Ritan Park

in Sanlitun & Chaoyang

Landscaped like an ornamental Chinese garden, Ritan Park provides peaceful respite for the embassy district's diplomats and worker bees. The historical highlight is the Altar of the Sun (Rìtán), an open-air platform where emperors would perform rites and sacrifices.

During the Ming dynasty, Beijing had several such altars, the most famous being Tiantan, otherwise known as the Temple of Heaven Park. The Stone Boat, beside an ornamental pond overhung by willows, is a lovely spot for a drink.