Our selection of the best concert halls and theatres in Beijing.
National Center for the Performing Arts 国家大剧院
The giant titanium-and-glass dome west of Tian'AnMen Square (behind the Great Hall of the People) hosts Chinese and international art performances of the highest calibre. The complex houses an opera house, a music hall and a drama hall and can seat up to 6,200. It is the flagship performance space in China. Designed by French architect Paul Andreu, it opened in 2007.
The dome is 212 meters across in the east-west direction, 144 meters in the north-south direction, and is 46 meters high. It is situated in the center of a large shallow pond. Paul Andreu has said that he envisioned the hall as a tribute to the traditional Chinese image of Heaven and Earth: round above square. At first, the complex appears to have no entrance; in fact, entry is by way of a tunnel under the water.
Forbidden City Concert Hall 中山公园音乐堂
Situated inside ZhongShan park, just by the Forbidden City, this acoustically excellent venue holds many orchestral and jazz concerts throughout the year.
Poly Theater and Art Gallery 保利剧院
The small art gallery houses specialised temporary exhibitions. The theatre is used for a wide variety of music and other performances throughout the year.
Address: DongSiShiTiao (next to the subway station) 东四十条地铁站
Capital Theater 首都剧场
Hosts the Beijing People's Art Theater group. This grand Soviet-style building can hold about 1,000 people. Performances are mostly in Chinese.
Open: Tuesday - Saturday. Most performances start at 6pm.
Address: 22 WangFuJing Dajie 东城区 王府井大街 22号
ChaoYang Culture Center / TNT Theater 朝阳区文化馆
The largest cultural center in China, it hosts over 500 performances, exhibitions and movies every year. Includes Nine Theatre, Chaoyang Art Hall, Phoenix Theatre and Puppet Museum.
Address: Corner of JinTai XiLu and ChaoYangMenWai Dajie (east of JingGuang Qiao), ChaoYang District 朝阳区 朝阳门外大街和金台西路的路口
Haidian Theater 海淀剧院
Hosts a variety of performances, including music and dance.
Address: 28 ZhongGuanCun Dajie, Haidian District (a little west of ZhiChunLu subway station) 海淀区 中关村大街 28号
Workers' Stadium 工人体育场
A variety of occasional performances and concerts.
Address: GongTi BeiLu, ChaoYang District 朝阳区 工体北路
ChaoYang Theater 朝阳剧场
Popular acrobatics show. Shows start at 7pm.
Address: 36 DongSanHuan Beilu (east third ring, north street; near TuanJieHu Park), Chaoyang District 朝阳区 东三环北路 36号
Heaven and Earth (Universal) Theater 天地剧场
Nightly performances by the amazing China Acrobatic Troupe. Shows start at 7pm.
Address: 100 meters north of Poly Theatre (DongSiShiTiao subway station) 东城区 保利剧院 北100米（东四十条地铁站下车）
TianQiao Acrobatics Theater 天桥杂技剧场
A somewhat smaller and more intimate venue. The exciting shows start at 7pm.
Address: 95 TianQiao ShiChang Lu, east end of BeiWei Lu, XuanWu district (west of the Temple of Heaven) 宣武区 北纬路东口天桥市场街 95号
Red Theater 红剧场
Following a recent major refurbishment and stage enlargement, this theater now specializes in shows that feature KungFu, acrobatics and dance. Currently, this is The Legend of KungFu, which combines modern dance and hi-tech stagecraft with the traditional Chinese arts to create an exciting performance.
The Legend of KungFu follows the trials and tribulations of a young boy discovered lost outside an ancient temple, and his dream to become a KungFu master. Although there are no words, 'subtitles' in English help one follow the narrative.
Two daily shows at 5:15pm and 7:30pm.
Address: 44 XingFu Dajie, ChongWen District (About 1km east of the Temple of Heaven) 崇文区 幸福大街 44号 工人文化宫
Chang'An Grand Theater 长安大戏院
A large and luxurious theatre with a multifunctional stage suitable for all kinds of performances. Both the exterior and interior combine traditional and modern elements.
The theatre is famous for its accessible and highly regarded productions of Beijing Opera, with synchronous subtitles in both Chinese and English.
Address: 7 JianGuoMenNei Dajie (a little west of JianGuoMen subway station, on the north side of Chang'An Avenue) 东城区 建国门内大街 7号
Mei LanFang Grand Theater 梅兰芳大剧院
This massive opera house was built in 2007 in honor of the great Chinese Opera legend Mei LanFang (1894-1961). A stylish steel and glass structure in the shape of a fan. Internally it has traditional red columns and a bronze statue of Mei lies at the center of the lobby. The auditorium is on three levels and can seat 1,000 people.
Address: 32 Ping'AnLi Dajie (west of Ping'AnLi subway station, north side) 西城区 平安里西大街 32号 (官园桥东南角)
Lao She Teahouse 老舍茶馆
Named after a famous writer, it aims to capture the entertainment of the early 20th century. Each evening is a Chinese vaudeville-style show - a variety of short performances by singers, musicians, acrobats and opera performers. An adjacent room has an exhibition of paintings, paper cuttings, figurines, antiques, kites, jade carvings and more.
Evening shows begin at 7:30pm. One can have dinner here before the show (arrive about 6pm).
Address: Bldg 3, QianMen XiDajie, XuanWu District (west from QianMen subway station, south side) 宣武区 前门西大街 3号楼