Beijing, the capital city of China – located in the northern part of the country, is a captivating destination for travelers due to its blend of ancient history and modern development, along with its cultural heritage. So, where to go in Beijing at night and what to do in Beijing at night? Let’s check out our Beijing nightlife guide with the suggested 11+ best things to do in Beijing at night, what to see in Beijing at night as follows!
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So, what do you plan to do to fully enjoy your Beijing visit? Hopefully, it is not just going out to eat, shopping a little and then resting to save energy for your next day’s journey. Well, here are the most interesting nighttime activities you should experience to have countless more unforgettable memories of this ancient capital of China.
Seeing Chang’an Avenue and Tiananmen Square (# best things to do in beijing at night)
Chang’an Avenue, named after the ancient capital of the Tang Dynasty and also known as the “Eternal Peace Avenue,” is a prominent thoroughfare in Beijing. It was built around the same time as the Forbidden City in the years from 1406 to 1420 during the Ming Dynasty. Stretching from the west to the east of Beijing, covering a distance of approximately 45 kilometers, it is one of the widest and longest avenues in the world, with multiple lanes for vehicles and spacious sidewalks for pedestrians.
Chang’an Avenue is lined with numerous significant landmarks, government buildings, cultural institutions, and commercial centers. Some notable structures along the avenue include:
Tiananmen Square: Located at the eastern end of Chang’an Avenue, it serves as the central focal point and is one of the most well-known landmarks in Beijing.
The Great Hall of the People: Situated on the western side of the avenue, it is an imposing structure that serves as the meeting place for the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislative body.
The National Museum of China: Located on the eastern side of the avenue, the National Museum of China is one of the largest museums in the world. It houses an extensive collection of artifacts reflecting China’s history and culture.
Beijing Railway Station: Situated near the western end of Chang’an Avenue, Beijing Railway Station is a major transportation hub connecting the city with other parts of China.
Beijing Concert Hall and China National Grand Theatre: These cultural institutions along Chang’an Avenue host various performances, including concerts, operas, and theater productions.
Over the years, Chang’an Avenue has witnessed extensive modernization and urban development. Due to its traffic importance as well as historical and political significance, the avenue has undergone several renovations and expansions to accommodate the growing needs of Beijing as a rapidly developing city. Soaring skyscrapers decorated with splendid lights makes it a popular spot at night, attracting lots of visitors.
At the eastern end of Chang’an Avenue is Tiananmen Square. It is one of the world’s largest public squares, covering an area of approximately 44 hectares. Tiananmen Square has been the site of numerous historical events, political gatherings, and public demonstrations. A colorful Tiananmen Square at night is a sight you definitely can’t see during the bustling daytime.
Enjoying Pecking Opera at Mei Lanfang Grand Theater (# what to do in beijing at night)
Mei Lanfang Grand Theater has been opened to the public since late November 2007. The theater is located at the north end of Ping’an Xili Street in Xicheng district.
The theater’s architectural design is a fusion of traditional Chinese elements and modern aesthetics. The exterior is remindful of the style of traditional Chinese architecture, with its elegant curves, sloping roofs, and decorative motifs. Inside, the theater incorporates state-of-the-art technology, ensuring optimal acoustics, lighting, and stage effects for performances.
The theater is named in honor of Mei Lanfang (1894-1961), one of the most celebrated Peking Opera performers in China’s history. Mei Lanfang is known for his exceptional skills in portraying female roles (dan) and his contributions to the art of Peking Opera.
There is a statue of Mei Lanfang measuring 1.5 meters high and 2.5 meters wide at the center of the grand theater’s lobby. Along with that, dozens of sculptures depicting the history of Pecking Opera are mounted on the wall.
Mei Lanfang Grand Theater has multiple performance spaces including a grand main theater with a capacity of more than 1,000 seats. The main theater is designed to enhance the acoustics and visual experience of Peking Opera performances. In addition, the theater complex houses smaller studios and rehearsal spaces for training and staging performances.
With ticket prices ranging from 7 USD to 40 USD, you can enjoy Peking Opera, a traditional Chinese art form known for its unique combination of singing, acting, acrobatics, and martial arts, performed by experienced artists about Chinese history, folk culture and also works inspired by modern life.
Apart from traditional opera productions, the theater also hosts other forms of Chinese performing arts, including classical music concerts, dance performances, and theater productions. This diversity allows audiences to experience various facets of Chinese culture and performing arts. So, you should check before buying tickets.
Exploring Wangfujing Snack Street (# beijing nightlife guide)
Food is always an interesting part of travel and it’s no different when it comes to Beijing. You should not miss the opportunity to experience Beijing’s unique and long-standing culinary culture on Wangfujing Snack Street in the evening. You will definitely not be disappointed.
Wangfujing Snack Street is situated in the heart of Beijing, near the Wangfujing shopping district and not far from the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. It is easily accessible by public transportation, making it a convenient stop for both locals and tourists.
The street offers a diverse range of snacks, street food, and local delicacies. You can find a variety of options, including skewered meats, dumplings, noodles, pancakes, stinky tofu, fried insects, candied fruits, and much more. Some Muslim dishes or Xinjiang specialties are also available here. From traditional Beijing snacks to regional specialties from other parts of China, there is something to satisfy every taste.
Wangfujing Snack Street truly comes alive in the evenings when the night market atmosphere takes over. The street becomes illuminated with colorful lights, and the lively environment adds to the excitement of the culinary experience. It’s a great place to immerse yourself in the local street food culture and enjoy the bustling air.
Walking along Wangfujing Snack Street is like embarking on a gastronomic adventure. The street is lined with numerous food stalls and small shops, each offering its unique specialties. The aroma of sizzling food fills the air, enticing you to sample different dishes and experience the local flavors.
Watching an Acrobatic Show at Chaoyang Theater (# where to go in beijing at night)
Chaoyang Theater is located in the Chaoyang District, hence the name of the theater, and is primarily known for its spectacular acrobatic shows. Acrobatics is a traditional Chinese performing art that combines impressive feats of strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination. The theater hosts daily performances featuring a variety of acrobatic acts, including aerial silk performances, contortionists, jugglers, trapeze artists, balancing acts, and more.
While the acrobatic performances at Chaoyang Theater showcase traditional Chinese acrobatics, the shows also incorporate modern elements and innovative choreography. The performances feature dazzling costumes, captivating storytelling, synchronized movements, and breathtaking stunts, creating a visually stunning and immersive experience for the audience.
Chaoyang Theater provides a comfortable and well-equipped venue for performances. The theater has a seating capacity of several hundred spectators and offers excellent sightlines to ensure a clear view of the stage. The lighting, sound, and stage design are carefully arranged to enhance the overall theatrical experience.
For about 75 minutes, you will go from surprise to surprise because of human’s extraordinary abilities as well as heart-stopping dangerous performances that will leave a deep impression on the audience. It only costs you about 40 USD to 120 USD to watch an entire show and get a DVD record of the show as a souvenir. Try it!
Taking selfies at the Bird’s Nest Stadium (# what to see in beijing at night)
Built to serve the 2008 Olympic Games taking place in Beijing, Beijing National Stadium, also known as Bird’s Nest Stadium, played a significant role during the 2008 Summer Olympics. It hosted the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as track and field events, football matches, and other competitions. The stadium’s striking design and grandeur became one of the iconic symbols of the Beijing Olympics.
Bird’s Nest Stadium has a seating capacity of approximately 80,000 seats. The stadium is equipped with modern facilities, including VIP lounges, restaurants, retail spaces, and broadcast facilities. After the Olympics, Bird’s Nest Stadium continued to be a venue for various sporting events, including local and international football matches, athletics competitions, concerts, and cultural events. It has also been used for other purposes, such as hosting exhibitions and trade shows.
The stadium has become a popular tourist attraction in Beijing. Visitors have the opportunity to explore the stadium’s interior, visit the Olympic Museum located inside, and learn about the history and significance of the 2008 Olympic Games. Its distinctive design and historical importance make it a must-visit landmark for sports enthusiasts, architecture admirers, and tourists exploring the vibrant capital city of China.
The stadium’s exterior is illuminated at night from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. every day, creating a visually stunning spectacle with beautiful reflections in the water, attracting many photography enthusiasts. Light shines from within in gorgeous yellows and reds, turning the entire bird’s nest-shaped structure into a brilliant flame. The best part to take selfies here is the southeast side of the building, opposite the dragon-shaped sprinkler system.
Stopping at the bars on Houhai Lake Bar Street
Houhai Lake Bar Street is situated near the historic Shichahai area in the Xicheng District of Beijing. It surrounds the picturesque Houhai Lake, which adds to the charm and ambiance of the street. Houhai Lake is a man-made lake with scenic views, traditional architecture, and narrow alleyways known as hutongs. The combination of the lake’s serene beauty and the traditional hutongs creates a unique and nostalgic atmosphere that attracts locals and tourists alike.
After walking around Houhai Lake, you should stop at a bar here to enjoy some of your favorite drinks and watch the energetic old town at night. Houhai Lake Bar Street features a variety of bars, restaurants, cafes, and teahouses. Each establishment offers its own distinct ambiance, cuisine, and beverages. You can find everything from traditional Chinese teahouses serving tea and snacks to lively bars with live music and dance floors.
You can say that Houhai Lake Bar Street is the paradise of nightlife in Beijing. It comes alive at night with its full-of-life night scene. The street is bustling with locals and tourists enjoying drinks, music, and socializing. Many bars feature live performances, including traditional Chinese music, jazz, rock, and more. It’s a great place to experience the energy and excitement of Beijing’s nightlife
In addition to the bars and restaurants, Houhai Bar Street is also home to various shops and boutiques. You can find a range of items, including traditional handicrafts, clothing, artwork, and souvenirs. It’s a great place to pick up unique gifts or mementos of your visit to Beijing.
Enjoying a bird’s eye view of Beijing at night on the CCTV Tower
China Central Television (CCTV) Tower was built in 2004 and completed in 2012. The building stands at a height of 234 meters (768 feet) and has 54 floors. It is primarily composed of reinforced concrete and steel, with a glass facade that reflects the surrounding skyline.
The most distinctive feature of the CCTV Tower is its unconventional architectural form. The two towers lean towards each other at an angle of approximately 6 degrees, creating a dramatic visual effect. The towers are connected by a cantilevered section known as the “Overhang,” which houses a public viewing platform.
The Overhang section of the CCTV Tower features a glass-bottomed public viewing platform called the “Skywalk.” Visitors can walk on this transparent platform and enjoy panoramic views of Beijing’s skyline. It offers a unique and exhilarating experience for those brave enough to step onto it.
The CCTV Tower is an impressive sight at night when it is illuminated with colorful LED lights. The lighting scheme can change dynamically, creating captivating visual displays that enhance the building’s unique form and add to Beijing’s nighttime skyline.
Visiting The Place Shopping Mall
The Place Shopping Mall is situated in Beijing’s Chaoyang District, specifically in the central business area of CBD (Central Business District). It is also near prominent landmarks such as the China World Trade Center and the CCTV Tower.
One of the distinctive features of The Place is its unique architecture. The mall is known for its large outdoor LED screen, which covers the entire ceiling of the open-air central plaza. The LED screen is one of the largest of its kind globally, measuring approximately 250 meters in length. The LED screen displays captivating visual content, eye-catching advertisements, and artistic displays, creating a dynamic and immersive environment for visitors.
The Place offers a diverse range of shopping experiences. The mall houses a variety of international and domestic brands, including fashion, accessories, electronics, cosmetics, and more. You can explore multiple floors of retail outlets and boutiques, with a wide selection of products and brands to choose from such as ZARA, Kappa, New Balance, H&M, Uniqlo, among others.
The Place Shopping Mall is not just about shopping – it also provides a range of dining and entertainment options. The mall features numerous restaurants, cafes, and food courts where visitors can enjoy a variety of cuisines, from local Chinese dishes to international flavors. Additionally, there are entertainment facilities such as cinemas, game centers, and karaoke venues for visitors to enjoy.
Experiencing a night tour of Simatai Great Wall
Simatai Great Wall is a section of the Great Wall of China located in the northeast of Beijing, approximately 120 kilometers away from the city center. It is known for its rugged terrain, steep slopes, and well-preserved ancient architecture.
Exploring the Great Wall at night provides a unique ambiance and atmosphere. The moonlight casts a mystical glow over the rugged landscape, creating a dramatic and awe-inspiring setting that differs from the daytime experience.
Simatai is particularly renowned for its picturesque vistas and its combination of natural beauty and ancient architecture and is the only section of the Great Wall open for night tours. The nighttime tour allows you to witness the stunning panoramic views of the Great Wall and the surrounding countryside under the moonlit sky.
It’s important to note that night tours of the Great Wall at Simatai are not available every day. The tours are typically organized on special occasions, such as full moon nights or during certain festivals. You should check with local tour operators or travel agencies in Beijing for information on the availability of night tours.
To ensure safety and visibility during the night tours, the Great Wall at Simatai is often illuminated with artificial lighting. This allows participants to navigate the wall’s pathways and steps more easily while enjoying the scenic beauty of the surroundings. If you are concerned about safety, you can also book an evening tour for about 118 USD to ensure protection.
Watching a Kungfu performance at the Red Theater
The Red Theater, also known as the Red Theatre Beijing or Hong Ju Chang, is a renowned venue dedicated to showcasing traditional Chinese performances, particularly Kungfu shows. It is located in the Chongwen District of Beijing, near the Temple of Heaven.
If you are a fan of Chinese historical dramas, you definitely should not miss these shows. Kungfu performances here are staging ones that highlight the discipline, skill, and artistry of Chinese martial arts. These shows feature a combination of martial arts choreography, acrobatics, music, dance, and storytelling, all woven together to create an exciting and visually stunning performance.
Highly skilled performers showcase their mastery of different forms of Kungfu, including Shaolin Kungfu, Tai Chi, Wing Chun, and other traditional Chinese martial arts disciplines. The choreography is meticulously executed, emphasizing agility, strength, precision, and coordination.
The duration of the Kungfu performances may vary, but they usually last around one to two hours, starting from 7:30 p.m. every day. The shows are designed to be visually captivating and can be enjoyed by audiences regardless of their language, as the storytelling is often conveyed through actions and movements rather than dialogue.
Immersing yourself in the Hutongs of the Old Town
The Old Town is located in the central part of Beijing, surrounding the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. It is characterized by a network of narrow alleyways called Hutongs, which form the traditional residential neighborhoods of Beijing.
The place is not just a tourist attraction but also a living, active community. The Hutongs are home to local residents who have lived there for generations. Exploring the Old Town allows you to observe the daily life of Beijing locals, witness traditional customs, and interact with the community.
The Old Town takes on a different charm at night, with beautifully lit streets, traditional architecture, and a lively spot. Taking a leisurely stroll through the Hutongs and narrow alleyways is a wonderful way to soak up the atmosphere and explore the local nightlife. You can discover hidden cafes, boutique shops, and vibrant street scenes.
The place’s historic architecture, illuminated streets, and brilliant colors provide excellent opportunities for nighttime photography. You can capture stunning shots of the ancient Hutongs, traditional courtyards, and iconic landmarks against the backdrop of the city’s sparkling lights.
Nighttime in Beijing can be very exciting or very peaceful, depending on how you choose to experience it. So, are you an introvert or extrovert traveller? Please share with us your good experiences!
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Beijing you can refer to
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Read more Bejing guide: Beijing travel blog — The fullest Beijing travel guide for first-timers