Joy City Chaoyang

As the icy northern winds pummel the city with arctic gales, it’s a good time to consider a day of indoor fun in one of Beijing’s many shopping sanctuaries, such as relatively recent newcomer, Joy City Chaoyang. This 11-story citadel, found on the corner of Chaoyang Beilu and Qingnian Lu, has something for everyone in the family. At Joy City, families can hunt for new clothes, grab a meal, watch a movie on the big screen, get a relaxing massage, ice skate, and play in a play center.

Before filling up some shopping bags, follow the signs for the elevators and head to the tenth floor, which is dedicated to small children. Be warned that elevators can be packed on weekends. Half your day could easily be spent at EE City (1), a sprawling 18,600 square meter mini-community. Children may dress up in the appropriate uniform and gain some hands-on learning experience regarding the careers of their choice (84 in total). There is a bank, theater, TV studio, fire department, police department, hospital, travel agency, hotel, restaurants, raceway, airplane, submarine, and art rooms – just to name a few.

Next, consider letting your little ones burn off some energy at I Love Gym Children’s Fitness Center (2). Although they offer regular classes, children 5 and under can enjoy the play area for one hour for RMB 50. Some staff members speak moderate English.

Walk over to the escalators for a view looking all the way down to the first floor before you descend to Level 9. Although high-end dining establishments take up most of the floor, there is a Parsons Music store (3) that is worth checking out. Besides great sounding electronic keyboards starting at around RMB 2,000, there is an assortment of upright pianos, guitars, violins, wind instruments, and traditional Chinese instruments, they also provide practice rooms for lessons and sell sheet music.

If fancy dining doesn’t grab your attention, never fear, there are three more floors of dining options awaiting you. The eighth floor is mostly dedicated to fast food options like Burger King (which has free Wi-Fi), KFC, Yoshinoya, DQ, and Xiabu Xiabu. If your family enjoys Japanese food, head to Shota Muni Shushi & Grill (4) on the seventh floor. With large booths that provide a degree of privacy, it’s easy for an entire family or two to get comfortable. The Dragon and Vancouver rolls (RMB 69) are just two of an assortment of specialty rolls available among a wide range of noodles and other Japanese dishes.

After your meal, head back up to the eighth floor for the latest movie offerings at Jinyi International Cinemas (5). The theater features six screens (two 3D) and a VIP room. Tickets average RMB 80-120. There is also a video arcade next to the theater, suitable for older kids, but the volume in the arcade is very loud, so be kind to small children’s ears and keep them out.

Other options after lunch include ice skating at Champion Rink (6) on the the seventh floor. It’s easy to locate if you just follow the cool air wafting down the corridor. For those who are uninterested in skating but enjoy watching, there is an observation deck on the eighth floor with lots of seating. Prices range from RMB 30-50 for 90 minutes.

On the sixth floor you can find even more mid-range dining options such as Bellagio and Herbal Cafe (their mango desserts are a must), while the fifth floor is primarily sportswear shops like Nike and Li-Ning.

On the fourth floor, at the opposite end of the mall from Aeon, there is a little oasis of relaxation called Mai Qi Spa (7). This is the place where one parent can escape for an hour while the other parent keeps their child occupied (drawing straws for the massage might be in order). The spa offers 40-minute foot massages for RMB 128 and 60-minute body massages for RMB 620 in their tastefully decorated rooms, but don’t be shy about asking for a discount. There is an extensive list of spa treatments and the staff is very attentive. It’s also worth noting that the only baby changing station is also on the fourth floor with two separate changing rooms complete with cribs and soft chairs for tired parents.

Before heading down any further, it’s worth popping back up to the seventh floor for a freshly blended fruit juice or smoothie from Jazcu Juice Bar (8). With a variety of juices, smoothies, and beverages, Jazcu is a great place to quench your thirst. The Power Express (RMB 18) is a refreshing blend of mango, pineapple, and lemon. For a serious boost, try the Wheatgrass Shot (RMB 18). The shot is served with a couple of fresh juice chasers to get rid of the grassy aftertaste.

Sufficiently revitalized, you can make your way down to the third floor for Jusco and the second floor for Zara and The Gap, where you will find large selections of clothing for kids and the rest of the family before calling it a day – or heading upstairs for another meal and some KTV on the 11th floor.

Joy City has a large underground parking lot, though there is sometimes a cue to get in. It is a well-known destination with taxi drivers. Buses serving Joy City include 468, 494, 499, 运通111, and 运通121 on Qingnian Lukoubei.