Why you should go to Beijing!

Beijing, a massive city with six UNESCO World Heritage sites and jaw-dropping modern architecture by internationally renown architects, has long been the center of China's politics, economics, culture, education, international trade and communication. Though less visited by international tourists than Shanghai or Hong Kong, it beguiles with intriguing sites like the Forbidden City, world-class museums, great food, art galleries, music venues, shopping in alleys or malls. It is also the most convenient place for visiting the Great Wall, tops on recent lists of the seven wonders of the world.

Life in Beijing, however, is more reserved than in cities like Singapore and Hong Kong. And that goes for LGBTQ life as well. The growing gay scene is discreet with no Pride parades or rainbow flags, but lively bars and dance clubs like Destination can be found in the Chaoyang district on the east side of town around Sanlitun Bar Street.

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Hotels (10)
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Restaurants (10)
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Nightlife (11)
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Things to do (22)

Activity

Like a giant dragon, the Great Wall stretches some 13,000 miles (20,000 km) across China. The longest wall on earth and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is visited by...
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Closed to the outside world for 500 years when it was seat of the Ming and Qing dynasties, the Forbidden City is the largest collection of ancient wooden structures in...
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Shopping

Nanluoguxiang is a well-preserved and bustling hutong (alley) in the heart of the ancient city. The 800-meter (half mile) stretch is full of shops, restaurants and...
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The Summer Palace, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998, is a square mile (2.9 sq km) of lakes, gardens and palaces, most of it water. It's a lovely escape from...
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798 Art Zone is a Soho-like neighborhood of galleries, art centers, artists' studios, boutiques, design companies, loft apartments, restaurants and bars created in...
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Restaurant

Famous for its Peking Duck, the Da Dong Roast Duck Restaurant made the bucket list in "1,000 Places to See Before You Die" and Mimi Sheraton's 10 Most Memorable Meals....
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Nightlife

Houhai Bar Street, close to Shichahai Lake and Beijing hutongs, is home to more than 120 bars, more upscale than those found along Sanlitun Bar Street. Check out...
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Shopping

Sanlitun Village North and South is yuppie mecca of shops (including an Apple store), designer (local and international) boutiques, restaurants, a multi-screen cinema,...
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One mile east of Tiananmen Square, Dongdan Park has an open plaza, but a hillside area with stone paths is the attraction for gay men seeking friendship, permanent relationships or a quick interlude. Cruising has decreased with the growing popularity of online dating apps.
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Shopping

The pedestrians-only Quiamen Street, running south from Tiananmen Square, has been rebuilt to match photos from the 1920s and 1930s. It has international brands like...
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The neighborhood around the three Shichahai lakes has natural beauty, ancient royal mansions, 10 famous Taoist and Buddhist temples, rickshaw rides through historic...
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Shopping

The Silk Street Market - with a reputation for counterfeit luxury goods - is a shopping center that replaced the alleys of the old Xiushui Market in 2005. It has over...
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Shopping

Open in time for the 2008 Olympics, The Place is an upscale mall with an immense LED Sky Screen canopy over its outdoor plaza that's a destination in itself. Shops on...
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Shopping

Wangfujing Shopping Street is pedestrian-only with almost 300 shops, many major brand. The hutongs (alleys) just west of the street are full of street food stalls and...
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Nightlife

Great Leap Brewery, the first micro-brewery in Beijing, has three gastropubs around town and is a venue for the Gaymazing Poker Race, which raises funds for the Beijing...
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Hotel

At the east gate of the Workers' Stadium, the 115-room A Hotel is about a 15-minute walk from the Dongdaqiao subway and less than a kilometer from Sanlitun nightlife and...
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Nightlife

Flying the rainbow flag among the tourist traps of the Santlitun bar street, Adam's has a rooftop patio and a happy hour. Beijing's first openly gay bar, the creation of a bigger-than-life gay party planner, is better for beer than cocktails.

Nightlife

On the north side of the Workers' Stadium, Alfa draws a mixed and international crowd with its friendly atmosphere, dance floor and casual outdoor lounge. It hosts a gay party on Fridays and serves Asia-French cuisine late for the après partying crowd. A big LGBTQ supporter, it's a good place to check in on what's going...

Hotel

The 51-room Aman at Summer Palace is a series of courtyards, pools and pavilions where guests once waited to see the empress. Pampering begins at the airport where Aman...

Activity

The Beijing Traditional Opera Museum in the Huguang Guild Hall Chamber is a good introduction to the art form. The jewel in the collection is an early 19th century Peking Opera theater ornately decorated with phoenix, dragon and peony patterns and seating more than 1,000. Opera highlights are performed nightly at 6:30...

Activity

Giant pandas are the big draw at the 200-acre (81 ha) Beijing Zoo where the Panda House (extra fee) is shaped like a Tai Chi diagram and landscaped like a traditional...

Restaurant

A favorite with ex-pats, Big Smoke Bistro serves southern comfort food (US style). big burgers, specialties like seven-hour braised lamb shank. The craft beer Jing-A set up its microbrewery on the premises.

Restaurant

Brasserie Flo, in its second location since the Parisian original opened its Beijng output in 1999, is so very, very French and so near the French embassy. It is popular...

Activity

On the eastern side of Tiananmen Square, the China National Museum was created in 2003 when the Museum of the Revolution and the Museum of Chinese History merged,...

Shopping

Part of the China World Trade Center, the China Mall Shopping Arcade is a ritzy mall with flagship stores of international brands but no bargains. It spreads its 60,000 square meters (about 1. 5 acres) over four floors and includes an ice skating ring, an international food court, a spa, a pharmacy and a supermarket.

Nightlife

After three years in Shanghai, Dada opened in Beijing in 2012, hosting DJ parties, art and cultural events, movie nights and eclectic live music by international...

Restaurant

Dali Courtyard, tucked away down a hutong (alley) near at the Drum Tower, is named after a town in the southwestern providence of Yunnan known for its great ethnic variety and spicy foods. You don't need to worry about reading menus here. The fixed price (around $15 - $20) brings you an amazing variety of dishes the chef...

Nightlife

Destination is the granddaddy of gay dance clubs with the biggest dance floor in town and American DJs. Its themed nights include a Bear Hunt the third Friday of every month. Happy hour is 9 pm - 10 pm. Crowd includes hip locals, tourists, ex-pats and some women. It's across the street from Funky.

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For men only, Dragon Day Spa offers a variety of massages, facials, body scrubbing, waxing, spa packages and other personal care services. In the central business...

Restaurant

Element Fresh is a Shanghai-based chain specializing in American-style healthy meals - salads, wraps, sandwiches, smoothies - with several locations around town...

Hotel

The 55-room Emperor Hotel on the eastern side of the Forbidden City is set among traditional Chinese temples and houses. Forbes rated it one of the world's best business...
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Nightlife

Southwest of Workers Stadium across from Destination, Funky is an upscale venue, opened in 2013 and redecorated in spring 2015. With a state-of-the-art sound system,...

Restaurant

Presentation is everything at the suburban Green T House Living, an art-infused restaurant in a spa retreat and event space near the Capital International Airport...

Restaurant

Haidilao, the popular Sichuan-based hot pot chain, has nearly 40 locations around Beijing. While waiting for a table, you'll be offered free snacks, card games, shoe...

Hotel

Hidden away in a neighborhood of hutongs (alleyways), the luxurious Hotel Côté Cour teams modern design with the the traditional courtyard house or siheyuan. Behind its...
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Restaurant

Part of the local craft beer revolution, Jing-A Taproom is a brew pub in a courtyard in 1949: The Hidden City next door to Traitor Zhou's deli. It's the flagship of A...

Hotel

The 526-room Kempinski Hotel Beijing Lufthansa Center, 20 minutes from the Capital Airport and close to exhibition centers, is popular with Europeans because its seven...
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Hotel

The landmark Marriott Hotel City is next to the last remnant of Ming Dynasty City Wall and a five-minute drive to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. The 357...
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Nightlife

You'll know you've reached Más, a rum cocktail bar and event space with Cuban fare when you spot a mint green and black facade. A couple of friendly Miami ex-pats run...

Nightlife

Mesh is a sleek, dress-up bar inside the Opposite House boutique hotel. It's popular with the LGBTQ community even though it no longer has an official gay night. It has...

Restaurant

Mr. Shi's Dumplngs has two locations: the original hole-in-the-wall in the alleys near the Bell Tower and a newer one in Sanlitun, northwest of the Beijing Workers'...

Activity

The Legend of Kung Fu at Red Theater is the tale of a boy struggling to become a Kung Fu master. The story is told in English with Chinese subtitles on a screen. Show starts at 7:30 pm. Tours include hotel pickup and return.
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Hotel

The 700-room Novotel Beijing Xinqiao is in the heart of Beijing with the train station and the New World Shopping Mall only minutes away by foot. Tiananmen Square...
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Hotel

Designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, the Opposite House is part of the Sanlitun Village complex of shops, restaurants and entertainment. Its sleekly modern 99...
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Shopping

A bustling antique market with a horde of vendors, Panjiayuan Market is open during the week but best on weekends, particularly before sunrise. Good for Mao memorabilia,...

Hotel

The 171-room Raffles Beijing is a historic hotel only a five-minute walk from Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Begun in the early 1900s as the Grand Hôtel de Pékin and later the Beijing Hotel, it has housed the A-list of international dignitaries and was the International Olympic Committee headquarters in 2009....
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Activity

The rickshaw tour of the city's hutongs (alleys) explores the ancient streets of the city with stops in a Chinese home and a teahouse and a visit to Prince Gong's...
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Hotel

The Spring Time Hostel is a 20-minute walk from the Forbidden City and a few steps from Dongsi station, exit D. The 30 basic rooms have king or twin beds. Free WiFi is...
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Shopping

"Tea Street" is an almost mile-long stretch of Maliandao Street south of the Beijing West Railway Station that's devoted to all things tea - tea shops, tea markets, tea...

Restaurant

The Temple Restaurant is down the crowded Shatan Beijie hutong (alley) in the 600-year-old Songzhu Temple complex. The main dining room in a more recent building that...

Activity

The Bookworm is a hive of literary activity - selling, lending and publishing books and hosting literary events including an annual book festival. Its restaurant has Chinese and western dishes and its bar craft beers and fine whiskies.

Nightlife

Two Cities Café and Lounge, established by two Taiwanese architects and LGBTQ activists, is a "platform for communication" where gay, straight or undecided can come together. It started off with some gay blind dating events.

Nightlife

Just north of the East Gate of the Forbidden City, Yin is a glamorous bar with great views particularly at sunset. Atop the Emperor Hotel, it has in-house DJs and...

12 community reviews / Beijing

General impression
Good
LGBT-friendly
Average
Kit has been to and reviewed Beijing

Added 1 month ago

I would go back just to check out a few more places, but be prepared for the language barrier

Hernando Carvalho has been to and reviewed Beijing

Added 4 months ago

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Only found one small gay bar.

Leplaymo has been to and rated Beijing

Added 5 months ago

Mick has been to and rated Beijing

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Lammy Winner (for male erotica) has been to and rated Beijing

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Omar has been to and rated Beijing

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