As urbanization increases, urban runoff is an increasingly important component of total urban non-point source pollution. In this study, the properties of urban runoff were examined in Shenyang, in northeastern China. Runoff samples from a tiled roof, a concrete roof and a main road were analyzed for key pollutants (total suspended solids (TSS), total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus (TP), chemical oxygen demand (COD), Pb, Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, and Zn). The event mean concentration, site mean concentration, M(V) curves (dimensionless cumulative curve of pollutant load with runoff volume), and mass first flush ratio (MFF30) were used to analyze the characteristics of pollutant discharge and first flush (FF) effect. For all events, the pollutant concentration peaks occurred in the first half-hour after the runoff appeared and preceded the flow peaks. TN is the main pollutant in roof runoff. TSS, TN, TP, Pb, and Cr are the main pollutants in road runoff in Shenyang. There was a significant correlation between TSS and other pollutants except TN in runoff, which illustrated that TSS was an important carrier of organic matter and heavy metals. TN had strong positive correlations with total rainfall (Pearson's r = 0.927), average rainfall (Pearson's r = 0.995), and maximum rainfall intensity (Pearson's r = 0.991). TP had a strong correlation with rainfall intensity (Pearson's r = 0.940). A significant positive correlation between COD and rainfall duration (Pearson's r = 0.902, significance level = 0.05) was found. The order of FF intensity in different surfaces was concrete roof > tile roof > road. Rainfall duration and the length of the antecedent dry period were positively correlated with the FF. TN tended to exhibit strong flush for some events. Heavy metals showed a substantially stronger FF than other pollutant.