Looking at Workers’ Stadium with a family view
As the Olympics fast approach, the area affectionately known as “Gongti” is changing by the day, beginning with the recently refurbished Workers’ Stadium and Gymnasium and continuing with openings of new shops and restaurants, in addition to improvements to old venues. Walk around, and you’ll quickly realize it has more to offer than just bars and clubs. There are also plenty of wholesome activities that will appeal to both children and parents, including art galleries, bookshops, sports and playgrounds.
Whether you like musicals, dance, drama or the symphony, Poly Theatre is where Beijingers go to experience a variety of performances, month in and month out. The theater has already played host to numerous significant productions, including Mamma Mia!, Cats, Dancing Queen and performances of traditional Chinese arts like kunqu and ethnic dancing. Poly Theatre, 14 Dongzhimen Nandajie, Dongcheng District (6500 1188 ext 5126/5127) www.polytheatre.com 保利剧院, 东城区东直门南大街14号保利大厦1层
Workers’ Stadium and Gymnasium
The name “Gongti” is derived from these two sports venues, both of which have been newly renovated. The Workers’ Gymnasium, built in 1961, will host the 2008 Olympic boxing events, while football will be held in the oval-shaped Workers’ Stadium, built in 1959. Gongti Beilu, Chaoyang District (Gymnasium 6501 6300) (Stadium 6501 6655 ext 5033) 工人体育馆/工人体育场, 朝阳区工体北路
This bright and elaborately decorated Taiwanese restaurant boasts southern-style Chinese and fusion dishes, in addition to shaved ice with fruit and a multitude of other desserts. The menu also bursts with healthy options like a divine claypot tofu and dragon bean stir-fry. Bellagio Daily 11am-5am. 6 Gongti Xilu, (south of the Gongti 100 Bowling Alley), Chaoyang District (6551 3533) 鹿港小镇, 朝阳区工体西路6号(工体100南边)
Blue Zoo Beijing
This sailboat-shaped aquarium is located under the artificial lake beside the Workers’ Stadium, covers 7,800 square meters and features 600 species of marine animals. Two shows offered two times a day – shark feeding and mermaids swimming with turtles – will be sure to awe the kids. Blue Zoo Beijing RMB 75 (RMB 50 for kids under 12 years old, free for kids under 1m). Daily 8am-8pm (summer), 8.30am-6.30pm (winter). Workers’ Stadium South Gate, Chaoyang District (6591 3397) 富国海底世界, 朝阳区工人体育场南门
With summer fast approaching, what would be better than a big scoop of ice cream? Located on the north end of Sanlitun Lu, Gustomenta offers ice cream as you’d find it in Verona, Italy: simple and elegant gelatos with flavors ranging from fruity mango and blueberry to rich chocolate and tiramisu. 7.30am-midnight, Sat-Sun 9am-midnight. East of Bldg 24, Sanlitun Lu, Chaoyang District (6417 8890) 朝阳区三里屯路24号楼东侧.
This popular lending library and bookshop offers one of the best selections of English language books and magazines in town. In addition to being a peaceful place to relax, The Bookworm also hosts literary events for adults and children during the week. Daily 9am-2am. Courtyard 4, Gongti Beilu, Chaoyang District (6586 9507, Kids Club: 138 1163 7831, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com) www.beijingbookworm.com书虫书吧, 朝阳区工体北路4号院
Beijing’s only purveyor of Persian cuisine serves mouthwatering grilled meats and seafood dishes. Be sure to sample the city’s best hummus! This restaurant combines tasty cuisine and child-friendly fun – a kids’ playroom allows your kids to bounce around while parents enjoy the chic ambiance. Rumi Noon-midnight. 1A Gongti Beilu (opposite Zhaolong Hotel), Chaoyang District (8454 3838) 入迷, 朝阳区工体北路甲1号(兆龙饭店对面)
Any child’s playpen paradise, this cavernous indoor playground has a huge two-story jungle gym, trampolines and a toddler’s area with toy houses, a labyrinth, a ball pool and seesaws. Fundazzle RMB 30 (kids), adults free except on weekends, when entry costs RMB 15. Mon-Fri 9am-5.30pm, Sat-Sun and public holidays 9am-7pm. Gongti Nanlu, Chaoyang District (6593 6208) 翻斗乐, 朝阳区工体南路