April 12, 2011

Beijing's Best View

Beijing is a massive city. The scale of the metropolis can be experienced on the ground while stuck in traffic for miles on end or underneath via its lengthy subway system, but it is best appreciated from above. Both the Atmosphere bar in China World Trade Center and China Bar in Yintai Center provide solid rooftop views of the downtown core. Excluding mirrors and other reflective surfaces, Beijing's best view can be found in the west side of the city.

For a more detailed perspective of the urban sprawl, a journey up to the top of the CCTV Tower is needed on a blue sky day. Springing up beside the cherry blossoms in nearby Yuyuantan Park, the CCTV Tower rises to a height of 405 meters. Visitors can get a panoramic view of the city from its observation deck. Informative plaques provide hints to what famous sites are located in which direction.

CCTV is China's national broadcaster. Every Chinese New Year it hosts a ludicrously popular variety show that is watched by hundreds of millions of viewers. The whole family traditionally watches the show together. Singing, dancing, and stand up comedy performances usher in the new lunar year. The observatory has an exhibit on this annual gala, chronicling its progression through the years.


"A well-ordered life is like climbing a tower; the view halfway up is better than the view from the base, and it steadily becomes finer as the horizon expands." - William Lyon Phelps