Beijing parks, like much of Beijing, have gone through a big metamorphosis. They used to be carpeted with dirt and sparsely populated with pine trees but all of that has changed. While you still are not supposed to walk on the grass in many of the parks the fact that they have grass is a huge improvement. History aside, now the parks are not only comfortable but also very nice places to wile away a warm summer day. In Beijing proper there are over 400 parks. Many are so tiny most wouldn't consider them more than protected land however, Chaoyang Park is huge and plush and worth the visit. Ritan is another favorite of mine however it doesn't have the expansive grass areas (think frisbee or other group games) that Chaoyang Park does.
Red leaves in Beijing Fragrant Hill, one of the most magnificent scenes in Beijing, enjoy the international fame and attract thousands of visitors annually. In every autumn period, crowds will cover the entire hill to appreciate red leaves. There are many kinds of red leaves in Fragrant Hill. Most of them are sumac trees and maple trees.
Red leaves in Fragrant Hill have enjoyed the popularity since the ancient time. Poem sentence “Red leaves are much brighter than blossoms in February” tell us the charm of this plant. During the late autumn days, on the southeast slope of Fragrant Hill, thousands of sumac trees will turn into red color. Other kinds of trees also decorate this hill here and there. The red color which is looked like fire print a significant scene in this time. The famous “Magnificent Autumn Forest” in the top 28 scenes in Fragrant Hill just refers this site.
In the autumn, red color covers the hill; red leaves stand on branches. The calm atmosphere in this hill makes visitors forget about troubles in the noisy world. The quiet environment, the old trees, the red leaves, all of these will attract you to come to Beijing Fragrant Hill. Red leaf is the symbol of harvest as well as the beginning of a fantastic world.
The red leaves festival in Fragrant Hill Park has been held since 1989 annually. The period is from mid-October to mid-November which is the best time to see red leaves there. During the festival period, people can join in many activities such as climbing mountain matches, art performances competitions, painting and poems competitions, music and tea exchange meetings, stone and bonsai exhibitions, etc.
There are lots of people in Red Leaves Festival period. It depends on the weather to appreciate the red leaves. If the temperature is not enough low, leaves may be not turned into bright red enough. And if the cold wave comes, leaves will fall from branches. So the golden time to see red leaves may be just a few days only.
North Lake Park. This is Beijing's largest and most beautiful park. It was originally built for emperor Kublai Khan. Locals use the park to practise tai chi and paddle in the lake. The area was landscaped under the Yuan dynasty [1279-1368]. It was also improved by the emperors Kangxi [1654-1722] and Qianlong [1711-99].
In the centre of the lake is an island called Qionghua where there is a white dagoba, this was formed by the Buddha's to honour the visit of the Dalai Lama's visit in 1651.
Tang hua wu, literal means greenhouse beside the water, was built for flower exhibitons in 1915 among Zhongshan Park (notice: NOT Jingshan parks, they are two different ones). If you go to Beijing in winter,you will known it is too cold to grow for most of plants.Tang hua wu should comfort person who lives in Beijing in the winter, for there always be various flowers arranged as a mini tradional Chinese garden, which include mini rockery designs and mini pavilions. It is one of the unique views in Zhongshan Park , where have different kinds of blooming flowers in every seasons. It is location at Tian an men west, near the Forbbiden City but more quieter.
I do not know what about your hometown, but in Beijing, some views are too solemn or serious to go frenquently for local, such as Forbidden City or the Temples etc. . Because these views were built not for relax but for offical functions, and not fit for play but for hunt for novelty. Though Zhongshan Park (literal means Nation Altar) is also an ancient monument built six hundreds years ago, it now became a large garden mixed with flowers, old trees(almost hundreds years old), and so well ancinet buildings. When i was a child, my parent often took me here for picnic during weekends, for it is more quiet and comfortable than other hot views, and also is beautiful place to visit.
Time: Spr. to May.,6 am to 9 pm; Ju. to Aug., 6am to 10pm; Sep. to Oct., 6am to 9pm; Nov. to Mar.,6am to 8pm.
There are many parks in Beijing, and they are well used by the locals for relaxing, taking their pets for a walk, Tai Chi, sport,and a host or other things. I saw Domino's, Cards Mah Jong being played. Heart choirs singing, saw local singer backed by local instrumental groups.
It is a sad fact that children in Beijing rarely feel grass under their feet.
Although there are numerous parks, squares and public gathering places around Beijing, walking on the grass is mostly forbidden. Grass areas are mostly always roped off and signs tell a familiar story, keep off the grass.
All of the squares and parks have families and friends gathering to fly kites, play mahjong, play cards, walk their dogs or simply play with their children something I feel is lost to a lot of western societies now.)
Having said that, these parks are often filled with the most magnificent sculptures and statues depicting scenes of entertainment which is what the parks should be about.
Sue is right on the money. The only suggestions I have is to try to visit Beihai Park early in the morning. (Before 7am) It's not only great for people watching, but it leaves more time during the day to visit other places. I'm not usually one to push "day trips", but I strongly suggest you book a 1/2 day bike rickshaw through the hutongs. Not only will you have an exciting (and perilous) ride, you will also have an opportunity to visit a resident of the hutong.
Happy travels, Irv
Among the many large and beautiful parks in Beijing, a few stand out. They are Beihai Park, Jingshan Park, Tiantan Park (Temple of Heaven), and the two parks on either side of the entrance to the Forbidden City, Zhongshan Park and Working People's Cultural Palace (which isn't really a palace at all). The park admission fees are minimal, and it is at these parks where one is able to see how the real Chinese people act and react to one another, as well as how they react to foreigners like me. The parks are spacious, with lots of tall trees and well-kept gardens, and a few temples here and there. The tourist guidebooks are full of information on these parks, so I won't bore you with my comments, other than to say that the most enjoyable parts of our three weeks in Beijing were spent in these parks, observing not just the beautiful scenery but also the beautiful people who go into the parks to enjoy nature and one another.
Yu Yuan Tan park located between west 2nd ring road and 3rd ring road, near Diao Yu Tai. People always boating on Ba Yi lake or swimming in the river. You'd better visit there in April for cherry blossom festival.
According to Frommer's -"There is quite simply no finer place to walk in Beijing". The Back Lakes area (Shicha Hai) is composed of three idyllic lakes - Qian Hai (Front Lake), Hou Hai (Back Lake), and Xi Hai (West Lake) - and the tree-shaded neighborhoods that surround them. Combined with other man-made pools to the south, these lakes were once part of a system used to transport grain by barge from the Grand Canal to the Forbidden City. Prior to 1911 this was an exclusive area, and only people with connections to the imperial family were permitted to maintain houses here. Lots of bars and cafes has sprung up around the lakes, providing ample opportunities to take breaks from your walk and enjoy the beautiful scenery. But at weekend can get very crowded and not easy to find a table.
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