Fly a kite, have a picnic, play games with your kids in one of the following city’s parks that we looked at from our archives.
Yuyuantan Park 玉渊潭公园
A Haidian hotspot, Yuyuantan is renowned for its annual spring Cherry Blossoms Festival. Forty years ago, these precious cherry trees were planted after being shipped as tokens from Japan and inspired park owners named this section of the park Cherry Garden. Roses and magnolias line Liuchun Garden, and to top it all off, Beijing’s biggest and best water tour passes through here, letting visitors board and drift all the way to The Temple of Heaven’s South Gate.
RMB 2 for adults, RMB 1 for students. Daily 6am-8.30pm (Apr 1-Oct 31); daily 6.30am-7pm (Nov 1-Mar 31). 10 Xisanhuan Zhonglu, Haidian District 海淀区西三环中路10号 (8865 3800/3806/3806)
How to get there?
By subway: Line 1 to Muxidi Bei, then walk 30m north
By bus: Bus 320, 114, 717, 727 to Mixidi Bei station or bus 13, 21, 37, or 65 to Sanlihexikou.
Beihai Park 北海公园
The best thing about Beihai Park is its year-round versatility. Its abundance of pavilions keep it from looking barren in the winter, and throngs of ice skaters zip across its giant frozen lake. Now that winter has passed, take a boat ride across that pretty little body of water. Marvel at the architecture of this 1,000-year-old recreational hub: the Tibetan White Dagoba on the parks’ islet, the Bell and Drum towers and the Stone Tablets of Qiongdao Chunyin. The foliage is gorgeous, too. Admire the lilies in the Botanical Garden or the park’s display of peonies.
Park activities: A calligraphy exhibition (free, 9am-4pm), Paddle boating (in the warmer months, about RMB 40-60 per person), ice skating (from RMB 30 per person)
Best eats: Nearby restaurants include The Cut Steakhouse, Dadong Roast Duck and Black Sesame Kitchen.
RMB 10 (busy season), RMB 5 (offseason). All-access ticket: RMB 20 (Apr 1-Oct 31), RMB 15 (Nov 1- Mar 31). Daily 6.30am-9pm (Apr 1-Oct 31); daily 6.30am-8pm (Nov 1-Mar 31). 1 Wenjin Jie, Xicheng District (north of Forbidden City) 西城区文津街1号(故宫北) (6403 8055, 6404 0610, 6403 8055)
How to get there?
By subway: Line 5 to Zhangzizhong Lu, Line 6 to Beihaibei.
By bus: Take bus 5, 101, 103, 109, 124, 685, 614, 619 to Beihai Park (South Gate). Take bus 13, 42, 107, 111, 118, 609, 701, 623路 to Beihai Park (North Gate).
Photo courtesy of derajfast (Flickr)