Ningbo is one of those many million cities, you’ve most likely never heard of before. Approximately two hours away from Shanghai, Ningbo offers a nice retreat with some luxury hotels at the lake, but a relatively nice city center as well.
While it might be a long stretch to spead of a real city guide when it comes to Ningbo, I wanted to take the chance to show you a bit of the city anyways. On my way to a holiday retreat at the Dongqian Lake, I decided to check out some of the sights in town and was positively surprised by the city, which feels much more relaxed and backlaid than Shanghai.
The core of the city center of Ningbo is Tianyi Square, which is dominated by Western brands, but isn’t comparable to places like Xintiandi in Shanghai, where you should find luxury brands.
You can find clothes in a normal price range, coffee shops like Starbucks etc.
What I find nicer than just the shopping aspect is that the area just is really nice to go for a walk as it’s been nicely developed and is car-free.
Right next to the square is the Jiaoqu Yaohang Street Catholic Church, which might remind you a bit of cities in Europe.
While it’s not like you could spend a full day in this area of Ningbo, it’s nice enough to check out!
The area of Ningbo I personally like the most are Shuizebei and the Yuehu Park, which are located a mere two kilometers away from Tianyi Square.
Shuizebei is a historic monument and feels way more like traditional China than most other areas in Ningbo, which shouldn’t surprise you all that much in a growing metropolis.
The Yuehu Park spans around Shuizebei and is the biggest partk in the city center. I thought it was really nicely done and much nicer than most parks in Shanghai.
It’s not just great for having a walk or going for a run, but also just to sit down somewhere and relax.
The Yuehu Lake, which is part of the park, is really nice as well and invites you to either just relax or even get active by renting a boot.
There are also a couple of (fake) historic buildings in the park, which add to the atmosphere.
I really liked the tiny bridges with a traditional design as well.
While you can see that the whole park was a developed project, it’s still really nice and feels somewhat authentic without actually being that.
Ningbo is crossed by the Fenghua River, which is a medium-sized river, which had surprisingly few water when I visited. If you want to go for a walk arlong the water, I’d recommend Haohe Park.
Here, you can also find one of the few interesting monuments in the city.
There are also nice areas to sit down and just relax for a bit after exploring other parts of Ningbo.
The only other noteworthy monument I found in Ningbo is the Tianfeng Tower in the city center, which is one of the most prominent buildings in town.
It’s nice to check it out and take a picture, but there’s not all that much to do here either.
Let’s be honest: Visiting Ningbo for the sake of visiting isn’t worth it as the city just doesn’t have that many interesting areas. At the same time, I’d recommend visiting for a day if you are in the area anyways, because you want to escape Shanghai or have a holiday planned at Dongqian Lake.
Do you have any questions about Ningbo? Feel free to ask or share your impressions in the comments!