Olympic Park

Address: Tianchen East Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China

- Free


The Olympic circus is London-bound, but you can still see where it all happened back in 2008.

For serial sports nuts, or if you just want a close encounter with the iconic ‘Bird’s Nest’ Stadium, it’s possible to spend a few hours wandering around Beijing’s Olympic area, which, unlike other host cities, is surprisingly centrally located. It’s a bit of a ghost town as you might imagine, but you can pay to peek inside the National Stadium, which hosts occasional events and themed attractions. Currently, the Water Cube next door has been turned into a waterslide theme park. When I pick up friends and family from the airport, I usually tell the taxi driver to take us to the hotel via the niao chao (Bird’s Nest). Snatching a quick peek from the north fourth ring road is enough for most people.

Value for money

Price advice

It's free to wander the park, but entry tickets to venues change depending on the attraction.

Expert tips

Consider a visit after nightfall, when the Bird’s Nest is illuminated and the Water Cube has its funky blue lava lamp effect switched on.

Recommended for

  • Families with teenagers
  • Families with younger children
  • Sporty types
  • Design and architecture