Cultural Events in Beijing – September 2023

While Cultural Keys can be considered your go-to for a variety of traditional Chinese culture activities, there are of course plenty of other fun and interesting cultural events happening around the capital every month!

Here’s our round-up of activities connected with Chinese culture and history for September in Beijing!

Please note: Cultural Keys is in no way affiliated with any of the events or organisations listed in this article, unless explicitly stated. We offer no guarantee about the quality of any third party events, and strongly suggest interested participants contact the relevant organizers to clarify event details before attending.

Exhibition: Ink Splendor and Cultural Context – Exhibition on Bada Shanren, Shi Tao and Chinese Xieyi Art Since the 20th Century  墨韵文脉——八大山人、石涛与20世纪以来中国写意艺术展

Date: May 23rd – November 15th 2023
Location: National Art Museum of China
Time: 9.00 – 17.00 (last entry 16.00)
Price: Free
Payment: Reservation required via WeChat mini-program: 中国美术馆
Language: Chinese and English

Part of the exhibition series in celebration of the 60th anniversary of NAMOC, this is a rare opportunity to see so many works by several seminal artists – including many by Qi Baishi – in one place. A special treat is the paintings of Bada Shanren, one of China’s most important artists. Born a prince, he became a monk and only started painting professionally in his sixties. His unique paintings reflect his eccentricity – some say madness – and this is an exhibition well worth seeing; in fact it has proved so popular that the original closing date of August 6th has been extended to November 15th!

Exploring Seclusion And Scenic Beauty  寻幽探胜——国家图书馆藏三山五园舆图及园林主题文化艺术巡展

Date: July 28th-September 5th 2023 (Officially open to the public after 1st August)
Location: Beijing Longfor Cultural Centre | 9/F, Tower a, Longfor Mansion, No. 95 Longfor Temple Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing, China 北京隆福文化中心 | 北京市东城区隆福寺街95号隆福大厦a座9层
Time: 10: 00 am to 18: 00 pm 
Price: 68 RMB for one person; 118 for two; 150 for two adults and two kids 
Language: English and Chinese

A captivating journey unfolds through more than 100 artworks, organized into four distinct chapters: “Three Mountains and the Visual Commons,” “Pictorial Glyphs,” “Five Digital Garden Canvases,” and “Quest for Solitude and Triumph.” This carefully orchestrated arrangement leads visitors on a chronological exploration mirroring the evolution of maps, all drawn from the esteemed National Library’s archives.

Blue Calico Collection And Design Works at the China Arts & Crafts Museum  青出于蓝:吴元新蓝印花布收藏暨设计作品展

Date: August 24th-September 10th 2023
Location: China Arts and Crafts Museum | No.16 Hujing East Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China 中国工艺美术馆 | 北京市朝阳区湖景东路16号
Time: 9: 00 am to 17: 00 pm (Close on Monday)
Price: Free
Payment: Reservation required via online platform:
Language: English and Chinese

Embark on a captivating odyssey as you delve into the mesmerizing realm of  Blue Calico Collection and Design Works, an exhibition housed within the prestigious halls of the China Arts and Crafts Museum. Here, you have the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the intricate allure and boundless creativity that defines this unparalleled showcase. 

Unveil the hidden narratives woven into every delicate thread and brushstroke, tracing the footsteps of history and craftsmanship that have birthed the renowned Blue Calico designs. This exhibition becomes a gateway to unraveling the rich tapestry of heritage, as each piece on display whispers tales of artistic evolution and cultural significance. Prepare to be transported to a world where artistic legacy intertwines with contemporary ingenuity, creating an experience that resonates with the heart and soul of both art enthusiasts and curious minds alike.

Market at Sci-Tech Cultural Park for Global Communication  书香文创-国传院集市

Date: August 28th-September 3rd 2023
Location: International Communication Technology and Culture Park, Xisanhuan, Haidian District, Beijing, China 北京市海淀区西三环国际传播科技文化园
Time: 11: 00 am to 20: 00 pm on weekdays; 9: 00 am to 20: 00 pm at weekends
Price: Free
Language: English and Chinese

With a gathering of 50+ publishing houses and bookstores, this event serves as a hub where esteemed publishers and celebrated book brands convene, ready to share their unparalleled literary offerings. The tapestry of choices stretches wide, encompassing an exquisite collection exceeding ten thousand books and associated merchandise. From bestsellers to limited editions, commemorative prints to collector’s treasures, an array of literary gems awaits your discovery. Don’t miss the opportunity to unearth your personal favorites amidst this bountiful array!

100 Years, 12 Visions: The Evolution of Modern Beijing  100年,12种愿景: 现代北京的演变

Date: September 2nd 2023
Location: Beijing City Planning Exhibition Hall | 100 meters from Qianmen Subway Station, Exit B  北京城市规划展览馆 | 距前门地铁站B出口100米
Time: 2:00PM – 4:30PM
Price: 300 RMB per person; 150 RMB per child
Payment: Reservation required via online platform:
Language: English

The Evolution of Modern Beijing is the story of how Beijing has developed over the last hundred years to become the city it is today. What was the city like under imperial rule? How did it change after the last dynasty collapsed? What did the decision to move the capital to Nanjing in 1928 mean for Beijing? How did the Japanese occupation impact the city? And how come it is so difficult to find a piece of Cultural Revolution architecture? Join us as we search for answers to these questions and more. 

We start the walk at the Urban Exhibition Center, where from the impressive miniature models we will get an idea of what the city looks like today and what it looked like during the dynasties.  To explore what came between then and now, we must venture into the hutongs. Walking through the narrow alleyways we will also discover the enormous changes that Beijing underwent following the communist liberation in 1949, when up through the 1950s Beijing was shaped like a “little Moscow”. Suddenly, for the first time in Beijing’s history, the city became an industrial center. Production was even moved in to the densely populated hutong districts, when the communist powers sought to change society through the capital’s working class.

When we finally end the walk at the Beijing Postcards gallery, we will look at a display of original maps from our collection, tying together Beijing’s development from a walled enclosure to the city of ever-expanding ring roads that we know today.

Hiking: Gubeikou Great Wall  徒步:古北口长城

Date: September 2nd 2023
Location: Gubeikou Great Wall | 古北口长城
Time: 8:00 AM (departure)
Price: 460 RMB / 415 RMB for members / 240 RMB for kids
Payment: Reservation required via online platform:
Language: English

A slightly different way to do the Gubeikou Great Wall hike, starting with a climb up to the 24-Eyes Tower and finishing with a look at some of the Great Wall towers on the other side of the North Gate. This hike adds some extra trails at either end of our regular Gubeikou Great Wall hike, and we’ll take you for a look at some of the towers on the other side of Gubeikou’s North Gate.

We’ll start off nearby the small hamlet where we usually finish this hike, and hike up to the small reservoir further up the valley from the houses. By the reservoir is a hill track that will take us up to the top section of the Great Wall at Gubeikou. It’s not a difficult climb, but once we’ve finished it we’ll be almost at the highest point of the whole hike. The actual highest point of the whole hike is the 24-Eyes Tower, and we’ll follow the wall up for long views of more Great Wall and mountains all around. 24-Eyes Tower is the highest tower on the Panlongshan ‘Coiling Dragon Mountain’ part of the Great Wall, and was one of the largest, too. The name ’24-Eyes’ came from the number of windows—six on each of the tower’s four sides. The tower only has two sides now due to damage over the years, including explosions and gunfire during a 1930s battle between Chinese and Japanese armies.

Walking Tour: A Crash Course to the Forbidden City  徒步之旅:紫禁城速成班

Date: September 17th 2023
Location: Donghuamen, Outside of TRB Forbidden City 紫禁城东华门外
Time: 1:00PM – 4:30PM
Price: 420 RMB per person; 210 RMB per child (for 7-12 years old)
Payment: Reservation required via online platform:
Language: English

During the dynasties the Imperial Palace existed only as an idea to most people. It was the root of power. A mysterious presence that balanced heaven and earth. Present yet concealed right in the middle of the Capital. Stories of the castrated eunuch servants, the beautiful concubines and not least the vast amount of treasure in the palace were told all around the empire, but surrounded by a more than 10 meter high wall. No commoner could freely take a glance at the Imperial residence, in fact people did not even know what the emperor looked like. This was what earned the palace the name the Forbidden City. Today we can freely enter, hordes of people are everyday moving through the most sacred halls of Imperial China, but what is kept away from us, what we cannot readily access is the mindset, the ideas so deeply rooted in the imperial architecture.

“A Crash Course to the Forbidden City” is a humble attempt to unlock the meaning behind the chambers of the Palace. In a condensed and hopefully entertaining way, we wish to give you a comprehensive history of the palace from when it was built 600 years ago until when the last boy-emperor finally left in 1924.

Workshop: Mid-Autumn Festival Celebration

Date: September 23rd 2023
Time: 2.30-5pm
Location: CK Culture Centre, Songzhuang, Tongzhou District
Places: Maximum 10 people per session
Payment: Prepayment via WeChat, AliPay, PayPal (no PayPal account required) or bank transfer. Fapiao available on request.
Price: Adults 288RMB | Kids 8+ 248RMB

Join Cultural Keys on September 23rd to celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival! During this event you’ll learn all about the festival during a presentation given by a native speaker, try lots of different flavours of mooncake in a fun blind taste test, and make a traditional dough figurine on a stick of Chang’E (the moon goddess). The price includes snacks, drinks, introductory presentation and all the required materials.

Hiking: Lakeside Great Wall and Longquanyu  徒步:龙泉峪长城

Date: September 23rd 2023
Location: Longquanyu Great Wall | 龙泉峪长城
Time: 8:00 AM (departure)
Price: 460 RMB / 415 RMB for members / 240 RMB for kids
Payment: Reservation required via online platform:
Language: English

On this hike you’ll see both repaired and unrepaired Great Wall, as well as lakes, mountains, and streams. The Lakeside Great Wall is a park area that features repaired Great Wall that both rises above and dips down into the Xishuiyu Reservoir. Out the back of the park area is the Longquanyu Great Wall, where you’ll hike along the last part of unrepaired Great Wall in the area as well as some that has been repaired more recently. After exploring the unrepaired wall we’ll hike back into the park area and follow the lakeside trail back to the bus. (Optional—buy a ticket for the speedboat instead of walking.) After the hike we’ll head to a nearby village restaurant for a big hot meal and cold drinks.

Martial Arts: Chaoyang Park Tai Chi Class 朝阳公园 太极课

Date: Every Saturday 
Location: Chaoyang Park West Gate 3 (Zaoying Subway Exit A)
Time: 9-11am
Places: Unlimited
Price: 100RMB/class or 800RMB/10 classes
Payment: Add Eric (WeChat: sanfengtaiji) to sign up and pay

The class is instructed by English speaking Tai Chi master Eric Liu. In the class, you’ll not only learn the authentic tai chi through a simple step-by-step proven method, but also go much deeper than just learning the forms. He’ll assist you in understanding Yin Yang theory, Taoist philosophy and “Qi” (energy) through natural, gentle exercise. You will also learn basic methods of self massage to relieve pain and stress from daily life.

What events will you be attending this month? Let us know in the comments below. We would love to hear your thoughts and insights on traditional Chinese culture! 

Photo Credits
– The organisers

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