Beijing’s exhibitions are a chance for residents and international visitors to come together in pursuit of their common interests, whatever they may be. Topics range from the typical to the “only-in-China” quirky.
The years leading to the Olympics saw a number of pre-game cultural exhibitions, meant to prepare the organizational infrastructure and build up hype for the Games. These are slated to continue every August in the form of the Beijing Fair of National Culture and Art.
Book lovers will be enthusiastic about the annual Beijing Spring Book Fair, held every April in the Working People’s Palace of Culture. Lasting two weeks, the fair brings a range of affordable books to the workingman from Chinese publishers.
There are plenty of traditional cultural exhibitions in the capital, but music lovers will be especially interested in the Beijing Music Festival, held every June, which features traditional Chinese instruments.
Spring Festival, when the capital becomes a ghost town, as residents flock back to their hometowns, is a great time to visit one of the local temples. Try the White Cloud temple first, where you’ll have a chance to pitch symbolic coins at a gong to bring good luck for the coming year, and then head down to Hepingmen for a raucous street festival.
Retirees are sure to enjoy the “International Old Folks Festival,” held every October in Zhongshan Park. Festivities are said to include board games, dancing, and music for the elderly – though how this differs from an average night in a Beijing park remains unclear.