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Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

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Bountiful Beijing - experience art district 798

The Chinese capital offers everything from ancient temples to cutting edge modern arcades and a food culture to rival anywhere in the world. Here are just a few tips from Beijing’s 798 Art Zone.

Often described as China's version of New York's SoHo, Beijing’s 798 Art Zone is a dynamic hodgepodge of galleries, trendy shops, street art and cool cafes. But  much more than just a boho hangout, this Mao-era former military factory has both a storied history and a rapidly transpiring future.

Getting There

The easiest way to reach 798 Art Zone is by flagging down any Beijing taxi and relaying the Chinese numerals 七九八 (Qī Jiǔ Bā). All drivers know it. If you have a smart phone with internet connection, you can also use DiDi, the Chinese version of Uber, which has an English interface. The journey from the city center will take no more than 20 minutes, traffic permitting. Otherwise you can take any bus stopping at Dashanzi Lukou Dong Station.

Afternoon Delight

A favorite lunch spot among the 798 office workers, Cafe Flat White provides the perfect afternoon pick-me-up in the form of China-grown Rickshaw Roaster coffee and a fine selection of sticky cakes. They also have a menu packed with international savories, including pizza, pasta, salads and breakfast food.

Cafe Flat White

4 Jiuxianqiao Road, 798 Art Zone

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Chinese Fare with a Side of Knowledge

Having been a mainstay of 798 since its very beginnings, Shenji Cai Guan boasts a staff equipped with extensive knowledge of the art district and its history. Ask them all your burning questions while chowing down on specialist Shanghainese cuisine, including red-brasied pork belly and steamed gluten.

Shenji Cai Guan

4 Jiuxianqiao Road, 798 Art Zone, Beijing

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Photo: Yi House

Mediterranean Medley

At arguably the highest end of 798's gourmet spectrum, Yi House serves up perfectly executed Mediterranean fare and scrumptious seafood, including lobster, crab and jet-fresh oysters. If visiting on the weekend, don't miss their renowned brunch.

Yi House

706 Houjie, 2 Jiuxianqiao Road,798 Art Zone

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Sushi & Sake

Chef Alan Wong from Kyoto's celebrated Hatsune restaurant designed the signature sushi rolls that Timezone 8 is famous for. Some can only be tasted at this location. Also on offer are traditional soups, grilled meat and fish, and lashings of Japanese sake.

Timezone 8 Sushi Bar

4 Jiuxianqiao Road, 798 Art Zone

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Soulful Ceramics

Beautiful handmade ceramic kitchenware and jewelry can be sourced at fair prices at Soul Collection. Sweet childlike sculptures from Chinese ceramic master Zheng Yu Kui are also sold here.

Soul Collection

4 Jiuxianqiao Road, 798 Art Zone, Beijing

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In The Can

Whether you want to eminent the street art seen in 798 or you're just a fan of hip-hop and graffiti culture, 400ml will give you a buzz. The dark and cavernous shop is said to be China's first and only "graffiti lifestyle" store, stocking paints of all hues, as well as clothing and accessories.

400ml

4 Jiuxianqiao Road, 798 Art Zone, Beijing

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Photo: Pace Gallery

Keep Pace

Originally hailing from Boston, New York, Pace Gallery now exhibits the top echelons of Chinese and international talent at 798. Expect to have your mind expanded and your boundaries pushed.

Pace Gallery

2 Jiuxianqiao Road, 798 Art Zone

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Think Big

UCCA is probably the one 798 gallery that you literally can't miss. The huge arts center is right in the heart of the district, hosting back-to-back non-profit contemporary art shows with complementary workshops and lectures.

Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA)

4 Jiuxianqiao Road, 798 Art Zone

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Last edited: February 5, 2018

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