Jianguomen

This area includes the embassy district, with tree-lined streets, nice hotels, and one of Beijing’s most pleasant parks.

It’s one of my favorite parts of Beijing, because I used to live there. For visitors, I think it’s a great place to stay. There are many nice hotels in the area, from budget chain hotels like Home to the fancy St. Regis, where presidents stay when they’re in town. It’s near the Silk Market, where tourists love to shop.

And there are all kinds of restaurants! Walk behind the Friendship store and you’ll find a row of restaurants, most of them Western. You can sit outside if the weather’s nice, too. The restaurants include Grandma’s Kitchen, which is kind of a Beijing institution; they have several other locations in the city. If you need a burger or greasy-spoon breakfast food, they’re a great option if you’re in the area.

The area has several Starbucks, if you need a coffee fix. My favorite is across the street from the St. Regis Hotel. One of the others is located in the LG Towers, across Jianguomen from the Silk Market, and the other is across the other street from the Silk Market, beside a little mall and near to the Yonganli subway entrance.

A word of warning: The restaurants at the Silk Market are very expensive. You’ll get better food if you go elsewhere, at a better price.