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Beijing's Offbeat Attractions

Beijing's Offbeat Attractions

Written by Kelly PangUpdated Jan. 17, 2024

Apart from the famous historical temples, museums, parks, and monuments, Beijing is full of other interesting and little-known sights. You can spice things up by seeing something a little bit unusual, but memorable. Sometimes it is the best way to stay away from the ever-busy mainstream attractions while at the same time enjoying your travel to the fullest...

Beijing Underground City

Under Beijing is the underground city, comprising of, among other things, underground tunnels that were meant for public safety in case the Russian army had invaded China during the cold war. The tunnel network covers about 85 square kilometers. Inside these tunnels are rooms full of horded materials that were meant for safety from a nuclear assault. There is also the silk farm run by Qianmen Arts and Crafts center, and the rare posters of Chairman Mao dating to the early 1970s.

You are required to make arrangements before going there, otherwise you might think the area is closed to the public:

  • Time: 9 am–4 pm
  • Free for tour groups are admitted but others will pay 20 yuan per person.
  • Location: Access it via the 62 West Damochang Street, Qianmen (崇文区西打磨厂街62号).

Art Areas

798 Art District 798 Art District

Caochangdi, a Chinese village on the outskirts of the city dotted with a number of high-profile galleries of Beijing art galleries - including gallery of the famous Ai Weiwei - offers the 798 Art District. Inside is the Artist Studios, which not only offers you the option of enjoying some of China's ancient art and culture; you can also take some home! The choices range from the contemporary to the controversial items.

It is the largest art district in the city. After gallery-hopping, try Caoba, a Caochangdi bar that hosts movies on their rooftop terrace. Though Caochangdi area is tough to maneuver, it pays off.

  • Location: 798 Art District (798艺术区), Caochangdi (草场地)
  • Art District: Bus 408, 420, 571, 701, 847, or 983 to Jiangtai lukou xi (将台路口西), walk southeast to Jiuxianqiao Rd, then turn left.
  • Caochangdi Bus 402, 418, 688, 909, 955, and 973. Get off at either the Caochangdi (草场地) stop or the Nangao (南皋) stop.
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China's Beijing has some of the weirdest museums you could find world over, and the choice is endless.

Chinese People's Anti-Japanese Museum

If you want to have a feel of what much tension still exists between the Chinese and Japanese people, you need to check in to the Chinese People's Anti-Japanese Museum. It is located in the Southwest Beijing. Here, 9, 000 photos, documents and cultural relics from the Sino-Japanese war are exhibited. The war was locally known as the Anti-Japanese War, thus the name of the museum.

China Honey Bee Museum

Wandering into the Honey Bee Museum will see you learn all about the history and evolution of bees, beekeeping practices, and even sample different kinds of honey. One subject of particular interest is the different dances bees use to communicate with one another.

  • Location: Fragrant Hills Botanical Garden (West of the Sleeping Buddha Temple)
  • Hours: 8:30am to 4:30pm
  • Price: 2 yuan

Beijing Wax Museum

Beijing wax museumBeijing wax museum

Learn about all of the great figures of Chinese history, from ancient emperors to recent pop icons, at the Beijing Wax Museum. It is located in the Hall of Abstinence in Ditan Park. There are three exhibition halls, housing well over 100 figures.

  • Location: Ditan Park Hall of Abstinence
  • Hours: 8:30am – 4:30pm
  • Price: 5 yuan
  • Take subway line 2 or 5 to Yonghegong and walk north

The Tap Water Museum

The address is Botanical Garden, Xiangshan Mountain, Haidian District. Here, visitors learn how important it is to conserve water. You will see an interactive map detailing Beijing's water supply, old water pump, park, and tools used to supply the huge landlocked city with water.

Daxing Watermelon Museum

The address is Panggezhuang Town, Daxing District. It is located inside inside the Watermelon Research Institute. The museum is a tribute to Beijing's favorite summer fruit.

Zhoukoudian Peking Man Museum

The address is Zhoukoudian Dajie, Fangshan District. This museum is built where Peking Man - the first humanoid discovered in China - was found. Read more on these and other weirdest Museums in Beijing.

Tianyi the Eunuch's Tomb

Tianyi Tomb's Ming Dynasty eunuch museum has statutes that demonstrate the castration process, a mummified corpse, and a collection of ancient Chinese sex toys.

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Food/Snack Street

Beijing night market foodBeijing night market snack

The Wangfujing food street located beside Wangfujing street is well known for strange snacks, roasted animal meat, scorpion meat, and other insects' meet. It is a famous destination for tourists. Donghuamen Night Market also exhibits strange foods on the streets. It attracts travelers who come to eat a variety bizarre foods such as spiders, snakes, star fish, crickets, honey bee larvae, and scorpions.

The HIAS Gourmet asks the question why just indulge in the most exquisite Chinese and Asian cuisine in the Orient and not learn how to cook it too? Hidden within the central hutong area - 7 Xinsi Hutong to be exact - the HIAS offers not just some of the most mouth watering dishes in town, but customers can also take home tips offered by top chefs on how to cook them. You can make a few new friends and "play with their food."

China Highlights Caters for Mainstream AND Offbeat!

Though our Beijing tours don't cover all the over 70 Beijing Attractions we have information on them. Just let us know if you want to visit one or more of the more offbeat attractions (or something else entirely), and we will do our very best to work it into your itinerary for an excellent value price.

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