Beijing Arts and Leisure
- Beijing’s Best Sights
- Beijing’s Best Restaurants
- Beijing’s Best Nightlife
- Beijing’s Best Arts and Leisure
- Beijing’s Best Shops
- Beijing’s Best Hotels
- Best of the Great Wall
- Shanghai’s Best Sights
- Shanghai’s Best Restaurants
- Shanghai’s Best Nightlife
- Shanghai’s Best Arts and Leisure
- Shanghai’s Best Shops
- Shanghai’s Best Hotels
- Shanghai’s Best Excursions
Beijing has a long and well-deserved reputation for being China’s most culturally advanced city. While Shanghai has the style, the money, and the attitude, Beijing has a thriving contemporary art scene of the city’s hot art spots are located slightly outside central Beijing. The most famous art complex is the 798 District, but lesser-known Caochangdi Art District is catching up in popularity.
When it comes to green space, the capital is blessed with plenty of parks. While Beijing may appear at first glance to be a mass of concrete and asphalt, the urban spread is actually interspersed with a good collection of open spaces.
Many of the city’s parks contain interesting historical sites, like the sacrificial altars in Ritan Park and the temples and pavilions in Zhongshan Park. Others, like Chaoyang Park and Tuanjiehu Park, have great facilities for children, like swimming pools and amusement parks.
Beijing boasts more museums than you’ll ever be able to visit, covering an astounding variety of subjects. There’s traditional art at the Beijing Art Museum, countless historical artifacts at the National Museum of China, and Chinese literature at the Lu Xun Museum; view offbeat exhibitions at the Beijing Police Museum and discover how the capital city developed in the modern era at the Urban Planning Exhibition Hall.
Stage performances abound in Beijing, with offerings ranging from traditional Peking opera and kung fu in beautiful old theaters, to dance shows, contemporary dramas, and concerts from international musicians at modern performance venues and stadiums.
- Best Way to Get to Know Beijing: Urban Planning Exhibition Hall
- Best Place to See Contemporary Art: Caochangdi Art District
- Best Art Complex: 798 Art District
- Best Kung Fu Fighting: Red Theater
- Best Place to Watch Opera: Huguang Guild Hall
- Best Community Show: Penghao Theater
- Most Festive: Lantern Festival
- Best Escape: Ritan Park
- Most Historic Park: Zhongshan Park
- Best Children’s Activity: Beijing Zoo
- Best Tour: Beijing eBike Tours
© Susie Gordon from Moon Beijing & Shanghai, 2nd Edition