Built in 1984 on the site of a former imperial palace, Beijing’s Chaoyang Park is the largest park in the city and a great place to spend a morning or afternoon relaxing or people watching. The 714-acre (289-hectare) space includes 20 designated scenic spots as well as the venue for the 2008 Beijing Olympics beach volleyball competition.
The park is divided into several themed areas. You’ll find a collection of European-style fountains and sculptures in Art Square, aquatic plants and trees in Ecological Valley and wild ducks on Binshui Island on Lotus Lake. The beach volleyball venue was converted into a bathing beach after the Olympics, complete with white sand imported from Hainan.
Besides the usual park activities, you can rent bicycles and a variety of boats for exploring the 168-acre (68-hectare) lake situated within the park. You’ll also find facilities for basketball and a few amusement park rides geared toward kids.