Bird’s Nest & Water Cube
- Guójiā Tǐyùchǎng & Guójiā Yóuyǒng ZhōngxīnBird’s Nest Y50, Water Cube Y30
- 9am-5.30pm, 9am-6.30pm
Lonely Planet review for Bird’s Nest & Water Cube
After the event, walking around the Olympic Sports Center midweek is rather like being stuck in a district of Brazilia or a soul-destroying intersection in Gattica or Alphaville. Traffic lights go red and there are no cars to stop; the green man flashes and there’s no one to cross the brand-spanking-new roads. It’s now hard to imagine that this was the scene of great sporting exultation in August 2008, but such is the fate of most Olympics projects. Squinting in the sun, guards in ill-fitting black combat gear point the occasional group of map-clutching tourists to the Water Cube and the signature National Stadium, which is more colloquially known as the Bird’s Nest. Enter the Bird’s Nest stadium in an attempt to recapture the euphoria of ’08 and even ascend the medals podium (for a further Y200). Patrol the nearby Water Cube and recall Michael Phelps’ astonishing haul of eight swimming golds. When all’s said and done, however, the Olympic Sports Center has ‘costly white elephant’ written all over it (the Bird’s Nest is largely unused and needs rebranding), a condition amplified by the grandiosity of the adjacent ‘seven-star’ Pangu Hotel.