20 Qianmen Dongdajie
HOURS: Daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
METRO: Qianmen (Line 2)
This excellent and informative exhibition hall opened in September 2004 to tell the story of Beijing in the context of urban development. Like Shanghai’s museum of the same name , Beijing’s has an impressive scale model of the city that you can walk around; the model mimics day and night with a real-time lighting system. The parts of the city that aren’t represented by 3D buildings are laid out with aerial photographs, so you get a comprehensive overview of the city from above.
The exhibition hall also contains detailed and interesting information about Beijing’s impressive transportation system. Getting so many people from A to B is quite a feat.
The museum is housed in a modern building close to the old railway station, and is worth the rather steep entry cost just for the scale model.