Nowadays, it is hard to flatter a teenager especially when they live in a foreign city. Beijing is a place of various cultures and it has tons of activities that cater to the interests of many clubby and sociable kids, but how about introverts? I’ve visited several artistic spots great for hanging out with friends who are interested in vintage fashion, film, or literature, or even for just a quick weekend jaunt.
Second-hand clothes in China aren’t that popular but it can never stop the spread of culture. Mega Vintage is one of the pioneer antique clothing shops in Beijing. In 2002, shop founder Liu Ke opened her first store in Gulou, which has featured clothes from the 1920s to the 1990s. As vintage clothes have gradually become a trend, Liu brought to Sanlitun her 20s jazz music and wardrobe put together with garments from all over the world. The second location of Mega Vintage opened in 2015. You may not be willing to actually wear secondhand clothes but that’s okay; I promise you will be pulled straight back to the golden age of contemporary clothing and travel in time just like Gil in Midnight in Paris.
Daily 10am-9pm. Dongcheng location: No. 241 Guloudong Dajie 鼓楼东大街241号. Chaoyang Location: 6/F 3.3 Mansion, No. 33 Sanlitun Lu 3.3大厦6层.
For French families in Beijing, Institut Francais is the closest place to home. Here you will find a library full of French literature, magazine, audiovisual resources, and so much more. The library is also a quaint place to study for free. The institute occasionally holds exhibitions on Sino- French relations or French culture. My favorite part of this place is the screening room where French movies are on display every weekends and weekdays. Worry not if you’re not French because Institut Francais is a venue for cheap movies and free children-friendly salons.
Daily 8.30am-7.30pm. No. 18 Gongti Xilu., Chaoyang District光彩国际公寓 工体西路18号
China Film Research Center and China Film Archive
Cheap movies are not always the choice of newcomers to an expensive city like Beijing. Sometimes we want to go back to the old days and revisit those classics we’ve always been watching for Christmas or other festivals. The China Film Archive has a theatre in Chaoyang District and the China Film Research Center’s movie house is in Haidian District. Different movies are on show five days a week and with tickets from RMB 10 to RMB 40. Every year on December 24, both theatres display Love Actually. So if you want a neat experience of classics films played in a cinema, definitely check them out.
China Film Research Center
Tue-Wed: 6.30pm. Thu-Fri: 7pm. Sat 1pm. No. 3 Wenhuiyuan Lu Xiaoxitian, Haidian District. 海淀区文慧园路3号, Tue-Wed: 6.30 pm, Thu-Fri: 7 pm, Sat: 1 pm
China Film Archive
Wed-Thu 7pm. Sun 4pm. No. 2 Baiziwan Nan Er Lu, Chaoyang District 朝阳区百子湾南二路2号
Spring Whispers Book Club
What’s a better way to spend an afternoon reading a magazine in one of the hutongs in the old Beijing? Transformed from a creekside cottage, Spring Whispers Book Club is the first magazine library in Beijing. After walking through luxuriant trees and flowing creek with chirping birds, you will reach the quiet, peaceful house primary made from wood. A cafe is at service in companion with the book club. You can grab a table next to the French windows and let the warm sunshine of the Beijing summer climb up the page you are reading and kiss your forehead. The library is also enjoyable on raining days as you can hear raindrops tapping on the windows and the dim sky outside brings out the yellowish lights of the inside.
Daily noon-9pm. F1 Building 3, No. 19 Changxiangwutiao, Dongcheng District 北京市东城区长巷五条19号3幢一层
To boost your energy up, Moka Bros is the perfect place to eat, chat, and work. Moka Bros is founded by chef Daniel Urdanata and wine expert Alex Molina and features South American cuisines for a healthy lifestyle. Everything here is fresh, nutritious, yet delicious. You will find fitness enthusiasts munching on cheesecakes just because the desserts here have significantly less sugar. The menu is also vegan-friendly and suits various dietary needs. Apart from being a healthy option to hang out with friends, the vigorous electronic music from loudspeakers at the venue melts you with the crowd but also isolates you as an individual, germinating your creativity.
Daily 8am-10.30pm. Sanlitun branch: No. 81 Sanlitun Lu, Nali Patio 三里屯那里花园一楼三里屯路81号 (5208 6079). The Place branch: L139A, F1, Building 4, The Place北京世贸天阶4号楼 1层L139A号光华路9号世贸天阶东入口 (6587 1368). Solana branch: No. 6 Chaoyanggongyuan Lu, Chaoyang District 北京蓝色港湾湖畔美食街 朝阳公园路6号 (5905 6259)
Photos: Courtesy of Annie Zhuang
This article appeared on p14-15 of the beijingkids September 2018 Teen Takeover issue