Beijing Olympic Green Park
The Beijing Olympic Green is the Olympic park that was constructed for the 2008 Summer Olympics. Do you remember? It’s already been almost 8 years since then. I remember watching the opening ceremony and being really impressed. One of my favourite memories of my 2015 trip to Beijing is visiting the Beijing Olympic Green park. After a few long days of studying at Beijing Normal University’s summer school and visiting the Forbidden City in the afternoon, we spent the evening exploring the Beijing Olympic Green. Although visiting so many temples and heritage sites like the Summer Palace was absolutely terrific, it was also refreshing to see more contemporary urban architecture. We admired the stadium’s night lights, did some serious people-watching, and I personally ate another ice cream. A perfect summer evening!
Beijing National Stadium (Bird’s Nest)
The Beijing National Stadium or Bird’s Nest is the true centerpiece of the Olympic park. The stadium was a joint project by Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, Stefan Marbach, Ai Weiwei, CADG, and Li Xinggang, although Weiwei distanced himself from the project in 2008. The stadium hosted the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as the athletics and football finals of the 2008 Games. In 2022, the stadium will host the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, including the opening and closing ceremonies. The stadium now mostly hosts football matches, although there are plans to turn the stadium into a shopping mall and hotel.
Beijing National Aquatics Center (Water Cube)
The Beijing National Aquatics Center was constructed for the swimming competitions of the 2008 Summer Olympics. The center is informally known as the Water Cube, although its actual shape is a cuboid (potaytoes, potahtoes). It’s safe to say it has already become a historic site, as swimmers broke 25 world records during the 2008 games. After the Olympics, the cube underwent a 200 million Yuan transformation into an water park, which opened in August 2010. The cube is planned to host the curling competition of the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Ling Long Pagoda & Olympic Park Observation Tower
Two other significant features of the Beijing Olympic Green park are the Ling Long Pagoda (blue tower) and Observation Tower (multicoloured towers in the background). The 128 m tall Ling Long Pagoda is part of the International Broadcast Center and has 6 triangle-shaped pods. Broadcast stations like the BBC, France Television, and NBC own studios in these pods, using Beijing’s real skyline as studio backgrounds.
The Olympic Park Observation Tower and its five different platforms offer optimal views of the Olympic Park, as well as the entire city of Beijing. The tower was opened in 2014 and has five circular roofs, similar to the five Olympic rings. The observation tower is the the 22nd highest tower in the world.
Pangu Plaza (Dragon Building)
Directly opposite the Water Cube and Bird’s Nest is the Pangu Plaza, also known as the dragon building. It’s actually not an Olympic building, but a hotel and office complex. The Pangu Plaza is the 7th tallest building in Beijing and can be spotted from almost everywhere in the city. It has managed to transform Beijing’s skyline, although it still reminds me more of a squishy marshmallow than a fearsome dragon. That doesn’t make it any less impressive, of course.
How to get to the Beijing Olympic Green park
There are busses that regularly stop at the Olympic park, but the easiest way is to ride the subway. The subway system in Beijing is very easy to navigate, so we used it as our primary mode of transportation in general. Take line 8 and get off at Forest Park South Gate, Olympic Park (Bird’s Nest and Watercube), or Olympic Sports Center station. If you’re planning to stay really late, keep an eye on the time. The last south-bound train leaves Zhuxinzhuang at 22:05 (10:05pm) and the last north-bound train leaves Nanluoguxiang at 23:00 (11:00pm).
You can see more photos of the Olympic Green by viewing the full album on Flickr. See you later!