Try a Temple Fair
Beijing will hold temple fairs, or miaohui (庙会) to ring in the Chinese New Year from February 2-9. These fairs have traditional performances regional snacks and arts and crafts for sale. Ditan Park has Beijing’s biggest traditional temple fair, featuring crafts by folk artists and kung fu demonstrations. Also check out Longtan Park’s (龙潭庙会, 龙潭公园) festivities – a fair famous for their local performance competitions including stilt-walking and boat dancing (two people rowing a canoe made of paper). Referred to as the "International Spring Festival Carnival," Chaoyang Park’s Temple Fair (朝阳公园庙会) displays a mix of Eastern and Western culture in music, dancing and acrobats.
9am-5pm. Price RMB 10. Ditan Park, Andingmenwai Dajien, Dongcheng District (6421 4657); 东城区安定门外大街地坛公园www.dtpark.com
7am-5pm. RMB 10. Longtan Park, 8 Longtan Lu, Chongwen District (6714 4336); 崇文区龙潭路8号龙潭公园8am-5pm. RMB 10. Chaoyang Park, 1 Chaoyanggongyuan Nanlu, Chaoyang District (6506 5409); 朝阳区朝阳公园南路1号朝阳公园www.sun-park.com
Modern Takes On Chinese Traditions
The Olympic Sports Center Temple Fair (国家奥林匹克中心体育场庙会) is a sports-themed temple fair with yoga, boxing, golf, mixed martial arts, taekwondo and promises of stunt driving displays. For another take on temple fairs, head to Zhongguancun Square, where kids can explore a sports area, a science and technology area and video gaming zone.
9am-5pm. RMB TBD. Olympic Sports Center, South Side of the North Fourth Ring Road (6491 2233); 北四环中路南侧国家奥林匹克中心体育中心体育场
9am-5pm. Free. Zhongguancun Pedestrian Street, Zhongguancun Square, Haidian District; 海淀区中关村广场步行街
Dumplings, or jiaozi are a must-have during Chinese New Year. Due to their resemblance to ancient Chinese money (yuanbao), they represent good fortune. Try a range of savory treasures at Dintaifung or attend one of China Culture Center’s cookery classes to make your own. See Feature and Jan 8 event listing for details. And don’t forget dessert: Tangyuan (汤圆) is a tender sticky rice ball with a sweet filing and is typically eaten on the last day of Spring Festival. It can be found in the frozen food section at your local supermarket. Drop a few of them in boiling water and serve with the soupy broth. Other traditional chunjie fare include smoked meat, a sticky cake called niangao and flower-shaped bread called zaohua mo.
Do a Triple Lutz
Let your little ones twirl to their heart’s content. Take advantage of the frozen lake of Houhai where the adventurous can also test drive their speedy ice bikes. See What’s Fun In. If the lake has not frozen over, try one of Beijing’s indoor winter playgrounds. Le Cool in Guomao, All Star Champion Skating Club in Solana or Ice Zone in Shunyi are all great family-friendly options for skating. See listings for details.
Visit an Ice Festival
Ice and snow get carved into their top form at the Harbin Ice Festival, which begins on January 5 and lasts until the end of February. Visit the Ice Lantern Festival for colored lights that glow through ice sculptures. Also, check out the snow sculptures on Sun Island as well as the Siberian tiger and lion park. If Harbin weather is too frigid and the destination too far, consider Longqing Ice and Snow Festival, only 90km northwest of Beijing. See Day Tripper for details.
Take a Hike
Join Bejing Hikers for a friendly-family hike through Intelligence Valley. It is an easy, flat 5km hike that takes about two and a half hours. Parents should note that there will be some walking on ice. The hike ends with a home-style meal prepared by a local farmer. Hikers can also join the Season Series – where the same hikes are repeated throughout the seasons of the year. See Jan 16 listing for details.
Cabin Fever Cures
If the cold weather has you trapped indoors, make the most of your time with some cooking and craft fun. Easy Kids Recipes (www.easy-kids-recipes.com) has kid-friendly recipes from peanut butter banana cookies to peppermint pretzels. For more recipes, visit www.childrensrecipes.com. And for nifty crafts, check out the arts and crafts section of Amazingmoms.com, which has craft project ideas for ages 3 and up. Kids will love making potato prints or a felted apple. Check Cutoutandkeep.net for activities suitable for older children.
Carve Up the Mountains
Beijing has plenty of snow-covered mountains for skiiers and snowboarders. Join The Familier for a day trip to Nanshan Ski Resort, which has long steep slopes for experienced skiiers as well as flat areas for the ski bunnies. Kids will beg to go snow tubing or for a ride down the speedy luge. See Jan 22 listing. In addition, Culture Yard is hosting a weekend trip to Duolemeidi Ski Resort in Chongli County. See Jan 15 listing for details.
Snow in the Bird’s Nest
Known as the Bird’s Nest, The National Stadium is hosting its second annual Happy Snow Season. Kids will delight in the "snow paradise" that includes a castle, snow maze and snow cube. There is also a DIY chocolate station. Activities will be inside the stadium as well as at the warm-up fields to the north. For details, see Ongoing event listing under Children’s Snow Paradise at The Bird’s Nest.
Snuggle Up to a Book
On Sunday, head to The Bookworm for story telling and games suitable for ages 4 and up. See Ongoing event listing. Or choose your own paperboundadventure from Chaterhouse Booktrader in Shunyi or Poplar Kids Republic Bookstore in CBD. See Directory for listings under Shopping.