National Stadium


Known colloquially as the Bird’s Nest (鸟巢, Niǎocháo), the spectacular showpiece of the 2008 Olympics Games was designed by Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron in consultancy with Beijing artist Ai Weiwei. Most visitors are content to snap photos of the exterior, but sports fans might get a kick out of seeing the track where Usain Bolt broke the 100m world record.

Along with the adjacent Water Cube and other venues, the National Stadium was part of a vast Olympic development on Beijing's central axis that necessitated the eviction of over one million people, according to reports at the time. Appropriately, the area can feel as lifeless as a post-apocalypse zombie flick, although the stadium will be pressed into service once again as the site of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2022 Winter Olympics, becoming the only stadium to host both the summer and winter games.

The basic entry ticket grants access to the stadium on the 1st and 5th floors, where there are a couple of tired exhibits. The VIP ticket gets you into some private hospitality suites.

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