These last few weeks have left Shanghai residents bedazzled and sun-spattered. Any individual lucky enough to have accidentally planned a trip to the city during this unprecedented streak of gorgeous weather should consider themselves blessed by some kind of exceedingly docile deity. And the sun blazes on! In the humid wake of an early morning storm, today's temporarily-lousy weather has broken and afternoon strolls are, for now, thoroughly enjoyable.
Though the forecast threatens intermittent showers over the next few days (we'll leave predictions of future weather to the pros, while remaining skeptical), one thing is certain: spring has arrived, and whether you're fresh off a flight to Shanghai or you've been neck-deep in noodles for decades, the time is ripe for leisurely gawking at cityscapes and rural sights alike.
So! Watertowns—Shanghai is full of 'em. Or, more accurately, there are a ton of them nearby that are easily accessible (of course, there's always Qibao within city limits). The watertowns offer a great, slower-moving and less-neon contrast to the dazzling monument to China's economic ascendance that is Shanghai.
The most well known of the watertowns, Suzhou and Zhouzhuang, are delightful this time of year, when the winter chill has been blown away by the spring breeze, and the full weight of the summer heat hasn't yet landed on these eastern shores.