Beijing

The performing arts in China took a long time to recover from the Cultural Revolution (1966–76), and political works are still generally banned or avoided. In recent years, names such as Kevin Spacey and the Royal Shakespeare Company have alighted on Beijing, reinforcing the capital’s reputation as an arts destination. For culture vultures, there are avant-garde plays, chamber music, traditional Peking opera, acrobatics shows, and lots more.

As most of the stage is inaccessible to non-Chinese speakers, visitors to Beijing are more likely to hunt out the big visual spectacles, such as Beijing opera or kung fu displays. These long-running shows are tailored for travelers: your hotel will be able to recommend performances and venues and will likely be able to help you book tickets.

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  • 1. Liyuan Theater

    Xicheng District | Opera

    The unabashedly touristy shows here are still a great time. You can first watch performers put on makeup before the show (come early) and then...Read More

  • 2. National Centre for the Performing Arts

    Xicheng District | Opera

    Architecturally, the giant silver dome of this performing arts complex is stunning, and its interior holds a state-of-the-art opera house, a...Read More

  • 3. Chang'an Grand Theater

    Dongcheng District | Opera

    In this theater specializing in Chinese opera, spectators can choose to sit either in the traditional seats or at cabaret-style tables. Besides...Read More

  • 4. Huguang Guild Hall

    Xicheng District | Opera

    Built in 1807, the Huguang Guild Hall was at its height one of Beijing's "Four Great" theaters. In 1925, the Guild Hall hosted Dr. Sun Yat-sen...Read More

  • 5. Lao She Teahouse

    Xicheng District | Opera

    Named for famed Beijing author Lao She, this teahouse in the Qianmen area plays host to a variety of traditional performances, including acrobatics...Read More

  • 6. Tianqiao Theater

    Xicheng District | Opera

    A traditional theater that hosts everything from contemporary dance performances to ballet, folk music, and cross-talk revues. ...Read More

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