Don’t queue to get into the Forbidden City: instead hike up to the hilltop pagoda in nearby Jingshan Park, where you can peer over the walls to the terracotta roofs inside.
The new buzzword. This city is the ‘smartest’ in China – meaning it has the highest usage of cashless payments – according to a recent survey by Tencent. In the Haidian neighbourhood there’s even a staffless convenience store.
Explore Beijing’s re-energised hutongs in the Dashilar neighbourhood just south of Tiananmen Square. There’s micro galleries (Beijing Postcards), cool coffee (Berry Beans, in an old brothel) and design shops (Suzuki Kitchen Shop).
The Chinese capital continues to top out more outlandish architecture – Rem Koolhaas’ trouser-leg-like CCTV headquarters; the spacey egg-shaped National Centre for the Performing Arts (below); and Zaha Hadid’s twisty Leeza Soho.
Beijing has no shortage of places to drink – but the best are hidden in entertainment district Sanlitun. Try Miles, a cocktail speakeasy centred around an
old telephone box.
For art lovers: The Opposite House, with artists in residence and a rotating collection of installations in the lobby. For luxe lovers: the new Bulgari vertical resort with Roman-inspired spa spanning two levels.