Put Sanlitun on your agenda for a family visit to Beijing. It is one of the most popular expat areas in China’s capital. Sanlitun is widely known for its nightlife but has a lot to offer for a family visit as well. Here are the main places I would suggest putting on your Sanlitun agenda:
1) The Bookworm. A cozy bookstore/library where you can eat and drink and browse books for both grown-ups and kids.
2) The Village: A spacious open shopping area. Stop at Page One for more books, including a huge supply of children’s books and activities.
3) Yashow Market: Get your souvenirs here, but make sure to bargain – you can find great deals but can also get seriously ripped off. Try for a third of what they offer and set your walk-away price.
4) 3.3 Shopping Center. Moms, leave the kids with dad for a while and get your nails done at Lily’s. They have English price lists and can communicate the basic terms in English, and the prices are very standard.
5) Eat: Restaurants are scattered throughout of all types of food, from fast to steaks to Indian. Most have good lunch prices – a buffet can be had from as low as 55 at Ganges (farther down past Yashow) or a variety of set menus in Nali Patio (between The Village North and South) in the 60-90 range. Be prepared for dinner to set you back a fair bit, especially if you add drink.
The closest subway station is Tuanjiehu on line 10 (it’s about a 10 minute walk west from there) or the Sanlitun bus stop.
Jenny Lin is raising 3 boys in Beijing while working as a writer/editor. You can follow her @twinlins or keep up with her sporadically updated cross-cultural familial adventures at beijingmom.blogspot.com