Olympic Green

Admission:

Free

Hours:

24 hours daily

How to get there:

Head straight to the Subway Line 8 Olympic Green Station and out exit B1 or B2. Follow the walkway over the road to reach the Bird's Nest and Water Cube.

Beijing reinvented itself for the 2008 Olympics and nowhere are the fruit of those efforts more prevalent than in the Olympic Green (Àolínpǐkè Gōngyuán, 奥林匹克公园). Besides being a pretty good place see leaves, grass and ponds while taking a relaxing stroll in the middle of town, the Olympic Greens are where you want to start checking out some of Beijing's modern architectural marvels, namely the Bird's Nest National Stadium and the Water Cube National Aquatics Center.

It might take a while to find them, hidden as they are amid a labyrinth of gigantic shrub sculptures festooning the area (think leaping shrub dolphins and a shrub Parthenon), but the juxtaposition of the comic, absurd and the majestic make it worthwhile.

Visitors interested in green design might want to pay a visit to other building in the sprawling 1,135 hectares (2,805 acres) grounds. The Beijing National Indoor Stadium (Guójiā Tǐyùguǎn, 国家体育馆) and the Beijing Olympic Green Convention Center (Guójiā Huìyì Zhōngxīn, 国家会议中心) comprise environmentally-friendly features such as rainwater collection, photovoltaic generators, and super efficient insulation.

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