Beijing has been a cultural stronghold for more than 3,000 years, long before China was unified under its first emperor. The capital city’s marriage of ancient history, contemporary art, and important landmarks creates a fascinating experience for foreign travelers exploring its celebrated sights.
The Lama Temple in Beijing is the most famous Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet. The temple was converted to a lamasery (Buddhist monastery) in 1744 and remains an active place of worship. The richly decorated temple houses a stunning collection of Buddhist statues from the Qing dynasty onward, including an 18-metre-high sculpture of the Maitreya Buddha.
Sanlitun Village is a major center for shopping, dining and nightlife in Beijing, launched as part of the Olympic regeneration in 2008. Here you'll find popular retail stores such as Adidas, Uniqlo, Nike and Apple, along with luxury brands including Emporio Armani and Longchamp. Your dining options in the shopping center range from traditional Chinese to American and tapas, so you can easily refuel after your retail therapy session. On the east side of North Sanlitun Street you'll find the area known as Bar Street, home to more than 60 percent of Beijing’s bars and the undisputed heart of the city's nightlife.
798 Art District
Located in the Dashanzi area, northeast of central Beijing, the 798 Art District is a cultural hub for art and architecture. Since 2002, the movement has been taking over old government-owned factories in the area, turning their function from industry to creativity – Factory 798 itself once produced electronics. Re-purposing the old weapons factories, the district now contains studios, restaurants, and galleries that regularly host international and Chinese exhibitions.
The national stadium in Beijing, commonly called the Bird’s Nest, was built specifically for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. The Swiss and Chinese architects who collaborated on the project opted not to mask the stadium's steel structure, which allows for its distinct nest-like appearance. The stadium covers an area of almost 100 square miles and can hold 80,000 fixed seats. Since the conclusion of the Games, the stadium has become a center for recreation, tourism and domestic sports competitions. The Olympic Park in which it sits is free and open to the public, but there is a fee for entering the building.
Conveniently located just a 20-minute drive from our Radisson Blu Hotel, Beijing, the Forbidden City was home to 24 emperors during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Its name comes from the fact that no one was allowed to enter without special permission, although today it's often known as the more welcoming Palace Museum. A UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its exemplary architecture, each detail of both the exterior and interior is richly symbolic. The city is the largest palace complex in the world, with over 8,700 rooms to explore.
South of the Forbidden City lies Tiananmen Square, which once served as the entrance to the Forbidden City and today forms part of the must-see tourist trail. The northern part of the square holds the Tiananmen Tower, distinguished by the famous portrait of Chairman Mao. The Monument to the People’s Heroes, the Great Hall of the People, the Memorial Hall of Chairman Mao and the National Museum of China also line the square.