Sanlitun: Beijing's 'one-stop-shop' for shopping, dining, partying

The Taikoo Li shopping area in Sanlitun, Chaoyang District of Beijing. (Photo: CFP)

Sanlitun is a bustling neighborhood in Beijing's Chaoyang District. It is well known for its vibrant nightlife, shopping outlets, and eclectic dining scene, attracting both locals and tourists. It also ranks on the list of China’s national-level tourist areas.

The Sanlitun area is home to numerous bars, clubs, restaurants, and luxury shopping malls, such as Sanlitun Taikoo Li. Its central location and easy access to public transportation make it a popular destination for both locals and visitors to the city. The area first began to attract foreign residents and diplomats a decade ago due to its close proximity to the embassy district.

Since the 1990s, the street has served as a famous landmark in the Chinese capital. Over the years, Sanlitun continued to grow and develop, becoming a popular destination for not only foreign diplomats and visitors but also domestic artists, designers, and intellectuals.

The Taikoo Li shopping area in Sanlitun, Chaoyang District of Beijing. (Photo: CFP)

Sanlitun experienced a burst of commercial development to emerge as a popular nightlife and shopping district. With the opening in 2008 of Sanlitun Village (subsequently renamed Sanlitun Taikoo Li), a luxury shopping center, the neighborhood became a hub for high-end fashion, art, and culture, attracting hordes of tourists and expatriates.

Fashionable young men and women can be seen roaming the Sanlitun area every day, searching for stylish clothes and new hairstyles to stand out from the crowd. Street fashion photographers also gather here to capture new fads and trends.

Today, Sanlitun continues to evolve and expand, with ongoing development projects aimed at enhancing its urban landscape and cultural offerings.

For its latest overhaul, which began on Dec. 25, 2022, Sanlitun’s bar street is undergoing some much-needed renovations out of safety concerns, since most of the buildings in the bar area were constructed during the 1990s. The move has grabbed much attention among the local expat community, with many expressing hope the project can be wrapped up quickly so they can return to the rooftop terraces of their favorite dining and meet-up joints.