What’s so Great About This Spot on Beijing’s 2nd Ring Road?

By Alistair Baker-Brian, September 19, 2022

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With cooler weather hitting Beijing, it’s a great time of year to get out and explore more of the city. 

If you’ve been in the Chinese capital for even a short amount of time, chances are you’ve driven past the Dongbianmen Wachtower (you’ll know it when you see it). 


The Dongbianmen Watchtower

Aside from the nearby Ming Dynasty Wall Relics Park, there’s also a nearby footbridge at the corner of the watchtower which you may want to check out, especially if you’re after a good photography spot. 

What makes this spot so great? Aside from the good angle from which to photograph the Dongbianmen Watchtower itself, there’s also a lot to take in from within the surrounding area. 

The ever-flowing traffic of the second ring road – combined with trains departing and arriving at Beijing Railway Station – make Dongbianmen feel like something of a transport hub. 


A train departs Beijing Railway Station over the city's second ring road

Moreover, look in a northeast direction over the railway tracks, and you’ll see the iconic Beijing CBD city skyline in the background. 


A train heads east from Beijing Railway Station with the Beijing CBD city skyline in the background

A Brief Introduction to Dongbianmen

Dongbianmen’s history as a key transport hub dates back hundreds of years. During the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties, the area was a key port on the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal. 

The Dongbianmen Watchtower is China’s oldest surviving watchtower, as reported by China National Radio (央广网) – with history stretching back around 500 years. 

Those familiar with Beijing’s art scene may know that within more recent history, Dongbianmen was also home to Red Gate Gallery between 1991 and 2006. 

The gallery – founded by Australian expat Brian Wallace – has been at the forefront of China’s contemporary art scene. Since 2006, Red Gate has been based in the 798 Art District. Wallace took the decision to close the Gallery in July of this year. 

READ MORE: This Beijing Expat was in 798 Art District Before It was Cool

How to Get to That Spot

Nearby subway stations include Jian Guomen (Line 1 & Line 2), Beijing Railway Station (Line 2) and Chongwenmen (Line 2 & Line 5) 

Via ride-hailing services, input the address 明城墙遗址公园 to get to Ming Dynasty Wall Relics Park

See the exact location of the footbridge on the map below:


[All images via Alistair Baker-Brian/That's]

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