Forget about the late night crowds that flock to the flashy nightclubs surrounding Workers’ Stadium. In the light of day, Workers’ Stadium can be a lot of fun for families. This convenient location is a great place to take a leisurely stroll or watch the locals flying kites (at the north entrance). Also known as Gongti, Workers’ Stadium is the venue for Beijing’s football (soccer) matches. The stadium was constructed in 1959 for the 10th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China and was last renovated in 2004 in preparation to host the 2008 Summer Olympic football games. When it isn’t packed with 60,000 football fans, the stadium and surrounding area make for a great day out. Satiate that hot dog craving, jump into a ball pit, dig into a great read, and finish up with a hearty pizza pie. But your first stop has got to be the Blue Zoo, Beijing’s aquarium.
Four hours (including a 15-minute snack break and one hour for a meal) is ample time for you and your family to explore Workers’ Stadium and the surrounding Gongti area.
At the Workers’ Stadium south gate, just south of the man-made lake, begin your journey at Blue Zoo (1), Beijing’s first walk-through aquarium. From the Chaoyang
Hospital bus stop (朝阳医院站), walk west along Gongti Nanlu. The 7,800sqm Blue Zoo has Asia’s longest undersea walk (120m long). Spend an hour letting your children gaze at over 6,000 species of marine creatures. There are over 20 different tanks with sharks, eels, piranhas, lobsters, starfish and more, including endangered species. Around 10am or 2.30pm, you can watch the divers feeding the fish and sharks. On the weekends, you can catch mini-lectures on marine life.
Next, head north towards Workers’ Stadium, making a right at Club LA and another right after entering the gate. Walking counter-clockwise around the stadium, you will spot Stadium Dog (2), just next to Gate 10. Hop up on a stool and enjoy a great hot dog for only RMB 20. Stadium Dog offers a variety of hot dogs: beef, Italian sausage, German bratwurst, and veggie (tofu). Next, select a white or whole wheat bun and don’t forget to take advantage of the 14 free toppings, including cheese, sauerkraut, relish, pickles, and a variety of mustards.
After your snack at Stadium Dog, walk south, exiting through the stadium’s east gate and cross a small bridge over the man-made lake. This locale is ideal for snapping family portraits. Continue south, pass through the I.O. Spa gate and make a right onto Gongti Donglu. Then make a right on Gongti Nanlu and on your right is the indoor playground Fundazzle (翻斗乐) (3). Before entering the play area, check out the toy stands and craft corner. You can purchase craft foam starting at RMB 10 and receive free instruction or sign up for 12 one-hour classes (supplies included). In addition, you may also purchase your own ceramic item to paint. Parents can bring a book or buy food at the snack bar and take a seat while children play for up to two hours. Fundazzle is a child’s dream come true – a large ball pit, a two-story jungle gym with slides and tunnels, a toddler area, arcade games (RMB 2 per game) and arts and crafts (additional fee).
After an hour or two of quality playtime at Fundazzle, it’s onto the French Cultural
Centre (4) for a bit of relaxation. Walk west along Gongti Nanlu until you reach Gongti Xilu, where you’ll find the cultural center on the corner. The French Cultural Centre has a well-stocked library of French literature, newspapers, magazines and movies. Take
advantage of the colorful kids’ corner with comfy stools and a booth. The center also has free Wi-Fi and internet, movie viewing stations, a movie theater, a café and a French bookstore. Note that all the books are in French and the movies are in French with French and Chinese subtitles (check www.ccfpekin.org for the movie schedule). Regardless of your French- or Chinese-language ability, stop by the café to rest your legs and enjoy a delectable croissant (RMB 8) with a steaming cup of hot chocolate (RMB 16).
From the cultural center, cross Gongti Xilu and head north towards Pizza Buona (5). Turn left at Destination Club onto Gongti Xilu, and there you will find Pizza Buona (just before Hotel G). After a long afternoon, you can warm up with a large delicious pizza that you can eat with your hands! Pizza Buona offers all of the typical toppings, including extra cheese, pepperoni and veggies. To round out your meal, order some savory mushroom soup and a fresh Caesar salad. (Be sure to pick up a delivery menu on the way out to take advantage of the restaurant’s free delivery.) After you’ve filled your bellies with tasty delights, take the kids bowling at Gongti 100 (6)
. Hit the lanes and play this sport that welcomes even the most uncoordinated. When the kids (or parents) get tired, head north up Gongti Xilu, turn left onto Gongti Beilu and walk west to reach Dongsishitiao (东四十条) subway station or Dongsishitiao bus stop.
1) Blue Zoo 富国海底世界. Daily 8am-8pm (summer), 8:30am-6:30pm (winter). RMB 75 for adults. RMB 50 (students and children 12 and under), free for children under 1m. South Gate of Workers Stadium, Chaoyang District (6591 3397) 工人体育场南门
Getting there: Chaoyangmen subway stop
(朝阳们) on Line 2. Bus 110, 118, 120, 403, 43, 813 to Chaoyang Hospital Stop (朝阳医院站) (Note: The Chaoyangmen subway station is a bit of a walk to Blue Zoo; you may want to hop on a bus or take a short taxi ride from the subway stop.)
2) Stadium Dog
. Daily 10am-6pm. Gongti East Gate near Gate 10 (6546 8364) 工体东门
翻斗乐. Mon-Fri 9am-5.30pm; Sat-Sun 9am-7pm. RMB 35 for children for 2 hours. Adults RMB 15 on weekends, but if your child is under 1m tall adults are free. Membership is RMB 180 per month. Craft lessons with foam: RMB 360 per person below 3; RMB 480 for 3 years and up. Gongrentiyuchang Nanlu (6593 6208) 朝阳区工体南路.
4) French Cultural Centre
法国文化中心 Daily 9am-6pm. Monthly fee: RMB 50, RMB 25 (students). 1/F, Guangcai International Mansion, 18 Gongrentiyuchang Xilu (6553 2627) 朝阳区工体西路18号
5) Pizza Buona
百好乐 Daily 10.30am-midnight. 7 Gongti Xilu, Chaoyang District (6551 3518) 朝阳区工体西路7号
6) Gongti 100 工体100 Daily 9am-1am. RMB 40 per game, RMB 5 for shoe rental. 6 Gongti Xilu, Chaoyang District (6552 2688) 朝阳区工体西路6号