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Visiting the vibrant 798 Art District in the north of Beijing is a great way to experience a different layer of local life to the city. Wandering through the Imperial Palaces and the vast Tiananmen Square will doubtlessly provide an in-depth perspective on China's Dynastic and Communist past, but it only tells part of the story.

Along with the city's temples to Buddhism, Taoism and Confucius, the 798 Art Zone shows how the city is evolving today, with a creative spirit more akin to Shoreditch in London or Brooklyn in New York. Housed in one of the former factories so typical of Communist China, the area is a bastion of creative energy and expression, with countless art galleries and exhibitions and eye-catching public art. People have gathered here from across the globe to join the movement.

The 798 Art Zone could be easily combined with the Summer Palace or the Olympic Park, both in the north of the city or on the way to the airport if you have an afternoon or evening flight. 

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