Beijing is a BIG city, but a definite must if your considering any China travel. So if and when you decide to travel to Beijing, here is a quick breakdown of some of the most well-known neighborhoods and what you’ll find there.

Wudaokou: This is the main university hub (Peking University, Tsinghua, Beijing Language and Culture University, etc.). This is also where most foreigners go to study Chinese in Beijing. That said, the entire west side of the city is a line of universities. Wudaokou has lots of Korean and Japanese food, too, as these are actually the largest foreign student communities.

CBD/Central Business District: This is where some of the tallest and most interesting buildings in Beijing are, such as the CCTV tower and the Place (a shopping mall with a giant LCD screen). A lot of expats work in this area. Little Moscow is near Ritan Park, which is a lovely outdoor sanctuary and well worth a visit. This is a very ritzy and modern area, and if you feel like getting down on the dance floor some new popular clubs are Spark and Haze.

798 Art District: 798 is an old factory area that was taken over by underground artists as a space to work without much public interference. However, over time this area has gained a lot more attention. These days, it’s more of a government-sanctioned arts space with galleries instead of artists. It’s now developing towards a nightlife spot, as well, with more and more cafes and bars.

Shunyi: Shunyi is a suburb of Beijing. Being from the States myself, this area is reminiscent of the American Style-suburbia complete with lovely homes and an affluent atmosphere.

Workers Stadium (Gongti) and Sanlitun Area: There are a lot of restaurants and clubs around Workers Stadium, and right down the road is the famous Sanlitun area. In the last 5 years, Sanlitun has turned into something of a modern, world-class nexus of foreigners and the more fashionable Chinese living in Beijing. At its center is the Sanlitun Village shopping mall. This has lots of western brand stores, including the Apple Store. If you head through the Village mall, you’ll come to what might be called “the Sanlitun back street,” which is the place where people actually go to find some decent restaurants and some nice and some less nice clubs/bars.

Drum Tower (Gulou) Area: Gulao stretches from the Lama Temple in the east to Hou Hai Lake in the west, from the Second Ring Road in the north, to Yugong Yishan Bar in the south. This area is mostly still “Hutong” alleys, and is the hip youth, crafty, musical area of the city. Its center could be said to be Nanluoguxiang (NLGX for short), a kilometer-long alley running north-south full of shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars. It’s a great place to take a stroll and see some of the original founders of the street. Its northern entrance is on the second main artery: Gulou Dong Dajie (Drum Tower East Avenue), this area is full of spaces that seamlessly mingle food, drinking, and coffee house-atmosphere. Two of the most well-known of these would be Cafe Zarah and Alba. That said, around every corner is another little place to make your own. Drinking and eating prices in this area are generally cheaper than Sanlitun and the CBD. It’s also home to the Chinese folk-rock scene, which is a must-do.

Now that you know what Beijing’s unique neighborhoods have to offer be sure to stop by any that interest you or all of them on your own Beijing tour.

Jack Li

1 Response » to “A Brief Guide to Some Neighborhoods of Beijing”

  1. Thanks for Information about Beijing. The CCTV tower in Bijing is awesome. Buy camping products like tents, carpets, footprints etc. visit Camping and Kite Centre

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