Beijing

The performing arts in China took a long time to recover from the Cultural Revolution (1966–76), and political works are still generally banned or avoided. In recent years, names such as Kevin Spacey and the Royal Shakespeare Company have alighted on Beijing, reinforcing the capital’s reputation as an arts destination. For culture vultures, there are avant-garde plays, chamber music, traditional Peking opera, acrobatics shows, and lots more.

As most of the stage is inaccessible to non-Chinese speakers, visitors to Beijing are more likely to hunt out the big visual spectacles, such as Beijing opera or kung fu displays. These long-running shows are tailored for travelers: your hotel will be able to recommend performances and venues and will likely be able to help you book tickets.

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  • 1. Forbidden City Concert Hall

    Xicheng District | Music

    One of the nicest venues in Beijing, the 1,400-seat Forbidden City Concert Hall plays host to a variety of classical, chamber, and traditional...Read More

  • 2. Liyuan Theater

    Xicheng District | Opera

    The unabashedly touristy shows here are still a great time. You can first watch performers put on makeup before the show (come early) and then...Read More

  • 3. National Centre for the Performing Arts

    Xicheng District | Opera

    Architecturally, the giant silver dome of this performing arts complex is stunning, and its interior holds a state-of-the-art opera house, a...Read More

  • 4. The Red Theatre

    Dongcheng District | Theater

    If it's Vegas-style stage antics you're after, the Legend of Kung Fu show is what you want. Extravagant martial arts—performed by dancers...Read More

  • 5. Red Gate Gallery

    Dongcheng District | Art Galleries–Arts

    This gallery, one of the first to open in Beijing, displays and sells contemporary Chinese art in the extraordinary location of the old Dongbianmen...Read More

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