12 Must-Do Experiences in Beijing

From cooking classes to high tea, and from pedicab tours to sidecar excursions, some experiences just shouldn’t be missed in China’s capital city.

3 Hufang Rd, Xicheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China
While visiting Beijing on a Fulbright over the summer, we were given the opportunity to attend a traditional Peking Opera. Though the show was entirely in Mandarin, it was highly entertaining and lively. The vibrant colors of the venue, coupled with a mystic, historic ambiance makes the Huguang Guild Opera Theatre, the oldest Peking opera house, one of the most atmospheric.
2 Jiuxianqiao Rd, Chaoyang Qu, Beijing Shi, China
How a complex of German-built factories became one of East Asia’s hottest art destinations is also the story of modern China. When construction on a number of electronics factories began in Dashanzi in 1956, the area was farmland. Joint Factory 718 was built and a decade later divided into smaller factories, including Factory 798. By the mid-’90s, the factories had shut down and Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts, lured by cheap space, had moved out to Dashanzi. Interest snowballed, and soon more artists were setting up shop in these abandoned industrial spaces. Today, 798 is a powerhouse of contemporary Chinese art, with major galleries like UCCA, Long March Space, and Pace Beijing, as well as a few restaurants, shops, and even hotels.
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