Baby, it’s cold outside! Especially during the Beijing winter. While the parks and temples are beautiful at any time of year, the cold days and windchill can hinder many from venturing out and exploring the city. If the cold weather is not your thing, have no fear! Here are 8 things you can enjoy indoors in Beijing.
As of 2013, there are 3,589 museums in Beijing with a combined total of 20 million items. So, it’s safe to say that you could find a museum of your liking! Not quite sure where to begin? Try out the National Museum of China, the National Art Museum of China, or the China Museum of Science and Technology. For something more unique, try the Ancient Coin Exhibition Center or the Beijing Dong Wu Silk Museum.
Beijing is home to a bustling art scene, with a perfectly blended mix of the old and ancient with the new and contemporary. The 798 Art District is home to dozens of art galleries, and one can easily spend a day wandering the different exhibitions. At the Guanfu Classical Art Museum is the private antique collection museum of Master Ma Wei-du. Here, you can see old furniture and artifacts from the Ming and Ching Dynasties. The Red Gate Gallery is nestled within one of the oldest watchtowers in the city, so the building alone is worth the visit!
What’s one of the best things to do when it is cold outside? Go eat something hot! Hot pot is a must-try for anyone visiting or living in China. At a hot pot restaurant, as the name suggests, there is a large pot of boiling broth is placed in the center of the table. Various food of your choice is brought to the table, and you cook it yourself in the broth. Some common hot pot dishes include lotus root, potatoes, various vegetables, thinly sliced meat, tofu, dumplings, and seafood. Usually, the cooked food is eaten with a dipping sauce. Hot pot originated at the beginning of the Qing Dynasty and now is the perfect social outing.
For those looking to be a bit more active this winter, check out one of Beijing’s numerous climbing gyms. O’le Climbing Gym is one of Beijing’s longest running climbing gyms. This gym features multiple climbing routes and the staff frequently changes the arrangement of the handholds, so there’s something new every time. Another climbing gym, Rock Hour, was designed by a professional Japanese climber and is suitable for all levels of skill and difficulty.
Who says trampolines are just for kids? Bring out your youthful side at Latitude Trampoline Park in the Shunyi district. This Australian-based company opened their Shunyi branch a few years ago, and it has been a hit ever since. Not only does the space feature dozens of trampolines, but also obstacle courses, climbing walls, a dodgeball court, cafe, and more. A perfect place to burn off some energy and get the blood pumping on a cold day.
Test your skills as a chef by trying out a Chinese cooking class! At the Beijing Cooking School (formerly known as the Hutong Cuisine Cooking School), you will be led from start to finish in creating your own meal. There are a variety of options when it comes to what food you can make; ranging from Sichuan cuisine to dumplings, and Canton cuisine to noodle-making. Once class is over, you get to enjoy your freshly-cooked meal for lunch. English speaking classes are offered Tuesday-Sunday.
For a nighttime activity, spend your evening enjoying a theater show. If a cultural show is what you’re interested in, try a Kung Fu show, the Golden Mask Dynasty Show, or the Peking Opera. For more mainstream shows and concerts, head to the National Center for the Performing Arts. Make sure to check the schedule of events so you know what’s coming up!
This can be a favorite pastime any time of the year, but winter is a great time for shopping! For one, many of the markets and malls are less crowded due to a lower number of tourists. Also, with several holidays happening in winter, there are bound to be many sales. For a more traditional Chinese market, head to Liulichang Street. Here, you will find one of China’s oldest and largest bookstores, selling calligraphy and reprints of ancient texts among nearby antique vendors. A must-see is the Hongqiao Pearl Market. The Pearl Market is one of the most popular destinations for travelers to buy luggage, clothing, and of course, pearls. Those looking for Western brands can head to the Indigo or Taikoo Li malls. Just remember that with Western brands come Western prices.
Don’t let the winter blues get you down. Beijing is a beautiful city and it has so much to offer. And during the winter, venturing out to explore can actually mean venturing in! These indoor activities will keep your adventurous side satisfied until the warmer weather returns again.