Whether it’s sunny or rainy, a visit to the glasses and antique market found at Panjiayuan is always a great idea. If you haven’t been before, this place is really a must for some real Chinese adventure! In particular, there are two parts to Panjiayuan that are worth a visit: the glasses market and the antique market.
Why the glasses market? If you don’t wear glasses, you are still 80 percent likely to leave with a pair. There are so many to choose from and after a few minutes of strolling around with a friend you will inevitably find yourself trying a pair on, turning to your friend and asking, “Do these look good on me?” a question that will be repeated 100 times in the course of the next couple hours. You may even get your eyes checked out, just in case. I actually went four or five years ago after I realized I couldn’t read the subtitles of a movie. (I was clueless to the fact that my eyesight was going a little bit.) I ended up leaving with glasses and the place has been a favorite Beijing go-to spot for me since.
The second stop to check out is across the street and is known in Beijing as the Panjiayuan Antique Market. There are some great finds here. Among them are jewelry, furniture, beads, statues made of bronze and copper, and garments. The last time I visited, I found an amazing man selling what seemed to be real silver. I bought about eight rings to give family members for Christmas.
Both of these spots are relatively stroller friendly. The glasses market has an elevator and the antiques market has walkways throughout big enough for mom and baby. I recommend allotting half a day or so to visit these two spots. They also make a great outing with visiting friends or family. Eat before you go or plan a meal afterwards because there isn’t much around in terms of dining. For extra adventure, take the subway there and for extra-extra adventure go in a rainstorm! This is what we did last time and we still had a great day.
Theresa Pauline is a yoga teacher, social entrepreneur, momma, wife, and beijingkids contributor. You can find out more about her at www.taozitreeyoga.com
Photos: Courtesy of Theresa Pauline