Temple fairs, or miàohuì, used to be an event of worship during which people might pray for happiness, peace and luck. Over hundreds of years, the custom of holding a temple fair has been expanded and can now be found in parks as well.
Temple fairs feature excellent folk arts & performing troupes from all over China, open-air markets, and a lively atmosphere. Acrobats perform daring stunts, dragon dancers weave in and out of the crowds, vendors sell all things festive, and of course snacks are available everywhere.
If you find yourself with some free time over the Chinese New Year holiday, you must go to a temple fair to get a real feel for Chunjie!
Below you will find more information for the various temple fairs being held around Beijing.
1. Ditan Temple Fair
One of Beijing’s biggest and most popular fairs, with hundreds of food stalls and an entertainment schedule with a variety of performances. RMB 10. 9am-5pm (Feb 2-9).
Location: Ditan Park, 100 meters north of the Lama Temple.
Transportation: Yonghegong subway, walk north 100m; or Andingmen Subway, walk north 300m.
2. Longtan Park
Arguably the biggest temple fair in Beijing. Longtan Park, a beautiful and relaxing park, becomes a bustling, chaotic fair packed with people and activities during the Spring Festival. While you munch on numerous snacks sold at lakeside, join in an open chess competition. Other sports activities draw large crowds, such as judo, wrestling, boxing and taikwando.
Location: Longtan Lake Park, 1 kilometre east of the Temple of Heaven
Transportation: Bus No. 6, 12, 60 (this one leaves from right in front of the courtyard), 116, 352, 807
3. White Cloud Temple Fair (Baiyunguan Temple Fair)
The Baiyunguan Temple Fair is a buzz of colorful, traditional folk art performances and a very worthwhile Taoist culture exhibition. Sample from an array of freshly-cooked snacks with typical local flavors.
Location: Baiyunguan, Xibianmenwai, Xicheng District
Transportation: Take bus routes 320, 414 to White Cloud Station or 114, 308, 937 to Baiyunlu.
4. Olympic Park Temple Fair
Instead of merely devouring snacks and watching ethnic performances as at a traditional temple fair, here you can practice yoga, try boxing or rock climbing under the instruction of coaches, or watch an auto-stunt show. Free.
Location: Olympic Park, Beichen Lu, Chaoyang District.
Transportation: Get off at Olympic Green on Line 8.
5. Dongyue Temple Fair
Held within a centrally-located Daoist temple, Dongyue’s fair boasts a number of food stalls, with cultural exhibitions and ethnic performances. Be sure to check out the creepy Daoist statues located inside the temple! RMB 10. 8.30am-4.30pm.
Location: Dongyue Temple, 141 Chaoyangmenwai Dajie, Chaoyang District.
Transportation: Get off at Chaoyangmen station on Line 2 and walk about 600m east.
6. Yuanmingyuan Royal Temple Fair
In the Qing dynasty, the Old Summer Palace was once among the most bustling places in China during Spring Festival. This year, Beijing is attempting to reproduce something of the atmosphere and experience of an imperial-era royal temple fair at the same venue they used 200 years ago. RMB 10. 8.30am-5pm (Feb 3-7).
Location: Old Summer Palace, 28 Qinghua Xilu, Haidian District.
Transportation: Get off at Yuanmingyuan station on Line 4.