Family-friendly cycle routes in Beijing: Chaoyang Park

Go green this spring and get moving on two wheels

There’s no reason to call a Didi to take you to an out-of-town cycling destination. Sharee Hebert of YCIS Beijing gives us her tried-and-true route from her home in Chaoyang Park to the school, near Honglingjin Park, including kids’ play areas, modern art and a favourite secret snack spot.

A ride in the park

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Stop 1: Solana mall

Start your day’s cycling at Solana, the super family-friendly, mostly outdoor mall on the northwest side of Chaoyang Park. There are plenty of great shops that both parents and kids will love, as well as great but affordable eating options like Moka Bros. We usually start off with a family Western breakfast at Element Fresh to fuel up before cycling. If you like, you can stock up on parenting supplies at Western baby shops like Mothercare.

Stop 2: Chaoyang Park

Get back on the bikes and head south on Chaoyang Gongyuan Lu for about 0.5km, until you see the main west gate entrance to Chaoyang Park (you’ll spot a large car park and big ticket booths). Pay the 5RMB entrance fee and walk into the statue square, full of sculptures from renowned Chinese artists. Walk a bit
further on and there’s a tranquil lake, too. If you want to extend the park visit, walk due south towards the park’s funfair and ride the rollercoasters.

Stop 3: Beijing Art Museum of Fine Art Academy

Head further south on Chaoyang Gongyuan Lu until you hit an intersection. To your left you’ll see an impressive, donut-shaped glass tower. Opposite that, on the other side of Chaoyang Gongyuan Nan Lu, you’ll see the art museum. A great choice if you want to give the kids a cultured day out without heading all the way to 798.

Stop 4: Coffee break

Next, head east on Chaoyang Gongyuan Nan Lu until you pass Chaoyang Park South Gate. Turn right onto Tianshuiyuan Dong Jie and swing around to the back side of Park Avenue Apartments. Kids will enjoy looking at all the stuffed animals in Zoo Coffee while you have a mid-ride caffeine break. The shopping strip
also contains an April Gourmet, Pizza Plus (Nutella pizza!) and Jamaica Blue.

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Stop 5: ‘Drive thru’ jianbing

Ride back up to Chaoyang Gongyuan Nan Lu and continue heading east, crossing the Fourth Ring Road. After you pass the petrol station with the Grecian columns, turn right at the traffic lights. There’s a small public square where you’re just as likely to see dancing grannies as you are to see old men flying kites, along with kids running around playing. By now you’ve worked up an appetite, so continue to head south on Shifoying Lu.

You’ll pass by a long row of shops and then when it looks like the road ends, keep going as it narrows to one
lane. Near the end is a small dumpling and noodle place, and they make great jianbing at any time of day. Teachers at YCIS Beijing often stop there for breakfast on the way to school. If it’s later in the day, they also make dumplings and a meat pie (rou bing). There’s to need to even park – you can call in your order from the door on your bike and the friendly owner will bring it to you!

Stop 6: Honglingjin Park

Hop back on the bikes and continue south. YCIS Beijing is on your right, and as soon as you pass it, you’ll see the gate to Honglingjin Park. If it’s a weekend, look for massive bunches of balloons from the balloon seller. The rides at the children’s play area are some of my daughter’s favourite things. This play area is much cheaper than the rides at Chaoyang Park, and not nearly as crowded on weekends. The park is called Young Pioneers Park, and there are interesting sculptures and statues all around.

Stop 7: Donut forget your snack break

After leaving the park, head just a bit further south until you hit the intersection, and then turn left to head east on Chaoyang Bei Lu. You’ll pass Shilipu subway station. Be ready for the fun ride to the bottom of the hill, but then start pedalling like mad to make it back to the top! Chaoyang Joy City Mall is at Qingnianlu subway station, and it’s eight floors of shopping, food, and play. Dunkin’ Donuts recently appeared in Joy City, so grab a donut and head to the fifth floor to let your kid loose in the play area or Toys’R’Us.

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