Without much tourist traffic, Changning is a good place to see locals at play. Many western business have set of experimental shops in the area to gauge Chinese buying power, and you're likely to spot western name-brand stores in the area crowded with locals.
Zhongshan Park is a popular place with the young and old, and houses several ponds, some amusement zones that offer rides and live entertainment, and several grassy areas where people play Frisbee, fly kites or picnic. The park is surrounded by modern restaurants and shopping buildings that are catered to by the metro station that makes transportation to the park and surrounding area very easy.
Neighboring East China Normal University draws a mix of young Chinese and foreign students to the area, and you're likely to encounter people who speak English in Changning due to the proximity to the University.