Bamboo Park (Zizhuyuan) is a cool respite in
northwestern Beijing's Haidian district for those
seeking a refreshing walk without the hassle of
visiting a popular tourist site.
Covering 14 hectares near Beijing Zoo and National
Library, Purple Bamboo Park is one of the seven
largest parks in Beijing. The park encompasses 3
lakes and a canal that runs to the Summer Palace.
The lakes are connected by a series of bridges and
little islands dotted with benches and plenty of
shade provided by an abundance of trees. The garden
paths and lakeside benches are well-kept and the
park is almost litter free.
Purple Bamboo Park
(Zi Zhu Yuan)
served as a reservoir for the city's water supply
during the 13th century, and the park was a favorite
destination for city dwellers marking the "Pure
Brightness" festival (Qingming) during the Ming
dynasty. After the establishment of the People's
Republic of China in 1949, the park was renovated
and re-opened with its current crop of lush bamboo,
scenic lakes and garden paths.
As its name suggests, the park is home to several
bamboo gardens and over 50 varieties of bamboo can
be found here.
Locals are especially fond of this park, making it a
great location for foreigners to practice their
Chinese. On the garden paths groups of elderly
Beijing residents gather to play cards or mahjong.
There's enough open space that small bands regularly
set up to play for ballroom dancers.
The lakeside is a more restful retreat; here,
visitors are more likely to find people relaxing on
benches, blankets or fishing. Around the lakes
mid-afternoon snacks can be taken in the teahouse
and small concessions.
Each of the lakes has a boathouse, with a variety of
pleasure boats for rent. The most charming of these
have traditional style pavilions that shelter
boaters from the sun. The lakes are well-kept and
clean, flourishing with lily pads, lotus flowers,
and families of ducks.
A scenic canal runs along the north side of the
park, which once served as the water route to the
Summer Palace. It was used by Qing dynasty Emperors
and officials. Boats still cruise along the canal;
the terminal can be found at the Exhibition Center
The Purple Bamboo Park is within walking distance of
both the National Library and the Beijing Zoo, so
visitors can easily cover more than one site in a
day. A stone's throw from the Xizhimen
transportation hub, the area is easily accessible
from anywhere in the city.
Unlike some more popular outdoor attractions in
Beijing' s northwestern Haidian District, such as
the Summer Palace, the Purple Bamboo Park is free of
charge and closes late in the evening.
The atmosphere at Purple Bamboo Park is a mix of
activity and relaxation; there is easy access to
other sites in the area and public transportation
only adds to its appeal. What the park lacks in
fame, compared with the city's other large public
gardens, it makes up for in local culture and