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 The colorful entrance of Shen Ji Restaurant.
NEIGHBORHOOD GUIDE

A guide to local favorites in the 798 district

 The colorful entrance of Shen Ji Restaurant.
  • By Yifan Zhang
  • Photos by Yan Cong
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The 798 district
Beijing
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The number 798 was the reference code for a factory, but now this ex-industrial site is the most contracted contemporary art zone in Asia and perfect for gallery-hopping. In recent years, shops and restaurants have flourished here, so many visitors just come for a good time. As a result, some of the more serious galleries close their doors or put out a sign to charge entrance fees, but you can knock and say you want to visit. Few will actually charge you. If you explore here, note that commercial galleries are closed Mondays.

Meet Yifan Zhang

Yifan moved from London to Beijing in 2011 and hosts a weekly cultural review podcast, Culture Potato, with his friends.

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The 798 district

UCCA
This is the most established contemporary art museum in China, recently rescued by a private consortium that also bought the Shanghai Tang lifestyle brand (hence the adjoining store). There are often two to three exhibitions running, so the entrance fee is well worth paying.
UCCA, 4 Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China
Shen Ji Restaurant
This family-run joint serves homey Shanghai cooking and is loved by artists and dealers. It’s also the oldest restaurant in 798.
Shenji Restaurant, 798 Middle 1st Street, Chaoyang, Beijing, China
Voyage Coffee
This coffee shop has a sunny interior; big, front yard seating and a location shared with a high-end road-bike shop (#coffeeholic #bikeporn).
88 Porcelain 3rd Street, 798 Art Zone, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China
Hey Tea
Hey Tea is the Louis Vuitton of bubble-tea mania, and sometimes there’s a secondary market for waiting tickets that the store uses to call your order. Their 798 store is on the ground floor of Xiaoke Theatre.
Xiaoke Juchang, 751 Design Park, 798 Art Zone, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China
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Yifan Zhang
Yifan moved from London to Beijing in 2011 and hosts a weekly cultural review podcast, Culture Potato, with his friends.
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@yifanxxx
Yan Cong
Yan Cong is a contributing photographer to The Washington Post who lives in Beijing.

CITY GUIDES