The 798 art district isn’t just for hipsters and the art-savvy – the wide lanes are ideal for a stroll with the family through sunny, tree-lined lanes. The complex was originally designed as electronics and munitions factories by East German engineers in the early 1950s and given the charming designation of 798. After the factories closed, artists looking for cheap studio space moved in during the late 1990s, and the opening of several key galleries propelled the district into popular consciousness in 2003. Now the upscale restaurants, galleries with rotating exhibitions and charming shops that currently occupy the space make for a fun family outing. Spend a day there with the young ones – pop into photography, painting and sculpture galleries, pick up fun postcards, peruse the bookstores, and dine at outdoor eateries. Most cafes here offer fare that will whet kid appetites (smoothies, sandwiches and fruit plates) and parents’ coffee cravings. Older kids will like the gigantic, miraculous and colorful outdoor sculptures that dot the lanes – most double as a textural paradise kids can get their hands on. Check out the colorful dinosaur sculptures or the giant tree covered in red thread with red globes hanging from branches that are currently on display. End the day by dining at an outdoor restaurant in this bustling hub. Just try to avoid going on Mondays when most of the galleries aren’t open to the public.Galleria Continua
Its giant three-story structure in the center of 798 exhibits fine contemporary art from Italy and the world. They specialize in large installations.
Tue-Sun 11am-6pm. Dashanzi art district, 2 Jiuxianqiao Lu, Chaoyang District. (5978 9505) www.galleriacontinua.com
常青画廊, 朝阳区酒仙桥路2号798大山子艺术区 Long March Space
Committed to the promotion of Chinese arts abroad, the Long March has been one of the most influential players on the arts scene. It consistently manages to show
an interesting cross-section of versatile new artists working in different media. Tue-Sun 11am-7pm. Dashanzi art district, 4 Jiuxianqiao Lu, Chaoyang District. (6438 7107, email@example.com) www.longmarchspace.com
长征空间, 朝阳区大山子艺术区 798 Space
The namesake of the 798 area and a factory space that once produced weapons. Now you can catch an occasional exhibit in between high couture product launches that draw crowds at night. Daily 10am-7pm. Dashanzi art district, 4 Jiuxianqiao Lu, Chaoyang
District. (6438 4862, 6437 6248) www.798space.com
798 时态空间, 朝阳区酒仙桥路4号798大山子艺术区 Iberia Coffee
Don’t let the name fool you: Iberia Coffee is a lot more than a café. If you want a quiet coffee, the Iberia will oblige. If your conversation is still going strong as the sun goes down, order up some tapas (RMB 10-48) and a glass of Spanish sherry (RMB 20-30). Feed kiddies with a range of pastas (RMB 25-35), main courses (RMB 38-88) and superb paellas (RMB 150 for two, 268 for four). Daily 10am-8pm. Shop E06, 798 Art Zone, 4 Jiuxianqiao Lu, Chaoyang District. (5978 9532) www.iberiart.org
伊比利亚咖啡,朝阳区酒仙桥路4号798艺术区E06 Timezone 8
This shop sells an amazing selection of fashion and art books from both local and foreign publishers. They also offer Chinese teas, fresh fruit smoothies and selection of healthy and light cuisine. On Saturdays they play host to regular book talks.
Daily 10am-8pm. Dashanzi art district, 4 Jiuxianqiao Lu, Chaoyang District. (8456 0336) www.timezone8.com
现代书店北京艺术书屋, 朝阳区酒仙桥路4号798大山子艺术区 Ullens Center for Contemporary Art
This giant space has some of the coolest 3-D artwork in 798 – always interesting to those who grow fatigued at gazing at paintings all day. Check out “Breaking Through The Ice,” an exhibition by Qiu Zhijie on display until May 25, an enormous model of a ship fracturing blocks of “ice” (actually wax). The store attached has great T-shirts, artsy computer cases and other cool accessories. RMB 10 (age 65 and over, students), RMB 20 (groups of more than 10 people), RMB 30 (adults). Free on Thursdays. Free for children under 1.3 meters. Tue-Sun 10am-7pm. Dashanzi art district, 4 Jiuxianqiao Lu, Chaoyang District. (8459 9269) www.ucca.org.cn
尤伦斯当代艺术中心, 朝阳区酒仙桥路4号大山子艺术区 Text adapted from Beijing by Foot, published by Immersion Guides. To order a copy, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 5820 7101.