This calm oasis next to the tourist-swamped Forbidden City houses several gems: 1,000-year-old cypress trees, a greenhouse with exotic plants and the Forbidden City Concert Hall.
But the most interesting spectacle of all lies in wait at the back of the park, next to the imperial palace’s moat. Here matchmaking fairs are held every Thursday to Sunday from 3pm onwards each day. Hoping to find the perfect partner for their offspring, parents exchange ‘CVs’ – pieces of their children: age, height and, most importantly, education (some even list individual high-school grades).
When Time Out Beijing visited, we met Mr Ren, who’d attended several times this year on behalf of his 36-year-old son. He told us: ‘If you find a good match, you exchange your children’s photographs. The next step is to get them together for lunch. This isn’t an officially organised event. I heard about it through word of mouth. But on busy days, especially Sundays, which is when people bring their children with them, numbers run into the hundreds.’