People's Park (Rénmín Gōngyuán, 人民公园) is the most popular park in Sichuan's capital city and is host to a colorful mix of Chengdu residents who are always out enjoying themselves in the open air.
The park is not only an enjoyable place to relax and mingle; it also has great historical significance. It was the site of the 1911 protests against the Qing government's policy of handing over railway construction to foreigners. These Chengdu protests and strikes set off a chain reaction that helped topple the Qing dynasty.
Today, People's Park provides a great public outlet for grandparents with their grandchildren in tow, joggers and tai qi enthusiasts, gamers and musicians and even tea drinkers in need of a good ear cleaning.
The crowds tend to gather in a few parts of the park: the chess players are in the southeast corner, the musicians hold court in the middle, the east side is the domain of candy and souvenir hawkers, and the west end is where the Heming Tea House (Hèmíng Cháshè, 鹤鸣茶社) sits peacefully in the middle of the park's lake.
A boat ride for two around the lake is a great way to spend a pleasant afternoon. Usually there is no entrance fee, unless there happens to be a flower exhibition or some other event, even then the fee isn't much higher than a few renminbi per person.
One of the city's most famous mapo tofu (mápó dòuf, 麻婆豆腐) restaurants, Chen Mapo Tofu (Chén Mápó Dòufǔ, 陈麻婆豆腐), can be found across from the main entrance to the park. Once a family-owned operation, the now state-owned enterprise still serves a tasty spicy tofu dish.
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