guilin Garden – originally built as a private residence and intended as a Confucian-style cultural retreat – is a three and a half hectare space filled with traditional pavilions and stone grottos. Despite its relatively small footprint, you can still get happily lost in this elegant, Chinese-style garden. And since Guilin Park is a little off the beaten track, there’s plenty of open space to enjoy in relative peace and quiet, in between locals practicing calligraphy, singing and even showing off their pet birds.
188 Caobao Lu, near Guilin Lu. Metro: Guilin Park
Ye Garden
Located on the grounds of the Shanghai Pulmonary Hospital, near Fudan and Tongji Universities, this rockery and garden is a peaceful picnic spot. Like most local parks, Ye Garden is popular with strolling locals – so meander around to find a spot that’s relatively unpopulated. The park features a variety of Sweet Osmanthus, Chinese Maple Bonsais and Camphor trees – there are plenty of shady corners and open sunny spots to appreciate 507 Zhengmin Lu, near Wudong Lu. Metro: Wujiaochang
Changfeng Park
A lush park tucked away on the west side of Shanghai, Changfeng covers 36 hectares and also houses a popular aquarium, a hill named Tie Bi Shan, and a large central lake. If you want, you can even take a boat out on the water. Located close to East China Normal University in Putuo District, it’s less well known than the larger city parks and is usually far from busy, even on the nicest days.
525 Zaoyang Lu. Metro: Jinshajiang Lu
Wherever you choose to head to, don’t forget to pack an easy picnic to make the most of the day. Tastiest meals can be easily prepared the night before. Try a colourful cobb salad – bacon, eggs, chicken, blue cheese and more – rustically thrown together, or pita bread, hummus and a range of other dips for a lighter option. And, if you want to get a little more creative, whip up a Mediterranean style omelette, aka Spanish tortilla – potatoes, veg, whatever takes your fancy, all fried up with eggs, wrapped in foil then left to cool overnight in the fridge.
City life can be confronting, sometimes. But with a little forethought, escaping it is easier than you might think.
FIELDS (www.fieldschina.com) is a popular online grocery store for safe, quality food in China. FIELDS stocks fresh organic fruit and veg, imported and domestic meat and seafood, plus essential pantry items from home. Order before 5pm in Shanghai and benefit from same day delivery with delivery free for orders over RMB 200. A new customer? Great – you’ll receive a free gift with your first order! With a full range of fruits, veg, and picnic essentials, FIELDS has a selection that can make healthy meals fun in the sun.