If the inner districts and old city are Beijing’s heart, the Chao Yang district is the modern face of China’s capital. It is the city’s Central Business District and the place where the nation decided to build the Olympic Green for the 2008 Summer Games, so it is well on its way to complementing the historical draw of nearby Dong Cheng and Chong Wen. And seeing as it is right next door to the city centre, why not escape the crowds by booking one of our Chao Yang hotels?
If you catch a flight to Beijing, chances are you will land in Chao Yang, which is home to the Beijing Capital International Airport. Between it and inner Beijing you’ll find some of the best pockets of modern shopping, entertainment and contemporary cultural venues the capital has to offer.
Sanlitun is a hotbed of western-branded retail stores, tree and restaurant-lined avenues, and first-rate clubs and bars, so those who imagine Beijing offers a lot of history but little leisure are wrong. The area even has kebab and fish n’ chips shops that cater to the late night crowds! Sanlitun is less than two kilometres directly east of the inner city and, along with Worker’s Stadium, is good for a break from the popular sights.
The modern arts scene in Beijing became hip when it converted early-Cold War military industrial buildings into galleries and artistic institutions in the 1980s and 90s. The Dashanzi Art District – still affectionately known as Factory 798 or 798 Art Zone to many – has outgrown its obscure roots as contemporary art has gained footing and government acceptance, while also bringing more tour visits and better transportation to the area. This is where to go to see the current direction of Chinese art.
If that hasn’t scratched your creative itch, you can visit the China National Film Museum, the National Museum of Modern Chinese Literature and more. The most impressive showcase of the influence and culture of China, however, has to be the Olympic Village. Just a chance to see The Bird’s Nest (Beijing National Stadium) and adjacent Water Cube up close (Beijing National Aquatics Centre) alone is worth the trouble.
Chao Yang is also perfect when you just need somewhere to unwind. Crab Island is an artificial beach attraction with real sand, waves and waterslides, all free of charge. If you have young children with you, head to Fundazzle, an immense indoor playground. Supervising adults enter for free on weekdays – just resist the temptation to jump into their giant ball pit! Then, at The Big East Ocean Gymnastic Club you can have a spa session followed up with a live comedy show to watch while dressed in comfortable pajamas, a truly memorable experience.
So wot are you waiting for? This is one of Beijing’s best districts, so book from our range of Chao Yang accommodation to see what all the fuss is about!
Image credit Charlie Fong