Before having moved to Ningbo myself, I had never heard of the city. It’s a city of almost 8 million people on the East Coast of China, in the Zhejiang province, just under two hours from Shanghai.
Considering the city has a population the same size as London, in China terms, it’s fairly small. As the city isn’t as well known as big first tier cities, there isn’t much information on it, making it hard for foreigners like me to find new things to do.
If by any chance you are moving to, visiting or just interested in Ningbo, I’ve rounded up some of my favourite things to do in and around the city.
Ningbo Bang Museum
255 Siyuan Road, Jiangbei
Ningbo is home to a whole host of museums and art galleries, with constantly changing exhibitions, meaning you will never run out of things to do in the city. There’s Ningbo Bang Museum, which showcases some of Ningbo’s biggest achievements as well as exhibiting the history of Ningbo. The building itself is worth a visit, it’s a huge open space which allows in lots of light with its glass walls and high ceilings, designed by Wang Shu. Gardens surround the building to add to the overall feeling of integration between indoor and outdoor space that this Pritzker Prize-winning building strives for. Inside the museum, there is also a café which serves Italian coffee and has plenty of seating next to the indoor koi pond, making it the perfect place to sit and watch the world go by.
Treat yourself to some Western style brunch
Although Chinese food in Ningbo is mostly nice, it’s amazing to be able to indulge in some home comforts every now and again.
My three fave places for brunch in Ningbo are:
39 Linyu Road, Yinzhou and 52 Leigong Land, Portman Plaza
My favourite place is Little. They have two locations in Ningbo and are actually opening a third in Manchester! They do such good food, cold drinks and coffee.
Zhenming Road, Haishu
The smoked salmon bagels and the cheese croissants from here are the highlight of most of my weekends in China. I haven’t found better, and at this point I refuse to believe it even exists.
3. Man Coffee
In City, Yinzhou
For around three months I was craving nothing but a caprese panini. I mean it. All I thought about for months was the gooey, melted mozzarella mixed with pesto and tomatoes, all combined in a soft white panini bread. I found it in Man Coffee and I couldn’t have been happier, so for that reason, and also the hot chocolates they do, Man Coffee has made my list.
Relax in the hot springs
Hengyuan Hot Springs Resort, 1000 East Huanhu Road, Dongqian Lake, Yinzhou
Dongqian Lake is a beautiful place to be on a warm day, you can stroll through the trees, sit and admire the lake or visit the hot springs.
Located in the Hengyuan Hotel on the lake and costing around 180RMB (£18) for a day pass, the hot springs are a perfect way to relax.
No 8 Creative Park, Ningbo
Within Ningbo, you can find many hidden gems, like the Photobook Library in No 8 Creative Park. This library has more books, magazines and zines than you could ever need, most of which are made by independent creators from all around the world. There’s also two exhibition spaces, usually filled with work from local artists and creatives. You can also grab a coffee and sit by the window to read a book, catch up on some work, or just people watch. The Photobook Library has such a cool feel to it. It is light and airy, filled with plants, and the perfect place to find some inspiration for your next creative project.
If you fancy a slow afternoon or just a stroll in the park then you should take a wander around Moon Lake. It’s so pretty and there’s lots of traditional Chinese buildings to have a look at. You can always stop at Wheatlands on the way…
I’ll be posting regular updates on Ningbo in the coming months, including more places to visit, food and drink reviews and general life in Ningbo – so make sure to sign up to my newsletter to keep in the loop.
I’ve also written about a weekend in Shanghai, which is less than two hours away.