Skating at Qianhai, with a view of the historic Drum Tower, is one of those quintessential Beijing experiences. Note that when people talk about skating at Houhai, it’s actually the southern part of the Shichahai lakes, Qianhai, you want to head for – the ‘front sea’.
There’s a huge choice of skates, ice-bikes, carts, mini-rickshaws and bumper cars, but as Beijing’s most popular skating spot – given its location and picturesque surroundings – the crowds are hard to avoid, especially at peak times. The experience is certainly special at night, marred (or enhanced, if you prefer) by the bright neon lights of the surrounding bars and pumping EDM soundtrack. Expect to be upstaged by old men practising their pirouettes, and to run into ice that can get lumpy and bumpy.
For a different experience, head to Qianhai on Saturday mornings for a drop-in session of ice hockey, where players from the Beijing Ice Hockey League lead a friendly introduction for anyone wanting to learn the sport.
Rink open 9am-10pm daily. Entrance 20RMB (weekdays), 30RMB (weekends and holidays). Skate hire 30RMB per hour (weekdays), 35RMB per hour (weekends and holidays).
Qianhai (前海) Shichahai, Xicheng district.