With this series we want to help you plan the perfect weekend out with the family through highlighting great activities going on in different neighborhoods around the city. We hope this helps you to make the absolute best of your weekend leisure time! All of the venues listed on either Saturday and Sunday are in the same area, which will allow you to easily get between places conveniently on foot or with public transportation.
Saturday in Sanlitun
Sanlitun (best pronounced with a proper Beijing “rrr” at the end) is in some ways the expat epicenter of the city. But it’s better known for its bars and malls than its family-friendly experiences. However, here’s a day out that’ll put the family fun into Sanlitun.
Play at Little Player
The legendary Fundazzle, grotty but beloved play center near the Worker’s Stadium, is now just an unhygienic memory. But a new breed of play centers is springing up to replace it, places where they actually clean the balls in the ball pit. Little Player (小玩家儿童主题乐园, xiǎowánjiā értóngzhǔtílèyuán) is one such place. Nestling at the top of Shimao Department Store, this “children’s paradise” promises hours of fun, without added germs.
Age 3-10, height 75cm-140cm. RMB 150 per session. 10am-9pm. 4th floor, Shimao Department Store, 13 Gongti North Road, Chaoyang District. (6466 8980) 工体北路13号世茂广场工三4层南侧(便宜坊旁).
Lunch and a Movie at Taikooli
This fashion-oriented mall doesn’t have much for kids, apart from a fountain to dance in. But it does have a huge range of restaurants, with something to please even the fussiest of eaters. Healthy food at Wagas? Burgers at Blue Frog? Japanese at Hatsune? Tacos at Cantina Agave? Pizza at Pizza Marzano? A whole world of flavors awaits you. And afterwards, you can take in a movie at Megabox while letting it digest.
All ages. Check restaurant listings for times and prices. Tai Koo Li Mall. 19 Sanlitun Road, Chaoyang District. (6417 6110) www.taikoolisanlitun.com/en. 朝阳区三里屯北路19号三里屯太古里南区
A Soccer Match at the Workers’ Stadium
There’s nothing quite like the atmosphere at a Beijing Guo’an match. Even if you think you don’t like the Beautiful Game, the chants, flags, and spectacle will enthrall you. This weekend is particularly special, as arch rivals Shanghai Shenua are coming to town. Buying tickets from official sources is nearly impossible (because China), but don’t worry, you can just buy from a scalper outside the ground like everyone else does. Enjoy the walk to the ground, with the crowds, the merchandise stalls, and the excitement, but get to your seats in good time, because seating allocations are viewed as mere guidelines. Jia you Guo’an!
This post has been amended to correct an error: Beijing Guo’an played Shanghai Shenhua on Friday June 14, not Saturday June 15. Apologies for any confusion caused.
Check here for Beijing Guo’an match dates and times: www.espn.com/soccer/team/fixtures/_/id/2052
All ages. Workers’ Stadium, Gongti Beilu, Chaoyang District. (6501 6655 ext 5033) 朝阳区工体北路
Sunday in Hegezhuang
Beijing’s north, while often praised for its cleaner air and more abundant greenery than downtown, can sometimes appear a little lacking in culture. To counter that reputation, here’s an elegant Sunday schedule, particularly suitable for sophisticated Dads this Fathers’ Day. (The distances involved are perhaps a little too far to cover on foot, but are perfect for a family bike ride… or Didi, if you want to take advantage of the free-flow wine at Orchard!)
Brunch at the Orchard
The Orchard is an oasis in Hegezhuang, a haven of fabulous food at reasonable prices and beautiful gardens in which to relax. Its Sunday brunch is justly celebrated, with a wide range of meats, veg, cheese, nibbles, and of course all the dessert you can eat. Free-flow wine, beer, and fizz are available for the adults. Make sure to book, as it’s understandably popular.
All ages. Various prices. 11am-3pm. From Jingshun Lu, turn left (west) at Shunbai Lu Intersection, (turn at the driveway just west of the Hegezhuang Village Sign) Chaoyang District (6433 6270) 朝阳区崔各庄乡何各庄村(过何各庄村路标往南转
Afternoon at Red Brick Art Museum
Red Brick Art Museum is one of Beijing’s best galleries for contemporary art. Away from the dazzle and commercialism of 798, it presents the work of world-renowned artists in a cool, contemplative setting. Until June 26, you can see an exhibition of winners and nominees of the Marcel Duchamp Prize, France’s foremost award for experimental art. Contemporary art is often an easier sell to kids than traditional oil paintings, as it can be surprising, immersive, even interactive. But if your little ones aren’t inspired, the maze-like grounds of Red Brick are the perfect place for hide-and-seek or tag.
All ages. RMB 130, RMB 110 for students and seniors, free under 1.2m. 10am-6pm (last entry 5.30pm). Hegezhuang Village, Cuigezhuang Township, Chaoyang District. (8457 6669). www.redbrickartmuseum.com/en/top/index.html. 朝阳区崔各庄乡何各庄村，邮编 100103
A Concert at La Plantation
La Plantation is a hidden gem, a state-of-the-art, purpose-built concert hall for chamber music. This Sunday (June 16) it’s hosting a piano recital by rising star Jin Wenbin, but check their website for the details of their other jazz and classical performances. You’ll need to have kids old enough to sit quietly throughout, but it’s a lreaxing, elevating way to round off your weekend.
All ages. RMB 180 advance, RMB 200 on the door (RMB 80/ RMB 100 students). Art base 1, D area, Shunbai road, Hegezhuang village, Chaoyang district . (5166 1201, WeChat: chineseliving) 朝阳区崔各庄乡何各庄村一号地国际艺术园D区
Photos: Uni You, thebeijinger.com