The sun is shining. You’re studying abroad in Beijing. How do you make the most of the day ahead? Our local staff have a few suggestions:
1. TAKE A BOAT RIDE. What better way to feel refreshed on a hot Summer’s day while you’re studying abroad in China than by heading out in a boat on one of Beijing’s lakes? There are popular boating facilities at Houhai, Beihai Park as well as on the lake at the Summer Palace. A group of three or four friends sharing a small peddle or rowing boat is the best option. Book yourself an hour or two and relax on the water.
Photo: Boating on lake at the Summer Palace by Colin Speakman
2. GET CLOSE TO NATURE. Not far from campus where CAPA Beijing students study, there are a few lovely parks where you can enjoy the great outdoors. Go for a relaxing stroll where much appreciated shade is provided by the trees. Listen to the sound of lapping water and admire some of the beautiful flowers in bloom. You can also hear the birds singing and feel close to nature despite being in the middle of a global city. The two near CAPA are Yuyuantan Park or Zizhuyuan Park (Purple Bamboo Park), but there are many others around the city as well.
Photo: Yuyuantan Park opposite old CCTV Tower by Colin Speakman
3. EAT DINNER OUTDOORS. One of the great joys of Summer is dining outdoors. Around Beijing, you’ll find some restaurant patios perfect for this and some have roof top dining options as well. From there, you’ll have some nice views over the city and perhaps catch a few rays of sun at the same time (don’t forget the sunscreen!) Check out one of the cafe bars at Houhai and in the 798 Art District among other venues.
Photo: At an outdoor patio in Houhai in Summer by Colin Speakman
4. SPLASH IN THE POOL. If nothing will cool you down like a dip in the pool, head to Liulang Swimming Pool near the Summer Palace or Baolian Sports Park, Haidian District, also not far from the campus where CAPA Beijing classes take place. Swim some laps for a bit of exercise and then slather on that sunscreen and reward yourself by relaxing poolside with a refreshing drink and a good book.
Photo: Swimming pool in Beijing by Lara Warman
5. JOIN THE LOCALS. When locals are looking for a way to relax on a sunny day, many of them make their way to the grounds of the Temple of Heaven where there’s plenty to do: listen to free music played by Chinese musicians, bring a pack of cards or Chinese Chess and settle in for a bit of friendly competition or join in various dance groups. If getting so involved doesn’t appeal, it’s also a great place just to chill on a bench in the shelter of the Long Corridor and indulge in some people watching!
Photo: Dancing in the Temple of heaven grounds in Summer by Colin Speakman
6. EXPLORE THE OUTSKITRS OF THE CITY. If being in the hectic city is a bit overwhelming in the heat, then take advantage of a sunny day to leave the center of Beijing and get to know the Mentougou rural area. Take a 929 bus from the Western end of the line 1 subway. It’s an hour journey, but once you’re there you can stroll off of the beaten path, past farms, streams, little used single track railway lines and countryside, take in some fresh air and leave the city sounds and smells behind.
Photo: Mentougou rural area by Colin Speakman
7. GO FOR A HIKE. No need to exert yourself for a full on grueling hike on such a hot day, but when the sun comes out, it’s a great time for a gentle walk to take in a nice view and spend some time in the great outdoors. Consider heading out to Fenghuangling (Phoenix Mountain) Nature Park in the Haidian District. This scenic area is nicknamed “the lung of Beijing City” and it is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a place to take in a breath of fresh air.
Photo: Fenghuangling Nature Park by IRIS Liu
8. ESCAPE THE CROWDS. Everyone who travels to Beijing wants to see the Great Wall. Don’t spoil a perfectly sunny day by getting stuck in crowds at the usual sections of the Wall if you’re setting out to do the same. Instead, make your way to a more remote section in Jinshanling. From there, you’ll enjoy some peace and quite plus great views from a fairly flat part of Hebei Provence just outside Beijing.
Photo: The Great Wall at Jinshanling by Colin Speakman
9. VISIT THE FORBIDDEN CITY. There is never a bad time to visit (or perhaps revisit) the Forbidden City. Since so much of it is located outdoors, a nice sunny day always helps. Refresh with a coffee part way through at the cafe that used to be a Starbucks. Then, on your way out, relax in the tree-lined Imperial Garden at the back of the Palace. This area used to be used by the Imperial family to sip tea, play chess, meditate and generally relax. Feel free to do the same.
Photo: Imperial Garden of Forbidden City in summer by Colin Speakman
10. HEAD TO AN AMUSEMENT PARK. If it’s fun and excitement you’re after on a sunny Summer’s day in this CAPA global city, then the Beijing amusement park is sure to encourage plenty of laughter and a rush of adrenaline. Happy Valley in Chaoyang District is considered the best and the capital’s answer to Disneyland with distinctive landscapes and themes plus over 40 rides.
Photo: Happy Valley in Beijing by Jinjian Liang
Share your favorite sunny day activities with us in a comment!