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.

Toddlers

  • Parks

Toddlers will love running around Běijīng's parks, exploring their dinky pathways and dancing along to bands of local singers. They’re also perfect for family picnics. Try Temple of Heaven Park, Jǐngshān Park, Rìtán Park or Cháoyáng Park.

Young Kids

  • Lakes

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.

  • Swimming

For water slides, try the outdoor pools at Cháoyáng Park, Tuánjiéhú Park with its minibeach, or Qīngnián Hú Park. For something bigger, head to the huge indoor Happy Magic Water Park.

  • Toys

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

Try the vast China Science & Technology Museum or the Běijīng Natural History Museum, which has dinosaurs. Kids will love the China Puppet Theatre or an acrobatics show.

Teenagers

  • 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.

Běijīng Zoo

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?