National Centre for the Performing Arts

Top choice classical music

in Forbidden City & Dongcheng Central
Image by Chris Lee / 500px Images

Plonked in the middle of an artificial lake like an alien spaceship, the Paul Andreu–designed NCPA (aka 'The Egg') is a surreal yet spectacular venue at which to catch a performance of opera (Western and Chinese), ballet and classical music. Online booking is in Chinese only, but local agent can deliver tickets to your hotel for a small commission.

Even if you don't see a show, you can tour the venue during the day to admire the architecture and peek into the three concert venues (occasionally closed for rehearsals). For theatre buffs, a detailed exhibition showcases the NCPA's own recent commissions (including several triumphalist Communist Party epics), along with an engaging primer on world operatic styles. English-language tours can be booked in advance over the phone.