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Beijing 1-Day Tour: CCTV Tower & 798 Art Zone
This independent Beijing 1-day tour takes you to admire the glamour of modern architectures and art works. The first destination of your journey is the National Centre for the Performing Arts, also known as the National Grand Theatre, located at No. 2 of West Chang' an Street and adjoining the Great Hall of the People on the west. You can take Beijing subway line 1 to Tiananmen West Station, and take Exit C to reach the theatre. Buses 1, 5, 52, and 99 also pass the Tiananmen West Stop, which is in front of the entrance of the theatre. With mirror-like surface and in hemisphere shape, the whole theatre lies in the middle of a lake like a giant pearl floating on water. Shimmering gloss makes the building more futuristic. Especially at night, the theatre reflects itself on the lake surface when lights are on. You are suggested to take pictures of its exterior appearance.
You are also advised to have an independent tour inside. The theatre is grand and sumptuous, including an opera house, a concert hall, and two drama halls, which are linked with each other with air corridors. If interested, you can appreciate the opera, play, ballet or symphony there. The recommended visiting time is about 1-2 hours and please notice the National Theatre is closed every Monday.
Renovated from an old factory, the art zone nowadays has become a popular gathering quarter in Beijing for young artists, painters, designers, writers and craftsmen. The 798 Art Zone is clustered with a great deal of galleries, workshops and studios. The most notable place is the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, where you can witness many fancy and novel art works. Most shops and halls are open to visitors for free, and only a few of them charges a low protection fee; or you can just take a leisure stroll among these lanes, enjoy the statues in the streets and graffiti on the walls. There are also stores selling artworks like colored pottery, paintings, fabric products and sculptures. You need to notice that taking pictures in some shops and exhibition halls are not allowed, so asking for permission first would be better. Please also bear in mind that some exhibition centers will be closed for rest on Monday.
Quaint cafés, tea houses and western restaurants in 798 Art Zone are also worthy your taste, but most of them are in a high price. If you do not want to eat or drink there, you can prepare some bottled water and snack in advance.
Recommended Guided Tours:
Beijing One-Day Tours from $59 per person
Other Independent Beijing 1-Day Tours:
Royal Cultural Sites: to Yonghe Lamasery, Guozijian Street, Temple of Confucius and Imperial Academy, Hutong
Ox Street Mosque & Liulichang: visit Ox Street Mosque, Fayuan Temple, Taoranting Park, Liulichang Cultural Street
Family Tour to Beijing Zoo: for families with kids to have fun in the zoo and museums