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The Beijing Galaxy is the biggest shopping mall in Beijing. It's also one of the most controversial malls in the country too. The nearly 400,000 square meter complex was designed by Zaha Hadid the internationally acclaimed architects.
The complex was recognized the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) as “demonstrating a rare generosity in a country determined to outdo the West in terms of commercialization”.
Others have claimed that it's an eyesore that has contributed to the destruction of Chinese architectural heritage in Beijing. What's certainly true is that occupies a, rather large, slot at 7A Small Arch Hutong.
It's a wonderful amalgamation of skytowers, skylights and skybridges and it's worth visiting, in our opinion, for the architecture alone. We don't think it would be out of place in a sci-fi movie.
It's also right in the middle of Beijing's Sanlitun district which is where much of the city's nightlife for visitors can be found so if you time your trip well – you can shop until you drop and then take in one of the local restaurants and bars in order to recover your strength.
It's suitable for people of any age and physical fitness.
As you might expect, luxury retail space attracts luxury brands. Shopping in Galaxy is not a cheap affair. You'll find Tier 1 luxury brands from around the world as well as some of China's new emerging brands.
There are rarely any bargains to be had here and in many cases items cost more than they would in the West. You're better of using your visit as a sightseeing trip rather than as a shopping trip. It's absolutely not done to haggle in any of the mall's stores either.
There are a fair few restaurants and coffee shops scattered throughout the complex and they tend to be a little more reasonably priced. It's worth noting that you can get better value for money nearby in Sanlitun but you won't get the spectacular view of the building if you choose to go elsewhere.
It was completed in 2012 and to date it is not fully occupied; so be prepared for the occasional empty store front.