Almost everybody knows that the 2008 Summer Olympics was held in Beijing, China. But when the International Olympic Committee announced that the 2022 Winter Olympics will be held in Beijing, beating the hopeful Almaty, Kazakhstan with a close win of 44-40 votes, Beijing will become the first city all over the world to host both a Summer and Winter Olympics.
Though there are also venues being constructed in Yanqing and Zhangjiakou, the majority of the games as well as the Opening and Closing ceremonies will still be held in Beijing.
One major advantage of Beijing for hosting 2022 Olympics is that already has some of the major infrastructure needed for the games. But before the venues are to be used again for the Olympics, locals, and tourists can still visit them for recreation and appreciation.
Beijing Olympic Park (Olympic Green)
Held from August 8th to 24th, 2008, the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and Paralympics took place in Beijing Olympic Park, Chaoyang District, Beijing. It has a total area of 2,864 acres or 1,159 hectares. The Olympic Forest Park occupies 1,680 acres in the north, the central station covers 778 acres, and the south area which has various venues also used for the 1990 Asian Games is measured at 405 acres.
The park was constructed to hold 10 venues, the Olympic Village, and other buildings needed for the Olympics operations. To boost Tourism, the sites were transformed into a complete multi functional activity center for the city’s locals and visitors.
The Central Section
Considered as the primary sector of the Olympic Park, significant venues and landmarks were built in the Central Section.
Located in the northwestern corner of the Olympic Park is the Olympic Village. It occupies 660,000 square meters of land and was able to host over 16,000 athletes and coaches as well as media personnel.
Known to many as Bird’s Nest, the National Stadium was designed to be the main stadium of the 2008 Olympics. It hosted different events such as football, track and field, weight throw, and discus.
Though it became one of the famous tourist attractions in Beijing, many international and domestic sports competition are still being held in the National Stadium. The opening and closing ceremonies of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games are said to be held here.
Among the architects who designed the huge stadium are Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron of Switzerland and Li Xinggang of China. They did not use redundant materials for the look of the stadium, instead, they exposed the steel structures of the edifice to become the stadium’s unique finish. It looks like a big nest which houses and takes care of the people inside.
It was built from December 2003 to March 2008. Though there was a temporary suspension of the construction on July 2004 due to the design amendments. Construction was resumed on Dec 27, 2004. The whole project has a gross cost of 2,267 million Chinese Yuan or 33 million dollars.
With an area of 63.6 acres, the stadium can accommodate a total of 91,000 seats (80,000 fixed and 11,000 temporary). Its top portion has a semi-transparent air bubble film cover in which enough sunshine can penetrate.
The stadium is built to address the needs of all the spectators. Stands can be adjusted to cater to the audience’ preferences. Seats were distributed evenly and there are no visual obstructions wherever the spectator is seated. Broadcasts can also be heard by everyone clearly since it adopted the electro-acoustic public-address system. It also owns 200 wheelchair seats for the disabled.
Bird’s Nest Happy Snow and Ice Season
A gathering called Happy Snow and Ice Festival is held in the stadium every December to February of the following year. It started after the 2008 Olympics and it turns the Bird’ Nest into the biggest ski resort in the city of Beijing.
More than 30 kinds of sports and recreational activities are available to the public including ski jumping, bumper car on ice, ice skating, and even biathlon (cross-country skiing and rifle shooting). There are also indoor activities that the children can enjoy such as fencing, canoeing, and equestrianism.
- CNY 120 on regular days
- CNY 160 on weekends and public holidays
- Free entrance for children under 3.9 feet
How to get there:
- You can take bus 82, 419, 538 or 645 to go to Guojia Tiyuchang Dong or Bird’s Nest Station or ride the Sightseeing Bus 3 and get off at Beichen Donglu Station.
- Ride the subway (Line 8) and alight at Aoti Zhongxin (Olympic Sports Center) Station. Walk 900 yards north from Exit B.
- Regular Ticket – CNY 50, children free (under 3.9 feet)
- VIP Ticket – CNY 80 (includes the entrance fee to Golden Corridor, Golden Hall, No 1 and 2 VIP Halls, regular visiting area, and Rostrum on the 2nd floor)
- Bird’s-Eye View Ticket – CNY 80 (includes entrance fee to Air Corridor and regular visiting area)
- 9 am to 7 pm –April to October
- 9 am to 5:30 pm – November to March
National Aquatics Center (Water Cube)
Functioned as the 2008 Olympics’ swimming facility, the National Aquatics Center is located west of the National Stadium. It was built from Dec 24, 2003 to January 1, 2008. It occupies an area of 15.56 acres and it measures 194 yards long, 194 yards wide and 98 feet high. It is composed of four floors with one floor underground that served as the Olympics’ service area. The ground floor is where the tourists can enter, the second floor is where the auditorium is located, and the third floor is for business. The auditorium can cater to 17,000 spectators having 6,000 fixed seats and 11,000 temporary seats.
When the Water Cube was designed, the architects tried to combine the modern Technologies with Chinese traditional values. They used the old Chinese concept of having a square Earth and a round heaven incorporating the cube shape of the ancient urban buildings.
It is the first structure in the world that was constructed based on the “soap bubble” theory. It also has a polyhedral steel-framed body.
It got its nickname, Water Cube, since it looks like a big blue box. Designers chose blue as its color for the building to reflect sunlight. During the day, the Water Cube shines like a pearl in water.
Olympic Games that was held here are swimming, synchronized swimming, and diving competitions. Post-games uses are for leisure activities, health-building services, and international center for swimming.
- The Water Cube Water Park: It is a themed indoor water park that was opened to the public on August 8, 2010. It has different water rides that the crowd can try like Wave Pool, Lazy River, Tornado Rides, and Kid’s Pool.
- The Waterdrop Theater: Built on the 4th floor of the Water Cube, the theater can cater to 150 audiences. Tourists can watch 3D as well as HD laser films that are shown here.
- The Spa Zone: A place where you can relax and experience the advanced SPA services and facilities.
- Restaurants and Bards: There are different places where you can eat and dine, there are even water-themed restaurants that offer gourmet meals.
- The Business Section: This is where tourists can buy their souvenirs.
How to get there:
- The Subway line 8 can take you to the Olympic Sports Center Station. You just have to walk 1,000 yards north of Exit B1.
- Buses available are:
- Bus 81, 82, 510, 607 or Sightseeing Bus 3 (Beichen Xiqiao Bei Station)
- Bus 81, 82, 86, 510, 607, or Special Line 13 or 15 and (Guojia Tiyuguan or National Stadium Station)
- Bus 386, 407, 490, 645, 658, 660, 740, 983, or Fast Transit Line 7, or Yuntong 113 (Beichenqiao Xi Station)
- Visit Only
- CNY 30
- CNY 15 (children between 3.9 feet to 4.6 feet)
- Free (children under 3.9 feet)
- Swimming and Visit
- CNY 60 (2 hours)
- Water Park
- Ticket price range from CNY 180 to CNY 260, visit their website for the list of prices and deals
- Waterdrop Theater
- CNY 20
- Varies per activity, check their websites for the list of opening and closing hours.
Beijing National Convention Center
This is where the International Broadcast Center (IBC), Main Press Center (MPC), and Fencing Hall are located. The IBC can cater to 16,000 journalists while the MPC can hold 1,000 reporters and photographers.
Beijing National Indoor Stadium
Adjacent to the Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube, the indoor stadium has a seating capacity of 20,000. Its roof is designed wavy which got the idea from a traditional Chinese folding fan.
The Olympic Games that were held here are trampoline, artistic gymnastics and handball finals.
- CNY 20
- 9 am to 7 pm (Apr to Oct)
- 9 am to 5:30 pm (Nov to Mar)
China Science and Technology Museum
The museum was initially opened in 1988, the first and only state-level complete science and technology museum in China. An exhibition building was added in 2009 and since then, the museum is consists of four floors.
It is located in the central part of the Olympic Park, north of the National Stadium.
It offers different science and technology ideas and concepts that focus on various fields such as aerospace, transport, energy, environment, and others. The activities in the museum are diverse and dynamic which enable the visitors to understand and appreciate the theories and applications of science and technology more.
Science Paradise Hall
This portion of the museum is suitable for children since it offers hands-on activities. It is designed for children aged 3 to 8 years old, giving the kids fun ways to learn Science. It has 7 exhibitions with different themes such as Happy Farm, Science Castle, Exploring Mountains, Cheerful Water Bay, Safety Island, Hands-on Activities, and Performance Scene.
Glory of China Hall
This is where important Science and Technology discoveries and findings of ancient China are shown. It has five sections. The first one, Introduction Hall, is where the guests can learn about ancient China. The next two are the main exhibitions of the hall. Taosi Observatory is where bronze embossments are showcased. On the other hand, in Technological Innovation of Ancient China, you can find the significant inventions in architecture, mining, agriculture, and others. Other exhibitions are Scientific Exploration of Ancient China, Exchange between China and the World Civilization, and Hands-On Space.
Exploration and Discovery Hall
This portion of the museum is where the history and development of human civilization are showcased. The scientific exploration in many areas is displayed and explained in this section of the hall too. Some of the exhibition halls are the Miraculous Universe, Mysterious Life, Rhyme of Sound, and Brilliance of Light.
Sci-Tech and Life Hall
Sci-Tech effects of different fields such as agriculture, housing, health, and transportations are shown here. Its six sections, including Healthy Life, Household, and Source of Daily Life, depict how science and technology make the lives of the people easier and faster.
Challenge and Future Hall
This section is focused on the critical issues and problems that the human race is facing. It provides insight into the future but also stresses on the issues and effects of technological development.
Four Special-Effect Theaters
- Equipped with 3 groups of movable seats, the Motion Theater can hold 60 visitors. The seats move to be in motion with the film.
- Dome Theater has a capacity for 442 visitors with seats for the disabled. This is where done planetarium shows are held.
- Huge-screen Theater can hold 632 visitors. It is one of the most advanced theaters in the world.
- 4D Theater is where 4D special-effects are showcased so that the audience can feel how it is to be part of the scene.
How to get there:
- Subway Line 8 or 15 can be ridden to go to Olympic Park Station. Take Exit G and walk east to East Hujing Road.
- You can ride bus 311, 379, 484, 594, 695, 751, Yuntong 110 or Zhuan 40 to go to Walinankou Station. The west gate of the museum is a 5-minute walk from there.
- You can take bus 311, 379 or 484 to go to Baofang Xi. A 5-minute walk north will lead you to the museum’s east gate.
- CNY 30
- 9:30 am to 5:00 pm (closed on Mondays)
The Northern Section
Olympic Forest Park
This section is considered the terminal point of the central axis of Beijing. It is composed of two gardens, the Southern Garden and the Northern Garden. The former has a grand man-made landscape of Aohai Sea and Yangshan Mountain. It was designed using traditional technologies to come up with a classical garden. On the other hand, the Northern Garden has a wide array of vegetation. There is an expressway over the Fifth Ring Road which serves as an ecological gateway to the two districts.
On the south gate of the park is the Sightseeing Tower, the 6th tallest sightseeing tower in China. It has five towers that are constructed using steel as frameworks and were arranged to depict the pattern of the five Olympic rings. Its tallest tower is 810 feet height. It is also known as Giant Nails because the rings look like nails from afar.
- 6 am to 9 pm (Mar 15 – Nov 15)
- 7 am to 7 pm (Nov 16 – Mar 14)
The Southern Section
Former Sports Center
All the venues in the former National Olympics Sports Center are used for the 1990 Asian Games. It has a stadium, gymnasium, and Yingdong Natatorium.
Chinese Ethnic Culture Park (China Ethnic Museum)
It is a huge culture base park wherein introduction to the culture, song and dance performances, old housing, and various artworks are combined and showcased. The Chinese Ethnic Culture Park also offers an opportunity for the visitors to taste the flavored cooking of China’s 56 ethnic groups.
The park/museum has already showcased displays for over 40 ethnic groups. Examples are the cave-house with three courtyards of the Han People and Tibetan-style singing and dancing ceremonies.
Planted in the park is the big banyan tree which symbolizes the banding of the 56 ethnic groups together. Another scenic spot in the park is the Ethnic Bridge which is inspired by the architectural styles of Tibetan, Bai and Dong people. There is also a fall called the Tenggeli Waterfall, the largest artificial waterfall in China.
The Water-Splashing Festival of the Dai People, the Knife-Pole Festival of the Lisu People, as well as the Mongolian’s Nadam Fair are some of the ethnic groups’ festivals which are held in the Chinese Ethnic Culture Park.
How to get there:
- You can take the bus 607 to go to Minzuyuan Lu Station or bus 5, 21, 81, 82, 84, 92, 113, 620, 653, or Special Line 8 and get off at Beitucheng Subway Station.
- To get off at Beitucheng Station, you can take either the Subway Line 8 or Line 10. The south gate of the park can be easily seen from Exit D2.
- CNY 90 (Mar 16 – Nov 14)
- CNY 60 (Nov 15 – Mar 15)
- CNY 30 (Monday)
- 8:30 am to 6:00 pm