The Unexplored Wonders of Beijing

Elissa Mae
5 min readJul 2, 2019
Hanson Lu ‘Great Wall of China’

When first arriving in Beijing many people are taken aback by how busy and loud the city can be. Everyone is rushing to be where they need to be, the city literally never sleeps. This can be an exciting and unfamiliar feeling for people who visit for the first time.

While in Beijing you have probably scheduled a trips for yourself that consists of things including: The Great Wall, trying Peking Duck, and exploring the Hutongs. While these are great things and I agree that everyone should take the time to visit these things at least once in their life, this doesn't give you an idea of the real Beijing that people experience everyday.

When going to Beijing one thing that you don't want to cut out of your trip is experiencing the actual cultures that coexist in side a huge city like Beijing. To really understand Beijing, you need to immerse yourself fully in the city and experience things that may not be on your ordinary travel schedule!

Underground Music Clubs

Igor Rand

One thing that has really taken off in popularity within the last few years are underground music clubs. The appeal to these clubs is that they have tons of new and unheard of artists that play rock and other alternative music. This can be a great place for you to experience what the current youth is into in Beijing.

One of the most popular places to go is a club called DADA. Dada is a bar that opened in 2012 but is home to electronic music parties that play every Friday and Saturday. On the other nights Dada also features local Djs, shows art, and has other culture and film related events. Dada usually has a free entry unless there is a special event.

A newer venue for you to visit is one called Aurora. Aurora is fairly new as it opened in March 2018, but is no stranger to the underground music scene. There are many different types of artists that play here and each night is themed. For example, Thursdays are Soul Train nights that have funk music playing while Fridays and Saturdays are for Beijing-based record labels. One thing that has really made Aurora sore in popularity is that they welcome an international avant-grade electronic musician each month.

If you would like to go out and experience Beijing’s party scene, there is no better way to do it than to immerse yourself in the striving music culture that Beijing has to offer. After visiting these places you will begin to understand how people are still infusing thousands of years of culture in with their daily life.

Delicious Snack Stalls

Hanny Naibaho

If you are someone who hasn’t traveled a lot then you may be scared to try the authentic Beijing food. Many people like to stick to sit-down restaurants instead of trusting the food stalls. But many people in Beijing do not have time to spend at a sit-down restaurant. Instead you will find many people heading towards the street or inside a cramped cafeteria to get some snacks!

Most of these places can be found inside the lower ground of a shopping mall. You will be introduced to stalls upon stalls of different types of food. You can try anything from cold noodles, to small spicy snacks on a stick and even BBQ chicken feet! You really cannot go wrong with anything that you try but you must remain aventrous!

These types of places are a big staple in everyday life. Something that I want you to walk away with after trying all these new things, is a better understanding of Chinese culture.

One thing to keep in mind is that everyone’s stomach reacts differently to street food in China so please try these food at your own discretion.

Human Connection

Sacha Styles

There really is no better way to learn about Chinese culture than from a Chinese person themselves! People from Beijing are some of the most outgoing people that you will ever meet. Whether it is just a chat over some tea or going out on the town, you will find no better way to feel more included and welcomed than by hanging out with actual people from Beijing.

A great thing about Beijing is that you get to meet so many people from all over the country. Beijing is a hub for people to come and improve their life. You see people who come from all over and are open and willing to share what they love about Beijing with foreign visitors. Unlike many cities around the world where you will find people who really couldn’t care less about you, Beijing is a place filled with culture and people who want to share that culture.

So how to meet people? Easy! Just start talking to them! Even if your Chinese is bad many people know English and are willing to practice their english with you! Even if you are very shy and nervous about talking to people, there are many apps that you can download to assist you in making that human connection.

Hopefully by the end of this article you have a better idea of the everyday culture that Beijing can offer you. If you step out of your comfort zone and try to immerse yourself in real Beijing life, you will undoubtedly see a side of Beijing that will make your fall in love with the city.