Since the reign of the Jin Dynasty, Shichahai has been one of the foremost scenic and recreational areas in Beijing. Located to the north of city center and northwest of the Forbidden City, the three man-made lakes of Shichahai are a great place to escape from the city; take a seat in one of the innumerable cafes in the area or stroll along the willow-fringed water and over decorative bridges like Silver Ingot and Wanning. You’ll also view a number of grand examples of historic architecture, like Prince Gong Mansion and about a dozen places of Buddhist and Taoist worship.
This is also a great place to diverge from the beaten path, following one of the many narrow hutongs like Ya Er to see charming courtyards and remnants of a simpler life that still exists in a city of skyscrapers and opulent historical architecture.
Note:Only a short walk south from Shichahai, you’ll find Beihai Park, a well-preserved imperial garden and another appealing natural space.