Shunyi and its environment is catered primarily for families. The school community and sports activities play a large part in the vibe of these neighborhoods. So if you’re looking for a more suburban experience, Shunyi is where you’ll want to be. There are villa compounds, complete with quaint street names and two-car garages. Most families who choose to live here want a posh China experience, need quick access to the airport, or want to avoid the hectic pace of the city. For years, this entire area has been called Shunyi by expats, but technically most of the area is still in Chaoyang District. If you’re talking to Chinese locals or taxi drivers, you’ll want to be sure to specify specific neighborhoods rather than lump the area entirely as “Shunyi.”
+ Close access to the airport
+ Safe suburban-style neighborhoods
+ More options for kids interested in sports
+ Largest access to area schools (39 schools in a reasonable distance)
– Largest distances between interest points
– Car or driver needed
– Expat bubble
– Cost of living
There are a lot of good options in the area. Most have lots of on-site businesses, like cafes, supermarkets, restaurants, and gyms. Beijing Riviera has large green spaces and an artificial lake, along with a clubhouse, cafe, swimming pool, gym, tennis and squash courts, and a bicycle track. It also features an on-site kindergarten and is located near Didi’s Supermarket and Roundabout’s secondhand store. Right across the street is Quanfa Garden, which can have some lovely homes for rent. Capital Paradise, near to Pinnacle Plaza, is also chock full of active options, features outdoor and indoor swimming pools, gym, squash, tennis courts, sauna, outdoor and indoor children’s playgrounds. Yosemite Compound has a clubhouse, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, hot springs, and a children’s activity center. Finally, Grand Hills is a popular residential choice for many expats because of its well-kept grounds and relatively new villas. The surroundings include a swimming pool, sauna, and gym with plenty of green space.
Where do we begin? Most of Beijing’s prestigious international schools are located in this district. Any sort of education you might be looking for is likely here. Harrow Beijing, The British School of Beijing (BSB), Shunyi, Dulwich College Beijing (DCB), Keystone Academy, Western Academy of Beijing (WAB), and International School of Beijing (ISB) are just a couple, but you can check out our yearly beijingkids School Choice Guide for complete listings of other great schools as well.
The Sci-Tech Outlet Mall at Maquanying on line 15 has popular name brands, like Gap and Ralph Lauren. Other malls include Cathay View, Euro Plaza, Pinnacle Plaza, and the recently-opened Shine City, which is doing a great job in bringing the vibe of downtown Beijing shopping to the suburbs to Shunyi. Roundabout is a great place to pick up second-hand toys and home items at a bargain, while their newly opened boutique and community center is a great place to pick up locally sourced crafts, home décor, and organic cosmetics.
Dining options abound, and some places are Shunyi institutions. Here, The Orchard, Green T. House, and Doko can be found providing Shunyi residents with a variety of impressive eats. Other western restaurants and brands include Napa, Annie’s, Avocado Tree, Pie Squared, and Dunkin’ Donuts. Get over to Mrs. Shanen’s for homemade bagels and dishes made with organic produce from the restaurant’s farm, Green Cow.
Where to Play
Shunyi and its environs are rich in kid’s activities. For something indoors, Riviera Plaza Mall is another great shopping area with a liberal amount of kid-friendly space sprinkled about. This is a very popular place to not only get some shopping done but to also get your playtime activated. Shine Hills is packed with kids’ stores, kid-friendly activities and play areas.
For something more active, jump around and get loose with your kids at Latitude, a state-of-the-art trampoline park. If you have a little Formula 1 racer in the making, then get over to Red1Karting Beijing to satisfy that need for speed. Located north of Shangezhuang subway station, Red1Karting is a pretty swanky affair, featuring karts manufactured by French company Sodikart and other facilities. Crab Island is a massive amusement park that has a lot to offer visiting families. Some highlights include an ecological science park, go-karting, mini zoo, and water park.
Photos: Kipp Whittaker
This article appeared on p18-29 of beijingkids July 2018 Home & Relocation Guide issue