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People’s Park in Chengdu

Just around the corner from Tianfu Square in the center of Chengdu lies the long-standing People’s Park. People’s Parks in China are synonymous with a variety of activities by people of all walks of life. These parks serve as spaces for locals and visitors to congregate during the day. Whether it’s early morning tai chi or evening dance and exercise in the park, public spaces have always been a crucial part of Chinese culture.

Shopping and Activities
Chengdu’s People’s Park is a sprawling piece of land, a total of 112,639 square meters (or 1,212,440 sq. ft), making it the largest green space in the downtown area. The park is complete with a man-made lake, gardens and numerous spots for musicians, tai chi experts and fans, a wide-variety of shops and services from local souvenirs to ear-cleaning kiosks. Boat rides are available to anyone who wishes to circle the lake and view this scenic area of the park. The People’s Park is sure to keep any visitor occupied for an afternoon or even a good part of the day.

Wander through the park’s many streets and you’ll see calligraphy artists, slews of souvenir shops and locals indulging in a typical game of chess or mah-jong, a popular game with the older generation across China.

Tea Houses
Not to be missed is the notable Heming Tea House. Standing in the middle of the park’s lake this tea house is over a century old, serving a variety of Chinese teas. Some are even served “Sichuan-style” with pepper, Chinese jujube and sugar crystals inside the tea. Hours are typically spent by Chengdu locals and tourists lounging outside the park’s many tea-houses enjoying endless refills of hot water or (热水) for their tea. A serving of tea usually goes for 10-20 yuan (1.50-3 U.S dollars).

Food
Chen Mapo Tofu is located across the park’s main entrance which serves the famous dish of spicy tofu. Another hot spot is Zhong’s Dumpling, serving various types of dumplings and other Sichuan-style snacks.

History
The People’s Park was originally named Shaocheng Park, as it was built in 1911 on Shaocheng (also known as “small city”) during the Qing Dynasty under Yu Kun, the last Qing Dynasty general in Chengdu. Later that year the railway construction uprising erupted, led by the people of Chengdu in protest of transferring the construction and financing of local railway projects to foreign-owned banks. This uprising was one of the events which led to the Xinhai Revolution and later to the fall of the Qing Dynasty. The protests are fondly remembered in Chengdu and as a result a monument was erected to commemorate the protests; the Railroad Protection Movement Monument. The park was renamed the “People’s Park” in 1950.

Getting There
Located on Shaocheng Road, two blocks west or a 15-minute stroll from Tianfu Square in downtown Chengdu. There is usually no entrance fee for the park.

 

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