Suzhou is known around the world as a city full of beautifully laid-out classical gardens. What’s often overlooked in this green paradise, however, are the multitude of city parks and public spaces that add to the city’s charm. Unlike their touristy counterparts, the classical gardens, public parks cost nothing to enjoy. These vast spaces offer the kind of activities that gardens prohibit, such as skating, kite flying or fishing. Unfortunately, the ongoing construction of Suzhou’s subway system has closed more than a few parks for the duration of the build. Still, there are plenty that haven’t been disturbed by this upgrade to the city’s transportation infrastructure. We’ll look at the best free parks in Suzhou, as well as two amusement parks that keep visitors coming back for more.
Da Gong Yuan, Suzhou
Downtown Suzhou, the part of the city that dates back 2,500 years, is where the bulk of the classical gardens can be found. Likewise, the older, more established parks are found here. Da Gong Yuan (Big Park) is, not surprisingly, the largest in the center of the city. It is bordered by two streets with some of the heaviest overhead foliage in the whole city; Wu Sa Road and Gong Yuan Road. The park is popular with families; there are some simple amusement park rides for children to enjoy. It’s also a great place to rest while shopping for clothes on Wu Sa Road.
Elsewhere downtown, Guihua Garden is named after the fragrant Osmanthus Trees that are found in abundant supply there. In autumn, when the osmanthus blossoms bloom, this is a particularly pleasant park to visit. This park is particularly popular with kite fliers and fishers who take advantage of the winds and water there. The park forms the southeastern corner of the old city, and two canals meet at its edge which faces the ancient Mi Du Bridge. It should be noted that there is a river walk stretching from Mi Du Bridge all the way to the historic Water Gate (Pan Men), on the southern side of the east-west canal. Due north of the park are the pristine grounds of Suzhou University. Not a park per se, they are open to the public and free to visit. Established in the early 20th Century by American missionaries, the classical architecture of the quad area provides an aesthetic backdrop to visitors. One of the most shaded areas in the city, the original campus (as opposed to expansions to the east and north) is a perfect location for summertime strolls.
Guihua Park, Suzhou
Unfortunately for visitors who want to remain in the historic parts of Suzhou, many of the smaller parks along Gan Jiang Road are being transformed into subway stations. The junction at Feng Huang Street and Gan Jiang used to be a favorite skate park for athletic visitors. It and the large park at Ren Min Road and Gan Jiang have been turned into assembly areas for the subway tunnels, and will later serve as station entrances.
The Suzhou Singapore Industrial Park (SIP) prides itself on its Singaporean design and stewardship. Meant to resemble a garden more than an industrial area, there is a heavy emphasis on landscaping and plentiful distribution of public parks. The most visited of these is the Western shore of Jin Ji Lake, along Hu Bin Avenue. The Avenue runs parallel to the lake, and the adjacent park runs from Hu Bin Xin Tian Di, site of the popular fountain and light show, all the way to Li Gong Di in the south. Visitors can enjoy the cool breeze from the lake during warm days, or the stunning views of the lights from the eastern shore by night. Visitors to this area on the weekend are sure to find wedding couples taking photos as part of their big-day ceremonies.
Ferris Wheel Park, Suzhou
Across the lake, near the new Times Square shopping area, is the even-newer Ferris Wheel Park. A paid admission amusement park, this is the site of the massive Ferris Wheel that offers patrons views of Suzhou from 120 meters up! On a clear day, visitors can even see the Shangri-La Hotel in Suzhou’s New District, over 15 kilometers away! The amusement park also has a roller coaster, go carts, carousel, and many other attractions.
Centrail Park, SIP
Elsewhere in the SIP, Central Park is a popular area for families and tai-chi practitioners. Its convenient location on the main route into the SIP ensures it is always bustling with visitors.
Near the aforementioned Shangri-La Hotel in the SND is the well-established Suzhou Amusement Park. Suzhou’s largest amusement park by far, it has its own lake, small mountain, and hundreds of buildings. The entrance pays homage to theme parks such as Disneyland, as fountains give way to village-like streets of shops and small restaurants. The rides are impressive in number and variety, and everyone will find something to love. Roller coasters, a vertical drop ride, and even a zip line that sends screaming visitors flying from the mountain down over the lake; there are plenty of rides for the brave. The only drawbacks to this frightfully exciting park are the waits and the cost. Many rides requires guests to purchase a separate ticket. After the 60RMB main gate ticket, this can add up. Still, if you want to kill a day with excitement and leisurely strolls through the park, Suzhou Amusement Park has plenty to keep you busy!
Da Gongyuan (Big Park) 大公园View In Map
Add: Wu Sa Lu and Min Zhi Lu, Suzhou
Opening hours: 24 hours
Guihua Park 桂花公园View In Map
Add: Just West of Zhu Hui Bridge on Zhu Hui Lu
Opening hours: 06:00-22:00
Hu Bin Avenue on Jin Ji Lake 湖滨大道金鸡湖View In Map
Add: Suzhou SIP
Opening hours: 24 hours
Ferris Wheel Amusement Park 摩天轮公园View In Map
Add: Zhong Yuan Lu next to Modern Plaza
Opening hours: 08:00-17:00
Central Park in SIP 中央公园 - 苏州工业园区View In Map
Add: Xing Ming Jie and Zhong Xin Lu
Opening hours: 24 hours
Suzhou Amusement Park 苏州乐园View In Map
Add:87 Jinshan Lu, Suzhou
Opening hours: 09:00-17:00
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Keywords: Suzhou parks amusement parks Suzhou free parks Suzhou
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