Workers' Stadium

Spectator Sport in Sanlitun & Chaoyang

One of Mao's '10 Great Buildings' erected in 1959 to mark a decade of the People's Republic of China, the Workers' Stadium was built to hold 80,000 people, and staged several Mass Games here during the early days, where thousands of athletes would move as one to spell out giant Chinese characters. These days, it's the home ground of Beijing Guo'an (, the capital's soccer team.

The football season in China runs from March to November, with matches played on Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday; kick-off is usually 7.30pm. You can find Guo'an's fixtures in English on Tickets are sold online through Chinese-language websites, or over the phone (Chinese only), but it's often easier just to go to the stadium an hour or so before kick-off and buy from touts, who tend to charge double or triple the face value of the ticket, which still only runs to ¥100 to ¥150.

The east or north entrances are the best for ticket touts. For the best view and atmosphere, try to get a ticket for gates 4, 5 or 6 (upper or lower tier). For cheap scarves, shirts and other team swag, head to the north gate.