A Wonderful Park in Shanghai; Renmin Park

Renmin Park

Just east of the Art Museum is the north gate to lovely Renmin Park-Rénmín Guǎngchǎng (open

24hr; free). It’s surprisingly quiet, with rocky paths winding between shady

groves and alongside ponds – the only sign that you are in the heart of a

modern city is the skyscrapers looming above the treetops. In the morning, the

park is host to tai ji practitioners and joggers and old folk arrive to camp out all

day playing cards.

Bearing left brings you to a small square. On weekends, this is the venue for

an extraordinary marriage market. Hundreds of middle-aged parents mill

round with printouts displaying the statistics of their children – height,

education, salary – and arrange dates. Interestingly, few display photos – these

people know what attributes they want for their little darling’s partner, and

looks are not top of the list.

Head through bamboo groves to the lotus pond and a quintessential Shanghai

view will open out in front of you. It’s a shocking architectural mash-up: from

left to right, elegant modernism then Arabian fantasy (the

Barbarossa café followed by the colonial edifice that is now the Art

Museum, and looming over that the corporate brutalism of Tomorrow Square

Crossing the zigzag bridge, a minute’s walk to the south of Barbarossa brings

you to the attractive, glass-walled Museum of Contemporary Art.

This privately funded museum has no permanent collection but its shows are always interesting

and imaginatively curated, and its three storeys make an excellent

exhibition space. There’s a lot of video and installation art, with a roughly equal

balance between Chinese and foreign artists, and the museum holds regular

talks and tours

Adress: 231号 Nanjing West Road, Huangpu, Shanghai –

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