4 Uncommon Tourist Attractions In China You'll Want To Visit

Are you planning a vacation to China? Are you looking forward to discovering exotic places and locations? If you're hoping to avoid famous attractions such as the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, and the Beijing Zoo in order to experience China in a more close-up and personal way, here's a list of lesser-known places to visit and enjoy: 

  • The English Corner: One of the lesser known Beijing tourist attractions occurs Friday nights at Renmin University. Several hundred people gather at a meeting area for the purpose of practicing their English by conversing with each other, as well as with any English-speaking tourists that attend. You'll gain a deeper perspective of modern Chinese culture as you talk to a wide group of locals. Be prepared to be approached by friendly people that want to talk to you on a variety of subjects, ranging from politics to American food. Their purpose is not to confront you in a debate, but to find out how English is spoken outside of classrooms. Westerners may find themselves surrounded by crowds that want to listen to their comments, use of idioms, and speech patterns. Although you'll probably feel like a rock star surrounded by eager fans, there's no need to worry about the size of the group around you. Everyone is civil and polite, especially to foreigners.
  • Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall: Although not usually a typical tourist destination, this hall gives you an in-depth way to learn more about Beijing's history, as well as its future development. One entire floor is taken up by a scale model of Beijing, with details that are best viewed with binoculars from a point over the model. There are several recreations of the city throughout the building, including bronze relief maps, electronic scroll paintings, and a copper sculpture detailing the physical geography of the area.
  • The National Art Museum of China: Funded by the Ministry of Culture, this large museum has a total land area of 320,000 sq ft (30,000 square meters). It's one of the largest art museums in China, housing such artwork as traditional Chinese paintings, pottery, costumes, sculpture, watercolors, and lacquer work. You can get an idea of the size of their collections by visiting their online exhibition. Make sure you take your passport with you. Admission is free, but tickets are issued only when showing valid ID such as your passport at the museum's ticket office.
  • The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (Xuanwumen Church): Built in 1605, this is the oldest Catholic church in Beijing. Although it has been repaired and remodeled throughout the ages, it still retains much of its original appeal. Rather than being closed up as a historic building, it is still in use today. Groups of Catholic Chinese attend services here, and its cathedral bells still signal people gathering to worship.

For something lighter, visit Sight, Sound and Action for a movie. The variety of entertainment and attractions available to you during your trip is vast.