China Central Television Tower
To get a sense of just how large and bustling Beijing is, take the elevator 781 feet (238 meters) to the observation deck of the China Central Television Tower (CCTV). From there you can see the vast city laid out before you with its traffic-clogged streets.
At 1,329 feet (405 meters) high, the CCTV is one of the tallest towers in the world. Wander around the rotating observation deck then step outside for a thrilling view from the outdoor balcony.
From this height you can also see the mountain ranges that encircle Beijing. Use the telescope for close-up views of such prominent sights as the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace. The best time to visit the observation deck is just before dusk so you can enjoy the colors of the sunset over the lakes, skyscrapers, temples and parks of Beijing.
After you have studied the city from your lofty height, go to the 19th floor for the TV Culture Hall, an exhibition on the tower’s history. The soaring structure was built in 1992 to broadcast the Central China Television Company’s radio and television programs. The broadcaster has since relocated to other premises, but you can visit their old studios.
Dine in the revolving restaurant on the 18th floor. One full 360-degree rotation takes 80 minutes, ample time to enjoy a buffet of both Chinese and Western cuisine.
Then head for the elevator and press the button for the base of the tower. There you will find restaurants, souvenir shops, a movie theater, a health spa and an aquarium.
The fun doesn’t end when you leave the tower. Explore the nearby Yuyuantan Park, which encompasses tulip fields, cherry blossom trees, lakes, water slides and areas for sports.
The China Central Television Tower is located in the Haidan district, near the Gongzhufen subway station. There is an admission charge to the building’s upper levels, however, visitors paying for lunch or dinner at the restaurant receive complimentary admission.