Weekends and public holidays in Beijing can be anything you want them to be, from hiking at the Great Wall to ice skating at a mall. Pollution is a fact of life here, so the city has a number of indoor and outdoor venues suitable for tots to teens. The following suggestions are designed to get you started on your discovery of the
capital. For complete addresses, contact information, and more day trips and weekend fun ideas, visit our website at www.beijing-kids.com.
Play Centers and Family Fun
Ages 1-8. Play centers have come and gone over the years, but this Gongti fixture has catered to local and expat families alike for over 17 years. Though it’s a bit rough around the edges, Fundazzle is a birthday party favorite for its huge jungle gym, ball pit, arcade games, inflatable climbing wall, sandbox, and fishing pool. Drawbacks include the Chinese-style bathrooms and the staff’s lack of English, but it’s cheap and you know exactly what you’re getting.
StarTrooper Laser Tag 激光搏击
Ages 10+. StarTrooper Laser Tag lets older kids and the young-at-heart to give in to their Star Wars fantasies by using laser guns to eliminate opponents. StarTrooper also has a pool table, arcade games, and a concession stand for some post-game entertainment. The entire venue can be rented out for birthday parties.
Adventure Zone 探险乐园
Ages 4-12. Located within the Kerry Centre, this year-old center features top-of-the-line play equipment imported from the US – including a stomach-churning 9m slide with a 90° drop. There are gentler slides for younger kids and more timid parents, as well as a multi-level climbing structure and a section just for toddlers. Be prepared, however; this is one of the pricier options for indoor fun.
EE City 蓝天城
Ages 5-12. This 18,600sqm center at Joy City Chaoyang allows kids to role-play 84 different jobs by dressing up in uniforms and trying various tasks. Careers include firefighter, cashier, police officer, travel agent, TV anchor, submarine operator, and more. There are two 4.5-hour sessions daily, with each “career session” lasting 30 minutes and led by adult facilitators. We recommend planning in advance which careers your child would like to try out, as they’re likely to only do three or four per visit.
Also check out: New City Center, SMJ
Bowling, U-Speed Go-Karting, Family Box, Mitty Jump, Le Kids!
Indigo Mall 颐堤港
All ages. Located just south of 798 Art
District, Indigo Mall opened in 2012 and has grown into a popular family hangout. The mall hosts regular kids’ events in its airy atrium space. In the warmer months, families can access the free Indigo Playground out back, which features a fountain and two play areas connected by a garden. Indigo Mall also has numerous restaurants, children’s brands, and play centers.
Solana Lifestyle Shopping Park 蓝色港湾
All ages. Located a stone’s throw away from Chaoyang Park, this family favorite has been open since 2008 and carries brand names like Zara Home, H&M, Mothercare, and more. The village-style layout offers plenty of space for kids to run around in; the central plaza, with its fountains and whimsical decorations, is particularly popular. Indoors, there’s an entire children’s wing with play facilities and family-oriented shops. Solana also has a cinema, western restaurants, and an indoor ice rink.
Tai Koo Li Sanlitun 太古里三里屯
All ages. The area in and around Tai Koo Li Sanlitun is an expat hub, with loads of international shops, restaurants, bars, beauty services, and more. In the summer, the fountains in front of the Apple Store attract lots of kids, who play and run through the water jets as their parents look on. Tai Koo Li also has a Megabox Cinema that shows Hollywood films and a Coldstone Creamery for hot-weather treats.
Also check out: Kerry Centre, Wangjing SOHO, Parkview Green, The Place
798 Art District 798艺术区
All ages. Suitable for art lovers, 798 Art District is a complex of decommissioned munitions factories that have been turned into shops, galleries, cafes, and artists’ studios. For kids under 12, UCCA Creative Studio runs weekly bilingual art classes and workshops inspired by the seasons and the gallery’s current exhibitions. Even if your kids aren’t really into art, they’ll have fun touching, exploring, and playing around the many sculptures and graffiti murals dotting the compound.
The Great Wall
When it comes to Beijing’s most famous attraction, not all sections are created equal. Avoid at all costs the crowded and reconstructed Badaling in favor of quieter and more authentic segments. A good choice for families is Mutianyu, which is broad and smooth enough for even young children to walk on. The nearby Schoolhouse and Brickyard Inn and Retreat offer a great place to recharge and eat lunch, and Bohai Township can be combined with the Great Wall for a relaxed day trip. Active families with older kids can hike wilder, unrestored sections of the Wall. Note that some sections involve steep climbs and crumbling ramparts, so explore at your own risk.
Also check out: Panjiayuan Antiques Market, Beihai Park, other sections of the Great Wall (such as Jinshanling, Gubeikou, or Huanghuacheng)
Chaoyang Park 朝阳公园
As the largest park in Beijing, Chaoyang Park is a no-brainer for families; entrance fees are cheap and there’s lots of space to play. Young visitors can fly kites, rent a pedal boat for the lake, go on fairground rides (including a merry-go-round and bumper cars), or play on the bouncy castle. There’s also a treetop obstacle course called Happy Gorilla with a network of bridges, swings, and zip lines.
Si’de Park 四得公园
Located in Lido, this modest but well-maintained park is a popular destination for families of all stripes. Si’de Park features a running track that winds around the park, a roller skating rink, a fishing pond, soccer pitches, a playground, an indoor funhouse, a bouncy castle, and fairground rides.
Ritan Park 日坛公园
This free park has beautiful foliage in the fall due to its many gingko trees. Located in the Ritan embassy district, it has a supervised outdoor rock climbing wall, an extensive “people’s gym,” and a central pavilion with decent views of the surrounding area.
Also check out: Tuanjiehu Park, Ditan Park, Olympic Forest Park, and Fragrant Hills
Beijing Wildlife Park 北京野生动物园
All ages. This conservation park covers over 14,000sqm and is home to more than 10,000 animals. The park is split into two sections, with one half containing large animals such as deer, lions, tigers, and bears and the other half housing smaller animals and birds. There are also restaurants, cafes, and places suitable for a picnic onsite.
Blue Zoo Beijing 富国海底世界
All ages. Located at the south gate of Worker’s Stadium, Blue Zoo Beijing is worth about half a day’s visit. Visitors can spot parrot fish, nurse sharks, leopard sharks, stingrays, moray eels, daily mermaid shows, and the occasional underwater marriage ceremony. This is also where SinoScuba holds confined water sessions for the PADI Open Water certification.
Beijing Aquarium 北京海洋馆
Not to be confused with Blue Zoo Beijing, Beijing Aquarium is adjacent to Beijing Zoo in Haidian District. The aquarium features a rainforest zone where families can feed fish for an extra fee, a Whale and Dolphin Discovery zone, and a Marine Mammal Pavilion. There are also daily dolphin and sea lion shows.
Also check out: Beijing Zoo, Milu Deer Park, Hanshiqiao Nature Reserve, Olympic Forest Park for bird-watching.
This article originally appeared in the 2015 beijingkids Home and Relocation Guide. Click here to read the issue for free on Issuu.com. To find out how you can get your own copy, email firstname.lastname@example.org.