At the Temple of Heaven , You can alway find big crowd of people ! They do all kinds of Kongfu in the pine forest to the east of Danbi Bridge. Among them is a group of Tai Chi practitioners. They do tai chi form, tai chi fan, tai chi racket ball every morning. If you have a chance visit here , don't miss the chance to join them and learn one or two simple moves of tai chi form.
It looks slow and gentle, but it's full of profound chinese study- Yin Yang principal, a martial art like the water.
If let me choose a way to exercise , I always choose Tai Chi !
If you visit Zhongshan Park, be sure to find the pond and check out the water lily's. In May and June they are in full bloom. The pond has a purple and a white variety. The best view point is at Waterside Pavilion.
This is a wonderful park on the east side of Forbidden City. You can either enter the park from the east entrance or the west side which is only accessible from Forbidden City. There is a 3RMB entry fee.
The park has been around for a long time. Originally it was called Temple of National Prosperity during the Liao Dynasty and renamed Temple of Longevity and National Prosperity during the Yuan Dynasty. The park was finally named Zhongshan Park in 1928 to commemorate a leader in democratic revolution.
The park has many shaded pathways and is a complete escape from the busy Beijing streets. Many locals come to play different games in the park. It was fun to watch and sit on a bench to relax. There is a pond area that is very beautiful and should not be missed.
I was lucking see many people enjoying the park for Tai Chi. If you would like to watch this beautiful martial art, be sure to go in the park early, by 8:00 am.
The Olympic Green is an Olympic Park in Beijing, constructed for the 2008 Summer Olympics.
The park itself, outside of the venues constructed on the Olympic Green, hosted some of the athletic events at the 2008 Games, including the race walk events, where the loops occurred on the Olympic Green concourse and the portion of the marathons just outside the National Stadium.
The famous Ling Long Pagoda, located on the northwest side of the Bird’s Nest Stadium aka the “Ling Long” means delicate, and is referred to as the Delicate Tower in Chinese. The permanent structure is a three-sided tower. The tower contains 6 pods with open space in between. One of the pods displays the Olympic rings. Many international broadcasters utilised the pagoda during the Olympics as their studio for the Games telecast.
The impressive Water Cube is located on the west side of Landscape Avenue in the Olympic Green and to the west of National Stadium (Bird's Nest), it contains the official 2008 Olympics swimming facility.
According to our guide:
The design combines modern technologies with Chinese traditional values. In tradition, Chinese conceptualized a square Earth and a round Heaven, and this formed the design's central theme. Moreover, the cube shape dominates ancient urban buildings. Its design is of traditional style to meet all its functional requirements.
It looks like a huge blue box, from which it takes its nickname: the Water Cube. It is blue in order to reflect sunlight. It shines in the sunlight like a pearl in water. From the inside, you may discover that the pneumatic cushions of all sizes are just like sea bubbles.
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.
Nationalities Park (Ethnic Culture Park)
Nice way to spend a day in Beijing provided you have extra time on your hands and you've already seen all other major spots of interest. This park is a kind of reader's digest for China and its diversity; sort of a quick info. What you'll get is a visit to very nicely arranged park area with examples of China's nationalities architecture/dwellings and if your timing is right you can also enjoy sing and dance performances typical for a given nationality. Some of the structures looked almost genuine while some had that plastic feel to them. I would have liked to see more information on every particular nationality instead of very modest information on the boards in front of their areas.
The park is divided into two areas and you can choose to visit only one or both and you pay entrance fee accordingly. There aren't many places to rest or have a snack so don't plan to have a nice meal inside the park. I found a place that only served Korean style dumplings. Also, avoid public holidays or weekends as it can get pretty crowded and noisy. Nice place to take your kids to.