Many people say that “there is no night life in north China”, but this is not true. Night in Beijing is exotically romantic. Free from the heat of the day, the slight breeze brings you the most comfort. Wandering around Qianmen Street, Dashilan, Sanlitun, the China World Trade Centre, Wukesong, Blue Harbour... you can find a sense of antiquity, vital fashion, high-end leadership and cross-border integration here in Beijing. Here, you can not only encounter global fashion goodies for you to choose from, but also enjoy good foods on the road, stop and appreciating your favourite items slowly. There’s no need to rush as the night is still young.
Qianmen Street and Dashilan
Many tourists come to Beijing to visit Qianmen Street and Dashilan, as there are a couple of century-old shops, together with antique surrounding buildings, which fully reflects the style of this time-honoured capital. Here, people can explore the memory of ancient Beijing.
Qianmen Street was formed in 1436 and is located outside Zhengyang Gate, the main gate of the ancient city of Beijing. It was the only way leading Emperors to worship heaven at the Temple of Heaven and perform farming at the Temple of Agriculture in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Emperor Qianlong had a poem, “Harmonious music made by the soft breeze in sunny days, and colourful flags and flowers shinning on the Heaven Street”, thus, Qianmen Street is also called Yulu Tianjie (Emperor’s Road, Heaven Street). Over the hundreds of years, Qianmen Street has become a historical district with profound culture of Beijing architecture, merchant culture, hall culture, Liyuan (opera troop) culture, and folk culture.
In the middle of the Ming Dynasty, thanks to business development, markets and streets such as Xianyukou (fish market), Shizhukou (pig market), Meishikou (coal market), and Liangshidian (grain store) appeared on both sides of Qianmen Street, only then did Qianmen Street became a commercial street. Throughout the long history of Qianmen Street, many Chinese brands were created, such as Dabei Photo Studio, Laozhengxing Restaurant, Shengxifu Hat Store, Liubiju Sauce Store, Tongrentang Pharmacy, Ruifuxiang Silk Fabric Store, Changchuntang Pharmacy, Neiliansheng Shoe Store, Zhang Yiyuan Tea House, Yueshengzhai’s flavoured meat shop, and Du Yichu’s Shumai Shop, located on both sides of Qianmen Street.
Qianmen Street has been renovated since 2005. The restored Qianmen Street reproduces the 1920-30s architectural style, and demonstrates the simple and elegant charm in the traditional architectural culture of old Beijing. 76% of the buildings on both sides of the street has been built as they were and 24% has been slightly modified. With a total length of 840 meters, the street has restored the landmark buildings “Wupai Archway” and “Baishiyu Road”, and “Dangdang bus” has also reappeared at the Qianmen. In the design of furniture and lighting, Beijing elements are adopted, such as street lamps in the shape of birdcage and rattle-drum and flower bowls in the shape of stone drum and Taiping cylinder, and the Chinese style long narrow tables match with the historical buildings on both sides, which becomes a beautiful scenery line of “Humanistic Beijing”.
On September 28, 2009, before the 60th birthday of the People’s Republic of China, 103 stores opened here, 79% of which are Chinese brands, 21% are international famous brands, including 21 time-honoured merchants. It realizes its goal of “demonstrating youthfulness while combining the ancient and the new”. The ancient Qianmen Street is gradually entering its most prosperous new period.
According to the data by 2012, the time-honoured food here includes: Bianyifang, Quanjude, Donglaishun, Zhangyiyuan, Yueshengzhai, Yitiaolong, Wuyutai Neifu Cuisine, Wuyutai, Tianyuan Sauce Store, Tianxingju, Qinglinchun, Duyichu, Lili Restaurant (Sichuan cuisine), Kaorou Ji, Jiulongzhai, Jinfang Snack, Wonton Hou, Hongluo Food, Guotie Wang, Tianfu Hao, etc.
In 2008, “Dangdang bus” reappeared on Qianmen Street. It is actually a tram, which is a historical memory of Beijing. It got its name as “Dangdang bus” because it is equipped with a copper bell, which makes a “Dangdang” sound. It was in use since 1921, and disappeared in 1956.
It was originally a large carriage, with a brown lower body and yellow upper body. Then how did it travel on the road? There are two things that it had to depend on. One was the track, which is different from the track on the railway as it was embedded in the ground. The wheels of “Dangdang bus” fit in this track to move forward. The second was the power equipment on its top, which was connected to the wires in the air to get power. As the power equipment on the roof was like girl’s braids, people also called it “braids on the roof”. When it moved, it still swayed left and right although it was overall steady. If there was a pedestrian or vehicle on the way, when driver step on the pedal, the bell would make a “Dangdang” sound.
Today’s “Dangdang bus” has been restored to its original structure. It can run for 16 kilometers in one charge, with more than 50000 cycles of charge and discharge. The long “braids” on the roof are also removed, with only two short “braids” remaining as decoration.
Now there are two “Dangdang buses”, “Qianmen No.1” and “Qianmen No.2”, taking less than 10 minutes to drive on the 840-meter track. There are two stations along the route, Wupai Archway and Zhushikou. The two separated tracks at Yueliangwan lead to the east and west respectively are specially used for maintenance. The track adopts resin fixation technology. The operation time is from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and the ticket price is 50 yuan per single route.
Qianmen Street and Dashilan are very close to each other. After visiting Qianmen Street, you may wish to go to Dashilan to watch opera while drinking Chinese tea. It must be an unforgettable evening!
The Dashilan commercial district in Beijing has a history of nearly 600 years. In the past, people praised Dashilan for “the essence of the capital is gathered here, and the greatest prosperous in the world is no more than this”. Today, this ancient commercial street still keeps the “three verticals and nine horizontals” street pattern of the late Ming and early Qing dynasties. When you come here at night, listening to the Peking Opera must be your top priority. The Zhonghe Theatre, Daguan Building, Guangde Building, Guizhou Hall and Deyunshe are all for you to choose from, and you must feel satisfied with them! We have to remind you that their tickets ares very popular, so please book in advance.
Transport: Qianmen Station of Metro Line 2
Sanlitun is located in Chaoyang District, starting from Sanlitun Road in the east, Xindong Road in the west, adjacent to the No. 2 Trolleybus Plant in the north, and next to the Workers Stadium North Road in the south. It got its name because it is 3 li (1 li is 0.5 km) away from the inner city, and became famous for Sanlitun Bar Street. Sanlitun Bar Street is one of the most “prosperous” entertainment streets in Beijing’s nightlife.
Sanlitun Bar used to be the symbol of Beijing’s “Night Economy”. More than 60% of bars in Beijing are gathered within 1km from Sanlitun, and the fashions created here are widely followed by non-mainstream urban white-collar workers and “new” youths. That’s why both professional and amateur street shooting is popular here.
In summer, the fountain in Taikoo Li constantly changes its “shape”. Sometimes the water suddenly rushes to the sky, and sometimes it falls together only at the height of the calf above the ground, or it stops and sprays with music beat. The water splashes down on the square just like dancing. The high and low water columns echo the dazzling and colourful lights around, helping you get rid of troubles of the day.
If you feel like shopping, Sanlitun is definitely the place to go. This is the trend vane of Beijing, the intersection of free and diverse fashions, and the utopia for casual fashion... Here, international famous flagship stores, independent designer brands, high street fashion brands and avant-garde style shops meet, resulting in interesting “chemical reactions”, attracting fashionist are eager to come. Every day, new popular elements, new lifestyles, new attitudes and ideas are discovered and advocated in Sanlitun. Here, inspiration can be infinitely inspired, personality can be arbitrarily displayed, and your unique personality can be released!
Transport: Agricultural Exhibition Hall Station of Metro Line 10
China World Trade Centre
China World Trade Centre (CWTC) is the first choice for many multinational enterprises and trading companies to enter Beijing. As the CBD of Beijing, many tall buildings are gathered here. Whether the tall China Zun or the Big Shorts TV, every building has their unique beauty.
At night, you can see the neon lights in the dark sky, as well as busy traffic and colourful lights. Office buildings, plazas, accommodation, cinemas, restaurants, exhibitions, bookstores, transportation hubs... You can find almost everything here. There are many restaurants with special characteristics all around China World Trade Centre, as well as bars of various styles. Shopping here is dominated by high-end luxury brands.
Transport: Take Metro Line 1 or Line 10 and get off at Guomao Station
Walking around Wukesong at night is absolutely worthwhile! As soon as it gets dark, various neon lights here begin to twinkle. All lights are diverse in colour and shape, turning this place into a somewhere that never sleeps.
Near the south entrance, aunties are dancing under the rotating HI-UP projection lights, and their moves are really pretty. The design in the distance must be familiar for those who love to play games. These are the patterns of the buttons of the game console handles, showing that this is a good place to “play”.
Looking down on the stairs leading to the sinking square, the first attraction in the square is golden “market” - Miaoqu Street. Many handmade gadgets are so cute that you feel unwilling to put it down.
On the crowded square, there is a handsome young boy singing, attracting many passer-by to stop and listen. They mainly sing folk songs or nostalgic pop songs, which is quiet and free.
There are so many tourist attractions, making this place an online celebrity. For example, the well-known sculpture “Eggplant”, has a seat beside it for people to take photos.
You can choose to take the stairs to the sinking square, or simply “slide down”. The spinning ribbon in the distance is the slide here.
If you want to have fun, there is also HI-FUN Sports Park, including horse riding, trampoline, driving... Everything that is fun.
If you feel tired of walking, you can also travel on small trains. At night, the square becomes charming under the colourful lights.
In the fountain area, adults can still hold back, but children are completely free to enjoy themselves. On hot summer evenings, playing with water is the greatest thing to do. However, we would like to remind you that if your children run sweaty, be careful not to let them play with water immediately.
Just being fun is never enough! There are also a variety of foods here, from north to south, home and abroad, whatever you would like to have a taste.
Feel like some beer at night? There are a variety of craft beers here. Just one glass will relieve you from the heat at night. What about the taste? Just see the crowd!
If you ask what to eat in the summer evening, then BBQ must be the answer. When tired of shopping, find somewhere with friends and order some BBQ - that is the correct way to spend summer.
It doesn’t matter if you’re full, all kinds of ice cream, pastry, are more than attractive, and hot pot, roast duck, Sichuan noodles, ramen...all kinds of pizza, White Fungus and Pear Soup, Musang King...Here, you can try everything from home and abroad.
On the west side of the ground floor of Wukesong Huaxi LIVE, there is a “cooling plan” in the park, covering an area of 800 square meters. It is carefully built and looks like the real “nature”.
In the mist at night, this place is turned into a fairyland, surrounded by green grass and trees, flanked by misty curtains, everything here is so fairy-like
You can also take a nap in the tents here and enjoy the tranquillity of summer. Such a beautiful park is the place for you to cool down.
With the popularity of air conditioning, the traditional ways of getting rid of heat in summer such as outdoor walking, hand-cranked fans have been forgotten by people. But here, you can pick up this fun again!
Transport: Wukesong Station of Metro Line 1
SOLANA Blue Harbor is located on the northwestern shore of Chaoyang Park and is a shopping landmark in Beijing. This European-style building is blessed with rich exoticism. There is a musical fountain in the centre of the open square. Under the light of the lights at night, it feels like being in a European town, providing customers a enjoyable shopping experience. Blue Harbour covers more than 500 famous retail stores, more than 30 restaurants, more than 20 waterfront bars and merchants such as Legend Times Studios, All-Star Skating Club, BHG boutique supermarkets. No matter you prefer shopping or eating or watching movies, it is always a good choice. During holidays or events, the atmosphere here is even more lively.
The Light Festival at Blue Harbour is quite famous, attracting many people to come and watch.
In 2008, Blue Harbor pioneered the industry and held the first large-scale International Art Lighting Exhibition to lead the trend of commercial consumption. So far, it has been held for 12 consecutive years. Every year, world-class art masters come and bring the brightest lighting feast to the public, allowing them to experience the charm of culture and art closely.
In 2018, SOLANA Blue Harbour and the world-famous Amsterdam Lighting Festival from the Netherlands exhibited international award-winning lighting art installations, which surprised everyone; the 2019 Blue Harbour Lighting Festival even cooperated with James Glancy Design, with the Brand Head as James Glancy Design China’s only exclusive partner is responsible for the in-depth design, production and installation of this project, creating a “winter tropical rainforest” in Beijing, which conveys warmth and hope during cold winter days.
Regardless of the interpretation of the theme or the artistic sense of the lighting installation, the Blue Harbour Lighting Festival has become an art and cultural festival comparable to internationally renowned art festivals such as the Sydney Lighting Festival in Australia, the Lyon Lighting Festival in France and the Amsterdam Lighting Festival in the Netherlands.
The Festival of Lights has become the VIP unique in SOLANA Blue Harbour. It forward-lookingly used lights that imply hope and power to closely relate to arts and humanities, empower businesses, rebuild commercial spaces, and lead the urban space to gain more humanities.
Transport: Zaoying Station of Metro Line 14
COFCO Xiangyun Township
With the arrival of summer, night economy is booming again. In COFCO Xiangyun Township in Shunyi District, when lanterns light up the night sky again, outdoor dining area welcomes every customer to come... The “Flower Windmill Season” in Xiangyun Township has recently opened, and will last for one and a half month. Public performances such as open-air movies and bands will be staged here.
COFCO Xiangyun Township’s “Late Night Food Street 2.0” has kicked off, creating a night market in “Gorgeous Summer Night” and lighting up the nightlife of Shunyi. The town selects 29 ingenious night foods and gathers tasty cuisines from 11 countries. It will keep openning until 24: 00. There is also a heartwarming evening breeze terrace, a late-night library, a romantic open-air cinema, street bands and so on. Build on last year’s form, this new version features catering and shopping, providing cultural and creative activities and fitness, entertainment and other facilities, bringing an advanced version of the night food-seeking activity and activating more ideas of the “night economy”.
The Township’s original intention is to facilitate people and provide a space full of natural vitality for those customers who enjoy the night. Starting from the needs of tenants, carrying out multiple marketing activities to release the vitality of the late-night economy, with the goal of prospering the vitality of the business circle, the Township aims to deeply activate the original vitality of street commerce, release the commercial value of Beijing characteristics, enrich the night of Beijing and thus create neighbourhood business vitality.
Address: No. 9, Antai Street, Shunyi District, Beijing
Transport: Get off at Hualikan Station of Metro Line 15, or Xiangyun Town Station of Shun 62 Road
When we fight through COVID-19, let’s meet on the street and enjoy the beautiful Yejing City together!