The Beijing Bird’s Nest Stadium and Water Cube were used for the 2008 Olympic Games, and they left a lasting impression on not just the population of Beijing, but also the world. Those of you who appreciate unique architecture want to make sure you hit Bird’s Nest Stadium and Water Cube.
Beijing National Stadium, officially the National Stadium also known as the Bird’s Nest, is situated in Olympic Green Village, Chaoyang District of Beijing City. The stadium covers an area of about 63.6 acres (25.8 hectares), which holds a capacity of 80,000 permanent seats. It is illuminated every night from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Opening Hours: April to October: 9am to 7pm. November to March: 9am to 5:30pm. Ticket price: CNY 50RMB; free for children under 1.2m.
The Bird’s Nest and Water Cube are in the same area of the Olympic Park. The Water Cube is technically the Beijing National Aquatics Center. The Water Cube is 177 meters square and 30 meters high, and has a capacity of 17,000 seats. In the evening, the outside wall of the Water Cube beautifully lit up. It looks like a giant ice cube with the lights on. Open hours: 10am-9pm daily. Ticket price: 30RMB Combo ticket for Water Cube and National Stadium: 80RMB.
It’s been a decade now since the Olympic Games in Beijing, but it is still possible to visit the stadium and the aquatics center, and visiting them now would be eerie if you can still remember the spectacle of the Olympic Games.
There are plans for the Birds Nest to re-open in 2022 when the Olympics returns to Beijing. So, the structures are still standing, and still maintained. They’re mostly frequented by tourists, however, who want to see the structure and explore the Olympic Park.
Both the Water Cube and the Bird’s Nest are quite centrally located, so you can get there on public transport. The easiest way is to use the Subway Line 10 to get to the Beitucheng Station, then use Subway Line 8 to go one stop to the Olympic Sports Center, or two stops to the Olympic Park. It’s well worth heading to the park and walking back. The park is free to visit, and it’s a nice relaxing walk with some nice views.
There are numerous buses that serve the area, too, but it’s best to check bus times and stops for your area, or just rely on the clearly sign-posted subway.
It is not a good idea to take a taxi, because parking spaces are limited, so you may end up having to stop a fair distance from the park. The subway stops are close to the park and the stadium, and subway travel is very affordable.
The Best Time to Visit
It’s a good idea to visit the Water Cube in the evening, because it is cooler, and because the building lights up with a different colored pattern each night. It’s a stunning sight, and it offers some brilliant photo opportunities. The Bird’s Nest is illuminated at night too – there are solar panels in the structure that collect energy during the day, and then use it to light the structure at night.
If you’re in a rush, you can visit to just take some photos of the outside. If you want to go inside, then you will need to pay a fee. The inside is open from 9AM – 6PM, and you can pay a different amount depending on whether you want to visit the nest, the water cube, or the water park. There is also the option to just visit the pool and go for a swim.
During peak holiday times and at weekends, there may be some lonog queues to get inside. There are refreshments on site, so you won’t have to go hungry if you do decide to stick around, but if you’re after a quiet and peaceful walk around, it’s best to go on a weekday.
Don’t forget that the Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube are just two of the Olympic Buildings. There are several others that you can visit, including the National Indoor Stadium, and the hockey rink located in the North Olympic Forest Park. You will likely find that those locations are less crowded, and they are still well worth a visit.
If you’re not sure what is worth seeing, or where to go, then you can book a guided tour that will take you around not just the Olympic sights, but some of the other major landmarks in the city as well. The guided tours often have faster queue access to each location.