Beijing express

As the cultural center of China, Beijing does not lack entertainment: From clubs to traditional opera performances, Beijing has it all.

Beijing is a great place to see traditional opera, Chinese acrobatics, and folk arts such as crosstalk and storytelling. These traditional performances can be experienced at many of the theaters and teahouses such as Lao She Teahouse, Beijing Concert Hall, Concert hall of the Conservatory of Music, Beijing Tianqiao Theater, Chang'an grand Theater and Huguang Guild Hall. However, they tend to be more for the mature visitors and many do not offer English translation or supertitles. Many tourists who come on a package experience the Beijing Night Show, which is a 90-minute vaudeville show with a mishmash of what Chinese people perceive as what visitors want to see - meaning it was designed to be enjoyed once and only once. Chinese acrobatic shows can be seen at Chaoyang Theater and Red Theater. Visitors traveling with children may want to make for the China Puppet Theater. Performances will vary from traditional shadow paper puppets to elaborate puppets that resemble life-like Beijing Opera performers.

If you're thirsty, head to Sanlitun or ''bar street.'' Other bar areas nearby include the area within the north gate of the Workers Stadium, Chaoyang Gongyuan west gate, and NurenJie (Women's Street) where revelers get rowdy at all hours of the night. Several ''never close'' venues include Maggie's, Goose & Duck, OT Lounge, and Rickshaw. All four serve food until very late and drinks around the clock.

There are a few markets that are also open at night including Dongdan Street, Xidan Street, Donghuamen Gate, and Longfusi Temple which attracting the bargain hunters trawling hundreds of small boutiques during the warmer months.

During Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, there are at least ten temple fairs held around the city. The most popular one is Changdian Temple Fair. Visitors interested in experiencing Lion Dance, Beijing Opera and other traditional performances should make their way to the temple fair. Although not as grand as Changdian, White Cloud Temple Fair also gives visitors a taste of the traditional celebration, while Longtan Lake Park Temple Fair can trace its roots back to the Ming Dynasty.

Winter usually brings ice and snow to the area. Although not as grand as Harbin's Snow & Ice Festival, Longqing Gorge Ice Lantern Festival can give anyone a taste of beautiful ice sculptures and ice lanterns lit with an array of color. Usually, this temple is held from January to February. Warmer temperature brings out other festivals (please check out our festival section).