A massive metropolis of city blocks and blocked up traffic intersections, Beijing is far from an ideal place for runners. Until you discover Yuan Dadu Park. As skinny as they come, the park may only be 150 m wide but its length is an impressive 9 km.
Nine kilometers of water canal slices through the center of Yuan Dadu’s svelte figure, coyly twirling a foot south in the university district.
Flowing alongside of subway line 10, Yuan Dadu boasts enough sights to keep you entertained as you jog or saunter along. Picturesque bridges cross a canal dotted with pedal boats. Flowers and greenery amazingly obscure the cityscapes that lie just beyond. The central part of the park is the area which has been lovingly landscaped and adorned.
It’s evident that this location is of historical significance. Sections of the 13th century Yuan Dadu city wall remain on display alongside of modern sculptures which comment on Yuan Dynasty history. Kublai Khan’s larger than life statue is a solemn and imposing figure. His concubines, in contrast, dance and cavort around him. Throughout the park Bronze horses make several appearances alongside of historical granite sculptures and tile murals.
When darkness falls, the mature ladies come out of the shadows into the square to blast the old school techno and do some line dancing. If that’s not your scene, you can continue on along the dimly lit canal, past young awkward couples, up to Dadu Bar Street. It’s not a particularly jumping destination, but why criticize an opportunity to have a cold beer on a waterfront patio when the stars above have just begun to twinkle?
Location: Just south of Beitucheng East and West roads.
Admission: free Opening hours: 5:00-23:00; sections away from the centre are open 24 hours.