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As the capital of China, Beijing brings together people from all over the world. The prosperity of the city has brought about a varied and colorful nightlife.
The diverse nightlife in Beijing makes it suitable for people with different interests, but especially for the young. There are cinemas, theatres, nightclubs, bars, song and dance halls, Karaoke clubs, restaurants, Beijing opera, or teahouses, not to mention Kung Fu and acrobatics shows.
There are hundreds of bars in Beijing, the famous bar streets, such as Sanlitun or Houhai, cater for the local youth as well as many foreigners. The music, décor, and various kinds of activities make them enjoyable places to relax and make friends.
For any traveler to Beijing the city's history and culture can be daunting. The Chinese capital is brimming with more sights, eats and treats than most countries. The city streets pulse with an intermixing of tourists and locals inspired by the lights, sounds and tastes of the night.
This daytime and nighttime culture cross, contrast and lie upon the pedestal of thousands of years of history, making Beijing not just the cultural and political capital of the country but also the center of the party.
Beijing is no longer the "sleeping tiger"of the east; it is awake, alive and roaring with nightlife.
The ancient homes and alleys of foregone China, dubbed hutongs, are renovated and revived. Tourists watch HD sports as they sip on their selection of drinks in five hundred year old abodes.
Lying amid the secret streets and alleys of hundred year old hutongs is the modern pub hub built into an ancient fishing lake called Houhai.
The area attracts hordes of tourists both foreign and domestic during the daylight hours with shopping and local snacks. A local carriage peddler is always eager to carry tourists around rather than have them stroll on foot.
Beijing and perhaps China's most well known restaurant Quanjude, famous worldwide for its roasted duck, can be found at the center of Houhai for a perfect lunch or dinner.
But as the sun sets and the neon lights rise the shopping hub is transformed into a hotspot of twenty-four hour restaurants, bars and upscale night clubs. Live bands set the tone with everything from R&B to jazz.
Many visitors take to the water in small boats full of wine and snacks and the sail away under the moonlight.
Beijing's secret escape, Houhai is a perfect stop for any tourist.
The 798 Art District is one of the largest art locales in the country. Reconstructed from a 1950's factory and railway station the district has been rebuilt and reborn with the breath of art.
Hundreds of galleries with artists from every corner of the country and globe gather and offer themselves to world.
Taking a break in one of the many western style cafes nestled betwixt the galleries is perhaps the best way to recharge after a full day of art viewing and sightseeing though 798 also offers some of the best traditional Chinese tea shops in the country.
Sanlitun could be called the tourism capital of the city, filled with embassies, five star hotels and familiar landmarks like Pizza Huts and Hooters. A place to feel at home abroad, it offers a wide selection of international eats and treats.
The Italian, Spanish and French restaurants built into the hutongs blur the lines between east and west. Indian, Russian, American, Mexican and Afro-Caribbean restaurants add to the international cornucopia of cuisines that lure customers in with a mere scent from the kitchen.
Shopping in Sanlitun also keeps tourist on their toes. From local souvenirs to the latest domestic high-tech devices and western fashion, there's nothing one can't buy.
Then as the daylight wanes and moonlight takes its shift, Sanlitun nightlife is born. The cafes and restaurants are transformed into both laid back and luxury nightclubs. Samba, hip hop and tango dancehalls offer everything for those with frisky feet.
Offers Belgian beer (the owner is Belgian), and tasty pasta dishes. Hidden tree is an excellent place for relaxation, popular among foreigners.
Beijing also has no shortage of LGBT-friendly bars and clubs. None of them are specific to a certain group, and although many nights and clubs are male-dominated, the scene is friendly and welcoming to everyone. Even the generic bar area in Beijing's Sanlitun (pictured below) is LGBT friendly; so go explore the street that turns from a chaotic shopping and dining street into a lively bar and club area at night.
Alfa is a popular club with a gay night on Fridays which that has been around for a long time, but is still a great night out. Many of the LGBT community come here throughout the week though, as long as you are up for dancing. The drinks are generous, and the inside is typical for a Chinese club: lots of shiny furniture and accessories.
The same goes for Destination, which is more male-oriented but also welcomes women, and has been around since 2004, when it was the first gay club. Both of these are located in the Sanlitun Area.
A new addition to the LGBT Nightlife scene is Funky, a popular club located on Gongti Xilu which attracts a lot of youngsters, especially in summer as there is a great rooftop which feels more like a bar than a club and is perfect for a relaxed drink in the summer months. Funky also has some great themed parties ranging from Drag Shows to Neon parties, which are advertised on the website.
To experience the real underground LGBT Beijing Nightlife head to Kai Club, a combination of a bar and club which, although a little stuffy and with a very young crowd, is still a favorite for many as the drinks are a lot cheaper. It is located on the above-pictured street in Sanlitun.
If you'd rather go somewhere a little bit more quiet, try Two Cities which is a lot calmer and is actually more like a coffee shop than a bar, the perfect location to socialise with all friends or to meet new people.
For a relaxed bar environment, try Mesh, where the official 'gay night' no longer operates, but a lot of the Beijing LGBT community still likes to go for a much calmer, and more elegant drinking option, also conveniently located in Sanlitun close to many other options.
Address: 6 Xingfuyicun, Gongti Beilu, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Telephone: 6413 0086
Address: 7 Gongti Xilu, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Telephone: 6552 8180
Address: 6F, 8 Gongti Xilu, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Telephone: 6551 6866
Address: Tongli Studios, Sanlitun Lu, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Telephone: 6414 6254
Address: 46 Fangjia Hutong, Dongcheng District, Beijing
Telephone: 135 5238 7478
Address: The Opposite House, 11 Sanlitun Lu, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Telephone: 6417 6688
The nightlights and night-sights of Beijing rival that of the liveliest in New York or Paris.
Beijing is a large city with stunning night scenery in the urban area. Modern buildings, like skyscrapers in the busy streets, look more fabulous under the colorful lights at night. A collection of characteristic and traditional performances are only shown in the evening.
If you have seen the Bird's Nest and Water Cube during the daytime, you could be amazed by their grandness. But if you come to visit them when they are colorfully lit up in red and blue respectively at night, you may be overwhelmed by these two magnificent buildings, designed by talented architects.
The Bird's Nest looks fiery under the red lights at night, standing by a little pond on a large square in Beijing Olympic Park. The Water Cube is a mega-size bubble glowing pure blue. Paying a visit there, you can create a lifetime memory of the two great buildings.
With many world-famous attractions located nearby, such as Tian'anmen, the Forbidden City, Xidan Commercial Street, and Wangfujing Shopping Street, Chang’an Street has been called "the most important street in Beijing".
If you are tired after a day of touring Beijing, you can take bus 1 from Dongdan (东单) to Xidan (西单) instead of walking. It is enough to take a bus to appreciate the night scenery along this street.
Note: the Forbidden City is closed at night.
After a day-trip to Tian'anmen Square and the Forbidden City, having a dinner in a Chinese traditional restaurant, and hanging out in Wangfujing Street are quiet wonderful. The shopping malls generally close at 10pm. The nearby attractions, including the Catholic Church, look more exotic and mysterious under the lights at night.
Similar to Wangfujing Shopping Street, Qianmen Street is one of the most popular shopping streets in Beijing, and has kept the ancient buildings' style.
Sanlitun Village turns into a paradise combining shopping and entertainment at night, where the young people gather and hold activities. Many world-famous brands covering casual and sporty clothes, and electronic products can be found in this fashionable village.
Sanlitun Bar Street is a popular place that you shouldn't miss. If you want to stay in a bar, and have a drink chatting with friends, go to Sanlitun Bar Street!
It is the first lifestyle shopping center combining shopping, entertainment, catering, and recreation in China. Located in the northwest of Chaoyang Park, Solana International District interprets the European building style well. When it gets dark, this little town dresses in its splendid "gown", lit up by countless blue lights.
The Place is a highlight of Beijing's CBD (central business district) thanks to the biggest LED screen in Asia sweeping over the long corridor. The plazas and restaurants there are high-class, where you can fulfill your high-budget culinary desires.
Surrounded by historical places, ancient hutongs, and courtyards, Shichahai, comprised of three big lakes, is one of the busy places in Beijing at night. Authentic snacks are popular there, as well as the bars. Houhai, one of the lakes of Shichahai, is a popular side-trip destination after touring Nanluogu Lane, which you can find numerous curios.
Peking Opera, or Beijing Opera, as the quintessence of China, displays the unique Chinese culture to the whole world. It is a combination of acrobatics, singing, and dancing.
The distinguished singing style of Beijing opera is impressive, and the costumes and masks are also quite charming.
Chinese Acrobatics, with its long history, has been praised as "The Pearl of the Oriental Art". A successful acrobatics show demands superb skills and hard training from the artists, and their amazing performances are sure to impress.
Chinese kung fu is a unique Chinese style of martial arts, which is probably one of the earliest and most enduring sports which utilizes both brawn and brain. The theory of kung fu is based upon classical Chinese philosophy.
The following are some popular places for people to enjoy these shows.
Everybody's heard about Peking Opera, no matter whether he or she's ever been to China. The 200 some years have enriched the opera's spirit. Roles, facial make-ups, costumes, skills and music are the major highlights of Peking opera. Four main types of performers: Sheng (生 male role), Dan (旦 female role), Jing (净 painted-face role) and Chou (丑 comic role which means clown) make up the show and every performing troupe has several of each. Stories are vividly narrated based on classic novels, folk tales and some modern literature works. Regardless understanding the storyline, every audience is to get lost in the spectacular lights and vibrant casting. Liyuan Theatre is our recommended theatre to get a real taste, at which you might get a chance to watch performers put on make-ups before the show.
Location: Liyuan Theatre, 1st Floor, Qianmen Jianguo Hotel NO.175, Yong'an Road, Xuanwu Distrct, Beijing 北京市宣武区永安路175号前门建国饭店1楼
Time: 7:30pm – 9:00pm daily year round
Ticket Pricing: 200CNY, 280CNY, 380CNY, 480CNY, 580CNY / Person depending on the seat
Traditional acrobatics at modern stage setting and excellent performance, this is the key to Beijing Chaoyang Theatre's fame.Greatly involved with music and dancing, it holds some unique artistic characteristics by high requirements for performers' control and precision as well as ingenuity of their moves. At the theatre, people will watch bicycle acrobatics, ballet, circle jumping, ball skill, contortion and Chinese magic tricks. The show itself is a cultural doorway for people to get under the skin of China's traditional art form. As every feat is devoted to present the audience the best of acrobatics, jubilation is sprawling all over the place.
Location: Chaoyang Theatre, NO.36, Dongsanhuan North Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 北京市朝阳区东三环北路36号
Time: 5:15pm – 6:15pm, 7:15pm – 8:30pm daily year round
The show, the Legend of Kung Fu, tells the story of a young boy, who dreamed of becoming a Kung Fu master, overcome difficulties and temptations on the road to enlightenment. The actors of the show are real and excellent Kung Fu practitioners found from all over China. The actors do no speak, and the story line is shown above the stage with English subtitles. This spectacular show is all a combination of Kung Fu, acrobatics and dancing, and is produced up to international standards by China’ leading performing arts production company. It is a show not to be missed for Kung Fu fans, or families with kids.
Schedule (daily): 19:30 – 20:50
Address: 44, Xingfu Dajie, Chongwen District, Beijing
An elegant bar-restaurant, with a contemporary décor, offering an impressive selection of lunch options, cocktails, wines and premium whiskies, featuring a live band performing modern music on traditional Chinese instruments.
Laoshe Teahouse, known as "Beijing's best teahouse", has various performances: drums, puppets, kung fu, Beijing opera, face-changing, ventrilioquism, comedy duos, and more, from 7:40 to 9:20 pm.
Beware, the subway lines close between 11pm and midnight. It would be worth being able to call a reputable taxi firm for a lift back to your hotel, to stop you being at a disadvantage negotiating a price with the first taxi you meet in the street.
Avoid illegal "black" taxis, especially at night. For more on these, and other things to beware of see The Top 10 Beijing Scams.
Why miss the golden nighttime opportunities for traveling around Beijing? 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 extra cost. We can also help you customize a Beijing tour to include a night itinerary. Contact us to start your trip to Beijing!