How to visit Bird’s Nest and Water Cube

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The successful Beijing 2008 Olympic Games has left a deep impression on people’s mind in the world. For many foreign visitors, the temptation is great to visit the Bird’Nest (Beijing National Stadium ) and Water Cube (Beijing National Aquatics Center).

Well, how, when to visit the two fancy Olympic sites? What do you expect from them? Any tips for visiting the two Olympic buildings?

Personally I’ve been to the Olympic Park for several times. Below are some of my tips for visiting the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube. Hopefully these tips are useful for you.

Tip # 01: Subway is highly recommended
Both Bird’s Nest and Water Cube are easily accessible through subway, cheap and fast. Take Subway Line 10 and get off at Beitucheng Station. Then interchange for Subway Line 8 and get off at the next station to the north – Olympic Sports Center or the second station – Olympic Park ( Olympic Green ). Once you come out from the subway, you are inside the Olympic Park. The park is free to the public.

If you are familiar with Beijing public bus system, taking a bus is also advisable due to its numerous buses available:

Bus 409, 426, 645, 653, 656, 658, 660, 689, 694, 740, 740, 753, 758, 803, 839, 849, 850, 858.

Taxi is not recommended mainly due to the fact it is hard to find a parking lot. So very often your driver has to stop in a parking area a bit far from the Olympic Park and you have to walk a long distance before you get to the park.

Tip # 02: An evening tour better than a daytime visit
Of course, during the daytime, you can have a close look at their true faces. But the bird’s nest is so much concrete and the water cube looks lifeless. Just too little shade and shelter provided by trees, very hot in summer!

If you come here in the evening, things are a world of difference! The Water Cube displays a different color pattern each evening, looking like a fantastic magic box.

It is said that solar panel inside the nest collects the sun’s rays by the daytime and light the bird’s nest by night. An illuminated bird’s-nest gives you much for thinking!

Tip # 03: Outside or inside?
Many people just take some pictures from their outside; some prefer to go inside exploring. Which is better? It all depends.

If you have limited time, or you are not interested in what is going on inside, then just have a glimpse. That’s all right. If you are more curious about the inner structures of the two buildings, inside visiting is high recommended if you have sufficient time.

Opening time and Entrance fee for Bird’s Nest:
09:00 – 18:0
RMB: 50
Water Cube: RMB30
Water Park: RM 200
Swimming only: RMB 50

Tip # 04: Avoid public holiday or weekend
If you are not interested in the people-watching, just avoid coming here on public holiday and weekend. On the tourist season, tickets are hard to get. You have to line up for quite some time before you buy entrance tickets.

At the main entrance to the Olympic sites, there are some convenience stores for you to buy water and snack food.

Tip # 05: More than sightseeing
It is estimated that every weekday there are 20,000 to 30,000 daily visitors on coming to Olympic Park. About 5000 people will go inside either Bird’s Nest or Water Cube each day!

Most of the income of two buildings comes from the tickets selling and other comprehensive management, which just meets the cost for maintaining the two buildings.

To make the two buildings more lucrative, local government and management company are going to gradually change the two sports building into a leisure center including eating, playing, entertaining, meetings and conference, hotels and sports events as well.

It is said that a trendy and high-end Olympic Theme Restaurant has been set up in Bird’s Nest. In Winter, the bird’s nest will be made a ski resort for a winter festival.

The entrance fee for the newly built water amusement parks costs RMB 200 per person. The entrance fee for the water cube still keeps at RMB 30.

Tips # 06: More than Bird’s Nest and Water Cube
The Bird’s Nest and Water Cube are just two most important Olympic Buildings in the park. Other Olympic venues including Beijing National Indoor Stadium, the archery range, tennis courts and hockey rink in North Olympic Forest Park.

Using a wide-angle lens to shoot the stadium from the southeast.


Beauifully Lit-up Beijing National Stadium


The Picture of the Whole Stadium Illuminated


Visiting Beijing National Stadium


Water Cube

Visiting Water Cube

Tip: Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for Beijing guided tours:

Beijing Highlight Day Tour from US$59 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Mutianyu Great Wall)
Beijing Classic City Tour from US$65 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Temple of Heaven + Summer Palace)
Beijing Excursion Tour from US$59 P/P
(Mutianyu Great Wall + Ming Tomb)
Beijing Hutong Highlight Tour from US$59 P/P
( Hutong + Rickshaw)

Mutianyu Great Wall Half Day Tour from US$55 p/p
Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour from US$69 p/p

Mutianyu Great Wall Layover Tour from US$65 p/p
Beijing Highlight Layover Tour from US$75 p/p

Further Readings

Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop line.

29 Responses to “How to visit Bird’s Nest and Water Cube”

  1. dayang says:

    May I know is it we have to pay the entrance fee even we just want to take a walk outside the Bird Nest?

  2. dayang says:

    and also i dont understand this. Why there is difference for the entrace fee?

    Opening time and Entrance fee for Bird’s Nest:
    09:00 – 19:00
    RMB 50
    Opening time and Entrance fee for Bird’s Nest:
    09:00 – 21:45
    Entrance fee: RMB 30
    Water Park: RMB 200
    Swimming only: RMB 50

  3. admin says:

    Dayang, thanks for your posted question. Now the bird’nest entrance tickets stop selling at 18:00. That means people are not allowed to enter the bird’nest after 18:00. The entrance ticket fee is RMB 50, no more discouted prices. Thanks again for your question!

  4. admin says:

    It is free to walk around and even touch the bird’nest if you are not going to enter the nest itself.

  5. Norma says:

    What is the easiest way to get to Zhongyu Century Grand Hotel from the Main Railway station? Can you tell me also how much a taxi would be approximately. Thank you.

  6. Daniel says:

    Hello Norma,

    Zhongyu Century Grand Hotel is just to the north of Beijing West Railway Station, 5-minutes’walk; Zhongyu Century Grand Hotel is about 12km away either from Beijing Railway Station or Beijing South Railway Station. It is better to take a taxi, about RMB40 (taxi).

  7. rike says:

    Hey there!

    A friend of mine will travel to Beijing soon and I want to give him to tickets for a visit at the Birds Nest as a present. Wherre can I buy tickets in the internet?


  8. Daniel says:

    Hello Rike,

    You have to buy the tickets on the spot by cash. Have good time!

  9. Christy says:

    Hello! I am wondering, are there student discounts for students? If you are studying in Beijing will they discount our enterance fee?

  10. Daniel says:

    Hello Christy,

    As far as I know there are some discounts for students. Just try your luck!

  11. kumar says:

    Hello! we are visiting to beijing during golden week. Shall we able to get the nest tickets during that time. by the way we are staying at novotel beijing peace. please let me know how to get there. thanks

  12. Daniel says:

    Hello Kumar,

    You first walk to the subway station of Dengshikou (灯市口) of Subway Line 5 ( 670 meters from your hotel ), then take the subway line 5 in the north direction and get off at the 7th station of Huixinxijie Nankou (惠新西街南口), then interchange for the subway line 10, going in the west direction and get off at the second station of Tucheng (土城站), then again interchange the subway line 8, going in the north direction and get off at the station and get off the next station of the Olympic Center (奥体中心)and exit from the Exit B1.

    It is advised that you start early from your hotel to the olympic sites to avoid the crowd. The total subway cost: RMB 2 .

  13. vandana says:

    Hi, i live near Yizhuang culture park (Yizhuang line). Is there a bus i can take from here directly to Birds nest

  14. Daniel says:

    Hello Vandana,

    You first take Yizhang Line,the interchange for Line 10 and then Line 8 for the Bird Nest. Have a good time!

  15. Chrissie says:

    We are going to the athletics and want to a camera, binoculars and snacks. Are bags allowed in?

  16. Daniel says:

    Hi Chrissie,

    As far as I know, you can take camera, binoculars, snacks and bags, but people are not allowed to take something flammable like lighters.

  17. Nienke says:

    Hello everyone,

    Just wanted to point out that the subway map is old, a lot of new subway lines have been build in the past three years…

    I really like this website, it is very informative!

    Greetings from the Netherlands

  18. Roberto says:

    Hello Daniel, can you please advice me about which is the nearest Railway Station to Olympic Sites?

    Thanks in advance.

  19. Daniel says:

    Hi Roberto,

    There are four railway stations in Beijing: Beijing West Railway Station ( going to Xian… ); Beijing South Railway Station ( Tianjin, Shanghai…); Beijing North Railway Station ( going to Badaling Great Wall… ) and Beijing Railway Station ( going to Chengde, Qinghuangdao…).

    Basically, you should know which railway station you are going to use.

  20. Daniel says:

    Hi Nienke,

    A big thanks for your having poited out the outdate subway map! We’ll update it soon. Thanks!

  21. sajad says:

    Is the water cube water park open on March 9 to march 18?
    Thank You

  22. Beijing Tour says:

    Hi Sajad,

    As far as I know, the water cube water park is open on March.

  23. lea Ovaska says:

    Hi, Is it possible to swim and do laps at the water cube, thanks, planning on arriving in Beijing on 22 April

  24. Beijing Tour says:

    Hi lea Ovaska,

    Basically you can swim after purchasing the entrance ticket.

  25. Jaya says:

    How to get the national stadium from Peking university?
    How much time should be good enough to visit stadium and the water cube?

    Thanks in advance,

  26. Beijing Tour says:

    Hi Jaya,

    The distance between Peking University and the Olympic Sites is about 10 km. But it is a bit tricky to use public transport going from your school to the site, time-consuming also. We suggest you share a taxi, which costs you about 30 yuan per car for a single trip.

    Entrance fee for Water Cube: 30 yuan
    Entrance fee for Bird Nest: 50 Yuan

    Have a good time!

  27. Beijing Tour says:

    Hi Jaya,

    The outside visit takes about half an hour; the inside visit takes about one and half hours ( for the two sites )

  28. Linn says:

    Hello! Soon I will go to Beijing from Sweden.
    I’m wondering if I still can visit the Birds Nest inside? Do I’ve to buy tickets to just take a look inside at the beginning of June, this year?

    Thanks in advance, Linn

  29. Beijing Tour says:

    Hi Linn,

    You need to buy an entrance ticket for an inside look. Have a goo time in Beijing!

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