The Beijing Northern Suburbs consists of the suburbs and rural areas of Changping District (昌平区; Chāngpíngqū) and Shunyi District (顺义区; Shùnyìqū).
Changping and Shunyi are the northern outer suburbs of Beijing. Many of the communities in the districts would be satellite cities of Beijing but given the city's system of multiple ring roads, the communities are seen as incorporated as part of a mega city.
The communities of Shunyi between the 5th and 6th ring include rich suburbs favored by families who want larger homes, green space, golf courses, and distance from the hustle of Beijing's urban center. There is a large community of expat families in Shunyi and several international schools are located in the area. Pinnacle Plaza, a low rise shopping center resembling suburban California, is a gathering point for the Shunyi expat community.
Beyond the 6th ring both districts are a mix of urban and rural areas. The outer part of Changping is notable for Chinese historical sites including the Ming Tombs and the Juyongguan section of the Great Wall. Beyond the 6th ring, Shunyi has pleasant nature reserves, particularly for bird watching. Beijing is one of the best bird watching cities among world cities.
The suburban parts of Shunyi between the 5th and 6th ring can be accessed by Line 15 of the Beijing Subway.
Changping is served by the Changping Line of the Beijing Subway which stretches 32km with stops including the Ming Tombs. Line S2 of the Beijing Suburban Railway is connected to the Beijing Subway. It begins in Changping and travels north to Yanqing District. Unfortunately Line S2 has very few trains running.
- 1 Ming Dynasty Imperial tombs (明十三陵) (Bus 872 from Deshengmen Gate in central Beijing drops you near the Sacred Way; the tomb complex is spread out, requiring a car to get between spots). A part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties". This is the final resting place of 13 of the 16 emperors the Ming Dynasty. The largest and most impressive of them is Changling (长陵), the tomb of Emperor Yongle (永乐皇帝), the 3rd emperor of the Ming Dynasty. Another notable one is Dingling (定陵), the tomb of Emperor Wanli (万历皇帝), and the only one whose burial chamber has been excavated and is open to the public. The site is not visually spectacular and only worth going to if you have a lot of appreciation for Chinese history.
- Juyongguan (居庸关). The nearest section of the Great Wall to the center of Beijing and among the most popular. It was a fortress guarding an important mountain pass during the Ming Dynasty. The wall in this section forms a full circle.
- 2 Chinese Aviation Museum (中国民航博物馆; Zhōngguó Mínháng Bówùguǎn), Datangshan, Chanping District (昌平区小汤山) (About 50km outside Beijing, (as of October 2011) take Bus 643 from Tiantongyuan North Subway Station (天通苑北) on Line 5). 8AM-5:30PM. A must see for all aviation fans. It is probably better known by the name Datangshan. The museum hosts over 200 exhibits, many of them very rare. Entrance to the ground exhibits were free (Oct 2011). There is an entrance fee to the indoor display and hanger ¥20, and an extra ¥10 if you want to board Chairman Mao's plane and another ¥10 to board a DC-8 (Orbis), and ¥10 to sit in a MIG-15.
- 3 Beijing Waxworks Palace of Ming Dynasty (明皇蜡像馆), Xiguanhuandao, Changping District (昌平区西关环岛), ☏ . 7:30AM-6PM. Here you can see China's historical and cultural figures in wax. ¥40.
There are some interesting galleries in Shunyi District including:
- Beijing Central Art Gallery (硕华画社), G/F L106 Euro Plaza, 99 Yu Xiang Lu, Tian Zhu,Houshayu, Shunyi District (顺义区天竺后沙峪,裕翔路99号欧陆广场一层 L106号) (Across from the New National Exhibition Centre), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 10AM-8PM, Su 1PM-8PM. Contemporary Chinese paintings and sculptures.
- Open Gallery (贞的画廊), 5 Kaifa Jie, Xibaixinzhuang Cun, Shunyi District (顺义区西白新庄村开发街5号), ☏ . 8MA-8PM. Contemporary Chinese art.
- Hot springs - There are lots of hotsprings especially in the town of Xiaotangshan in Changping a byword for hot spring resorts. Shunyi also has options for going to hot springs.
- Happy Land Arts and Crafts Center (乐土工艺访; Lètǔgōngyìfǎng), Xibaixinzhuang, Houshayu, Shunyi District (顺义区后沙峪西白辛庄; Shùnyìqū Hòushāyù Xībáixīnzhuāng), ☏ . Summer 9AM-6PM; winter 9AM-5PM. The center offers pottery, painting, paper folding, jewelry making and other.
- Tianyi Strawberry Garden (天翼草莓园), Changping District. A large strawberry farm where visitors can inside the farm's greenhouses pick strawberries for purchase from December to June. 150 yuan per kilo.
- International Shooting Range, 1 Mafang Cun, Nankou, Changping District (At the gate of No. 208 Research Institute of China Ordinance, register with your ID. Then walk for 15 minutes or hitch a ride on a cart to the shooting range), ☏ (Chinese only). One of the few shooting ranges in China open to the public. Shotguns, handguns, and rifles are available. Silencer equipped handgun available for use with letter of introduction from company of employment. 15 RMB for each rifle and handgun bullet.
- Ban Ruo (般若素食), 33 Gulou Dongjie, Changping District (昌平区鼓楼东街33号), ☏ . Buddhist vegetarian restaurant. Try the fake Beijing Duck and other fake meat dishes.
- T6 Hot Pot (T6香辣火锅), 10 Tianshuiyuan Donglu, Changping District (昌平区甜水园东路10号), ☏ . 11AM-10PM.
- Bravo (博纳意大利餐厅), Loong Palace, Huilongguan, Changping District (回龙观龙城丽宫国际酒店), ☏ . 5:30PM-10PM. Italian restaurant.
- Obelisco (阿根廷烤肉), 1 Laiguangying Donglu, Shunyi District (顺义区来广营东路1号), ☏ . M-Th 11AM-2:30PM, 5:30PM-10PM; F-Su 11AM-10PM. Argentinian restaurants serving great steaks and red wine.
- Haru Teppanyaki and Sushi Bar (尚水长廊铁板烧餐厅), 902 Pinnacle Plaza, Jingshun Lu, Shunyi District (顺义区京顺路荣祥广场902), ☏ . 10:30AM-10PM. Sushi is served at the bar while you can have both sushi and teppanyaki in the private rooms. Unusually high level of service here.
This is not the part of Beijing to go drinking. The closest to a bar street are the few bars located at Pinnacle Plaza in Shunyi.
- Llama, Pinnacle Plaza. Mexican themed bar with very good Tex-Mex food. The chimichanga is recommended. Coronas are RMB 25.
- Beijing Country Paradise Conference Center (北京乡村乐园会议中心). Rooms with no internet access. Listed rates for doubles from ¥300, discounted from ¥150, breakfast ¥10.
- Endemin Hotel (北京恩德民酒店), Building 5, Courtyard 400, Dongxiaokou, Changping District (昌平区东小口400号院5号楼), ☏ , fax: . Rooms with free internet. Meeting rooms, ticket office and gift shop available. Chinese restaurant. Listed rates for doubles from ¥258, discounted from ¥178, cheapest rooms without window, including breakfast.
- Home Inn (Changping Coliseum of Beijing) (如家酒店 (北京昌平体育馆店); Rújiājiǔdiàn (BěijīngChāngpíngtǐyùguǎndiàn)), 11 South Ring Road, Changping District (昌平区南环路11号; Chāngpíngqū Nánhuánlù) (6km north of Ring Road Six and 2km east of Badaling Expway), ☏ , fax: . Rooms with free internet. Business center, ticket office, laundry service and fitness facilities available. Chinese restaurant. Lister rates for doubles from ¥179, discounted from ¥164; breakfast ¥15.
- Wenhuibao Hotel (北京文惠宝宾馆; Běijīngwénhuìbǎobīnguǎn), 36 East Gulou Street, Changping District (昌平区鼓楼东街36号; Chāngpíngqū Gǔlóudōngjiē) (5km norht of Ring Road Six just east of Badaling Expway, buses 493, 914), ☏ , fax: . Spacious rooms with free internet. Meeting facilities, ticket office, laundry service and massage available. Chinese restaurant and room service. Listed rates for doubles from ¥320, discounted from ¥165; no breakfast available.
- Beijing Longmai Hotspring Village (北京龙脉温泉度假村; Běijīng Lóngmàiwēnquán Dùjiàcūn), Xiaotangshan, Changping District (昌平区小汤山; Chāngpíngqū Xiǎotāngshān), ☏ , fax: . This hotspring resort is one of the closest to the city centre, but if you are willing to travel further you can also find better places. Room rates include single entry to the hotsprings, but everything else you will have to pay for. Listed rates for doubles from ¥600, discounted from ¥322 including breakfast.
- Aulympic Airportel (空港奥竺宾馆; Kōnggǎngàozhúbīnguǎn), 36 Xiao Tianzhu Road, Capital Airport, Shunyi District (顺义区小天竺路36号奥竺苑; Shùnyìqū Xiǎotiānzhúlù, àozhúyuàn) (8 minute drive from the airport), ☏ . Three star hotel located close to Ligao Park, Tianzhu Garden, and New International Exhibition Center. 258 air-conditioned rooms equipped with double/twin beds, cable TV, IDD telephone, and free high-speed Internet. The hotel offers venues for corporate and social events. Meeting rooms are available for seminars. Classy bar and a restaurant. From ¥355.58 for a double.
- Bishui Plaza (北京碧水大厦; Běijīng Bìshuǐddshà), Green Rivers Manor, Huilongguan Town, Changping District (昌平区回龙观镇碧水庄园内; Chāngpíngqū Huílóngguànzhèn Bìshuǐzhuāngyuán Nèi) (Take the train from Beijing North Railway Station next to Xizhimen Metro Station, get off at Shahe Station (沙河站) and take an unofficial taxi the last km or so, or take bus ), ☏ , fax: . Four stare hotel located close to mountains and river. Rooms with free internet. Business center, shops, beauty salon and ticket office available. There are also lots of recreational opportunities including disco, karaoke, playground, billiard, table tennis, fitness, bowling, tennis, indoor swimming pool, massage and sauna. Chinese and Western restaurants, large area with barbeque, and also coffee shop, bar and room service. Listed rates for doubles from ¥759, discounted from ¥402, breakfast ¥68.
- Rylinwon Resort & Spa (北京顺义瑞麟湾温泉度假酒店), Nancai, Shunyi District. A hot springs hotel near the Hanshiqiao Wetland Nature Reserve.