In a bustling city like Beijing, it can be hard to find family-friendly activities that won’t break the bank. Foregoing some of the more traditional routes like the Great Wall, the Temple of Heaven, or the Summer Palace, there are an abundance of options to entertain the entire family, from the little daredevils to the tired parents.
Beijing has a plethora of mega-malls to choose from. From Indigo to Solana to The Place to Tai Koo Li, there always seems to be one no more than a stone’s throw away. Some of my fondest memories from my childhood took place in a mall. Which, now that I’m reflecting on it, could explain my worrying shopping addiction as of now. Head over to any one of them for a day of window shopping, enjoying the food courts, or checking out what movies are playing in the theater!
798 Art District
The 798 Art District has got something for everyone; fun and bright colors for the kids, compelling art for the adults, and plenty of cafés for all of the family. Currently, there’s an exhibit sure to be fun for the whole family: David Bowie by Mick Rock. If the little ones don’t leave as wells of knowledge concerning the life and times of Ziggy Stardust, at least the interactive features on display would have entertained them. ‘Try on’ Bowie’s famous makeup looks via an overhead projector or listen to Space Oddity on repeat in a room with a 360-degree view of ‘space’.
Don’t feel like heading to a mall or don’t trust the kids to not to break a priceless piece of art? Although it might seem cliché, you can’t go wrong with a classic day out at an amusement park. With hair-raising rollercoasters and stunning displays like the Golden Mask Dynasty Show, Happy Valley is sure to be fun for the whole family, if you don’t mind dropping a little extra on the admission fee.
If anyone gets tired, you can retire to KFC and watch the parade (though it may be a smarter choice to bring your own food judging by the long lines). Top tip: due to its infamous crowds, try to schedule your visit for a weekday and avoid holidays. And don’t forget to bring water!
Beijing Botanical Gardens
Finally, why not head over to Beijing Botanical Gardens? A veritable sea of flowers could fool you into thinking you’ve been transported to Amsterdam. With an abundance of waterfalls, sculptures, and greenery galore, make some memories in a place that seems worlds apart from the urban setting of Beijing.
Now, I suppose I should close this list by saying that no matter where you are, you’re sure to make memories to last a lifetime so long as you’re with people that you love. But also – that’s a lot easier when you’re somewhere interesting!