A friendly city brimming with history and culture, Beijing boasts a wealth of attractions and activities for people of all backgrounds. A well-known downside to the beautiful city and an unfortunate byproduct of being one of the world’s largest metropolitan centres is the level of pollution in Beijing, and, in many cases, expats have trouble adjusting to the smog and grime.
Those who overcome the challenges of pollution and overcrowding will find that Beijing offers great shopping opportunities at malls and markets, vibrant nightlife and highly anticipated annual events at a range of exciting entertainment venues. It also offers delicious local and international dining options, world-class sports facilities and stunning natural beauty.
Shopping in Beijing
There are endless options for shopping in Beijing, whether one is on the prowl for high-end products or cheap market items. Large malls and department stores are dotted around the city, while markets are ever-popular attractions throughout Beijing’s suburbs.
Wangfujing is arguably the most famous shopping street in Beijing, and expats are likely to find almost anything they’re looking for there, from international fashion brands to local Chinese trinkets and electronic goods. Other prominent shopping districts include Xidan Commercial Street and Taikoo Li Sanlitun.
Nightlife in Beijing
The nightlife scene in Beijing is vibrant and extensive, offering a wide selection of clubs, karaoke bars and cocktail lounges catering to a variety of tastes. There are endless things to see and do. Many expats in Beijing are drawn to the lakeside Houhai area as well as the foreigner-friendly establishments in Sanlitun. Gathering some friends and taking part in some good old Chinese karaoke always makes for an interesting and humorous night out, and is an obligatory initiation for many new arrivals.
Expats with cultured tastes can also enjoy traditional performances at places such as the Beijing Opera as well as venues like the Lao She Teahouse, which provides foreigners with an opportunity to enjoy traditional Chinese tea culture in a relaxed setting.
Outdoor activities in Beijing
Although the government occasionally issues warnings to limit the amount of time spent outside on days with high levels of air pollution, expats will have access to a variety of outdoor activities in Beijing. Hiking along the Great Wall is a popular pastime, with different sections offering distinct surroundings and a unique experience.
Beijing also enjoys a selection of traditional leisure activities, often centred on the city’s parks, such as kite flying, mahjong and tai chi. There are parks all over the city, with some of the most popular including the Beihai Park’s ornamental gardens and lake, the vast lawns and rollercoaster at Chaoyang Park, as well as the Ditan Park’s old-world charm.
Another popular attraction is the Beijing World Park. Built with the idea of allowing visitors to see the world without leaving Beijing, the park is situated in the city’s southwest and offers its 1.5 million annual visitors a chance to see replicas of the Statue of Liberty, the Giza Pyramids and the Venus de Milo amid a wealth of shopping, dining and entertainment options.