As the capital of China, Beijing brings together people from all over the world. Beijing's prosperity and cultural heritage has given rise to a varied and colorful nightlife.
The diverse range of evening activities in Beijing makes an evening out suitable for people of different interests. Here are the top 11 things to do at night in Beijing.
1. Watch a Kung Fu Show
Chinese kung fu is a unique Chinese style of martial arts, and probably one of the earliest and most enduring sports, utilizing both brawn and brain. The theory of kung fu is based upon classical Chinese philosophy.
The most popular place to enjoy a kung fu show is Red Theater.
The show, the Legend of Kung Fu, tells the story of a young boy, who dreamed of becoming a kung fu master, overcomes difficulties and temptations on the road to enlightenment.
This spectacular show is a combination of kung fu, acrobatics, and dancing. It is a show not to be missed for kung fu fans, or families with kids.
- Schedule (daily): 7:30–8:50pm
- Address: 44 Xingfu Dajie, Chongwen District
2. Lose Yourself in the Hutong Alleys
The hutongs, the winding and maze-like narrow alleys of old Beijing, are the best place to experience local life. In the evening, when the residents are back home after work or school, the hutongs come to life.
The best hutong areas are around the Drum Tower and Tongluoguxiang. You can have a leisurely walk along the hutongs to see residents playing mahjong in the street, enjoy a jamming session on traditional instruments, or find a local restaurant for your dinner.
3. Experience a Night Tour on the Great Wall at Simatai
The Simatai section of the Great Wall is the only section open for night visits. It offers you a rare chance to see the night views of the majestic Great Wall.
Exclusive and enjoyable - see this ancient heritage in the cool and tranquility of night, as China's soldiers did centuries before.
4. Taste Local Snacks in a Food Street
If you are a foodie and love adventure, you should try some Beijing snacks. Snack streets are very busy at night.
Typical Beijing snacks include fried dough rings, fried triangular dumplings, sugarcoated haws, rolling donkeys (sticky rice rolls), and exotic food such as fried insects, scorpions, and animal parts. Read more on The Top 12 Beijing Street Snacks You Should Try.
Wangfujing Snack Street is one of the most popular food streets, thanks to its convenient location. See more on The Top 6 Food/Snack Streets in Beijing.
5. Enjoy an Acrobatics Show
Chinese acrobatics, with its long history, has been praised as "The Pearl of Oriental Art". A successful acrobatics show demands superb skills and hard training from the artists. Their amazing performances are sure to impress.
Excellent performance of traditional acrobatics in a modern stage setting - this is the key to Chaoyang Theatre's fame. At the theater, You will watch bicycle acrobatics, ballet, hoop jumping, ball skills, contortion, and Chinese magic tricks.
- Address: Chaoyang Theatre, 36 Dongsanhuan North Road, Chaoyang District朝阳区东三环北路36号
- Times: 5:15–6:15pm and 7:15–8:30pm, daily, year round
6. Appreciate Beijing Opera
Peking opera, or Beijing opera, "the quintessence of China", displays a uniquely Chinese art form. It is a combination of acrobatics, singing, and dancing.
The peculiar singing style of Beijing opera is poignant, and the costumes and masks are quite startling.
Stylistic role-play, facial make-up, costumes, vocal skills, and traditional music are the major highlights of Peking opera.
Liyuan Theatre is our recommendation for a real taste of this performing art, where you might get a chance to watch performers put on their make-up before the show.
- Address: 1st Floor, Qianmen Jianguo Hotel, 175 Yong'an Road, Xuanwu District宣武区永安路175号前门建国饭店1楼
- Time: 7:30–9:00pm, daily, year round
Learn more about the Best Three Theaters in Beijing.
7. View the Forbidden City from 'Scenic Hill'
Immediately north of the Forbidden City, Jingshan Park is the best place for a bird's eye view of the Forbidden City and central Beijing. This park is open after dark, until 9pm in summer and 8pm in winter.
It is recommended to climb 'Scenic Hill' (Jingshan) at dusk, when the Forbidden City is particularly beautiful, palace eaves decorated with golden rays of the setting sun.
8. Admire the Nighttime Cityscapes
Central Beijing has stunning night scenery. Many buildings look more fabulous when colorfully lit.
Chang'an Avenue and Tian'anmen Square
The area around Tian'anmen Square is one of the most beautiful places in Beijing at night. The dignified Tian'anmen Tower, and other famous buildings, stand out more against a dark sky.
Chang'an Avenue is runs along the north side of Tian'anmen Square. It is one of the busiest streets in Beijing. At night, the whole street is lit up.
The Bird's Nest and the Water Cube
Another striking area for night cityscapes is Olympic Park, with the Bird's Nest and Water Cube lit up in red and blue respectively. You will be overwhelmed by the architecture of these two magnificent buildings.
Qianmen Street and Dashilan Street
Dashilan Street is the oldest and most famous ancient shopping street in Beijing. It has a unique culture and is one of the famous entertainment centers in Qianmen. There are theaters, teahouses, and many famous shops, such as Zhang Yiyuan, which sells teas, and Ma Juyuan, which sells hats.
9. Attend a Gig
Watch a live show in one of the bars. Beijing probably has the most bars compared with other Chinese cities and is one of the cities with the most developed bar culture. Most of the bars are concentrated in the Chaoyang, Xicheng, and Haidian districts. There are many kinds of live performances in the bars, such as bands and magic shows.
There are occasionally shows in Beijing Workers' Stadium, such as concerts and circuses. You can attend a gig to experience the colorful nightlife in Beijing.
10. Do Some Shopping
Shopping in Sanlitun keeps tourists and Beijingers on their toes. From local souvenirs to the latest high-tech devices and "Western" fashion, there's nothing one can't buy.
After a day-trip to Tian'anmen Square and the Forbidden City, having dinner in a traditional Chinese restaurant, and hanging out in Wangfujing Street is a wonderful way to finish a day. The shopping malls generally close at 10pm.
Similar to Wangfujing Shopping Street, Qianmen Street is one of the most popular shopping streets in Beijing, with traditional-style buildings.
11. Relax in a Bar
As mentioned above, there are many bars, cafes, and creatively-designed shops in the hutongs. Houhai is the most popular area for nightlife. As the sun sets and the neon lights rise, the hutongs become vibrant with young people.
Sanlitun Bar Street, is another busy nightlife center in Chaoyang District. It is famous for its numerous bars and exquisite restaurants, with an international cornucopia of cuisines.
As the daylight wanes and moonlight takes its shift, Sanlitun nightlife awakens. The cafes and restaurants are transformed into both laid-back and luxury nightclubs. In the embassy area, it attracts many foreigners to relax and unwind. See more on Beijing's Top 17 Bars for Every Budget.
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Experience Beijing's Best Nightlife with Us
Why miss the golden evening opportunities in Beijing? Whoever you are, you can find something different and worth seeing. Discover the beauty and charm of Beijing at night!
China Highlights can help you tailor-make a night tour of Beijing, without any consultancy cost. Contact us to start a trip to Beijing from your ideas!
We can also help you customize a Beijing tour to include a night itinerary. Here's an ideal sample tour for Beijing nightlife enjoyment: 4-Day Beijing Highlights and Great Wall Night Tour.