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As the capital city of China, Beijing is a bustling city with stunning cityscape at night. The nightlife in Beijing is more than bars and karaoke, you can either go to explore various attractions, night markets, and fancy shopping malls or stay indoor to watch a Kungfu show, an acrobatic performance, and maybe the Peking Opera. Here, we have the best things to do and best places to go at night in Beijing, offering you a detailed and useful Beijing nightlife guide!
If you come to Beijing for the first time, the nightlife in Beijing can not be fully understood without watching the famous traditional shows. If you come with children or come as a whole family, the exciting Kungfu show at Red Theater and the amazing acrobatics show at Chaoyang Theater may get everyone's attention. If you would like to learn more about the traditional Beijing opera, you can go to Liyuan Theater and enjoy the essence of Chinese Culture.
Performed by the best of China's Kung Fu practitioners, the Legend of Kung Fu Show is recommended as a wonderful evening entertainment for all ages. The story tells about a young monk's growth from a boy to a confident Kung Fu master, overcoming his fears and many obstacles. It is not just about kung fu but also dance and the music is all great. All the narrative is shown in both Chinese and English so you can easily understand the story.
• Where to Watch: Red Theater (Chinese:红剧场 Pinyin:hóng jù chǎng)
• Duration: over 1 hour
• Address: 44 Xingfu Dajie, Chongwen District, Beijing 北京市崇文区幸福大街44号
Chaoyang Theater is one of the top venues to enjoy traditional Acrobatics Shows in Beijing. This is what Chaoyang theater has made its fame, and it has been performing for over 20 years, and received over 3 million guests from overseas, including numerous foreign celebrities, leaders, and officials. The various acrobatic performances are very stunning, such as bicycle acrobatics, ballet, hoop jumping, ball skills, contortion, and Chinese magic tricks, etc.
• Where to Watch: Chaoyang Theater (Chinese: 朝阳剧场 Pinyin: cháo yáng jù chǎng)
• Duration: over 1 hour
• Address: Chaoyang Theater, 36 Dongsanhuan North Road, Chaoyang District 朝阳区东三环北路36号
Peking opera, or Beijing opera is the most dominant form of Chinese opera which combines music, vocal performance, mime, dance and acrobatics. To watch the most authentic Peking Opera and get to understand the Chinese culture, you are recommended to go to Liyuan Theater, which was founded in 1979 and lead by the most famous Peking Opera actors, such as Cheng Yanqiu and Mei Lanfang. Besides watching the opera, you can also try the opera dress and masks and buy the instruments, paintings, Chinese calligraphy here.
• Where to Watch: Liyuan Theater (Chinese: 梨园 Pinyin: lí yuán)
• Duration: over 1 hour
• Address: 1st Floor, Qianmen Jianguo Hotel, 175 Yong'an Road, Xuanwu District 宣武区永安路175号前门建国饭店1楼
If you would like to move around or stroll a little bit, going to the different scenic sites in Beijing to enjoy its amazing nightscape should be on your to-do list. The top 3 places to visit at night are Beihai Park, Jingshan Park, Chang'an Avenue, and Olympic park, where the scenery may be varied, but altogether beautiful.
Beihai Park (Chinese: 北海公园 Pinyin: běi hǎi gōng yuán) is a beautiful public park, located in the northwestern part of Beijing and connected at its northern end to the Shichahai, and it used to be an imperial garden. With a lot of royal towers, doorways, pavilions and bridges still lighted at night, the park is beyond what the words can describe. Especially during summer time, the artificial lights is intermingled with the moon light and reflections from the lake with the gentle breeze, and it can be a masterpiece to witness the Chinese garden art.
• Type: Sights & Landmarks, Water & Amusement Parks
• Opening Hours: 06:30 ~ 20:00
• Ticket: CNY 10
• Address: No. 1 Wenjin Street, Xicheng District, Beijing 北京市西城区文津街1号
Jingshan Park (Chinese: 景山公园 Pinyin: jǐng shān gōng yuán) is the best place enjoy the nigtscape of the Forbidden City and central Beijing, a perfect photography and sightseeing site. This park is still open after sunset, and won't be closed until 9pm in summer and 8pm in winter.
It is recommended to climb 'Scenic Hill' (Jingshan) at dusk, when the Forbidden City is particularly beautiful, clothed in the golden sun ray with the artificial light on later, and the eaves and roof tops are still gorgeous and stunning in the dark . Look to the further, you could only image how the shimmering cityscape, the palaces of Beijing, have endured over thousands of years.
• Type: Historical Sites, Architectural Buildings, Museum, World Heritage Site
• Opening Hours: Apr – Oct: 6:30 to 21:00 / Nov – Mar: 6:30 to 20:00
• Ticket: Apr to Oct: 10 RMB / Nov to Mar: 5RMB
• Address: No.44 Jingshan West Street, Xichengcheng District, Beijing 北京市西城区景山西街44号
Chang'an Avenue (Chinese: 长安街 Pinyin: chǎng ān jiē), built in the Ming Dynasty, enduring over 600 years, is the most important street in China. The parade and important events will be held here and the famous Tian'anmen Square is located in the central area of the street, dividing the west and east part of the street. Strolling at the massive square of Tiananmen or along this bustling street, you can enjoy the cityscape at the heart of Beijing and overlook the busy aorta of China glowing in the dark.
• Type: Historical Sites, Architectural Buildings, Avenue, Interest & Landmarks
• Opening Hours: 5:00 ~ 22：00
• Ticket: Free
• Address: Chang'an Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing北京市东城区长安街
Beijing Olympic Park (Chinese: 奥林匹克公园 Pinyin: ào lín pǐ kè gōng yuán), also called Olympic Green, is another wonderful site to enjoy the nightscape of Beijing. Built for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the Bird's Nest and Water Cube are inside the park, and lit up in red, blue or multiple-colored. You will be amazed at the two magnificent buildings and complete your traveling experience by enjoy the modern architectural masterpieces.
• Type: Sights & Landmarks, Parks
• Opening Hours: 6:30 - 22:00 (May - October); 7:30 - 21:30 (November - April)
• Ticket: Free (not including entrance fee of stadiums)
• Address: #15 Beichen East Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 北京市朝阳区北辰东路15号
Besides fine dinings and fancy restaurants, the night markets and food streets can not be missed during your food adventures in Beijing. The authentic Beijing snacks include sugar coated hawthorns, rolling donkey, pea flour cake, sticky rice cake with fillings, and there are also some interesting snacks that may need to take courage to try: deep fried insects and scorpions on a stick, pig's intestines in the meat broth, boiled lamb tripe, etc.
Wangfujing Food Street is the most popular night market for its convenient location and large-scaled snack stalls. It covers an area of more than 2,000 square meters with complete facilities and opens 24 hours. Besides different kinds of stalls selling takeouts and kebabs, such as barbecue kebabs, sugar coated gourds, tea soup, pancakes and fruits, etc. Sometimes, you can even find snacks from other countries.
• Chinese: 王府井小吃街 • Pinyin: wáng fǔ jǐng xiǎo chī jiē
• Location: Wangfujing Food Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing 北京东城区王府井小吃街
Since there are many embassies around Guijie, which also makes it convenient for foreign tourists and staff in Beijing to enjoy the authentic Chinese cuisines. It opens for 24 hours. Ninety percent of the stores at Guijie are restaurants, selling many well-known snacks and food in Beijing, Besides the traditional Beijing food, the most recommended food here is the spicy crayfish (麻辣小龙虾，má xiǎo) , the spicy crab, the frog hot pot and the roast fish.
• Chinese: 簋街 • Pinyin: guǐ jiē
• Location: Dongzhimen Inner Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing 北京市东城区东直门内大街
Shichahai (Shicha Sea 什刹海) is a huge artificial lake, which belonged to the old royal family in the ancient time. The nightscape here is very beautiful. The Shichahai food zone includes Houhai Bar Street, Yandaixie Street, Yinyingqiao Food Street and Drum Tower of Di'anmen Outer Street. Hundreds of restaurants are gathered here. Some have been built here since the Qing Dynasty. More than 300 kinds of Beijing snacks gathered here, let alone international food and regional cuisines. Gourmet food, beautiful scenery, featured bars, all can be found in Shichahai Food Zone.
• Chinese: 什刹海小吃街 • Pinyin: shí shā hǎi xiǎo chī jiē
• Location: Yinding Bridge, Houhai, Xicheng District, Beijing 北京西城区后海银锭桥
Besides enjoying the nightscape of Beijing and hunting for food at different night markets, you can always find a place to shop. Wangfujing has been the most famous shopping area since decades ago, and you can buy souvenirs and featured gifts, like handcrafts and packed Beijing snacks. For younger generations, you are more recommended to go to Sanlitun where you can find more fashionable brands and products. Shopping with kids, the lakeside shopping mall, Solana may be a good choice.
With the convenient location near Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City, crowded with numerous all kind of shops and restaurants, Wangfujing Street is the busiest and most prosperous commercial street in Beijing. Equipped with numerous upscale shops and boutiques, it has been a vibrant shopping area for both local people and foreign tourists for a long time. There are many world-famous brands and most of shop keepers have a good knowledge of English. There are many time-honored stores, including Ruifuxiang Silk & Cotton Shop (瑞蚨祥) Shengxifu Hat Store (盛锡福), Gongmei Mansion (工美大厦) and Mass at Oriental Plaza (东方新天地) and so on. Apart from shopping, Wangfujing Street is also a good place to taste street food and enjoy the nightscape.
• Chinese: 王府井大街 • Pinyin: wáng fǔ jǐng dà jiē
• Location: Wangfujing Avenue, Dongcheng District, Beijing 北京市东城区王府井大街
Known for its fashionable dining and nightlife scene, Sanlitun is a popular destination for shopping, dining and entertainment, which contains many bar streets and international stores. There, you can find the massive shopping mall Taikoo Li. It is an open shopping area, composed of 19 modern buildings. You can find many world-famous brands ranging from luxury shops to forefront designer brands, such as Adidas, Uniqlo, Mango, Puma, Balenciaga, Apple and Coach in these 19 buildings.
• Chinese: 三里屯 • Pinyin: sān lǐ tún
• Location: Sanlitun, Chaoyang District, Beijing 北京朝阳区三里屯
Inside Chaoyang Park and next to the Crowne Plaza and Lido Hotels, Solana is a fairly large mall which has both closed and open areas where you can shop, stroll and eat. It is a shopping area where the whole family can have fun in one place. There are many good options available inside the mall for kids ice skating area and arcade games. Also, there are many different shops and the price level is medium and acceptable without the exaggerated high price like Sephora, Zara and Esprit, except for the luxury brands such as Gucci, LViton or Armani. Since it is built by a lake, the night view is very stunning at night, especially in summer.
• Chinese: 蓝色港湾 • Pinyin: lán sè gǎng wān
• Location: Solana, Houhai, Chaoyang District, Beijing 北京朝阳区蓝色港湾
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