If there is one thing we all know (and definitely appreciate!) it’s how quiet Beijing generally becomes during the Spring Festival. Of course, quiet can also mean it’s a little more difficult to find fun and interesting things for the whole family to enjoy.
But difficult certainly doesn’t mean impossible, especially in Beijing! One fun way to celebrate the new Year of the Rat is to attend a temple fair, which have been traditional throughout China for hundreds of years.
Updated January 25th 14:00 – Chinese news sources are reporting that temple fairs across Beijing are being cancelled due to concerns about the Wuhan coronavirus. Cultural Keys can confirm the closure of the following temple fairs / festive events:
Baiyun Temple (closed until further notice)
Changping Lantern Festival (at Reignwood Pine Valley)
Fenghuangling (Phoenix Mountain)
Grand View Garden
Hongluo (Red Snail) Temple (the whole temple is closed until further notice)
Shijingshan Amusement Park
Tongzhou Canal Park
Beginning as religious celebrations, they gradually became cultural and commercial as vendors would crowd around the temple entrances to take advantage of the custom of worshippers.
Now, due to the large crowds that attend, many ‘temple’ fairs are actually held in parks, and have become focused on shopping and eating. It’s definitely worth attending for the atmosphere, and you have the opportunity to see traditional folk arts and crafts in action.
See below for our roundup of some of the temple fairs you can enjoy in the coming weeks. All start on January 25th (New Year’s Day) and run for five or six days. A small fee is charged for entry, usually between 10-25RMB. We recommend avoiding the first day which will have the worst crowds! Don’t forget to purchase considerately and take reusable shopping bags and chopsticks to avoid adding to the mountains of trash generated at each event!
Held on the traditional Liulichang Antiques Street, this fair has been here since the Ming dynasty!Until January 29th 9am-4pmSubway Line 2 Hepingmen Station (和平门).Chaoyang Park 朝阳公园
The least traditional of Beijing’s fairs, this is billed as an international carnival.Until January 30th 9am – 5pm
Subway Line 14 Chaoyang Park Station (朝阳公园), then walk east to the south gate.
One of the most popular temple fairs; expect large crowds here.Until January 29th 6am – 8.30pmSubway Line 2 Yonghegong Station (雍和宫) Exit A, then walk north to the south gate.Grand View Garden 大观园
A fair with a more traditional feel due to its setting in a lovely Chinese garden (albeit one built as a movie set in the 1980s). Because the garden is quite small it also gets very crowded, especially on New Year’s Day.
Until January 30th 8.30am – 4.30pm
Subway Line 4 Taoranting Station (陶然亭) Exit A, then a short cab ride.
Longtanhu Park 龙潭湖公园
A typical temple fair held in a spacious park!
Until January 30th 8.30am – 5pm
Subway Line 5 or 7 Ciqikou Station (磁器口) Exit C, then a short cab ride to the park’s north gate.
Tongzhou Grand Canal Park 运河文化广场
This event doesn’t have much of a traditional feel but it’s handy for those in the east of Beijing. Take a bracing walk along the Grand Canal as well!
Until January 29th 9am – 5pm
Subway Line 6 Beiyunhe West Station (北运河西) Exit A, then a 5-minute cab ride.
See eight Buddhist temples as well as enjoying the temple fair!Until January 29th 8am – 5pmSubway Line 1 Pingguoyuan Station (苹果园) Exit D. Then take bus 972 to Badachu Station from Pingguoyuan Subway North Bus Stop (苹果园地铁北门站) or take a cab.Fenghuangling Nature Park 凤凰岭风景区
Go not only for the fair but to visit beautiful Longquan Temple and have a bracing winter walk to caves and scenic viewpoints in the mountains (weather permitting)!Until January 30th 8am – 5pm
Subway Line 4 Beigongmen Station (北宫门) Exit A1 or A2. Then take bus 346 to the terminus at Fenghuangling.
Tianjin Ancient Culture Street Spring Festival Decoration Market 天津古文化街
If you don’t like the crowds of a Beijing temple fair, why not see many of the same things and stock up on decorations in advance? The street is permanent but in the month leading up to Spring Festival there is a papercut market where you can find all types of paper decorations and get characters and couplets written for you by calligraphers.
Until January 24th 9am – 4.30pm
Fast train to Tianjin from Beijing South Railway Station (30 mins) then take a 15-minute cab ride. Or take a scenic walk by turning right from the station’s south square along the river about 1.5km to the wooden bridge with the glass steps. Ancient Culture Street is across the bridge and the decorations market is to the left of the main entrance.
Do you plan to head to any of the fairs listed above? Or have you been before, and feel like you don’t need to go again? Let us know in the comments on Facebook or Twitter. For more information about anything listed here, please contact us or use the form below to let us know your specific requirements. We look forward to hearing from you!
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Interested in learning more about and experiencing the traditional culture of China?
Founded by British expats Nicola Doering and AJ Donnelly, Cultural Keys is run on the love and passion we have for traditional Chinese culture.
We believe 100% in making the beauty, wisdom and traditions of Chinese culture available to everyone.
And because we are a foreign-owned and foreign run company, we can see Chinese culture through unique eyes, and are able to work with our expert teachers to tailor all our classes, products and services in a way that makes our content most accessible to our clients.
So no matter what your reason for being interested in this country and its culture, whether at our culture centre, at your school or office, at iconic locations around China or on our website and social media channels, when you are with Cultural Keys you truly have the opportunity to unlock the potential of China!
Cultural Keys Chinese Culture Centre
191 (North Door A), Xiaopu North Road
Xiaopu Village, Songzhuang
北京市, 通州区, 宋庄镇,
小堡村, 小堡北街191号 (北门-A)
Monday – Friday: By Appointment
Saturday – Sunday: 12pm – 6pm