Answers from Our Experts (1)
Yu Garden is Shanghai's answer to the gorgeous classical gardens that are found in Suzhou. The best way to see Yu Garden is to come on a weekday morning when it first opens. Avoid at all costs going weekend afternoons or you'll be swarmed and the garden will lose its tranquility.
Yu Garden is located in the Old City section of Shanghai. The garden dates back to 1577 but was not open to the public until 1780. It was damaged during the First Opium War (1842) and again during the Japanese invasion (WWII). The garden was finally again open to the public in 1961 and has been renovated several times since.
Yu Garden is landscaped in Suzhou style, which means rocks, hills, and rivers strategically placed around pavilions and pagodas, all done according to long-held traditions. Outside the gardens proper but inside the Yu Garden Bazaar is a long bridge from which you can look down into a koi pond. The buildings in the Yu Garden Bazaar are new but traditional in design, with the iconic colorful eaves.
In the last half dozen years, the area surrounding Yu Garden has become extremely commercialized— you'll find a Starbucks and a Haagen-Dazs—but the garden itself is still a lovely place to come and wander, and the bazaar is packed with stalls selling all manner of souvenirs.