Sandwiched in a four square kilometer area between the Third and Fourth Ring Roads, the CBD is the financial center of the city. Modern high rises, luxury shopping, five-star hotels, and major companies make up much of the environment. The famous CCTV Tower, or “Big Pants,” is CBD’s most recognizable landmark. Located just south of CBD, Shuangjing was once a no man’s land of factories, but is now home to higher-end housing. With one of the highest concentrations of residential compounds in Chaoyang District, Shuangjing has a diverse population of white-collar locals and expat families who have settled in the area due to its proximity to schools and CBD workplaces.
+ Easy to get to other parts of the city due to subway lines and buses
+ Plenty of shopping in the area
+ Attractions in areas nearby
+ Great F&B scene
+ An active expat community with frequent events such as the Shuangjing Block Party
– Heaviest traffic in the city
– Pollution gets heavy
– Additional school options for older children requires a commute
– One public park area shared with Shuangjing
– Not much authentic Beijing culture
– Most green space is within compounds rather than publicly shared
Residential compounds abound in CBD. The aptly named Central Park features a central location in a large compound filled with restaurants, shops, cafes, beauty services, and even a bakery. Central Park has its own indoor swimming pool, sauna, squash court, and gym. Gemdale International Garden and the nearby shopping center Gemdale Plaza, also have a real neighborhood feel, with on-site markets, restaurants, cafes, a post office, a gym, a swimming pool, and a children’s playground. Pingod, nicknamed “Apple Community,” is another large compound with a good selection of convenience stores, close public transport, and shops. Adjacent to Viva Mall, Fulicheng has a gym and health club, children’s play areas, and a clubhouse. Landgent International apartments surround a man-made lake and central garden and is located near Carrefour, cafes, florists, laundry services, post office, and banks.
There are plenty of schools in Beijing’s CBD and Shuangjing neighborhoods including Beijing City International School (BCIS) and Yew Chung International School of Beijing (YCIS, Beijing) which offer grades from kindergarten to high school, while Etonkids International Bilingual Kindergartens, Ivy Academy, and the Canadian International School of Beijing’s Jianguomen campus offer learning for students just beginning their academic careers.
CBD has a number of high-end shopping malls frequented by business travelers, expats, and locals, such as Shin Kong Place, China World Mall, Kerry Center, and the LEED-certified Parkview Green. For more mid-range options, The Place has Zara, H&M, and Uniqlo. In Shuangjing, Carrefour, Decathlon, Viva Mall, and the recently completed Hopson One Mall are within walking distance of the area’s many residential compounds.
Restaurants tend to be concentrated in malls or compounds. For example, Central Park has several options such as The Woods (Modern European), Thai Lime Cafe, and LMPlus (Italian), while The Place has Moka Bros and Herbal Cafe (Cantonese). China World Mall and its labyrinth of connected buildings in Guomao also have a plethora of fun restaurants, including Migas Mercado, Arcade By Hatchery, and Beersmith Gastropub. Shuangjing has recently gained expat favorites like Q Mex and Blue Frog, and is continuing to grow in its offerings by the month.
Where to Play
For outdoor activities, Ritan Park is a green oasis in the middle of the CBD’s concrete jungle. It’s a great place to let kids burn off their energy and learn about some Beijing history and culture. There are also some modern-day touches, like a climbing wall and a decent playground. The Place is home to a number of great kids play areas both inside and outside the facility, including kid’s work out space, My Gym. Parkview Green is more upscale, with filtered air for polluted days. A regular destination at Parkview Green for visiting mums and babies is Little Oasis, a popular indoor play area. Moms would be glad to know that breastfeeding and baby changing rooms are particularly plentiful and clean at this fancy shopping mall. For more kid friendly cultural events, Ready Reading Library is a bilingual kid’s library offering an extensive selection of books catered towards children under the age of nine. They also sell an array of kid’s toys, organize arts and crafts classes, and often put on fun live storytelling events.
Photos: Kipp Whittaker
This article appeared on p18-29 of beijingkids July 2018 Home & Relocation Guide issue