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Blade Runners

December 05, 2016
Top Picks… Beijing’s Best Ice Rinks
Winter in Beijing can be beautiful, especially when you get your skates on! If your idea of a dreamy afternoon is cutting some shapes on ice and pirouetting with Olympic pizzazz, here are our top picks for local rinks – all picturesque frozen lakes. Dress warmly, lace up, and get ready to nail that double axel!

We love pretty, bar-surrounded Shichahai Lake, a string of three lakes including ‘front sea’ Qianhai and ‘back sea’ Houhai with views of the historic Drum and Bell Towers. An open-air rink in winter, Qianhai is popular with skaters and those perched on ice-chairs and ice-bikes (ideal for wobbly debutants). Colourful illuminations allow for romantic night skating.

An artificial lake inside Peking University, pagoda-flanked Weiming Lake turns to ice in late winter – perfect for students and learners alike. A short walk from the campus’ East Gate, it’s free to enter, just hire skates lakeside.

Vast tree-lined Yuyuantan Park (aka Jade Lake Park) has been a famous scenic destination since the Jin Dynasty, beloved for its spring cherry blossoms. In summer, head here for picnics and kite-flying, but come winter, it’s all about cutting some shapes.

Possibly Beijing’s largest ice expanse, willow-fringed Zizhuyuan Park also offers an exciting 17.5-metre-long snow slide, tailormade for the young at heart. Casual and speed skaters have their own zones, with areas for other means of transport. Blend in with the locals by hiring an ice-cart, ice-bicycle or ice-bumper car, so much quirkier than a conventional pair of skates!

Shichahai Lake / 49 Di'anmen Xidajie (across from the north gate of Beihai Park) / Houhai / Xicheng / +86 10 8401 8677 / 9am-5.30pm & 6-10pm daily
Weiming Lake / Peking University / 5 Yiheyuan Lu / Haidian / 10am-8pm Mon-Fri, 9am-8pm Sat-Sun (last skate rental at 6pm)
Yuyuantan Park / 107 Xisanhuan Bei Lu / Haidian / +86 10 8865 3800 / 9am-5pm daily
Zizhuyuan Park / 35 Zhongguancun Nan Jie / Haidian / +86 10 6842 0055 / 9am-7pm daily

Photos © WaitForLight, axz700, EQRoy, Hidear /