Most parks in Shanghai are pretty places to hang out in when spring flowers are coming into bloom, and several even go all out in the blossom stakes by holding dedicated festivals. These events may not be as big as Japan's Hanami Festival, the blooms on display in Shanghai still draw significant crowds to smell the flowers and snap a quick sakura selfie. Here are some of the best spots in town to see the blossoms this season.
Gucun Park, accessible from the Line 7 metro stop of the same name, is a prime location to view new flowers. They're aiming to cash in on the blossoms' popularity by throwing their annual 'Blossom Festival' that runs from Friday 16 March through Sunday 15 April. Previous years have seen Gucun Forest Park (entry 20RMB) set up special ticket windows, hundreds of toilet cubicles, extra car parking spaces, and negotiate a more frequent metro train service for their Line 7 stop during peak times due to the huge popularity of their Cherry Blossom Festival. You can expect similar hordes this time around, so it’s worth picking your visiting time carefully.
Gucun Forest Park 1 Huandao Lu, near Zhenhutai Lu, Baoshan district. See full details.
15RMB for regular admission
The city’s original botanical gardens have imported cherry varieties from all over the country as well as sakura plants from Japan in previous years and while there's often a hefty additional entrance fee to gain access to the blossoms, the park is a pleasant space to while away a few hours when the sun shines.
Shanghai Botanical Garden 1111 Longwu Lu, near Baise Lu, Xuhui district. See full details.
60RMB (adult); 20RMB (child)
Shanghai's newer botanical gardens is another top place to view blossoms this spring. The sprawling site in Songjiang district attracts significant hordes at peak times for its pretty pink flowers, but fortunately the gardens are big enough for it not to feel too crowded. For a full guide to the gardens click here.
Chenshan Botanical Gardens 3888 Chenhua Lu, near Jiasong Lu, Songjiang district. See full details.
One of the city's oldest and best public gardens – for its myriad dances, live music performances and exercise groups to be found throughout the landscaped grounds – the brilliant Lu Xun Park has small spring blossom garden where you can enjoy the blooms for free.
Lu Xun Park 2288 Sichuan Bei Lu, near Dong Jiangwan Lu, Hongkou district. See full details.
This fantastic park in Pudong is one of the best green spots in the city all year round, but come blossom season it's even more beautiful with a dedicated plum tree garden featuring 3,000 trees in 30 varieties, plus lovely pink cherry blossoms slightly later in March.
Century Park 1001 Jinxiu Lu, near Fangdian Lu, Pudong.
Changning's Zhongshan Park is one of the top places to view spring blossoms for free, with the blooms viewable from a stroll along the main path that runs the circumference of the park. If the sun is shining, there's also a great central stretch of grass that's one of the few in the city you're actually allowed to sit (or run about) on.
Zhongshan Park is at 780 Changning Lu, near Dingxi Lu, Changning district. See full details.
Tongji University's main campus in the traditional college district of Shanghai is a wonderfully leafy spot throughout much of the year, but during the spring it also becomes home to picturesque blossom-lined streets that are open to the public and students alike to wander along. Expect them to be at their peak from late March to mid-April.
Tongji University 50 Chifeng Lu, near Siping Lu, Yangpu district. See full details.
50RMB for regular admission; 80RMB for the blossom festival
Fengxian is big on spring blossom, with a number of different events focused on new blooms in the area. Haiwan forest park's blossom festival promises to be one of the biggest of these, with around 42,000 plum blossom trees in more than 120 varieties until the end of March – expect a sea of colours with red, white, pink, yellow and green blossoms all in bloom.
Shanghai Haiwan National Forest Park Haiwan National Forest Park, 1,677 Suitanghe Road, Fengxian district.
50RMB (adults); 35RMB (children)
If you're a fully-fledged blossom aficionado, then you'll likely be heading to Nanhui over the coming weeks. The outer-lying area of Shanghai hosts a major Peach Blossom Festival every year with huge fields of trees in full blossom. This year's runs from Thursday 15 March-Sunday 15 April, though you'll need to make it to Nanhui first - your best bet from downtown is to take metro Line 16 to Huinan and catch one of the free shuttle buses to Datuan Peach Park (大团桃园).