The Chinese have a deep and uncomplicated love of children and openly display their affection for them. Běijīng may have less child-friendly facilities than equivalent-sized cities in the West, but the locals will go out of their way to accommodate your kids.
Historic Běihǎi Park has a large boating lake. The lakes at Hòuhǎi also provide pedal-boat action and, come winter, they freeze over and become central Běijīng’s biggest playground. Rent ice skates, ice bikes and even ice bumper cars. The rest of the year, try Le Cool Ice Rink inside the China World Shopping Mall.
Head to Wangfujing Dajie for big toy shops selling gadgets that whiz, whir, beep and flash.
- Arts & Crafts
Take them to Jīngchéng Bǎixìng where they can have a go at painting, or even making, their own traditional Chinese clay figures.
- Kite Flying
Buy a handmade kite at Three Stone Kite Shop and head to one of the parks to join Běijīng’s legion of kite-flying enthusiasts.
- Museums & Shows
- Hiking & Cycling
Older kids will love the adventure of hiking along the Great Wall; just be sure they know the dangers. Cycling tours around the hútòng (narrow alleyways) can also be fun. Try hooking up with Bike Běijīng.
Need To Know
Discounts Kids often half price; or free if shorter than 1.2 metres.
Nappies Supermarkets stock baby essentials.
Smoking Some restaurants are smoky. Sit outside, or near the door.
Bike seats Rent baby seats and helmets from Bike Běijīng.
Seatbelts Only in the front of taxis, so sit there with your child on your lap.
Getting lost Always arm your child with your hotel's business card.
Cots Only available in top-end hotels.
A long way from being the most ethically sound zoo on the planet, Běijīng Zoo does, nevertheless have pandas…and what kid doesn’t love pandas?