• The 2008 Summer Olympics brought Beijing (and all of China) to the forefront of the world, and cemented the country as one of the world’s new superpowers. This tour will show you the monumental sights of new Beijing’s crowning achievement. On today’s tour we will also see some other modern sights that symbolize Beijing’s new-found importance and bright future, like the 798 Art Zone and the Center for the Performing Arts.
• Lunch is included on this tour, as is pick-up and drop-off from your hotel. You will be back no later than 6pm, allowing you to have a full evening of activity on Beijing
1. At around 8:00am, you will be picked up from your hotel by your English-speaking guide, and by private van we will make the drive to north Beijing to the Olympic Green.
2. The Olympic Green was the center of the event that captivated the world for two weeks in August of 2008, and is where a majority of the Olympic events took place. The highlights that you will see today include the Bird’s Nest (officially known as the Beijing National stadium) and the Water Cube (the Beijing National Aquatics Center). The stadium gets its nickname from its outward design, which originated from the study of Chinese ceramics, implementing steel beams in order to hide supports for the retractable roof, thus giving the stadium the appearance of a "Bird's nest". The Bird’s Nest hosted the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, athletic events, and football final of the 2008 Summer Olympics, from 8 August to 24 August 2008. Since the Olympic end, the Bird’s Nest has been used to host events ranging from opera to a ski park.
3. The site of Michael Phelps’ Olympic triumph, the Water Cube design combines modern technologies with Chinese traditional values. In tradition, Chinese conceptualized a square Earth and a round Heaven, and this formed the design’s central theme. Moreover, the cube shape dominates ancient urban buildings. The National Aquatics Center's design is of traditional style to meet all its functional requirements. The National Aquatics Center looks like a huge blue box, from which it takes its nickname: the Water Cube. The Water Cube is blue in order to reflect sunlight. The National Aquatics Center shines in the sunlight like a pearl in water. From the inside of the National Aquatics Center, you may discover that the pneumatic cushions of all sizes are just like sea bubbles.
4. After our Olympic tour, we’ll stop for a Chinese lunch. After lunch we’ll drive to the eastern edge of town to visit the 798 Art Zone. The 798 Art Zone is Beijing’s hip neighborhood for avant-garde art. The 798 Art Zone is Beijing’s ground zero for new, iconoclastic ideas and expression, sort of like a Beijing version of Greenwich Village. We will walk around the area for an hour or two.
5. We’ll then move on to central Beijing and the Center for the Performing Arts. The Beijing National Center for the Performing Arts, otherwise known as “The Egg” for its distinctive shape. This futuristic building is a symbol of Beijing’s rapid modernization drive, and it will take us about an hour to examine “The Egg.”
6. After our tour of the ”The Egg”, you’ll be dropped off back at your hotel, at no later than 6:00pm, allowing you to have time for dinner and anything else you’d like to do in the evening.