Shanghai's parks are splendid places for a stroll, combining scenic vistas with people-watching. They are particularly lively at dawn, when locals gather for their morning exercises ranging from taiji quan (tai chi) to ballroom dancing. Due to the scarcity of play space for children, nearly all parks have a children's section, however small or dilapidated.
Shanghai has many smaller parks that offer some reprieve from the urban jungle. One of the newest is in the Xujiahui District, Xujiahui Gongyuan, built in 1999 on the former grounds of the Great Chinese Rubber Works Factory and the EMI Recording Studio (today's Restaurant Martin), with entrances at Zhaojiabang Lu and in the west at the intersection of Hengshang Lu and Yuqin Lu. The park has a man-made lake with a sky bridge running across the park, and offers a pleasant respite for Xujiahui shoppers. The nearest subway stop is Xujiahui. Zhongshan Gongyuan, Changning Lu 780, Changning District (Metro: Zhongshan Park), built in 1914 as Jessfield Park, once contained the campus of St. John's University, Shanghai's first international college; today, it is known for its extensive rose and peony gardens, and a large children's play area.
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