Real Beijing: Beijing Agricultural Exhibition Center

I occasionally mention some of my favorite Beijing places on this blog, filed under “Just For Fun“. I particularly like to tell expats about very cool, local Beijing places that most expats bypass. One classic place for decades has been the Beijing Agricultural Exhibition Center. Known in Chinese as 全国农业展览馆, or simply 农展馆 (nóng  zhǎng  guǎn), this complex of buildings is well known to many expats without even realizing it: it’s that huge building at the eastern end of Dongzhimenwai Dajie, just along the east side of east third ring. (北京市朝阳区东三环北路16号; tel. 65096688; ‎This sprawling park has multiple shows every year which are usually free or a miniscule 5-10RMB. Their exhibitions are very laobaixing, including the current one which runs daily until December 3rd. This latest show is a very simple collection of dozens of stalls selling winter clothes in the first hallways, with many stalls selling food items in the back halls.

It’s a really good way to simply absorb real Beijing, to practice your Chinese and just get a taste of what regular Beijingers still do. Plus, the grounds behind the main building are lovely to walk around, with a small pond in the middle. You and your family can easily spend a fun hour or two here. A couple weeks ago there was an exhibition of all China’s lǎo  zì  hào, a certified group of famous national brands. My Chinese in-laws and I stocked up on Harbin kielbasa and gorged ourselves on fishball soup and luzhu.

So, the next time you’re driving past this complex and you see the huge red banners and floating balloons, just drive in and take a look!

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