National Centre for the Performing Arts

#8 in Best Things To Do in Beijing
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Garrett Ziegler/Flickr

Key Info

2 W Chang'an Ave.


Entertainment and Nightlife, Tours, Sightseeing Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend


  • 3.5Value
  • 5.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

Sometimes called the "Giant Egg" due to its unique shape, the National Centre for the Performing Arts is actually home to three different venues: the Opera House, the Concert Hall and the Theatre. Everything from ballets to dramas are staged here. The unusual property also has an artificial lake and lots of green space surrounding, it making it a magnet for locals and visitors alike. The exterior of the building is a unique titanium glass oval shell and all the passages and entrances into it are built underwater, which lends a surreal aspect as you enter.

Recent visitors were wowed by the architecture and highly recommend checking it out. It's free to wander outside, but there is a small fee to enter the building. English language tours are also offered for a fee.

You can reach the venue via the Tiananmen Xi subway station. For more information, visit its website. Tickets to enter the building and walk around public spaces cost 30 yuan (around $4.40). For a guided tour in English, you need to book in advance; tickets cost 200 yuan (about $29). Prices vary for performances.

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#1 The Great Wall of China

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Only an hour's drive northwest of Beijing, the Badaling section is convenient, hosts a large souvenir market, and has a gondola to whisk visitors up and down the wall. Sounds perfect, right? Well, and that's why thousands of tourists decide to venture here. This can create mob-like scenes that can spoil the trip, but it's unpredictable. Plenty of visitors rave about this section of the wall and say a visit is a must. Entrance to the Badaling section of wall (not including the gondola ride) costs 40 yuan (about $6) in the winter and spring and 45 yuan (about $6.60 ) in the summer and fall. You can start hiking the Badaling portion at 6:40 a.m., and you must be down by 6:30 p.m. every day.

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