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11 things to do by yourself on Singles' Day

Celebrate your independence with these crackin' activities

November 11 officially marks Singles' Day, the one day of the year where single folks celebrate their independence by hunting for the best bargains online. For those of you, however, who find the idea of spending your Saturday glued to your laptop mildly distasteful, we've put together some alternatives to inspire you to get out there and explore the city.

1. Catch a stage show or live gig

east shore

Whether you're after jazz, hip-hop, ballet, theatre and everything in between, there's never any shortage of live music and stage productions to see in Beijing. Gulou institution Temple Bar generally has free entry and stays open well into the early morn, while Yugong Yishan has reliably excellent programming, ranging from high-profile international acts to local up-and-comers. For the biggest stage productions, check out our Time Out tickets page for an easy way to nab tickets to see theatre shows as well as Hollywood blockbusters.

2. Dine alone

sake manzo

Eating out alone can be fairly intimidating the first time round, but benefits include dining wherever and whenever the mood strikes you, shorter wait times (particularly if you eat at the bar) and the freedom to savour a meal at your own pace (shout-out to all the slow eaters out there). Perch yourself at the bar and dine in a restaurant with an open kitchen so you can watch professional chefs do their thing. There are plenty of open kitchens to choose from in Beijing, but we say sit at the bar at Sake Manzo for delicious sushi and friendly waitstaff.

3. Go shopping

pop-up beijing

This might seem at odds with an anti-Singles' Day ethos, but there's a difference between exploring Beijing's best boutiques and mindlessly browsing online shopping sites. Go crate-digging at a record store, buy some local designer threads at an independent boutique or purchase unique pieces for the home from one of Beijing's stylish homeware stores.

4. Explore Beijing's museums


Beijing's home to all sorts of museums from the simply brilliant to the downright bizarre. While the National Museum of China is absolutely massive and also offers free entry, there's also the Red Star Ergoutou Museum (dedicated to the renowned brand of baijiu), the Beijing Tap Water Museum (if you're into underground plumbing) and the Tank Museum (army tanks, and lots of 'em). The Beijing Planetarium's also well worth checking out, if only for the 3D movies projecting the wonders of the cosmos onto the main building's huge dome.

5. Admire the city from above

bird's nest

Beijing's skyline (on a clear day) is spectacular. Remind yourself how insignificant your singledom is by viewing the vast metropolis from up above. For those who prefer staying indoors, have a drink at Atmosphere or China Bar while marvelling at the glittering lights of Guomao. For the more outdoorsy types, explore Jingshan Park for some of the best views of the Forbidden City, walk along the rooftop of the Bird's Nest Stadium or head to Beijing's Ancient Observatory and take in the city from the top of the observatory platform.

6. Swipe through China's best dating apps


If all this talk of Singles' Day is just motivating you to find your soulmate (or bedmate), then check out our guide to Chinese dating apps. Whether you're LGBT or straight, there's something for everyone.

7. Treat yo' self

sensory deprivation tank

Pamper yourself with the ultimate spa day at one of Beijing's many salons. Get your nails did, have a massage or try a daring new 'do. And if you've finally reached the stage where you're fed up with absolutely everyone and can't bear to socialize any longer, bliss out in a sensory deprivation tank.

8. Take a quick jaunt to Tianjin


If you're feeling uninspired and stuck in a rut, then a trip out of Beijing's just what the doctor ordered. Neighbouring city Tianjin's just half-an-hour away by high-speed train and is home to bucketloads of history and stunning architectural wonders. Check out our handy guide to Tianjin and smash the riverside city in a day.

9. Get buzzed (responsibly) at a baijiu bar

capital spirits

Self-anointed as the 'world's first specialist baijiu bar', Capital Spirits serves up creative baijiu-based cocktails all within a cosy bar nestled deep within Xinsi hutong. Drown your sorrows, Beijing-style, while sipping on China's most beloved firewater. Though if that's all a bit too high-brow for you, we hear 7-11 also sells baijiu for bargain basement prices...

10. Learn a new skill

beijing cooking school

It's all well and good ordering in everyday (see Number 11), but sometimes there's just no substitute for a home-cooked meal. Learn how to make authentic Chinese cuisine at one of Beijing's many cooking schools and then lure potential suitors with your top-notch jiaozi. If cooking doesn't interest you, then stimulate your artistic side by trying your hand at pottery or jewellery-making.

11. Gorge yourself on takeaway food

glo kitchen

Finally, if you’ve taken a look at this list and really can’t be arsed doing anything more intensive than binge-watching your favourite TV shows, then make sure you’re at least well-fed by ordering in all the food you can get your hands on. Check out our list of healthy meal delivery services in Beijing (or don't, we're not judging) and you won't have to leave the comfort of your bed all weekend.