Time Out Index reveals Beijing's most overrated neighbourhood

Find out what people really think of Beijing's city living

Image: Zhang Kaiyv via Unsplash
No matter where you live in the world, at some point, surely, you’ve wondered why indeed you live where you do. Do you love the culture? The neighbourhoods? That one street stall that sells that one snack that you couldn’t possibly imagine living without?

We asked people around the world why they love the cities they live in. As part of this year’s Time Out Index – our huge, anonymous survey of city-dwellers all over the world – nearly 34,000 people answered our questions about eating, drinking, culture, nightlife, relationships, community, neighbourhoods, travel and the pursuit of happiness. We wanted to find out what life is like in cities today, how global city-dwellers are feeling and which are the greatest cities in 2019. While New York topped the list and Shanghai apparently was a happier city than the capital, here’s what we learned about Beijing.

First off, 85 percent of respondents said Beijing is great. Yes, that does mean that 15 percent said Beijing isn't great. Sad face. But, there were some pretty fantastic reasons for why Beijing is great, including: 'Beijing is the most stimulating place ever' and 'Because it is Beijing'. Can't argue with that.

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Image: Karl Chor via Unsplash

We also learned that you love coffee. A whopping 80 percent of respondents in Beijing said they drink coffee, spending an average of 33RMB per cup of regular joe, although only 54 percent of us said we couldn’t get through the week without it. On that spending note, Beijingers said they spend an average of just under 420RMB on a typical night out. Converting that to a US dollar equivalent (around 60 USD), Beijing comes in as one of the cheapest nights out around the world, compared to revellers spending 83 USD in London, 103 USD in Hong Kong or 110 USD in San Francisco.

And, while going out in Beijing is relatively less expensive compared to other major cities around the world, it’s also pretty great for eating and drinking. 94 percent of us reckon Beijing is either amazing (38 percent) or good (56 percent) for eating, with 92 percent of drinkers rating it good (63 percent) or amazing (29 percent) for booze options. Our tipple of choice? 10 points to all Beijindors who guessed beer.

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Image: Courtesy of Great Leap Brewing

But what do we do with our time when not eating or drinking out? Well, in the previous week, 73 percent of us streamed a film at home, 68 percent ordered food delivery online, 54 percent did some exercise (er... come on guys) and we spent, on average, 45.1 hours at work. Sound about right?

How did we get through that week though? 63 percent couldn't get through the week without a good laugh, 54 percent without a chat with a friend, checking social media or drinking coffee, and 24 percent can't do it without chocolate or alcohol. Luckily though, more people needed cuddles (33 percent) and tea (28 percent) above a night out (21 percent) or smoking cigarettes (10 percent). That friendliness also ranked us the third best city in the world for starting a new relationship, and 85 percent of us either made or met up with a friend in the last week.

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Image: Morio via Wikimedia Commons

Finally, the truth about Beijing neighbourhoods. The best area for eating? Sanlitun (says 58 percent of votes). The best area for going out and having fun? Sanlitun (59 percent). The most overrated neighbourhood? Sanlitun (39 percent). Ha.

The only neighbourhood to steal a title from the San was Gulou, getting 23 percent of the votes for 'most loved neighbourhood'... compared to 20 percent for Sanlitun. The most underrated neighbourhoods were split between 798 Art District, Wangjing and Liangmaqiao.

So, there you have it. Beijing is great.

Did any of that surprise you? Don’t agree with some of the results? Have your say next time! Follow Time Out Everywhere on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and you’ll be the first to hear when we launch our next global survey.

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